Lebanon is a country located in Western Asia, along the Mediterranean Sea. It shares its border with Syria to the north and with Israel to the south. Lebanon’s history dates back some 7,000 years – longer than any civilization’s recorded history in the world. Today, Lebanon is home to just over 4 million residents and welcomes over two million tourists to the country every year. So what are these two million tourists flocking to see in Lebanon year after year? We can help answer that question. We’re going to show you a preview of the top ten tourist places to visit in Lebanon that every traveler must experience.
La Reserve in Mnaitra is an ecotourism hotspot for travelers from around the world. The sprawling reserve features native Lebanese flora and fauna in their natural habitats and offers visitors the chance to see it all up close in ways they cannot in any other part of the country. There are many activities at La Reserve for tourists, like rope bridge climbing, exploring, hiking, and swimming. There’s even a summer camp for the kids. La Reserve is a great destination for families traveling with children or those that truly enjoy nature.
Oceana Beach Resort in Damour
The Oceana Beach Resort is definitely the place to see and be seen in Lebanon. Nestled in a banana orchard on the fringes of the Mediterranean Sea, the Oceana Beach Resort can accommodate 2,500 visitors at once. There are swim-up bars, lavish accommodations, nightclubs, restaurants, on-site child care, cabanas, and any nearly any other luxury a discerning tourist could think of.
Beirut National Museum
The Beirut National Museum is home to a staggering seven millenniums of artifacts. The exhibits at the museum focus mostly on the extraordinary wealth of the Lebanese people, from ancient times through the present. Lebanon has been referred to as the Crossroads of Civilizations and the exhibits in the Beirut National Museum explain in vivid detail what that means and how very accurate the statement is.
Qadisha Valley (Holy Valley)
This mountainous area of Lebanon is referred to as the Holy Valley because for centuries monks and hermits have sought refuge its the valley’s peaceful surroundings. At the top of Mount Qadisha is the tiny remote village of Bcharreh. This is where Gibran Khalil Gibran, the famous Lebanese poet and writer, was born.
The Cedars, Arz Al Rab
The Cedars is a protected forest in northern Lebanon that is home to some of the oldest cedar trees in the world. The cedar tree is also the national tree of Lebanon, which is why it has attained such a protected status. These massive, ancient trees pepper the hillside and all, but hide a little white church that’s nestled inside a grove. The Cedars is said to be one of the most serene spots in all of Lebanon.
Palm Islands Nature Reserve
The Palm Islands Nature Reserve, located just northwest of Tripoli, is a grouping of three uninhabited islands in the Mediterranean. These islands are home to over 150 species of migratory birds at various times of the year and are one of the last breeding grounds for Loggerhead Turtles in the world. The reserve is heavily protected and is only open for tourists for swimming, snorkeling, and other activities for a short time during the summer months. Plan ahead for this because you do not want to miss the experience.
Our Lady of Mantara
Our Lady of Mantara is a shrine and Christian holy site in the village of Maghdouché, Lebanon. The holy site has a tower with The Virgin Mary and Child on top of it. Visitors to the site can enter the tower for panoramic views of the hillside and citrus groves. Surrounding the towering shrine is a cathedral, a cemetery, and an ancient cave that is believed to be where Mary waited for Jesus while He preached a sermon at Sidon. Other religious relics surround the shrine, which is a popular place of pilgrimage for Christians.
The Raouché neighborhood of Beirut is where Old Lebanon meets New Lebanon. Because there are so many modern amenities here mixed with so much history, it’s a great place for visitors to experience the best of both worlds. The cliff-side cafes and the walking pier at Corniche are popular gathering places for locals and tourists alike. Don’t forget to see the ancient Pigeon’s Rock standing guard just offshore when you go.
The Jeita Grotto is a series of two limestone caves that span the countryside north of Beirut for about six miles. The lower cave can only be accessed by boat. Inside the cave, a river that supplies more than one million residents with drinking water meanders through the limestone. The upper cave is a series of recesses and fortified ledges that allow tourists safe passage through the caves while exploring. The Grotto is a major tourist destination and a very important part of Beirut’s infrastructure and economy.
Ski Resorts of Lebanon
The last thing a tourist would expect to find in a Mediterranean country is a world-class ski resort. However, Lebanon is home to several of them. The skiing areas of Lebanon are like no other in the world in that they overlook the warm Mediterranean Sea below, where beachgoers are soaking up the sun and warm surf. There are many different types of ski resorts in Lebanon, offering courses for skiers and snowboarders of every skill level and a wide range of accommodations for travelers.
- Reliable, trusted healthcare is widely available via hospitals and clinics in every region.
- Drinking tap water is not recommended.
- Women entering mosques, even tourists, are required to wear head coverings.
- Internet access is widely available.
- An international driving license (or a Lebanese license) is required for driving in Lebanon.