After lots of planning, canceling and then delaying and then talking about it and plan again and again... We finally did it! My wife and I spent the whole weekend in North Lebanon.
In my opinion North Lebanon is super rich than a one day road trip is just not enough to visit, and as it turned out even the whole weekend was not enough, we might need 2 or 3 more weekends to be satisfied!
Saturday morning, we packed out things and headed North...
Day 1, Stop 1: Bnachii Lake
Near the lake we walked a little, we ate ice cream and the sun was already very strong even in the morning, then we took the small pedal boats for a trip into the lake. These small boats are available for rent from different stations around the lake.
Directions to Bnachii Lake: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Current+Location/34.336521,35.886797
Day 1, Stop 2: Mother of Mercies (Em el Marahem) Miziara
What an amazing place, the Mother of Mercies Miziara is one of the many must visits of Lebanon, it contains a big well organized and maintained garden, many statues presenting the different stages of Jesus life, statues of all 12 students of Jesus + Saint Paul and other saints and of course in the center the church and the big statue of Saint Marry (Mother of Mercies).
It's really an amazing place full of greenery and sculptures of all kinds... Even if you are not religious you will be amazed by this place.
While were were there, prayers were being held in the church and can be herd everywhere in the garden using speakers so that gave it more charm.
And also they were cooking Hrisse, a famous food made of wheat and meat, I don't personally like it but preparing this food is an event by itself and they need to cook the ingredients on very low fire, usually for more than 14 hours.
Directions to Mother of Mercies (Em el Marahem) Miziara: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Current+Location/34.335812,35.914394
Day 1, Stop 3: Lady of the Fortress Ehden (Saydet El Hosn)
We didn't plan this stop, our road from Miziara to our hotel in Bcharre led us to Ehden so we decided to visit Saydet El Hosn and some other amazing beautiful places inside the Miden of Ehden.
The views from Saydet el Hosn are spectacular, from there you can see all the way till Chekka and the Mediterranean sea.
In Ehden we tried to visited the oldest church in the middle east Saint Mama, but it was closed.
Directions to Lade of the Fortress Ehden (Saydet El Hosn): https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Current+Location/34.294957,35.959691
Day 1, Stop 4: Hotel Near Qadisha Grotto
It was already more than 2:00 PM so we had to check in our hotel for a small rest.
The hotel was located near the Qadisha Grotto, we had hoped to visit the grotto, but apparently it is closed for renovation until a year or 2 from now, so if you're planing to visit this place better delay it for a year or 2.
However, the views from the hotel were amazing as it shows a panoramic view of the mountains, Wadi Qannoubine and Bcharri.
Day 1, Stop 5: Bekaa Kafra
Bekaa Kafra is stated as the highest continuously populated village in Lebanon (I've checked Wikipedia and it seems there are 2 villages that are more high, but Bekaa Kafra is most important of them).
Bekaa Kafra is famous because it is the homeland of Saint Charbel, Saint Charbel spent his childhood and most of his adolescence here with his family before moving out to Annaya where he spent the life of of solitude and prayers as a Monk in St. Maroun Monastery in Annaya.
Directions to Bekaa Kafra: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Current+Location/34.240611,36.002314
Day 1, Night Time: Arez and Bcharri
After Bekaa Kafra we tried to get to Daher El Adeeb for a sunset photo from there, but the sunset was faster than us... So once we got there it was already almost dark. Surprisingly, There are still lots of snow there for this time of the year and it was 13 degrees which is a little bit cold compared to the sun shining hot weather in the day.
Day 2, Stop 1: Wadi Qannoubine (Qannoubine Valley or Kadisha Valley)
Qadisha valley is one of the most amazing places in Lebanon, it is a valley craved by the Qadisha river that is also known as Abou Ali river when it reaches Tripoli. The valley stretches for about 35 KM and contains many caves and steep cliffs that are very difficult to access.
Day 2, we woke up at 6:00 to the sound of water of a small waterfall near the hotel, we immediately headed towards the valley.
We started by a hike to the Old Monastery of Saint Licha' a 2.5 KM moderate hike on an easy organized path. Then we headed off road till the Wadi Qannoubine Monastery where we also had another small hike there.
Directions to the Old Mar Licha' Monastery Hiking Trail: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Current+Location/34.246567,36.002480
This is where you can park your car.
Directions to the Monastery of Saydet Qannoubine (The oldest Monastery in the Middle East): https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Current+Location/34.254141,35.958142
You can park your car here, but be prepared for a 10 km off road ride.
Day 2, Stop 2: Saint Antonios Qozhaya Monastery
Saint Antonios Qozhaya Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Lebanon, it is located in Wadi Qannoubine but can be reached by car from the Bcharri - Ehden Road or from the Ehden - Koura Road.
The Monastery also have a museum that contains a very old copywriter and the Cave of St. Qozhaya, which burrows into the mountainside, is supposed to extend to Ehden.
It is a popular place for miracles, especially for those who are mentally ill. It is famous throughout Lebanon and the Middle East for the miraculous cures which have taken place in it.
They used to bring those who are mentally ill to the cave, put them to chains, close the door and wait till they don't hear the screams anymore. Once that happens they re-open the cave and they will find these people cured.
Directions to the Saint Antonios Qozhaya Monastery: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Current+Location/34.283960,35.944925
Day 2, Stop 3: Tahet El Reeh, Anfeh
After the long rides and hot sun everywhere, we needed to relax, swim and have lunch. What's better than Tahet el Rih, Anfeh for that? It's known as the Lebanese Mikonos as the chalets there are colored by blue and white like the real Greece Mikonos.
Directions to the Tahet El Rih, Anfeh Beach: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Current+Location/34.360166,35.732250
That's it.. I know we missed so many places such as the Cedars Forest, Oyoun Orghoch, Ehden the Midan, Ehden Biosphere Reserve, Gebran's Museum, and of course the Akkar area with all its wonders.
For a list of all the images taken from the journey, check the following link: https://www.lebanoninapicture.com/search/NorthWeekendMay2017
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to use the comment box below.