If you want to overnight in the Bekaa Valley (before or after visiting Baalbek), Zahle, Lebanon, is a good spot. This resort town is situated in a nice river valley 35 mi/55 km east of Beirut, and it's known as the restaurant and wine capital of Lebanon.

At the upper end of the valley are several outdoor restaurants, all of them with long tables draped in white cloths and set for hundreds of guests. The scene seemed to scream "incoming busloads of tourists," but when we were there, we saw only restless waiters milling about, waiting for the influx that perhaps never arrived.

Smaller and less touristy restaurants in the center of town also serve the Bekaa Valley's agricultural bounty. After dinner, you can window-shop or stroll around town looking at the nice old villas—there's not much else to do there. The Festival of Wine is in mid-September.

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