Nestled in the northeast of Lebanon, Hermel is brimming with fascinating sites making it an exciting destination for adventure seekers.
From Beirut, take the Beirut-Damascus International Highway towards Zahle. Once in Zahle, take the Baalbeck Road, then the Ras Baalbeck-Hermel Road. The journey to Hermel takes around three hours by car.
What to Do
Pyramid of Hermel
Hermel’s mysterious pyramid, the Qamoua is visible from afar. It serves to announce your arrival to the village, just as it did centuries ago. ￼There are several accounts regarding Qamoua’s origins. The most far-fetched story suggests that this 27-meter structure was built by Ramses II after his self- proclaimed victory over the Hittites during the Battle of Qadesh (near modern-day Hermel) in 1274 BC. Others believe the construction took place much later, around the year 332 BC, on the order of Alexander the Great after he consolidated his control over all of ancient Phoenicia.
The structure was restored in 1931 under the French Mandate, leaving a difference in hue between the original stones and those added during the restoration. The inscriptions, which depict hunting scenes, are still visible on three of the structure’s four facades.
Saint Maron Monastery
Named after the Syriac monk who lived there with his followers in the fourth century, the cave is located 200m from the source of the Assi, 90m above the river. Carved out of solid rock, the impressive cliff- face cavern consists of three levels with rock stairways and altars. Take the steep walk up to explore its fascinating interior.
Hiking and Rafting
Hermel is the perfect destination for hikers who are looking for a different kind of adventure. Its barren plains offer magnificent views that extend almost all the way across the Bekaa. If you want to experience the real Hermel, consider a camping trip and wake up to an unspoiled vista as the sun rises. For those who prefer to be on a campsite with facilities, the Assi Club (+961 78 900952) and Chir El Assi Rafting Club (+961 3 020498) offer areas where you can pitch a tent.
Where to Eat
Several restaurants overlook the Assi River and all are famed for their trout. Try Samaket El Truite (+961 8 200874 / +961 3 883024) or Rawdet El Assi (+961 3 723933). The only restaurant offering alcoholic beverages is Jaziret El Ferdaous (+961 3 988114 / +961 8 200685). At the source of the Assi, Nabeh El Assi (+961 70 097984) offers visitors the option of an à la carte menu or the possibility of renting tables and barbecues to prepare their own food.
Where to Stay
L’Oronte Club (+961 70 802748) offers a choice between private cabins or tents, including a large tent that can accommodate groups of twenty people.
Lazord Hotel (+961 3 686747) is a three-star property with a swimming pool, restaurant and playground for children. There are also several eco-lodges in the area, including Al Kwakh (+961 3 454996 / +961 70 359659), Al Jord (+961 3 458702) and Lazzab Club and Lodge (+961 3 797569 / +961 71 146915).