It’s a well-known fact that my family always laugh at me because I say how AMAZING each new travel destination I discover is.
But seriously, Lebanon is AMAZING!
And hitting the gorgeous northern area of this country with Explore Lebanon Tours was perfect testimony to this.
Here’s why my amazing trip with this company had me falling even more in love with this stunning country…
- The 10 Most Epic Things to Do in Lebanon
- Why I Loved Hiking in Lebanon
- Backpacking Lebanon? 25 Things You Need to Know
My tour with Explore Lebanon was kindly sponsored, but as always, all views are my own.
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Cedars of Lebanon
The famous Cedar reserve in Lebanon is definitely one of this country’s top highlights.
A ski resort in the winter and perfect walking territory in the summer, this is a rural part of the country that boasts some of Lebanon’s most stunning landscapes.
And in a country as stunning as Lebanon, that’s quite the achievement!
Situated around 2 hours north of the capital, Beirut, what the Cedars don’t boast however is good public transport access.
That means getting to this location can be a little tricky unless you have your own car.
As someone whose driving skills are bad enough on the left-hand side of the road, I certainly wasn’t going to attempt driving on the right in Lebanon, meaning hiring a car here was out of the question!
But because I’d heard this mountainous, forested wonderland of the Cedars was so beautiful, I knew I had to get there regardless!
Enter Explore Lebanon Tours, who I discovered offer amazing day trips to this part of the country from Beirut.
The perfect way to get out of the city and see another side to this spellbinding country, I instantly knew a day trip was exactly the sort of excuse I needed in order to visit the Cedars of Lebanon during my sadly limited time in this country.
5 PACKING ESSENTIALS FOR LEBANON
#1 Lebanon Bradt Travel Guide – A great guidebook for the maps and background info on this layered and complex country, Bradt make a great job of covering this off the beaten track destination.
#2 Camera – I highly recommend the Sony A6000 mirrorless camera, which is small, compact and ideal for adventurous travellers.
#3 Walking Shoes – There’s going to be a lot of sightseeing in Lebanon, so good day shoes are a must. I love my New Balance trainers, which are city friendly and super comfy.
#4 Bikini – When you see that glistening Mediterranean Sea, there’s no question you’ll want to dive straight into it. Don’t hold back and come prepared to Lebanon with a beautiful Rip Curl Bikini.
#5 Small Day Backpack – With hiking and historical day trips a plenty in Lebanon, having a backpack to house your camera, sunscreen, water, snacks and guidebook is a must here and the Bobby Anti Theft Backpack is ideal for the job – I can guarantee it!
My Day with Explore Lebanon Tours
And so it was that bright and early at 8:30am, I was picked up by Joe from Explore Lebanon Tours from my hsotel in Beirut and so my epic day trip began.
Perfectly timed, super interesting and whole a lot of fun, I really did have the best time exploring the valleys and views of the Cedars with Explore Lebanon Tours and throughout the day Joe couldn’t have been more helpful.
Not only did I learn a lot about the sights we visited, but I also learnt a lot about the life of local Lebanese people and our conversation was delightfully intelligent and engaging.
The vehicle we travelled in was extremely comfortable and Joe was more than happy to stop whenever I asked and assist in my Instagram photo shoots!
Indeed the breathtaking views across valleys and snow-capped mountains as we drove through the countryside here were beyond gorgeous and the whole day was a non-stop Kodak fest!
DISCOVER MORE: The Complete Lebanon Itinerary : How to See all the Highlights in 1 Week
Lebanon Tour Itinerary
The first stop on my Explore Lebanon Tour was the famous Cedar reserve and how majestic this beautiful place was.
Situated at altitude, the fresh and crispness of the air here was glorious and felt wonderfully relaxing and peaceful.
Strolling the easy walking trails of this protected area, as well as taking in the installation art pieces in this park, was definitely a highlight of my time in Lebanon.
After this we enjoyed a local lunch, with a view of the trees, before heading to the quaint nearby town of Bsharri to visit the museum of famous local artist and writer Kahlil Gibran, whose most renowned work, The Prophet, has been translated into over 40 languages.
After this we continued onto the rock-hewn monastery of Kozahya, which is dedicated to St Antonio.
Built into the cliff face, this gorgeous religious building was a delight to stroll around and even more amazing were the panoramas of the breathtaking Qadisha Valley that stretched before us.
LEARN MORE: Visiting Lebanon in 48 Hours : Cramming in the Best Bits!
A Truly Great Day
Indeed this was an epic excursion organised by a professional and well-run company.
Everywhere we went we encountered friendly faces and exceptional hospitality – not least at the tiny village shop we stopped at on the way back to Beirut.
Here the kind and gracious owner gave us coffee and showed me proudly round her brimming baskets of organic vegetables, homemade cheeses, pickles, chutneys and jams.
To discover little known spots like – and to get a real and very authentic sense of Lebanon – topped off what was already a great day.
And that’s not to mention the sun that shone perfectly for the whole trip as Joe turned up the tunes, opened the sunroof and I soaked it all in!
A definite highlight of my time in Lebanon, I’d strongly recommend Explore Lebanon Tours for their level of personal service, comfort and excellent itineraries.
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