While we ache for summer and the warm, sunny weather, a winter weekend getaway can be a great way to escape the hustle bustle of the city. Whether it’s skiing, exploration, or relaxation you have in mind, here are four weekend getaway ideas that are all within a few hours’ drive of Beirut.

1. Bcharré

Located 1500 meters above sea level, the beautiful mountain town of Bcharré offers several attractions including history, culture, nature, and more. The trip there alone takes you through some of the most stunning scenery Lebanon has to offer, scenery that is even more beautiful after a fresh dusting of white snow. With various outdoor winter activities, Bcharré is the perfect antidote to the urban chaos of Beirut.

Where to stay: Hotel L’Aiglon, Hotel Chbat, Palace Bchareh.

Where to eat: Le Pichet, RTC, Mont Refuge.

Things to see and do: Gibran Khalil Gibran Museum, Cedars of God forest, Cedars ski resort, Qadisha Valley, Paragliding.

2. Batroun

Most people associate Batroun with its gorgeous beaches, but this coastal town is just as charming in the winter as it is in the summer. Located 50 km north of Beirut, Batroun is only a one-hour drive away (aside from rush hours), and is the perfect fix if you’ve been missing the sea. From wineries and beer gardens to restaurants overlooking the sea, Batroun has everything you need for a relaxing weekend.

Where to stay: Beit el Batroun, Mayouli, L’Auberge du la Mer, Batroun Village Club.

Where to eat: Colonel Brewery, Chez Maguy, Le Marin, Royal Pizza, Pierre & Friends, Batrouniyat.

Things to see and do: Ixsir Winery, Aurora Winery, Old Souk, Phoenician Wall, Sea Port, Surfing, Windsurfing, Biking.

3. Zahle

Zahle lies at the intersection of the Lebanese mountains and the Bekaa plateau, 55 km east of Beirut. The red-roofed town, known as the ‘Bride of the Bekaa,’ is famous for its beauty as well as its rich history. In winter, snowcapped mountains tower above Zahle, and visitors looking for some cultural enlightenment will particularly enjoy a wealth of archeological and architectural sites.

Where to stay: Akl Hotel, Taanayel Ecolodge, Traboulsi, Monte Alberto Hotel.

Where to eat: Adel Massaad, Samak Seafood, Tree Light, Casino Mhanna.

Things to see and do: Chateau Khoury, Chateau Ksara, The Geha House, Souk al-Blatt, Our Lady of Zahle

4. Deir el Qamar

Unique in its character, Deir el Qamar is a town restored and maintained in a style that is many centuries old. With its grand feudal architecture, cobblestone streets, beautiful gardens, and picturesque corners, this town is the perfect destination for those wishing to take a little journey back in time. Stroll through the snow-covered streets in winter and take in the spectacular sights.

Where to stay: Bouyouti, Mir Amine Palace, Deir al Oumara, Country Gate.

Where to eat: Al-Midane, Soufrat Al Oumara, Le Serail Restaurant, Al Diwan.

Things to see and do: Beiteddine Palace, Barouk Cedars Reserve, Marie Baz Museum, Fakhreddine Mosque,

[Images via here, here, and here.]

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