Zahle, Ya Dar El-Salam… We all grew up witnessing or hearing stories about Zahle’s beauty and history. This city was given a lot of titles throughout the years: The Bride of The Bekaa, The City of Wine and Poetry, The Neighbour of the Gorge, etc.
It is the capital and the largest city of Beqaa Governorate and the third-largest city in Lebanon after Beirut and Tripoli.
This beautiful place is located 55 km east of Beirut and it is known for its high-quality Arak, its generous people, and its pleasant climate.
Here’s how to make the most of your time while visiting Zahle, Lebanon:
#1 Visit the churches
Zahle has many, many beautiful churches where you can enjoy a quiet and peaceful environment. The most famous is Our Lady of Zahle and Bekaa.
This shrine has attracted visitors and tourists for many years due to its history, its beauty, and the amazing view of the city from its site.
#2 Spend the day in Berdawni
El-Berdawni is another must-visit place in Zahle. Have some amazing food and/or ice cream, enjoy Zahle’s sweets like Semsmiyeh and Ghazl El-Banet, or just have an amazing walk by the Berdawni river.
#3 Walk through the beautiful parks
The parks in Zahle are some of the best in the country, and they are perfect all year long.
Visit the breathtaking Skaff Park or take a walk around the Memshiyeh park where you will find statues honoring famous natives, like Saeed Akl and other Zehlawi artists who played a huge role in shaping the Lebanese culture.
#4 Go wine tasting
Of course, you can’t visit Zahle without enjoying at least some of its delicious wines. Zahle is the home of the earthly heaven that is Chateau Ksara. However, it is also home to several other wineries like Chateau St. Thomas and Domaine Wardy. So if you’re into wine, Zahle is the place for you.
#5 Grab some special bites
From Italian to Chinese to pure Lebanese food, this city has all kinds of restaurants and cuisines. Vecchio Italian Restaurant, Casino Arabi, Casino Nmeir, Pain Et Vin, and the list of good restaurants goes on and on to meet all tastes of locals and visitors alike.
#6 Experience Zahle’s nightlife
Believe it or not, the amazing nightlife of Lebanon is not limited to Beirut. Zahle also has some extremely special and fun nightclubs, pubs, and bars like Drink and Sing, New Beaver, Skol Pub, Chapter ll, etc.
#7 Spend the night in amazing accommodations
Accommodations in Zahle are a unique experience. The rooms, the gardens, the views, the architecture, they are all places that you simply can’t find anywhere else. Stay at Auberge Braidy, Grand Kadri Hotel, or Hotel St. Jean, and become a true Zehlawi for a night as you immerse in the local culture!
#8 Check out the amazing architecture
The buildings and houses in Zahle are straight out of a history book. They are elegant, classic, historical, and just simply amazing.
#9 Enjoy Zahle’s natural environment
Go hiking, off-roading, camping, or just have a walk or a picnic surrounded by the amazing greenery of Zahle’s nature. This city is all mountains and trees and rivers, so take advantage of it.
#10 Go shopping in Zahle Souk
The souk is a long, easy, and enjoyable walk; it is the heart of the city. Plus, it has various shops and stores where you can find all your needs and more.
#11 Discover the towns and villages nearby
Although Zahle is an amazing city, the towns and villages surrounding it are just as beautiful. Plan to stay the night or a weekend to visit Zahle’s neighboring towns. It is certainly worth it.
Go from Zahle to Taanayel to Riyak and even Baalbek… each one of the towns and villages in Bekaa has something for you to see… a specific landmark, a site to explore… It will be a road trip to remember.
#12 Get the full experience
Discover the streets, unique shops, special food, etc. Some things you see and do in Zahle that you can’t see and do anywhere else… Like having the best ice cream of your life.
#13 Have fun with the bumper cars
This one might sound kind of weird to some. But, believe it or not, bumper cars are a pretty common activity in Zahle. People do it with their families and friends almost every weekend, and there are a lot of places where you can enjoy car bumpers, including Berdawni.
#14 Socialize with the locals
Interact with the friendly people, have wholesome conversations, and learn some hilarious new jokes… (maybe a few swear words; they come with the package). The Zehlawis are warm and funny people who are very easy to interact with.
#15 Go swimming
While it’s a little late for this one in the fall, the swimming pools in Zahle are fun and great. Bekaa Joy, Sunny Land, and Serenity Resort, for example, are all places where you can go swimming while enjoying views of the red-roofed houses and the mountains.