Lebanon’s capital may be king when it comes to gourmet dining and nightlife. But there’s much more to the country than its biggest city…

Lebanon’s tourism industry has suffered more than most in recent years, with the pandemic, economic instability and the heartbreaking Beirut explosion in 2020 all impacting visitor numbers. But this summer, glimmers of hope and optimism are beginning to shine through. Beirut’s creative scene is slowly returning to its feet, as are its restaurants and bars. But beyond Beirut, Lebanon’s breathtaking mountains, picturesque villages and postcard-perfect seaside towns offer an appeal that’s often overlooked. Here’s why they need to be high on your Lebanon travel itinerary.


The beauty of Byblos stretches from its sun-drenched seafront to the historic ancient ruins that give a glimpse into the former life of one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited towns. Located just under an hour north of Beirut, this UNESCO-listed town is packed with old world charm. Its history is a huge part of its present, so start with a stroll around the well-maintained archeological sites, such as the 12th Century Byblos Castle, which is surrounded by ruins from the Phoenician and Roman eras. The beautiful harbour is another stunning spot to soak up a breezy Mediterranean feel, and the port is dotted with pretty sundowner spots like Le Blanc Bleu (@leblancbleu.lb) and Kina (@kina_handcraftedbar).


A treasured town loved by locals and tourists alike, Batroun has the same old world charms of Byblos, but feels a little livelier. It’s the kind of seaside town that invites you to get lost among its quaint streets that look like they’ve been plucked straight from a postcard. It’s just 16km further up the coast from Batroun, so similar remnants of the area’s Phoenician roots remain. You’ll find plenty of beach bars perched prettily on the waterfront, but you shouldn’t miss a trip in-land in Batroun to visit the many wineries dotted throughout mountains. The vineyards are known for producing grapes that go into Lebanese wines that are vibrant in colour and flavour. The family-run Batroun Mountains Winery (@batrounmountainswinery) welcomes visitors for tours and tastings, as does Aurora Winery and Vineyards (@aurorawinery).


Away from the coast in northeast Lebanon, Baalbek’s defining feature is undoubtedly the Baalbek Temple. The largest Roman temple to have ever been built, the impressive ruins still feature shadows of six of the original columns of the Temple of Jupiter, thought to have been built between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. Remains of the Temple of Mercury and the Temple of Bacchus from the same era are also present at the same UNESCO World Heritage Site. To make the most of your visit, book a guided tour with a local company like Zingy Ride Tours (@zingyride) who offer four-hour guided tours plus hotel pickup and drop off from Dhs450.


Leafy green Chouf is particularly picturesque in autumn, and if you’re craving fresh air and verdant nature, Chouf is where to head. The Chouf Biosphere Reserve is Lebanon’s largest reserve, filled with lush Cedar forests that invite hikers, bird watchers and mountain climbers to enjoy the locale. Baakline is another beautiful spot in Chouf to visit if natural beauty is high on your travel bucket list, with its leafy trees surrounding sparkling blue waterfalls and lakes. Many of these are peppered with rustic restaurants, like Shallalat Al Zarka (@shallalat_al_zarka), a gorgeous Lebanese restaurant perched on the edge of the Baakline river, which even has a special ‘love boat’ table for guests to dine on a romantic table for two on the water.


Best known for being the home of Lebanon’s popular Mzaar Kfardebian ski resort, visitors flock to this mountain resort from late December until February for winter sports when a fresh layer of snow blankets the craggy mountain peaks. But the epic scenery at 1,650 metres above sea level can be enjoyed year-round. Hiking is still a popular pursuit for visitors in the autumn, with waterfalls and statues to admire along the way. For cocktails with a view, Sapa Faraya (@sapabeirut) is a Peruvian restaurant and bar set within a grand castle on the cliff. An iconic spot for sundowners and that turn into epic DJ sets that go until the early hours, be sure to party hard at Odin (@odin_mzaar).


While it might be just 15 minutes outside of Beirut, Broumana feels like worlds away from the bustle of the city. This lovely town is as charming as it is beautiful, and overlooks the capital from its hillside perch. Known as the ‘City of Flowers,’ thanks to the colourful arrays that adorn the traditional houses, there’s plenty of scenic walks and lots of leafy green cafes and bars to relax at while drinking in the views. Try On The Rocks (@on_the_rocks_lb) for chilled vibes and Lebanese fare, or the collection of restaurants at Domaine De Mar Chaaya (@domainedemarchaaya). You can even go glamping at Pineville (@pinevillelebanon) where you can cosy up in your own private cabin, where on-site facilities including a sauna and jacuzzi.