Spending a Day in Lebanon: Chouf Edition!

Hello lovelies! How’s your summer going so far? August is almost over and I’m not really sure how to feel about it. But hey! let’s not think about that for now…
This summer, I’ve decided to become a tourist in my own country and so I’ve rediscovered Lebanon just like a foreigner and let me tell you something before you roll your eyes: there is so much beauty we keep forgetting about!

Roadtrip after roadtrip, I’ve seen the beauty of our land again and all the little secrets it’s hiding. And so, I’m starting a series of posts to tell you all about my trips. You will know how you can spend a day in each part of Lebanon, the things to do, see and eat.

Today, we’re starting with my favourite region: Chouf!
Chouf is all about greenery, kind people and a lot of Lebanese history! Head out to Damour and start going up from there. You will notice all the valleys and the mountains surrounding you and that’s where the real magic begins.
Our stops will be as the following:

Kfarhim Grotto. It’s a small grotto, similar to the one in Jeita. It’s a 10-minute guided visit and you can stop by a typical Lebanese souvenir and artisanat shop right after.

kfarhim 1
Deir El Qamar, also known as the Capital of Emirs (Princes). There are a couple of things you MUST visit which are: Church of Saidet et Talleh, Moussa Castle, Fakhreddine Mosque, Fakhreddine II Palace and Marie Baz Museum (Wax Figures) and of course, the main square. There are a couple of good restaurants around the square for lunch or dinner. As for me, I like to have breakfast at a little family-owned Saj place right outside Deir El Qamar on the way to Beiteddine. It will be on your right and I would gladly drive up any day just for the manakish!

Beiteddine. Located right next to Deir El Qamar, Beiteddine is known to be the capital of Chouf. The main attraction is the Beiteddine Palace. Make sure you check out the Beiteddine festivals in summer to see if your favourite artists are in town!

Baakline. Almost a 30-minute drive away from Beiteddine, Baakline is known for its amazing waterfall and river. You can also find many restaurants near the water, mostly typical Lebanese cuisine, and it’s a great spot for lunch!

baakline river
Moukhtara. The Lebanese crowd is definitely well familiar with this town as the residence for the Joumblatt family. For me, it is one of the most beautiful villages in the area (and Lebanon) as it held on to the amazing typical Lebanese architecture and nature. The Joumblatt palace is not open to the public, but it doesn’t hurt to drive by and maybe say hello!

The Chouf Cedars. You can either visit the Barouk forest or go all the way up to Maaser Al Chouf (personal favourite) and walk under the majestic cedars! Don’t forget to check out the little shop before you leave for organic jams, syrups, honey and many other Chouf-made products.

20160809_145401-01 (774 x 1032)
Lamartine Tree at Maaser Al Chouf Cedars.

Château Kefraya. If you’ve made it all the way up to Maaser Al-Chouf, you can drive a little bit more and go down to the Bekaa valley to visit one of Lebanon’s biggest wineries, Château Kefraya. You can go on a quick tour around the vinery, visit the caves and enjoy a refreshing wine tasting. Don’t forget to check the wine boutique for your favourite bottles! (less expensive than the supermarkets).

kefraya (1280 x 464)
So these were the most important spots to visit around the Chouf district. This could be done in one day if you leave early in the morning. If you have more locations and sites to add, please feel free to do so!

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