Founder of NEOS Tourism consultancy and the author of “Eco Lebanon: Nature and rural tourism,” Nour Farra-Haddad gives her eco-friendly tourism tips around Lebanon
Fun with friends: Alita, Machnaqa
Take the road toward Artaba and stop in Alita at the Modern And Contemporary Art Museum (MACAM) which features four halls of contemporary art, before continuing to Machnaqa’s Roman ruins site on a plateau above the Adonis river, Nahr Ibrahim.
Sleep A short drive from Adonis, the lodge of Beit El Mahabba(09 420493)is known as a great place for retreats, but also has a stunning view over the valley.
Eat The choice is yours: either head further into the mountains to enjoy a lunch of fresh local produce or head back towards the coast for fresh seafood at one of many Batroun seafront food spots. Local guide Randa Zaarour (71 883738) can also organize a meal in a village house in Machnaqa.
See Take a sunset walk around the remains of Machnaqa’s Roman site with local guide Zaarour for an insider’s knowledge. You’ll see everything from a temple’s ruins to steles, a church and an ancient necropolis.
Family escape: Koura & Bnachaii Lake
The artificial lake, Bnachaii, is located close to Zgharta. It’s a charming tranquil location where you can rent paddleboats to spot the ducks, geese and swans.
Sleep The beautiful Olive Gardens Resort (70 159901, www.oliveresort.com) is nestled in the middle of the Koura region.
Eat Enjoy Lebanese mezze at Bnachii Lake Restaurant (06 550550, 03 979759, bnachiilakerestaurant.com.)
See The Wildlife Taxidermy Museum (06 550500, wtmuseum.com) contains over 3,000 sea and land animals as well as a huge collection of birds.
Rural retreat: Mtein village
In the heart of Metn, Mtein village dates back to the 15thCentury. The Lebanese government recognized the importance of the village’s heritage, issuing a decree in 1957 that placed its historic sites under protection. Mtein village is notable for its feudal architecture. The Abillama Emirs, who moved here at the start of the 16th Century, left behind many of their grand buildings.
Sleep Stay overnight in the Qontar Guesthouse (04 295043, 03 236062), a grand palace that was once the residence of Emir QabalanAbillamah.
Eat In summertime Kheirallah restaurant’s (03 312288) wonderful terrace can host hundreds of guests, and in winter the restaurant moves to cozy indoor surroundings.
See Visit the central square, the ancient silk factory, winery, olive oil press, and Mir Abi Lamaa tomb. The West Palace is notable for its enclosed window balcony and the South Palace for its doorway.