Category Archives: Tourism

Week39 : LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Ramlet Ramlet el Baida – So far still a public beach. Picture by RiseAboveLebanon

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

HIppo Hippodrome Beirut – by Zcitytips

Chabrouh Chabrou7 Dam – by MichoKhoury

Bqarzla Bqarzla falls – by Amiiryoussef

Bekaa Bekaa – by RiseAboveLebanon

Bakich Bakich – by MichoKhoury

20 Things To Do In Tripoli – Lebanon (Part2)

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Tall via Budkheir

I’ve finally managed to compile the second part of the “20 things to do in Tripoli” series that I started a month ago. Eid Al Adha is around the corner so it’s the perfect time to head to Tripoli enjoy the sweets, do some sightseeing or take a boat trip to Rabbits Island.

If you missed Part1, check it out [here].

Tripoli is Lebanon’s second-largest city and despite being one of its poorest, it is rich in diversity and is a beautiful city to explore. There are always new places to visit and new things to do and a sense of community in the city. I’ve been going to Tripoli for 15 years or more and I discover a new thing to do or a new place to visit almost every time so I decided to compile all these activities into two blog posts based on my past experiences and a little help from my good friends and Tripolitans Natheer, Hayat and Zaher.

11- Visit The Old Train Station:

If you like trains and a bit of history, make sure to pass by the old railway station. The station is one of the oldest in Lebanon as it started operating more than 100 years ago and used to connect to Homs in Syria and Beirut’s central station in Mar Mikhail. Unfortunately, the station was abandoned in the 1970s by the Lebanese authorities and has become a museum ever since. In fact, it’s not exactly a museum as it’s not well maintained but there’s a local organization (The Mina Peace committee) that is planning soon a rehabilitation and beatification project for the train station area. I hope they revamp the station soon because there’s a lot of history in that place.

12- Old/Vintage Style Pubs in Mina:
Talk a walk down Mina and enjoy the old/vintage and new/modern style pubs where poetry nights and artistic gatherings are usually held. If we go back to the 60s, Tripoli had a vibrant nightlife with a lot of cafes, pubs and beach clubs open in the city but things have unfortunately changed since then. Currently, Tripoli’s nightlife is nothing like Beirut or other areas but there are still pubs mainly in Mina’s Dr. Raymond al-Labban Street (Minot Street) where one can order a drink and have fun with friends.

13- Old & New Fisheries in Mina:

El Mina occupies the location of the old Phoenician city of Tripoli and the harbor is the city’s most visited site. A good idea is to head there early in the morning and see the old and new fisheries where people gather to buy fresh and affordable fish. You can also watch fishermen working while having coffee and kaak in one of the many cafes.

14- Tripoli by Bike:
tripoli-lebanon-cycling4-600x450 via BikeRumor

Tripoli doesn’t have a bike trail but it’s one of the best ways to explore the city. You can roam the city, visit traditional and cultural sites, pass by the old souks and stop at local cafes along the coast. Café Moussa, which was recently rehabilitated by the Old Souk Committee is a must visit, the different markets (clothing, vegetable) which were also recently rehabilitated by Tebbaneh Youth Council after being damaged during previous clashes. There’s also the Hara Jdide and several other areas that were rehabilitated thanks to the initiatives of civic organizations and the increasing interest of civil society in preserving and the famous traits of their town.

There’s been a lot of events to help spread the biking culture, but it’s still not popular enough in the city, even though there’s a lot of traffic in Tripoli.

15-Public Gardens (King Fahed and others):

Tripoli is a densely populated city but there’s a decent number of green areas and public spaces, especially when compared to the ones in Beirut. The work of civic organizations is also here quite noticeable as they are rehabilitating old and abandoned public gardens and spaces like the one in Malloule (Youth in Tebbaneh) and a public garden in Abou Samra (Muslim Scouts). You will also find a lot of public gardens around the mosques and in the Tripoli Expo (Niemeyer’s Maarad).

16- The Cemetries:
cemetery via LuvLebanon

Cemeteries are usually well preserved in Tripoli and very well looked after, especially the British and French military graveyards in el Mina. There are even campaigns to rehabilitate and clean up the cemeteries, like the ones in Souk el Ameh by the Tebbaneh Youth Council. Most of the cemeteries are of course Muslim ones and you will find them in random places like in the Old Souks for example. There’s an organized chaos in these graveyards and around them that is a beautiful thing, to me at least.

