Located southeast of Chtaura, just a few kilometers from Zahle, is the pretty village of Taanayel. With its bountiful farms, breathtaking scenery and vineyards, Taanayel is a true haven that can be visited any time during the year.
Taanayel is approximately one hour from Beirut. Take the Beirut-Damascus Highway out of the city until you reach Dahr el Baidar. From there, continue on to Masnaa Road toward Chtaura, where the route straight ahead leads you to Taanayel.
WHAT TO SEE
With hectares of trees shedding their leaves in the fall, a visit to this pretty area is the perfect way to embrace the season. For an entrance fee of just 2,000 LBP, you can take a stroll through the woods and admire the indigenous flora and fauna. You can even rent a bike for an additional charge.
Indulge in some much-needed quiet time by the stunning Taanayel Lake, where you’re guaranteed a beautiful view. For a unique experience, you can take a trip in a horse-drawn carriage or even ride a horse next to the lake. All activities are weather dependent.
This fabulous winery is best visited on a Sunday, when a tour of the vineyard is organized. After the tour, visitors can enjoy a scrumptious buffet of cheese, wine and a selection of cold cuts. Much of the wooden furniture, namely the chairs, tables and bar, are repurposed barrels of wine.
08 510135, massaya.com
WHERE TO EAT
Taanayel Convent/Deir Taanayel
For a typical Lebanese breakfast head to Deir Taanayel (08 540066), a beautiful convent dating back to 1860. The building is now a fertile space for the convent’s artisanal manufacturing, where visitors can taste some of the healthiest dairy products while admiring the view of countless hectares of fruit trees and vineyards.
Khan el Maksoud
In keeping with the region’s penchant for healthy eating, Khan el Maksoud (08 544881/03 124279) serves locally-sourced food products straight to your plate. Its simple decor is contrasted by vibrant tablecloths and surrounding greenery. The restaurant is popular, so reservations are a must. Note it is closed on Mondays.
Casino Hannouche and Restaurant
Casino Hannouche and Restaurant in Chtaura (08 540136) deviates from the traditional restaurants nearby to offer a luxuriously-built and extensively decorated indoor and outdoor space. Serving up traditional Lebanese food, it’s a great option for larger groups.
WHERE TO STAY
Guaranteeing an unforgettable experience, the Ecolodge Tanail is a living compound built by Arc en Ciel using traditional materials. The property, which is conveniently located near many local attractions, has a wonderful on-site restaurant serving wholesome food. Guests can also enjoy a range of activities from hiking and cycling to horseback riding.
08 544881, arcenciel.org
Chtaura Park Hotel
Just nine-minutes away from the Taanayel Lake lies the Chtaura Park Hotel, a 75-room complex offering high-end accommodation and great views. Perfect for families, the hotel is within close proximity to all of Taanayel’s beautiful attractions.
08 540011, chtauraparkhotel.com
Text by: Josiane Atallah
Photos by: Rachelle Zahran