There are many places in Lebanon where we can play tourists in our own country but we miss many. It is no rare that we are asked sometimes about a certain site here and there in Lebanon and if we've been there, and we are taken by surprise as to how long ago it has been since our last visit or, worst, that we haven’t visited it at all. It does happen to us that we take some places for granted, just because they are there close by or easily accessible. So, I took the liberty to plan out a guide for you in one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in Lebanon: Harissa in Kessrwan.
Harissa has always been a touristic place for everyone coming to Lebanon, and a religious pilgrimage site for many. It has many highlights that people seek specifically, whether for tourism or for pilgrimage.
While it is easily accessible by road, it is best enjoyed by taking the cableway or funicular from Jounieh, at the waterfront. Jounieh-Harissa funicular has been running since 1965 form the coast to the top of Harissa mountain, back and forth.
It transports passengers above the maritime highway and all the way above the pine forest mountain to an altitude of 650 meters above sea level, affording them a most enjoyable experience and a beyond beautiful view.
For those among you who fear heights, you ought to conquer that because you can't possibly miss such an enjoyment! The funicular is safe and so are the cable cars.
Upon arriving at the peak, you’ll be just at the entrance of the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, one of Lebanon's landmarks and icons, erected in 1907, and the massive basilica. People seek the site for prayers but also to feel at peace and enjoy the awe-inspiring panoramic view.
That is a unique view encompassing the Bay of Jounieh, the Casino du Liban to the North, and Metn and Beirut to the West. It is on that particular post only that one can come to admire such an amazing and large view of a good part of the coasts of Kessrwan, Metn, and Beirut. That is in addition to the mountains around you.
Once there, you can visit the small old church at the bottom of the shrine, and then take the steps up to Our Lady of Lebanon. The site has also a large boutique of souvenirs and religious icons and articles.
From the site, you can partake in the extreme activity of paragliding if you’ve got the guts to do it.
Harissa offers also a variety of restaurants with gorgeous views and delicious food. The most famous are Amar, Sultan Ibrahim, and Chez Sami. For snacks or breakfasts, the iconic Abou Joseph is always the go-to.
Spending a day in the area is always rewarding to one's spirit, whether with your friends for a joyful time, with your significant other for quality time, or with the family for happy memories.
As for tourists and visitors, this is the perfect way to see Lebanon from a different perspective, a very high and large perspective.