Deir El Qamar is perhaps the most famous village in the Shouf region. Having played an important historical role as the seat of the Emirs, it’s an ideal place to spend time in nature and see Lebanon’s past firsthand.
Follow the southern coastal highway towards Saida. Just before Damour, exit the highway towards Deir El Qamar and follow the signs.
What to Do
With red-tiled roofs, winding streets and traditional stone houses, the village of Deir El Qamar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) epitomizes idyllic mountain charm. It also highlights the religious diversity in Lebanon, with a mosque, a church and a synagogue all taking residence in its main square. Enjoy a stroll around the village, starting in the historic main square, where jousting tournaments took place during the Crusades. End your visit by wandering through the small markets, where you can find all sorts of trinkets and souvenirs.
Shouf Cedar Reserve
The Shouf Cedar Reserve holds over 20 percent of the country’s cedar trees, some of which date back 2,000 years. Hike in the forest or rent a mountain bike from the Shouf Biosphere Reserve at the entrance and cycle along the trail.
Marie Baz Wax Museum
Located in a 16th-century palace built by the Emir Fakhreddine, this museum brings together wax figurines depicting some of the most well-known people of local, regional and international history.
Where to Eat
Located in a sunny courtyard facing Deir El Qamar’s main square, Al-Midane (+961 3 763768) specializes in Lebanese mezze and local food. Decorated in a traditional style, the restaurant lends itself perfectly to an extended lunch.
Where to Sleep
Surrounded by vegetable gardens and colorful terraces, Beit El Qamar (+961 3 661411, beitalqamar.com) is an adorable little hotel that will make you feel right at home in the Shouf. Their locally sourced breakfast overlooking the Shouf mountains is worth a visit alone.
Featuring a central courtyard and 11 spacious rooms, Deir Al Oumara (+961 5 511557, deiraloumara.com) is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture and the perfect boutique hotel for an overnight stay. Spread over juxtaposed terraces overlooking the green mountains of Shouf, BEYt El Jabal (+961 70 954057) consists of eight rooms and a pretty garden.