Get­aways

Week­end trips for un­der $100

Lebanon Traveler - - CONTENTS -

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).

Saida’s old souk

Tyre’s har­bor

Rachana

Camp­ing Chahtoul

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