Spend two relaxing days in one of the most gorgeous areas in Lebanon; give yourself the chance to recharge for a weekend! Here’s where to stay, what to do, and what to see:

Getting there:

Though the Chouf is not particularly far from Beirut, the roads tend to be congested during the Friday afternoon/Saturday morning rush. That’s why you should plan on leaving EARLY (8 AM at the latest to avoid traffic). If you’re leaving from Beirut, you'll want to head south on the highway from Cola. Look out for the Chouf exit (it will be clearly marked), keep driving until you reach Deir el Qamar.

Where to stay:

1. Mir Amin Palace

Image via lebanonuntravelled.com

Everything about this place is gorgeous. From the chandeliers, to the door knobs and the gorgeous wooden and stone interior, every vintage detail is stunning and authentic.

The rooms are comfortable and spacious, and there’s a garden and a swimming pool!

2. EcoVillage

Image via landofghosn.blogspot.com

Another stellar option would be to hit up the cool eco-tourism spot, EcoVillage. You can opt to stay in a mud hut or camp surrounded by pine trees, enjoy organic meals and spend the day on the farm by the river.

Note: obviously, book in advance for better rates and to ensure availability.

What to do:

1. The historical sights:

Most of us haven’t had the chance to visit many historical sights since we were dragged as 4th graders. But they’re actually cooler now that we’re fully grown. These are the highlights:

Moussa Castle

Image via panoramio.com

A beautiful castle built single-handedly by Moussa Abdel Karim Al-Maamari over the span of 60 years

Beiteddine Palace

A gorgeous 19th-century palace.

Church of Saydet el Talle

Image via Jad Makarem

Beautiful and historic church dating back to the 15th century.

Some of these sights are in different areas of the Chouf (Deir el Qamar, Beiteddine, etc.), but by asking around and with the help of signs, they're actually really easy to locate!

2. The Cedar reserve

Image via beirutyogacenter.com

You can’t head to the Chouf without visiting the most iconic and magical place of all: the cedar reserve. There are 250 km of old cleared walking trails of all difficulties.

- An easy trail: covers the Cedar Forests, Niha Fortress, and a cultural tour of the surrounding villages

- A medium trail: connects Barouk and Maasser Cedar Forests as well as Ain Zhalta/Bmohray and Barouk Cedar Forests

- A difficult trail: links the villages, passing by the Cedar Forests and includes the Barouk River Valley Trail

Best part? There’s also a trail for people who use wheelchairs!

Several packages are offered by the Reserve, like this one: A guided hike in the Reserve (2-3 hours) + Traditional lunch at a guesthouse + Guided village cultural tour all for just $40.

Learn more here

3. You can also…

Go biking, donkey-riding, go on a tasting tour, and just chill out!

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