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Qadisha Valley Trips

  • Qadisha Valley

Rising sharply from the coastal plain, the Mount Lebanon range is home to some of the most spectacular and varied scenery in the country. The landscape here is simply awesome, with peaks averaging around 2000 metres and rising to 3083 metres at the summit of Qornet es-Saouda. A particular highlight is the Qadisha Valley in the north, which is the heartland of the Maronite Christian community and offers a wealth of hiking opportunities amid jaw-dropping scenery.

From the fertile Khoura plains that spread inland around Batroun, the Qadisha Valley climbs steeply in a deep gorge that dramatically slashes through the mountainside. Clinging precariously to the slopes, surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains, are charmingly quaint villages where little seems to have changed for 100 years. Dramatically located near the head of the Qadisha Valley, perched on the edge of sheer cliffs that plunge down to the valley floor, the town of Bcharre is famous for being the birthplace of Khalil Gibran, Lebanon’s most famous poet.

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This pretty village, with its laid-back atmosphere, wonderfully quaint architecture and good accommodation options, is the obvious base from which to explore the valley. Here, among the narrow streets of cottages with their colourful wooden window shutters and tiny pavement flower gardens, life slows down to a snail’s pace. Old men gather outside the village café to watch the world go by, farmers chug down the middle of the road on beaten-up tractors and elderly women sit for hours in front of their houses gossiping.

This is Lebanese mountain life at its prettiest and it won’t be long before you have fallen under its spell. Walks in the area lead to the limestone caverns of the Qadisha Grotto and to isolated Maronite grottoes, hermitages, chapels and monasteries.

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