Want to unwind in nature on your next trip? This is for you.

For those planning a quick getaway to Lebanon, Maya Khodr’s (@beinginvisibles) relaxing and fun guide will revitalize your spirits. The young Lebanese designer behind the brand @oftwoclothing shares a list of activities that include relaxing outdoors in nature and enjoying rooftop bars. Khodr has also recommended some cute boutiques that will leave you with unique fashion treasures on your way home. Besides discovering Lebanon’s natural and cultural wonders, Khodr’s offers delicious food from local restaurants. From beach days to hikes, Khodr’s guide will help you make the most of your trip.

WHERE TO VISIT 

Must visit cultural spots?  

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I do when I travel is to explore historical sites and learn about the local culture. One of the must-visit places in Lebanon is Beit el Dine Palace, which includes a palace built during the Ottoman Empire and a gorgeous drive there! Another interesting location to check out is Baalbek, which is where the Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Bacchus, two of the biggest and most impressive Roman temple ruins, are located.

You won’t understand how amazing it is unless you go. If you’d like, you can also spend the night at the stunning 120-year-old Palmyra Hotel, which is situated directly in front of the ruins.

Must see beaches? 

Sporting Beach is the greatest and only cool beach in Beirut. There are other cool beaches, but they are all located outside the city, so you can call it a cliché all you want. The tan you get from exercising is different, though I’m unsure if it’s a myth. It is close and endowed with charm.

Regarding other beaches outside of Beirut, I adore Lazy B since it’s great for chilling out, the food is delicious, and the sea is accessible by a natural pool.

Must-do activities?

There are so many fun things to do in Lebanon, and planning them isn’t too difficult. In my opinion, surfing is one of the best activities. Yes, you can surf in Lebanon with “Surf Lebanon” or with a private instructor; there are various sites to choose from, including Jbeil, Jiyye, and even Batroun.

Hiking is undoubtedly another fantastic activity to undertake in Lebanon. Beautiful paths may be found all across the nation, but Arz El Barouq and Qadisha Valley are two of my faves!

Best places for shopping?

The best way to shop in Lebanon would be to avoid foreign and luxury businesses and instead go to local shops that are only found there.

One of my favourite stores in Gemayze, Nouvelle Vague, sells curated vintage items online, but going in person is preferred because you can try the clothes on before buying.

For thrifting, Second Base would be the best destination because of its attractive products and affordable rates. You can purchase items from Lebanese designers at BAZAZA – it’s undoubtedly my favourite.

And for all you foodies out there, Souk El Tayyeb, a sizable food market open every Saturday, is where you can find fantastic homemade food goods.

Best places for sundowners?

In Lebanon, the sun sets in a distinct way. I know this sounds pretentious, but our skies are gorgeous. One sunset spot I would recommend is the Albergo rooftop. In addition to being one of the best boutique hotels, the rooftop at Albergo is wonderful, the food is amazing, and you have a view of our lovely crazy city. If you’re searching for a good sunset in the middle of the city, you should absolutely go there.

Of course, you can go to any beach for a spectacular sunset, but as someone who enjoys the mountains and their fresh air, Montagnou in Faraya is another location I’d suggest. There’s a lovely pool, some good music, and the temperature is ideal in the summer, especially around sunset.

WHERE TO STAY 

Best boutique hotels to stay at?

And if you want to get away from the city, I advise you to check out Bouyouti in Lebanon’s Chouf region. The atmosphere is different there, and you can unwind by the pool or go for a stroll through the woods while breathing in some fresh air.

They say that sleeping in the mountains is better. Zita Fidar, a guest house in Batroun, is the place to be for beach lovers. It provides everything a beach lover could possibly want, including sea, sun, and fun.

Best spas? 

Only one spa that comes to mind, and that would be Al Boustan. It might be a bit pricey, but it is absolutely worth it, and they have amazing massages.

You can also spend the day at the pool and don’t forget to visit the sauna and hammam.

WHERE TO EAT 

Top must-visit food spots? For breakfast, lunch or dinner

Lebanese people love to eat, and food is the centre of our nation. Don’t hesitate—a decent manoushe is what you need for breakfast. As a devotee of manoushes, I can attest that Faisal is among the best in town.

For lunch, Jammal in Batroun is a fantastic place that serves delicious Lebanese food and has a beautiful view. In addition to enjoying the food, you can swim in the sea.

For dinner, I’d recommend Terre, a fantastic restaurant with various vegan and vegetarian alternatives.

Don’t forget to grab a good merry cream at Bliss House in Hamra; it’s a cup with one scoop of merry cream topped with all the good fruits in Lebanon.

What should you avoid?

Avoid taking cabs on the street; it’s always preferable to order an Uber or phone for a cab. Additionally, always carry small bills with you because many locations won’t have change to give you.

Rand Al-Hadethi is an art, culture, and fashion writer who approaches all her creative endeavours with a penchant for storytelling. She explores the intersection of fashion, culture, and society and sheds light on talent and cultural movements across the Middle East and the world. Rand also publishes a bi-monthly themed substack newsletter called WebWeaver™. To reach Rand, email her at rand@khamsa5.com or follow her on social media @rundoozz.
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