17 – Places To Stay:

There aren’t that many places to stay in Tripoli, at least not to my knowledge but there’s one that comes highly recommended which is Beit el Nessim in Mina, and there’s another hotel called Quality Inn in Tripoli.

18- Damm w Farez, or Neo-Tripoli:

Damm W Farez is where you will find all the new fancy restaurants and cafes. If you want to grab a bite, smoke a Shisha or have a coffee, that’s the place to go. There are different cafes where you can relax after a long walk and the food is usually good at most of them. One of the famous cafes there is called Ahwak Ben Tafesh which serves good desserts.

19- Visit the Rabbit Islands/Palm Islands Nature Reserve:
The Rabbits Island is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage site and has been chosen as a special Mediterranean Protected Area under the 1995 Barcelona Convention. The “Rabbits” name is attributed to the large number of rabbits that were grown by the French on the Island in the 20th century. These Islands are quite amazing and some areas are accessible during the summer for swimming and snorkeling. There’s a ferry boat that transports visitors to the Islands.

20- Al Hallab Qasr el Helou:

You cannot go to Tripoli without visiting Qasr el Helou, one of Lebanon’s most visited Arabic sweets shop. Lebanese from abroad and outside Tripoli go to eat there. Kasr el Helou was founded in 1881 and is the ideal place to taste all sorts of Arab sweets. My favorites are the Halawet el Jeben and Mafrouke.


Two of the online sources I’ve used in these two posts are [Tripoli-City] and [WeLoveTripoli].

Week38 : LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Saida - Copy Saida Castle by RiseAboveLebanon

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

tent - Copy Camping at the Cedars – by Najib Hajjar

rains - Copy First rains by Hasna Frangieh

pineforest sunset - Copy Pine forest sunset – by Christassad

breakfast Mornings like this – by ElieSamarani

batroun Batroun underwater – by Eric Francis

Man2oushe - Copy Nothing like a man2oushe – by Lara Hassan

11 Awesome Aerial Pictures From Lebanon By RiseAboveLebanon

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Harissa1 Our Lady of Harissa

Christian Ghammachi started the Instagram Account @RiseAboveLebanon almost two months ago and has been sharing some amazing aerial pictures from all across Lebanon. The aim is to “show Lebanon’s wealth, diversity and beauty from a different angle: Above!” and he’s doing so perfectly!

I selected 11 of my favorite pictures and shared them in this post but I strongly recommend you follow him and check out his gallery [here].

Tyre2 Tyre, also known as Sour.

Raouche Raouche Rock

Rabbit Island Rabbit Island – Tripoli

Monas Monasteries in Lebanon have the best spots

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Week37 : LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Coffe Monday Coffee – by Polsamuel

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

B Martyrs Sunset Protests and sunsets – by Tarek Bekdache

Tannourine Tannourine by Eli.Youssef

Sawfar Gorgeous Lebanese house in Sawfa – by Firas.3amar

Flower Zahle Flower festival in Zahle – by Frederick Azar

Ehden Road to Heaven – Ehden by Carlittoer

DT Mosque Cool shot of the Blue Mosque – by RiseaboveLebanon

AShta Ashta lal Ashta? – By mylifeamoi

20 Things To Do In Tripoli – Lebanon (Part1)

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Tripoli is Lebanon’s second-largest city and despite being one of its poorest, it is rich in diversity and is a beautiful city to explore. There are always new places to visit and new things to do and a sense of community in the city. I’ve been going to Tripoli for 15 years or more and I discover a new thing to do or a new place to visit almost every time so I decided to compile all these activities into two blog posts based on my past experiences and a little help from my good friends and Tripolitans Natheer, Hayat and Zaher.

1- Visit Tripoli Mina:
Mino Street Picture by Abir Kassem
Enjoy the beach and the kiosks lined up along the coast offering warm drinks and occasionally some delicious Tripolitan Ka’ak. Some of them even have chairs and tables to relax and enjoy the vast view. The old alleys in Mina in both Christian and Muslim neighborhoods, the architecture, the bright colors, the green everywhere. Restaurants in Mina that range from small no-seater sea food shops to big glamorous restaurants with fancy menus, mostly with sea food.

