GO FOR THE FESTIVAL, STAY FOR THE WEEKEND
With scores of music, cultural and rural festivals taking place throughout the summer, this season requires careful diary planning. The program of concerts with international and regional stars, also provide an excuse to stay for the weekend and explore the region. Hotels and guesthouses fill up quickly over the festival period, so book as early as possible. Byblos International Festival (byblosfestival.org) is always on point with its lineup, bringing a mix of iconic musical legends and prolific bands from the more contemporary scene. Don’t miss the concert of Arabic rock band, Mashrou’ Leila (5 August). The homecoming concert, marking the end of a sold-out worldwide tour of their most recent album “Ibn El Leil,” is sure to offer an incredible atmosphere. If you can get a room at the seafront Byblos Sur Mer Hotel (09 548000), you’ll likely be rubbing shoulders with the stars at breakfast and the impressive stage built over the sea is just a short walk away.
Beiteddine Festival (beiteddine.org) is set in Beiteddine Palace in the Shouf Mountains, providing an atmospheric backdrop to concerts that include British soul and pop singer, Seal (17 July), Romeo and Juliet performed by Ballet Preljocaj (19-20 July) and Iraqi singer Kadhim Al-sahir (5-6 August), among others. A number of charming accommodation options are nearby, such as guesthouse Beit el Qamar (05 511722, soukeltayeb.com/beitel-qamar) or historic mountain hotel Deir el Oumara (05 511557/8, deiraloumara.com).
Baalbeck Festival (baalbeck.org.lb) continues a long cultural heritage with a summer of concerts in the breathtaking Roman ruins of the city. Make sure to book for Caracalla Theater’s latest musical “Along the Silk Road” (22-23 July) for impressive and colorful dance shows. You also wont want to miss pioneering French electronic musician Jean Michel Jarre (30 July), international music sensation Mika (4 August) and jazz fusion from the Bob James Quartet (12 August). Book at the legendary Palmyra Hotel (08 370230) for a room with a view overlooking the Roman temple ruins or if you’re on a budget, Pension Shouman (08 372685) is a great little find.