Northern Lebanon, is a unique in its blend of historical, natural, and cultural attractions. It has it all, satisfies all tourists’ tastes across all ages. This page provides only an insight about this region of Lebanon, otherwise would need many pages. Starting from the coast with the historical city of Batroun, as well as nowadays the most nightly vibrant city in Lebanon. Going inland passing by the green olive valley of Koura, overlooking on your left side Wadi Qadisha and the red roof tiled scattered villages along both sides of the valley. Continue the route up passing by Bsharre, the birth place of the famous poet Gibran Khalil Gibran. Reaching, the “Cedars of God”, 2400m altitude, the most famous cedars forest in history of mankind. Thinking that you might have reached the top, not yet as the route to reach the highest summit across the Middle East , 3,090m altitude, is still a fair bit more. Driving down through the serpentine road passing by the beautiful Ehden, and then by the famous Amioun Castle and Hamatoura Monastery that is hanged on a sharp cliff between land and sky. Reach Chekka and Anfeh and enjoy a relaxing day in the crystal blue Mediterranean water of the many resorts in the area. Seafood for lunch in Anfeh, Taht El-Rih, Greece look-alike, no problem. Continue the trip towards the famous Tripoli with its standing out Crussaders Citadel and wander through its oldest souks, visits some of the Mameluke Mosques, and must try the local dishes and sweets specialties of Tripoli. Head up further North to Kobayat, the bride of Akkar, nested in green valleys and proud cedars and pine mountains. Reach the Qamouaa summit, and be rewarded with the most beautiful scenery at 2500m altitude with never ending cedars, Hairy oaks, and Juniper forests.
Tripoli (Trablos), 85 kilometers north of Beirut. Tripoli is Lebanon’s second largest city. Vibrant and historically rich city with Forty-five buildings dating from the 14th century Twelve mosques from Mameluke and Ottoman times. In the 9th century B.C. the Phoenicians established a small trading station there. During Hellenistic period, Tripoli was used as a naval shipyard. During the 11th Century Tripoli’s famous library, the Dar il-‘ilm, with its thousands of volumes were burnt out after being conquered by Crusaders. The city fell under the Mameluke in the end of the 12th century where many religious buildings were constructed with many you can still witness till today. During the Turkish Ottoman rule (1516 – 1918) Tripoli retained its prosperity and commercial importance. Famous and traditional “hammam” or the bathin, “khan” or caravansary are abundant in the city. The city famous souks houses various trades where tailors, jewelers, perfumers, tanners and soap-makers work in surroundings that have changed very little over the last 500 years. The city has a long list of attractions but to name few: Overlooking the city , there is the majestic Citadel of Tripoli, Qal’at Sinjil (Saint Gilles), which was built by Fatimid and converted to a church by crusaders, to be re-changed to Islamic style by Mameluke and Ottomans. Nearby the citadel, the Church of St. John of the Pilgrims Mount, built by crusaders and surrounded by a large Crusader cemetery. The Great Mosque was built on the ruined 12th century Crusader cathedral of St. Mary of the Tower, a unique style for architecture admirers to witness a mix of western and Mameluke architecture. Taynal Mosque built in 1336 by Saif ed-Dine Taynâl on the site of a ruined Crusader Carmelite church, and the builder nearby tomb. Hammam El Abed, and Hammam El Jadid traditional bath from the 17th Century. Khân Al-Khayyatin or Tailors’ Khan, Khân Al-Misriyyîn (CaravansaryEgyptians), and Souk Al-Haraj, all date to the 14th century. Besides the Medieval constructions. Tripoli, is also famous for its Gold souk, sweets (Baklawa), and traditional olive-oil based soap production.
Cedars of God
“Cedars of God”, located in Lebanon’s north summits about 2500m high altitude, and centered by millennium old cedars trees. The Cedars is the town of Bsharre, birthplace of Gibran Khalil Gibran, and house of Qadisha grotto. The marvelous picturesque of the Skii resorts, cedar grove, and Qadisha Valley, especially when there are clouds, is unparalleled and makes you feel closer to heaven. This area is the best natural beauty spot of Lebanon. Cedars forest are older than even the ancient Lebanon itself, mentioned in the oldest human scripts, and old testaments. Over the centuries, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, and Romans made expedition to Lebanon mainly to extract the cedar wood. King Solomon requested large supplies of cedar wood to build his temple in Jerusalem, and Nebuchadnezzar boasted about Lebanon’s cedars in his inscriptions. Prized for its fragrance and durability, the length of the great logs made cedar wood especially desirable. The cedars of Bsharre hosts Lebanon’s best skiing slope, plenty of ski resorts, large assortment of hotels, chalets, night clubs and restaurants, and souvenir stands carved on the famous cedar wood. Other site seeings nearby, Ayoun Erghosh, with the delicious meals offered in its abundant restaurants, and Qornet es-Sawda, Middle East highest summit standing at 3088-meter high altitude. Visitors to Cedars cannot miss the beautiful village of Bsharre overlooking Kadisha valley, and house of the famous poet, writer, and painter Gibran Khalil Gibran and visit his museum. The Cedars is one of the prime tourist destinations that should not be missed when visiting Lebanon.
