Nature and history collide to form one of the most exquisite places in Lebanon, the beautiful town of Tannourine. Located in the Batroun District, Tannourine boasts a wonderful ecosystem and historical treasures hidden in every corner.
Tannourine is located just over 70km north of Beirut, nestled in the mountains. Take the coastal road in the direction of Tripoli. After passing Byblos, continue on towards Batroun and exit the highway onto the Batroun- Tannourine Road. The town is signposted from there on.
WHAT TO SEE
Tannourine Cedars Forest
The Tannourine Cedars Forest Nature Reserve is a definite must-see if you’re visiting the area. The forest is one of the densest in the country and has avoided heavy tourist activity thanks to its unique topography. A great place for hiking and exploring, you’re sure to run into unique fauna and flora on the way while marveling at the evergreen cedars that embody Lebanon’s history and continuity.
06 500550/03 815029, arztannourine.org
Perhaps one of the most well known of Tannourine’s natural wonders, the Baatara sinkhole is a fascinating gorge and waterfall. Discovered in 1952, the site has three natural bridges, rising one above the other. During spring, visitors can see a beautiful cascade behind the bridges. The location is perfect for thrill seekers who wish to do some climbing, caving or exploring, weather permitting.
One of the hidden treasures of the region is the Roman Aqueduct in Tannourine el Tahta. A structure of simple arches and stone, the aqueduct was used to transport water for agriculture and daily use. Beyond this structure lies a cliff ideal for rock climbing.
Abandoned Village of Ain-al-Raha
This once inhabited village is home to sixth-century churches and monasteries, some of the oldest evidence of Christianity in the region. A walk through the village, located in the higher mountain area of Tannourine el Tahta, is like a journey back in time.
WHERE TO EAT
Moultaka Al Nahrein
Possibly one of the most scenic restaurants in the region, Moultaka Al Nahrein (03 536874) gets its name from its famous location. Lying at the intersection of two rivers, the restaurant offers traditional Lebanese food coupled with a picture-perfect view.
Wadi el Deir
Situated on the Al Jaouz River, Wadi el Deir (03 523563) is a family-run restaurant serving up all sorts of traditional delicacies such as stuffed eggplant and goat’s cheese in oil. Named after the 1,500-year old monastery Deir Mar Mtannios, it’s a great option for a lazy afternoon. Call in advance as it is not open daily during the winter.
WHERE TO STAY
Mountain View Tannourine
Overlooking the mountains of Tannourine, the recently opened Mountain View Tannourine is a haven of tranquility, with all the utilities to make you feel right at home. The fully-furnished wooden bungalows are luxurious, boasting a garden and a great view of the mountains.
At the center of all activities in the region, near the entrance of the Tannourine Cedars Reserve, stands Eco Dalida. With exceptional views from its terrace, the eco lodge offers guests a comfortable stay, with a cozy communal area and a restaurant serving authentic Lebanese food.
Text by: Josiane Atallah
Photos by: Peter Ghanime