A Perfect Day in Saida with Gandour

by Maria Frangieh

Whenever we hear the name Gandour, we think of Lebanese culture, heritage and the sweet taste of childhood.

ghandour-lebanon-travelerWhat’s interesting about Gandour is its dedication to quality and authenticity. Gandour launched products long ago that are as popular today as they were at the beginning. However, the brand has successfully managed to add a modern twist to its line.

Proud of its Lebanese roots, Gandour is encouraging people to explore the country by sharing itineraries that showcase Lebanon’s hidden treasures. The next stop is Saida, a coastal city that’s famed for its sweets: saniora.


Photo – PlantiFulSoul


The magnificent city of Saida is situated around 48 kilometers south of Beirut. Throughout history, Saida has been a powerful commercial center, with strong trade links with Egypt since the 14th century BC.

Historians believe that the name Saida derives from “fishery” or “fishing town.” In the past, it was a rich and flourishing Phoenician city, famed for its glass production, which was considered the best in the world.

You can find traces of Saida’s prosperous history dotted around the city, with ancient ruins dotted around the old city. The old souk of Saida is known for its diversity, so you can be sure to find everything from sweets to straw furniture.

A trip to Saida is a must, particularly for food lovers. Don’t forget to grab Gandour’s Digestive biscuits as a snack to enjoy on the road.


Photo – Shant Hejinian


  • 10.00 am Departure from Beirut
  • 11:00 am – 11:30 am Start your day with an energy-packed breakfast at Al Baba (+971 7 735 226).
  • 11:45 am – 12:45 pm Visit the Sea Castle, Saida’s most iconic landmark. Built in 1228 by Crusading armies on the site of an old Phoenician temple, the stone castle is framed by the Mediterranean Sea, giving it a picture perfect quality. The site is open daily from 9 am until sunset.
  • 12:50 pm – 1:50 pm Check out the Soap Museum (+961 7 733353), where you can learn about the art of saponification and the chemical process that produces the soap. The museum is tucked inside an old soap factory, which is now a well-organized and informative museum.
  • 2:00 pm Enjoy a well-deserved lunch at Saida Rest House (+961 7 722 469).
  • 4:00 pm Debbane Palace Museum (+961 7 720 110) is a hidden gem that every visitor must see. Built by Ali Hammoud in 1721, the building is a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture. The atmospheric space features typical divans (oriental-style living rooms), a liwan (a long, narrow-fronted hall), several rooms and an open-air courtyard, with the characteristic features of the Ottoman period: brown and white stripes of stone and intricate mosaic tiles making up the interior. Despite its location in the bustling old souk, the house is a peaceful escape.
  • 4:55 pm Stop for a delicious end-of-day treat at the famous pastry shop Kanaan (+961 7 733 330). Remember to try the famous saniora.
  • 5:30 pm Head back to Beirut.



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