In this region, there are always visible aspects or events presented by the Mina Peace Committee. This organization aims to ameliorate the city on different levels, as well as encourage relationships between people in order to build a safer and more peaceful environment.

2- The potteries in Mina:
pottery Source
The potteries in Mina are considered to be the last in all of Lebanon. Unfortunately, there’s only one pottery out of these 3 that still makes its own clay these days (Abou George) while others buy the clay. I think the Ministry of Tourism should encourage and train artisans to preserve this tradition and keep the pottery trade alive.

3- The Hammams in old Tripoli:
The Hammams in old Trablos, the Turkish baths, with only one still working (Hammam al Abed) and three more open for visits. Hamman al Abed was built in the 17th century and its interior is quite impressive. Hamman Al Jadid is the largest and Tripoli’s best-preserved Hamman so make sure you visit it even though it’s not operational.

4- The big mosques and churches in both Trablos and Mina:
Picture by Natheer Halawani

The big mosques and churches in both Trablos and Mina, which are plenty. Usually mosques and churches share the same wall in mixed areas. Even streets in Muslim parts have names of saints, while others in Christian areas have Muslim names. The Great Mosque, Abu Baker Al Siddik Mosque, Al-Bertasi Mosque, the Taynal Mosque and The Cathedral of St George (Al Mina) are worth visiting. There’s also a church street where you can find the oldest Maronite church in Tripoli, St Micheal which was built in 1889. The oldest church in Tripoli is Saydet al Hara in Tabbaneh which dates back to the 13th century.

Taynal_Mosque2009a Typical of Mamluk architecture, the Taynal Mosque was built on the site of a ruined Crusader Carmelite Church – Picture via Wiki

5- The Old Souks:

The old souks that sell all sorts of merchandise: Vintage clothes, second hand clothes, soap, gold and silver, furniture, shoes, vegetables, fruits, fish & meat etc. It’s fun to walk around the souks and discover the hidden parts of the city.

For the past years, The Old souks committee (lijnat el aswak el Kadima) has been working on cheerful renovations, friendly environment ameliorations as well as fun outdoor performances in order to make the Old Souk a more enjoyable and peaceful visiting spot for all ages, especially children.


In addition to the heartwarming results caused by the old souk Committee, a band called “One Voice Team” has been nothing less than active in this northern city of Lebanon. Scared by the pain and the fear they see around them, this band of three musicians encourage the society around them through heartfelt gatherings with children of all ages, as well as, as you can see above, joyful painting of staircases across the city which aims to bring people together and make the environment friendlier.

6- The Citadel of Tripoli
Citadel The Citadel By Taha Naji
The Citadel is a huge castle that is 130 meters longs and 70 meters wide. It overlooks all of Tripoli and offers a great view of the city. The Tripoli Citadel includes an old hammam, three prayer houses, a jail, a stable for horses, wells, graveyards, 20 meter long towers and around 10 gates. The Crusaders, the Mamluks and the Ottomans occupied that citadel throughout the decades. [Source]

PS: The Lebanese Army has been using it as a base for security reasons but anyone can visit anytime.

7- The hidden mosques in old Trablos:
The hidden mosques in old Trablos, usually the entrance would be one tiny door not wider than 1 meter, but the interior is so fascinating and sometimes extremely large. You should definitely visit Al Muallaq Mosque “Hanging Mosque” that is set on top of an arched passageway and is only accessible by a flight of stairs. The Hanging Mosque was built by Mahmud ibn-Lutfi, Ottoman governor of Tripoli during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.

8- The Soap makers:
The soap industry is considered as one of the oldest industries in Tripoli. Soap factories were essential to the city’s economy as they used to produce hand-made soap to supply the tens of Hammams. Khan Al-Saboun (Soap Khan) is a well known historical place and a popular market for olive and olive-oil based products which include soap of course. The Soap Khan was originally occupied by Yusuf al-Saifi, Tripoli’s Pasha back in the 17th century, but after Tripoli fell to Fakhr-ed-Din, the Ottoman garrison fled and the Khan stood empty and useless until it was turned into a soap factory and warehouse.

