During the glorious Mediterranean summer days earlier this year, we published an article on the Top 25 Things to Do & See in Lebanon this Summer and after such great readership, we thought we’d collate a list of things you can do in the cooler days of winter.
Before we take you through the entire list, here’s a short video we put together during the summer:
Personally, I prefer Lebanon during the later months of the year for many reasons. One, there are not that many tourists roaming around and clogging up the streets, nightclubs and restaurants, and two I personally just love cooler weather.
1. Hire a chalet in Faraya/Arz
Just picture yourself sitting beside a fire place drinking wine, eating cheese and conversing with great friends. Ok, you can snap out of it now! I highly recommend you round up a group of your closest friends and spend a few days up in the mountains. You will have a memorable time. While you’re there, you might as well hit the slopes for a quick skiing session.
2. Rikky’z Faraya (map)
This place just keeps making our Lebanon related lists. During the summer, it’s the place to be, with people travelling from all over the country to attend their infamous Sunday brunches. Once summer has left and said goodbye, rest assure because Rikky’z is also open during the winter! With mussels, fried and wine on the menu every Friday and Saturday, head up for an amazing drive through Faraya and spend the night at Rikky’z. You won’t regret it, I promise you!
3. Le Chateau Ksara – Ksara (details)
If you consider yourself a wine enthusiasts, you should definitely visit the winery in Ksara. With daily tours organised by the venue, you’re taken through various wine tasting stations that’ll leave you a little tipsy. They’re also very famous for their Rosè, so your partner will definitely not say no.
4. Annaya – Mar Charbel (details)
One of the holiest places in Lebanon, Annaya attracts tourists from all corners of the Earth. The tomb of Mar (Saint) Charbel is located at the monastery with masses held on a daily basis. You cannot leave without purchasing a souvenir of course, you’ll need something to hold onto and cherish.
5. Faraya Village Club (details)
You’re planning a family trip to the snow and don’t know where to go? Faraya Village has you covered. With a great atmosphere for the kids, you’ll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery with a glass of red in peace.
6. Pierre & Friends – Batroun (details)
Yes, I had to include my favourite beach bar in the list. During winter Pierre & Friends, located on the shoreline of Batroun, delivers one of the most delicious fondues in the country. Head to their restaurant for a chilled night around the fireplace with great music, food and company.
7. Gibran Museum – Bcharrè (details)
“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream” – Khalil Gibran
His quotes, meaning of life and inspiration has shaped our world today. Everyone knows who he is, have stumbled across one of his quotes and will agree to being inspired by Khalil Gibran. Located in Northern Lebanon, Bcharrè is not only an amazing place to visit during winter, it is also the birthplace of Gibran Khalil Gibran and a village you must visit.
8. Mzaar InterContinental – Faqra (details)
If you’re planning a romantic getaway, I highly suggest the luxurious Mzaar InterContinental. With ski slopes at the foot of the hotel, a heated pool with a retractable roof, four fine-dining restaurants and complete serenity, you’ll never want to leave.
9. Downtown Beirut (details)
Retail therapy. Ever heard of the saying “spend Arab”? You’ll understand the notion behind the saying once your partner drags you through each Downtown Beirut street. Throughout Downtown Beirut you’ll find all the high end luxury brands from CHANEL and Rolex to Louis Vuitton and Cartier. Based on experience and compared to Europe’s prices, you’ll find a few pieces a little cheaper here.
10. Jalset Al Erzal Restaurant – Hrajel/Faraya (details)
Known for their fresh products and simplicity, Jalset Al Erzal brings everyone together with a genius communal fireplace in the center of the restaurant. Here your meats are cooked, potatoes are grilled and Lebanese coffee is prepared. A great place to visit after an exhausting day on the slopes, where you can sit back, eat and relax.
11. The Emperor of Lahm Baajeen – Faraya
Don’t you just love the tucked away bakeries in the backstreets of an over-populated city? I know I do, and this is one of them. Just mention the name of this bakery to any Lebanese local and they will spend a sold minute ooh’ing and ahh’ing at their deliciousness. Afif, the bakery’s proclaimed emperor, is known for his humorous antics and ridiculous stories as his customers await their lahm baajeen (Lebanese meat pizza).
12. Sea Sweet (details)
A trip to Lebanon is not a trip fulfilled until you devour a Sea Sweet knefeh and baklawa after a crazy night out. You can also have them during the early hours of the morning as you out of bed.
13. Al Falamanki – Monot Street, Beirut (details)
I first tried this restaurant five years ago after spending the day in Downtown. It is honestly one of the most amazing restaurants I’ve visited in Beirut. From the outdoor seating surrounded by luscious greenery to the fresh organic dishes prepared, you need to eat here.
14. Casino Du Liban – Maameltein, Jounieh (details)
Slowly making its way back up to its triumphant image from back during the 60’s, Casino Du Liban is a great indoor destination for a couple of drinks, a cautious throw of the dice and if you fancy, a fine dining experience overlooking the beautiful Jounieh Bay.
15. Uruguay Street – Downtown Beirut
A one-way cobblestone street, Uruguay Street is located within Downtown Beirut and is sweltering with restaurants, shops, bars, and nightlife venues. The street is alive with music every single night of the week during both summer and winter.
16. BO18 – Quarantina, Beirut (details)
Yes, this is the infamous “bomb-shelter” nightclub that everyone keeps raving on about. During winter, BO18 holds some killer 80’s nights every Thursday that’re guaranteed to give you flashbacks to your younger days.
17. Saydet El Hosn – Ehden (map)
Another beautiful location that amazes and attracts tourists all year round, though during winter it looks absolutely breathtaking from afar. Tourists usually make the drive up to the Ehden based church for Sunday mass or the spectacular panoramic views of Lebanon’s mountain range.
18. Chez Michel – Fakra (details)
Not as popular as it was once upon a time, but still a must visit if you’re traveling through the Faqra area. A traditional Lebanese restaurant with most of the dishes prepared before your eyes.
19. Al Mandaloun (details)
Also a popular nightlife destination during the middle of the year, Al Mandaloun’s classier atmosphere assures a clean crowd, great music and a night to remember. They are also renowned for their amazing Japanese cuisine, so be sure to try out their sushi!
20. Arak Distillation & Get Together
It’s not about the process of making the arak, it’s about the gathering and memories it creates. In the past, I’ve visited my village in Lebanon just to be apart of the whole arak experience. With the karke (distiller) in action, the BBQ, tables and chairs are organised and put into place in preparation for the feast. With family members from all over the country invited, birds are cooked on the barbecue, kibbeh nayieh (raw meat) is mashed into plates and arak is endlessly poured into short glasses. The laugher, stories and multiple broken chairs will make it a night to remember.
Until our next Top Lebanon Destinations article, enjoy the snow and cool weather!
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