Weekend trips for under $100
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN SOUTH LEBANON’S NATURAL BEAUTY
South Lebanon is brimming with possibilities for adventure seekers. If you are interested in Lebanon’s history, you can explore a number of sites, including the temples of Eshmun near Saida, the ruins of Tyre (Sour) and the old souks of both towns. The region is also well endowed with ancient churches, shrines and mosques. And let us not forget the natural beauty that characterizes the region. Grab your snorkel and go for a swim in the crystal clear waters of Jiyeh then visit sea turtles in their natural habitat in Tyre. SLEEP Tyre: Al Fanar Resort is a typical Lebanese house with direct access to the beach (80 USD a night for a single room including breakfast. Call 07 741111/03 665016 or visit alfanarresort.com). Saida: In the heart of the old city of Sidon, book your overnight in Yacoub Boutique Hotel, a 1920’s property located just steps away from the souks (65 for a double room including breakfast. Call to reserve a room on 07 737733/03 327034). Jiyeh: Mayark Guesthouse is a peaceful property, with great sea views and just 50 meters from the beach (67 USD for a double room. Call 81 694292). EAT An excellent shawarma is available at Abou Deeb snack in Tyre. In Saida, you’ll find some delicious street food like falafel in the souk area. SEE Visit the two archeological sites of Tyre and wander around the narrow streets of the old city. Head to the sacred Maqâm of Nabi Omran in Qleileh (the father of the Virgin Mary) and continue to Cana to visit the Site of
the Statuaries and the Site of the Jars, where Jesus is said to have performed one of his first miracles. Take a local guide: Contact Jihad (French speaking) or Fadia Mourtada (English speaking) on 03 374103.
ESCAPE TO RURAL BYBLOS & BATROUN TO DISCOVER ART & POETRY
Be captivated by the majestic scenery of rural Byblos and Batroun, a land made up of small towns, villages and hamlets. In this area, lovers of the arts will enjoy discovering treasures like the Alfred Basbous Museum in Rachana, with its rich collection of sculptures. The stunning castle of Smar Jbeil, one of the oldest villages in Lebanon, is also a site not to be missed. SLEEP Smar Jbeil: TAFLA is a friendly bed and breakfast, offering clean and comfortable accommodation (80 USD for a double room including breakfast. Book by calling 71 749448) Jrabta (Batroun): Wadaya Greenland, set deep in nature, offers a mixture of bed and breakfast, camping and bungalow accommodation (100 USD for a small bungalow for four. Call 03 212757 to reserve). EAT The saj buffet at TAFLA is not to be missed. For a traditional meal, try the El Deir Restaurant (06 720304). If casual is more your thing, you can grab a sandwich in the main square of Smar Jbeil village at Furn Al Saha (71 004481). SEE Discover the medieval frescos at Mar Charbel Church in Maad and those at Mar Saba in Eddeh. Visit Maroun
Abboud Museum in Ain Kfaa, the birth house of the artist (03 776778) and explore Rachana, the village of Basbous brothers. If you go higher up to Jaj, you can also explore
Boutros Farah Museum (03 254283). Take a local guide: A list of the main guides in the major towns is available on jbail-byblostourism.org.
WINE, DINE & ENJOY NATURE BETWEEN GHAZIR & CHAHTOUL IN KESERWAN
Approximately 32km from Beirut and 930 meters above sea level sits the village of Chahtoul, in Lebanon’s Keserwan district. The town of Ghazir is located on the way and is known for its old souks and religious sites. The green surroundings and relaxed atmosphere have made the area a popular destination for adventure seekers, especially those interested in camping, hiking, camping and archery. SLEEP Ghazir: Enjoy Lebanese hospitality at the family run Beit Wadih, a traditional guesthouse (95 USD for a twin/double room with breakfast. Call 76 377155 or visit beitwadih.com). Chahtoul: Spend a night in the wild, in the middle of an oak forest under the stars at Camping Chahtoul (25 USD per person, per night including rental of the tent and breakfast. Call 70 302040). EAT Bring your own food and organize yummy barbecues at Chahtoul camp or enjoy one of the many Lebanese typical restaurants in the Qattine area by the river. Azzi Qattine (09 926506) and Casino Achtarout (09 925129) are two great options. SEE Take time to stop in Ghazir to visit the birthplace of the beatified Abouna Yaacoub (09 926298). Born in 1875, he established schools and social institutions all over Lebanon. Pass by the famous Château Musar winery to enjoy an exceptional wine tasting experience and the visit of the cellars. Pre-booking a tour is essential (09 925056, châteaumusar.com.lb). When you get to Chahtoul, take a hike in the woods and visit the impressive church of Saydet
El Hosn (Our Lady of the Fort).