Nabi Ayla is a charming village in the Bekaa Valley that truly comes to life during spring.
From Beirut, take the Beirut-Damascus Highway towards the Bekaa. Once you’ve reached Chtaura, take a left towards Zahle and continue to Fourzol. Once you reach Fourzol, take the road towards the left, where you will see Nabi Ayla signposted.
WHAT TO SEE
Maqam el Nabi Ayla
Located at the entrance of the village it has given its name to, the maqam is characterized by a vibrant green dome, red stone walls, oak doors and brightly colored windows. It is a popular site of pilgrimage for both Muslims and Christians.
Nabi Ayla is rich in agricultural production, making it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In March, the almond harvest begins, while the cherry trees are in full bloom. Cherry picking takes place at the end of May.
During the summer, the view transforms from trees covered in blossom to a valley full of grape vines. Apple and apricot trees also grow in abundance.
Witnessing the cherry blossom in Nabi Ayla is an experience that cannot be missed. An easy to moderate hike is organized every year by Lebanon Stories (03 321054) to the cherry fields. Another trip is organized during the picking season.
WHERE TO EAT
There are a number of Lebanese restaurants along the Berdaouni River in Zahle to enjoy traditional Lebanese fare. Popular spots include Casino Arabi (08 821214) and Casino Mhanna (08 800634).
WHERE TO STAY
Just minutes away from Nabi Ayla, the Rana Motel offers simple yet comfortable accommodation. There is an outdoor pool and an on-site restaurant.
Text and photos: Nagham Ghandour