9- The MANY sweets shops:

There’s a pastry shop almost on every corner in Tripoli. Sweets shops/names are famous -each- for one or two types of sweets only. People from outside Tripoli usually go to Qasr el Helou (Hallab), which I will mention in Part 2, but Tripolitans prefer going to small shops and try each shop’s speciality, just as the Shmaysi at Haddad.

10- Niemeyer’s Maarad, or the Tripoli Expo.
Maarad Rashid 2 Maarad Rashid Karame By Hayat Chaaban
The Rashid Karameh International exhibition center may look like an abandoned place but it’s a breathtaking space designed by the famous Oskar Niemeyer. The Brazilian architect was chosen to design the Tripoli International Fair in the 1960s but he couldn’t finish his work due to the civil war. In 2006, the site was “added to the World Monuments Fund Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites after conservationists campaigned to preserve it when Tripoli’s chamber of commerce proposed turning into a tourist village theme park to be based on Disneyland. Its listing signifies the site’s historic importance, but does nothing to permanently protect it”. It’s quite an impressive “monument of architectural vision” that is totally worth visiting.

Maarad Rashid Karame Maarad Rashid Karameh by Rouham Hallab

Part 2 will be up in few days.

Week36 : LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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HImlaya Dream house – by Spishgar

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

Over the clouds Over the clouds – by GeorgeRahme

Chekka Chekka – by Thomas_kh

Cedars Majestic Cedars – By GeorgesElHanna

Bekaa Live Love Bekaa – By raianesalem

Batroun1 Underwater – by ChrisKabalan

Chouwen Tarzan – by Ramy.ak

#AuthenticShouf: Visit The Lebanese Shouf This Summer

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The Shouf is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful areas in Lebanon. It boasts the biggest Cedars forest in Lebanon, historical palaces built by the Emirs of Lebanon, most notably the magnificent Beiteddine palace, as well as beautiful old Lebanese houses, monasteries and attractions. There are many things to do in the Shouf, such as hiking in the Shouf Biosphere Reserve, visiting the old town and doing some sightseeing, staying at the Mir Amin Palace and enjoying a good meal with the best view in town etc …

I will be writing soon a post dedicated to the Shouf area and things to do there. Until then, check out this nice campaign and share your experiences using #AuthenticShouf



Five Reasons To Visit Kobayat (Akkar) This Summer

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Kobayat is a Lebanese town located northeast of Tripoli in Lebanon’s Akkar district and is 150km away from the capital Beirut. To be honest, I had never visited Kobayat or Akkar before 2010 as I wasn’t very familiar with the area and it was a bit too far, but I was really surprised when I went up the first time as I did not think such beauty and green scenery existed in Lebanon and I’ve been encouraging all my friends to visit Akkar and Kobayat ever since. Kobayat is a gorgeous town very rich in natural, historical, and religious pilgrimage sites and it’s an ideal weekend getaway with your family or friends.

Here are five reasons which you should visit Akkar and Kobayat this summer:

1- Eco-Tourism and Sightseeing: The largest green areas in Lebanon
Kobayat is very green and very quiet. The forests in the Kobayat area and around it are the largest in Lebanon and the most bio-diverse in the region, there are at least three protected natural sites of forests including Karm-Chbat, one of the best naturally preserved Cedars forest reserve in Lebanon, Al-Chanbouq Reserve and Al Qammouaa (in Fnaidek) which are areas of rich biodiversity where you can find Cedar and pine trees as well as one of the largest Oak forests, characterized by its density & length, (غابة العزر) in the Middle East. If you head to Andkit which is 5 minutes away from Kobayat, you can visit the stunning Audeen Valley. Other natural attractions also include Ain Martmoura (Spring), Al Kobayat river & Ain al Sitt, a couple of springs and old caves in Fnaidek. There’s a lot of greenery everywhere you look and you can spend the whole day driving or walking around and enjoying the landscapes. Moreover, if you love trekking, hiking or mountain biking, you will find the most beautiful trails there.


