When you think of Lebanon, you think of a beautiful blend of captivating nature, rich culture, and most importantly, delicious food. You can find all of this and more in the Koura district, north of Lebanon, making it the perfect area to visit for a day off with friends.
Here are some of these interesting villages in Koura that you should consider exploring with your friends on a road trip.
Nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven, the ride is as beautiful as the destination. On your way up, you’ll become more and more immersed in nature till all you can see are large stretches of lush forest from all angles.
Amioun is the capital of Koura and it certainly lives up to its reputation. It’s one of the centers of activity of the North and it holds a warm and bustling atmosphere day and night. The streets are packed full of delicious restaurants, lively pubs, and relaxing cafés.
Amioun is also home to an archeological site where you can see 28 manmade caves dating back to the Paleolithic period.
Bishmizzine is the place to be for simple natural beauty. It’s the perfect spot for a lazy afternoon spent near its stunning lake or a quick boat ride to take in all the wonderful views and scents. If luck has it, you might even see a flock of ducks.
Local guesthouses, like The Ranch, offer an enchanting stay in Kfarhazir, where you can immerse in the simple life of the Lebanese traditional village, including invigorating leisure walks in nature, horseback riding, camping, and enjoying healthy local meals, among others.
A beautiful town of breathtaking views of the mountains and the sea, just a few minutes from the coast, Balamand has risen in popularity in recent years with the fame of its prime university and its 12 faculties, founded in 1988 by the Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch.
Yet, it is a historical town of religious importance. It is home to the 12th century Balamand Monastery founded in 1157 for the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch. The site is an absolutely must-to visit.
Beautifully perched at the border between Koura and Zgharta, with the Qadisha river passing through in between, this small village stands in the district as a statement of co-existence, with a church and a mosque siding each other in the heart of the village.
It is also to home a church by the river, Saint Elias, which is mostly abandoned and only used to celebrate its saint in July.
Traditional and more modern houses are scattered between lushes of greenery, including olive trees and palm trees.
Fun Fact: Among the many who emigrated from Kfar Kahel is reportedly the McGuire family in Australia. Their initial surname was Hajjeh, which the local government changed to McGuire upon the family’s arrival in Sydney.
Previous district judge John McGuire and the leading cardiologist and professor Mark McGuire Jr at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital are originally Lebanese from that small village.
An ancient historical town, Bterram is home to a Phoenician underground temple of 8 rooms carved in the rock, the Eshumnit, which was dedicated to the god of Eshmun, and symbolized fertility, healing, and eternity.Historians estimated it to be 3500 years old.
The village is also home to an old church dedicated to Saint Mary (Saydit El-Rass) reportedly built by the crusaders, and 2 other old churches dedicated to the patron saints of pharmacists, Cosmas & Damian, who were medical scientists in their time.
Bterram used to have 2 silk factories up to 1940 and 2 famous pottery workshops. Today, the village produces staples from the land, like olive oil, soap, wines, arak, and honey. It also has 2 major pasta factories.