I finally had enough time on my hand to visit one of my favorite places in Lebanon: the Cedar mountains. They are probably the most underrated locations in the country and are nowhere near as visited as they should be because, quite frankly, very few places in this country can rival them in sheer landscape beauty.
Using my iPhone 5’s panorama feature, I was able to capture what I believe are pretty decent shots of the drive up to the mountains, the town of Becharre with its snowy mountainous backdrop, the Cedar Mountains themselves and part of the Kadisha Valley known as Qozhaya on the way back.
These locations may be far from Beirut – about 130 km – but they’re worth every single minute spent driving and every dollar spent in gas. I think I’m lucky that I live nearby and only need about 30 minutes to get there.
The slopes are superior to those of Mzaar/Sectarian-Kfardebyan and while they are less taken care of, they’re much cheaper and you will be able to get your full money’s worth out of them. The people are a whole lot friendlier as well.
So while many Lebanese are overjoyed that some international publication (click here) has chosen Beirut as the #1 city destination of the region – as if that’s a very hard thing to pull off – I felt like I ought to highlight something in Lebanon that is so ahead any form of “best of” competition in this region that it’s #1 always.
The Mountains from the village of Qnat
The view from Hadath el Jebbeh
Becharre (on the right) with its mountains behind it
The drive up to the Cedar Mountains
Some of Lebanon’s Cedars – not the main forest, obviously
Panoramic view of part of the mountains
Part of the Cedar forest
The drive to Qozhaya
The view from St. Anthony of Qozhaya convent (on the left) – part of the Kadisha Valley
Skiing and snowboarding lovers rejoice. Your beloved slopes that you’ve missed will open soon after Christmas, just in time for your holidays.
The amount of snow on the slopes is already decent though subpar for this time of the year. However, this will change in a few days. A huge storm is coming. It will start this Wednesday and extend till Christmas Day. Rainfall is expected to be big and snowfall altitude levels will dip.
Some places will have a white Christmas this year.
The best news? December 26th is when the storm ends and you’ll be able to hit the slopes to practice your favorite winter hobby.
After much talk, a few friends and I decided to go on a North Lebanon road trip yesterday that took us through Batroun to Tannourine from which we crossed over to Becharre, descended to the Bekaa and then returned to Ehden.
Massive amounts of driving aside, I took a few pictures that I figured I’d share with you. All of these pictures were taken with a Nikon D5100 and weren’t modified in any way. I’m also not a professional photographer so these aren’t supposed to be perfect – they’re there to show the beauty of the Northern Lebanese mountains.
Some of the cedars at Tannourine
The cedars of Becharre
Lebanon’s highest peak – Kornet el Sawda
The Bekaa valley
Saydet el Hosn – Ehden
And the following picture I took with my iPhone and modified using Camera+:
This is what you see when you’re literally above cloud nine