Lebanon isn’t travelers’ first choice for a destination. But those who have gone know of its magic. Historically, Lebanon has had some downs but surpassed it all and has become a popular stop for many travelers. Luxury hotels and restaurants wiggled their way into the heart of the country. Founder of Dame Traveler and content creator, Nastasia Yakoub couldn’t be happier about the improvement. On her trip, she experienced fine dining, traditional architecture, and history that should never be forgotten. Read on to find out all the juicy details.
Any go-to spots?
Lebanon has endless opportunity for exploration. The first place to go is, of course, downtown Beruit. Nastasia recommends going around on foot. In Beruit you’ll see many recently updated buildings, the city is rebuilding its name after the war. Nastasia comments, “While its shopping area is filled with big designer brands, the ancient architecture still remains.” The city is a perfect place to see the old and the new. As Nastasia said, there still stands the traditional foundations of the city but feature modern architecture right beside it.
The next spot is very near and dear to Christians and Muslims. Harissa and Our Lady of Lebanon Sanctuary sits on a mountain and overlooks the sea below. Nastasia tells us to take a cable car on a clear day to observe the beauty of the Lebanese countryside. Walk the steps up to the statue of Mary just as the millions of Christian and Muslim visitors would.
Lebanon is an extremely coastal country, which means it has many oceanside towns that offer visitors spectacular views of the crashing waves. Some of the best spots to go are Jounieh, Zaitunay Bay, Pigeon Rock, and Byblos (Jbeil). There’s no way you can go wrong on this one.
How about architecture?
Nastasia pointed out two spots to see traditional and modern architecture. The first is all about old school Lebanese architecture. Beirut Souks is the place to go for all your shopping and the raw roots of the country. Saifi Village is a snack for the senses. Each building is painted a unique pastel color and is unlike the building next door. This upscale neighborhood should not be missed.
Best way to stay fit?
Walking around! Simple activities like walking, yoga and going for a run are great ways to not only keep your routine up but also explore.
Where do we go to eat?
One of Nastasia’s favorite spots is La Creperie, a family owned restaurant. It resides in the town of Jounieh, which if you remember is one of the coastal go to stops. While dining there she explains the atmosphere, “feels like a home perched on the hillsides looking over the bay.”
Another spot is the Capitole. This is a rooftop bar so be sure to visit here during the sunset to get an unbeatable view of At. George’s Church. Stay all night and enjoy some of the best cocktails around. If you want to continue this party mentality then another option is the Iris in Beirut.
If fresh seafood is what you’re looking for, Nastasia says to head over to Babel Bahr. This restaurant is perched high above the sea and serves the fish they catch from down below.
You can’t leave Lebanon without having at least one traditional meal. Lucky for you, Nastasia has given us two options: Em Sherif Cafe and Saray. Both serve authentic Lebanese dishes that will make your mouth water as the waiter comes by.
Where to stay
The two main places to stay in Lebanon are the Four Seasons Beirut and the Mir Amin Palace Hotel. The Four Seasons sits on the edge of the Mediterranean and blew Nastasia away with its, “warm and welcoming hospitality and love of luxury.” She recommends we take a refreshing dip in the pool and relax on the rooftop taking in the sights of the city.
The Mir Amin Palace Hotel is a refreshing turn of events from the Four Seasons. This hotel is set in Mont Liban and calls an 1800’s residence it’s home. The mountain range lets you breathe and soak in all the natural beauty it has to offer. Its a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city and the “panoramic views of the mountains and maintained gardens are so beautiful” Nastasia described.