For those of you who like museums, Kobayat has an amazing scientific museum for birds, butterflies and animals that served once as a school for Carmelite priests back in 1908. The museum has over 400 species of birds and animals found in Lebanon and up to 4000 species of butterflies from all over the world.


2- History: Kobayat is one of Lebanon’s most ancient towns

Kobayat is a very old town and was considered a major trading route on the Silk Road. You will find artifacts dating back to the Phoenicians, Greek and Roman Empires and others. Here’s a list of monuments that you can visit in Kobayat and its vicinity that include:
– An old silk plant and remains of old mills (also found in nearby Andkit).
– An old olive press with caves and engraved rocks in Akroum.
– A 13th century citadel in Akkar Al-Atika.
– Old citadels and mosques dating from the 19th century in Al Bireh and Bourj village.
– Al Hosn citadel and Nebuchadnezzar Rock in Kfarnoun.

Mar Sarkis

3- Religious Tourism: Over 25 Churches,
Convents & 

A lot of people visit Kobayat for faith reasons. There are tens of ancient churches, convents and monasteries in Kobayat and its vicinity and most of them are located in the most amazing spots all surrounded by greenery. Some of the popular religious sites in Kobayat are:

– Saydet (Our Lady) Al-Ghisseleh Ancient Church
– Mar Doumit Ancient Monastery for Carmelite Fathers
– Mar Challita Ancient Monastery (Andkit)
– Saint Joseph and Mar Saba Ancient Monasteries (Andkit)
– Mar Gerges (Saint Georges) Ancient Monastery and Church, near an Old Well
– Saydet Ghezrata Ancient Church
– Old Church in Al-Chanbouq Area
– Saydet Chahlo Church
– Mar Eliane Monastery within Al-Bat’aneh Valley buried underground (Andkit)
– Our Lady of the Fort (Saydet el Qalaa) in Mounjez
– Mar Elias in Oudine.


There’s also a huge cross in Kobayat worth visiting.

4- Kobayat is the starting point of the LMT (Lebanon Mountain Trail)

The Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) is the longest hiking trail in Lebanon as it pretty much covers the whole country. It extends from Kobayat in the north of Lebanon to Marjaayoun in the south, a 440 km path that transects more than 75 towns and villages at altitudes ranging from 600 to 2,000 meters above sea level. For more information, check their website [here].


The LMT is probably the best way to experience the natural beauty and cultural wealth of Lebanon’s mountains. Here’s a small video worth checking:


5- Entertainement: Kobayat Summer Festivals:
kobayat festivals

I had the chance to meet the head of the Kobayat Festivals committee Cynthia Karkafi Hobeiche few months back during a reforestation campaign in Kobayat and she briefed me on the hard work they’ve been pulling to promote Kobayat and Akkar as a summer destination. The Kobayat festivals is the biggest event for the town during the summer as it occurs on the same weekend as Eid el Saydeh (Assumption of Mary holiday). Kobayat is always packed during this time of year, as most of the families go back to their hometown to enjoy the festivities and spend time with their families.

Wael Kfoury and Assi el Hellani are performing this year at the Kobayat festival. You can buy your tickets at [Virgin Ticketing Box office]. Bus lifts are available for $10 only. For more info, check out [Kobayat Festival on Facebook] or call 09 934 921.

brochure Kobayat Festival Committee is also organizing an eco-tourism and sightseeing day. Call 09 934 921 for further details

Where to eat in Kobayat?

The first thing that you need to try if you are visiting Kobayat is the Tannour and (Tlamé) bread for breakfast. There’s a Tannour place at the entrance of Kobayat called Hatbe w Nara and an old Tlamé place in Andkit that I posted about previously. If you want to have lunch or dinner, there’s Kobayat Country Club, Karam Cafe, Chellel el Samak and Al Wadi (next to Mar Challita) restaurants. There’s also the traditional Kebbe that locals do but I don’t think you can find it in restaurants.



All in all, Kobayat is a beautiful town that I recommend you all visit this summer. You get to enjoy the beautiful nature, the trails, trees and forest and more importantly escape from the city and all the noise and pollution.


Some of the pictures are taken from Dr. Antoine Daher with his permission of course. I use several resources for the post, including [Ebaladiyat], [MOT], this [document] and of course the Kobayat festival committee and its esteemed president.