Bkassine (Beit Kassin), an Aramaic-Syriac word meaning “village of the disappeared,” is considered an authentic gem of South Lebanon. Located 70km from Beirut in the Jezzine District, it is surrounded by enchanting views of a century-old seemingly endless pine forest.
From Beirut, take the main highway south towards Saida and follow the signs to Salhiye, Lebaa, Majdfelyoun and Kfarfalous. Continue to Bkassine.
What to Do
The village offers hiking enthusiasts two trails that vary in terms of difficulty but are equally enchanting. One offers the more experienced hiker breathtaking views of Wadi Jezzine and the Bisri Valley and continues Karm Chbat Nature Reserve through the old village of Kfartaala, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1956. The second trail departs from Bkassine’s main square and offers hikers panoramic views of Saida and the Mediterranean Sea from Ain El Zaarour and El Roummani. For more information about hiking, contact the municipality (+961 7 800580 / +961 7 800046) or Joe Harfouch (+961 3 353293).
Bkassine is characterized by the charm of its central square where you’ll find Saint Takla, a beautiful church. You can also visit the nearby church of Our Lady of Salvation, built in 1855, and Saint Joseph Monastery. Every September Bkassine celebrates the Saint Takla Festival, which is a hugely popular event in the South.
Local Delicacies and Wine Tasting
You can discover some of Bkassine’s finest products, including pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, pure forest honey, goat labneh and the traditional kishk, at j.Grove (+961 7 800766 / +961 81 800769). Wine enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to Karam Winery (+961 1 370519), which tells the story of two brothers who brought back to life their ancestral vineyards with a unique line of wines.
Where to Eat
If you’re craving a delicious Lebanese meal, Beit El Ghabeh (+961 7 800222) uses local products to support the region’s producers. If it’s on the menu, taste layali Bkassine, a delicious dessert item.
Where to Sleep
Maison de la Forêt (+961 7 800222 / +961 78 828252) lies within the Bkassine Pine Forest. It offers 25 bungalows and an additional five rooms of various sizes named after trees, fruits and different elements of nature.