Qadisha valley “Valley of Saints”, is situated at 2000m high altitude, and just below the Cedars of Bsharre. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Historians believe that the Kadisha Valley has had monastic communities continuously since the earliest years of Christianity. It was also at times a destination for Muslim mystics, or Sufis, who also visited it for meditation and solitude. At the heart of the the valley, visitors can find Qannubin Monastery and caves, where Maronite monks and hermits lives. Nahr Qadisha, runs through the valley from its source in a cave (grotto) below the Forest of the Cedars of God. The grotto has a similar Limestone formations to Jeita Grotto but at a smaller scale. The valley hosts quite famous villages such as as Hadeth al-Jubbeh, a 6th century old village, Diman, the summer residence of the Maronite Patriarch since the 19th century, Hasroun, a red-roofed town that hugs the edge of the Qadisha valley, and Beqaa Kafra, highest village in the country at 1,600 meters and birthplace of Lebanon’s Saint Charbel. To the south of Qadisha Valley, and around 15 min drive from Hasroun, visitors reach to Tanourine Cedars reserve where they can enjoy beautiful trekking inside the forest diverse paths.
Koura, is famously known for its olive tree cultivation and olive oil production. A total of 52 villages make up the Koura area. Koura’s capital and largest city is Amioun. On the northern side of Kousba, one of Koura’s villages, lays the monastery of Our Lady of Hamatoura, built in the rocky hollow of a high cliff which overlooks the holy valley of Kadisha. The church of Saint Jacob is the most ancient part of the monastery, belonging to the 4th century. Near the monastery are two venerable churches, one dedicated to Saint Michael and the other to Saint John the Baptist. On the top of the hill one can see the church of St. George. Close by the monastery is a rocky cave where one may perceive the base of a stalagmite, where barren women come to pray in the hope of bearing a child, for this grotto was dedicated to the pagan goddess of fecundity. In Our Lady Monastery Hamatoura, Saint Jacob began his ascetic life in the 13th century. This site has become a pilgrimage site visited yearly by thousands to renew their faith and to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. On the opposite side of the valley, in the village of Kousba, tourists can easily spot a unique mysterious castle referred to as “Black Castle”, Le Château du Liban. The castle was built around 40 years ago by a dentist who wanted it to symbolize the united Lebanon. Visitors can tour it for a small fee and take amazing photos. Amioun, is located on a cliffy elongated rocky shield or fortress. It was occupied by ancient Semitic peoples around 4000 B.C. This fort was described to the pharaohs of Egypt during 14th Century BC as the “invincible fort”.
Chekka, as “Chikitta” in Canaanite, is rich in freshwater submarine springs. Famous for its resorts such as Las Salinas and Florida Beach resorts that span over the white sandy beaches, and crystal clear Mediterranean water. Besides its mesmerized beaches, Chekka is famous for its seafood cuisines. The Nourieh Monastery cliff is one of the famous destination in the area where an amazing photo of the bay cannot be missed from such high elevated cliff. A Shrine for the “Lady of light”, The Virgin Mary, was built by two sailors around the 4th Century few hundred meters away from where the Monastery resides. The Shrine, was dedicated by the Sailors to Virgin Mary who appeared to them as a light and guided them safely to dock in Chekka after they were about to be drowned at sea. The historic city of Anfeh, reflects a rich a history of more than 4000 years and was mentioned in the old Egyptian scripts. During the 12th Century, the Crusaders built their fort on a peninsula partially separated from the land by two great trenches-dug into the bedrock to escape the Mameluke attack. Today, Anfeh beaches have the clearest water in Lebanon and house many chalets and restaurants that are painted in blue and white which looks alike Greece famous houses by the sea. Nearby is Kaftoun village, which was named after the domed Theotokos Monastery which is carved in the red rock cliffs by the banks of the Jaouz River. Visitors are usually mesmerized by the sights, smells and sounds of the river and the Flora around. Kaftoun, has three historic churches houses a two-sided Byzantine icon from the 11th century.
Kobayat, means “fertile valley” or “Water Pool” in Aramaic. Located 100 km North of Beirut in Akkar. Historically, famous for its rich soil and land that attracted people who are interested in agriculture. Kobayat has been for a long time the residence of several peoples. Its ruins are the witness of its ancient people: cemeteries from the age of iron and copper (3000 years BC). It is located on the silk road, between East and West Asia through the Mediterranean. Historic rich village with Altars, Tombs, Temples that goes back to Byzantines time. A Phoenician and pagan altar in front of “St.Chahlo” church, Phoenician, Greek and Roman pieces of currency at “Ghassalet” church and “Chahlo”, Roman tombs in every parts, as well as two luxurious Roman ruins are all witnesses of the great prosperity in the Roman age. The town of Kobayat has some of the largest green expanses in Lebanon,and is the starting point for Lebanon’s Mountain Trail, the longest hiking route in the country. Its mountain peaks, bordering with El Qamoua, boasts pine, cedars, Lezzeb , and oak trees and forests. The village, has butterfly and birds museum, containing some unique collections from all over the world. Night life and cafes, with mouth watering food are well spread in Kobayat promoting a vibrant and vivid city lifestyle.
Qammouaa , on the top of akkar mountains at an altitude of 2,540 meters, one of Lebanon’s best natural touristic attraction. Located in Akkar, and Fnaydek village. The forest has more than 4 million trees of fifty different species such as juniper trees, cedar trees, Hairy oaks, cypresses, cedars and Cilician firs. This forest due to its trees diversity, and age, and acreage is considered as one of Lebanon’s most important forests. The forest is considered unique in its charm as an ecological and tourist center. Forest of Virgins (Ezer forest) is an exceptional and beautiful forest of Oak trees. Specialists, including ecologists, who have visited it insist that the forest of hairy oaks is to be counted among the most beautiful forests in the world. The forest multi-colored leaves in Spring looks amazing.
Lebanon loves you and welcomes you. Lebanon’s Expedition friendly tour guides will make you enjoy every single moment for years to remember. Our packages are non-rivaled prices wise, coverage, and quality making it worth every penny you spend and bring joys to whoever you want to please or impress.
These are other trips.