12 Reasons why Lebanon should be your next destination

A few months ago, Transavia (the budget airline of KLM/AIRFRANCE) announced that starting November they will be flying directly to Beirut from Amsterdam. They’ve already started from Paris/Orly less than a year ago (September 2016) and now they added Amsterdam to it.

For Erwin and I this is great news a lot of reasons but mainly for these three :

1-We had no directs flights to Beirut from the Netherlands which will make our travel more relaxed.

2- It will also be a great deal since return tickets will be as low as 118 Euros!!!

3- It would be with Transavia which is our favorite budget airline. We’ve always used it for travels inside Europe.

We are pretty sure that for more than 5000 Lebanese expats in the Netherlands like myself that is indeed awesome news.

We are hoping mostly hoping that it is also a great opportunity for the 17 millions who inhabit the Netherlands to visit my historic land known as Lebanon.

Therefore we have collected and collaborated with a talented Lebanese photographer by the name of Nidal Majdalani who is currently travelling through Lebanon capturing it’s amazing landscapes, sunsets, food, villages and cities to showcase that beautiful pearl in the Middle East to foreigners and to locals (check her Instagram page her, Facebook page here, her wesbite here. Why to locals also? Because many of us Lebanese still don’t know how precious our piece of land is, and maybe if we see it through the lenses of such a talented photographer, we will take better care of it: we will protect it from it’s corrupted politicians, we will protect Mother Nature from every evil force trying to tear it’s beauty down. Maybe we are just delusional dreamers!!!

Now back to the point, we have also added a few Lebanese promotional tourism pages to showcase why you should visit Lebanon like Lebanon Times, Lebanon by a Local and Souk El Akel.

We’ve got 12 reasons why you should come and visit Lebanon. We hope you like them.

1- The History

I know that reading about history is pretty boring for a lot of people. I have said before in an article called “Lebanon back on the travel map: The Rise of the Phoenix “and I will repeat it here.

To make it easier on everyone I will try to write the next paragraph in a language we all seem to understand perfectly well: the movie vocabulary!

Now if Lebanon was a Hollywood movie it would have been a mixture of the Pirates of the Caribbean’s” minus the piracy and the Caribbean. After all the Phoenicians did acquire their fame as sailors and “princes of the sea”.

A bit of  Alexander featuring both Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell including all the customs, battles, army, the tactics and the famous victories. After all, Alexander the Great was one of the biggest conquerors of the coastal Phoenicians cities: he had to go through one of his toughest and longest battles in Tyre, a battle he finally won after several months of strive. The grandiosity of the Tyrian combat can be easily compared to famous historical “Hollywood” battles such as Sparta and Troy except this was Tyre and it was against the Greeks!

After the Greeks came the Romans, so I can add to the Hollywood mixture the Gladiator and Ben-Hur. I can justify these choices by the simple historical facts that Beirut was considered the most Roman city in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire and Tyre had the largest Roman chariot racing arenas ever built.

Then I can skip the Arab era and add to the Hollywood mixture the Kingdom of Heaven for the Crusader’s era and Fetih  and Harim Al Sultan  for the Ottoman except those last two were Turkish series and not movies but who’s counting.

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Morning sunshine ☀️from Byblos mon amour❤

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These conquest stories which inspired Hollywood were a big part of the Lebanese history: different astonishing cultures passed through Lebanon and they left trails waiting to be discovered, promoted, visited, and mostly protected as UNESCO World Heritage. 

2- The weather

We will debunk a few misconceptions about Lebanon here: Lebanon has no desert, no camels. Surprise!!! We are actually typically Mediterranean hence the perfect weather all year long.

That means that even if you decide to travel to Lebanon in winter time, you will still be able to enjoy on the coast temperatures which varies from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius and perhaps snow on the mountains where you can actually ski. Paradise isn’t it?? Well brace yourselves because we are just getting started!!

3- The food

I will let the big travel channels speak about that part. You will be packing your bags soon!!

Travel and Leisure for instance ranked Beirut as the best international city for food in 2016.

 Lebanon’s capital city, Beirut, is having a bit of a cultural renaissance—and it’s not just new museums like the striking Aïshti Foundation that have attracted international attention. There’s arguably no better way to sense the friendliness and enthusiasm of Beiruties than by enjoying fresh a meal at Tawlet, a fantastic Lebanese restaurant in the hip Mar Mikhael neighborhood (order goat tartare and the unusual mountain specialty, h’risset ‘akkub: a lamb porridge with wild thistle).  Even breakfast here is exciting: order Al Soussi’s fatteh, a traditional dish of toasted pita, chickpeas, yogurt, and pine nuts… The World’s best International city for food, Travel and Leisure

More recently National Geographic ranked Lebanon as a summer destination 2018 especially for it’s culinary scene.

The Spaniards argue that crème brûlée is just a French version of crema catalana. Welsh historians claim Arthur Guinness smuggled his famous stout recipe from a Welsh tavern to Dublin. And Lebanon … Lebanon wants their hummus back. Often overlooked as a culinary destination, Lebanon crafts the ideal summer mezze table in an equally ideal temperate climate. Stroll open air markets in Byblos, one of the world’s oldest cities. Cool off at the Baatara Gorge Waterfall. Then settle in beneath the cedars for a feast of local wine, tabbouleh, tiny rounds of hot sesame pita, baba ghanoush sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, and plates of herb-y cheese, all drizzled in bright swoops of local olive oil

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The typical #Lebanese #streetfood: #Shawarma #chicken

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4- The party life

The big war has ended 28 years ago, yet everyone still talks about it and fear coming to Lebanon because of the international media’s fake news! Yes, fake news and we are not Trump supporters. We will tell you this however: the most dangerous part of coming to Lebanon is it’s locals driving skills. Here we’ve said it! The silver lining of the Lebanese war however was that it gave the people this “joie de vivre”, the certainty that we can die any day, any time and  that life is too short. That alone made the Lebanese party scene one of the best in the World. If you really want to party like there is tomorrow,  then there is no better place to do it than in a country where people party like there is no tomorrow.

I spent three nights in Beirut this spring, and the only time I ever felt unsafe was when my Uber driver couldn’t figure out his GPS. Yes, the city was once wracked by civil war, but that war ended 27 years ago. Beirut today is a gorgeous place, a picture of cosmopolitanism, with a promenade along the Mediterranean Sea and maybe the best nightlife I’ve ever witnessed. The weather’s balmy. The food’s incredible. You should go. GQ, How to party in Beirut like it’s your last night on Earth

5- The beautiful churches

Another misconception about Lebanon is the idea that Lebanon is a Muslim country. The Lebanese community is one of the most diverse for such a small country: we have 18 confessions divided between Christians and Muslims. We have a Christian President, a Sunnite Prime Minister and a Shiite Speaker of Parliament. Each community had and still has the right to practice their religion freely. Which explains the beautiful old churches that Lebanon is famous about. Pope Francis reinstated Lebanon as a Christian Pilgrimage site. It was one of the earliest regions to adopt Christianity, and was mentioned in the Old Testament and was visited by Jesus, Marie and the 12 disciples and Saint Paul. The country is also home to the Maronite Church and the birthplace to several Maronite saints.

The pictures that Nidal has taken will showcase that pure and simple beauty of churches.

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Wherever we go and whatever we do, in the end there is only One home and One heart that will always welcome us. A blessed Sunday dears 🙏❤ Our Lady of Rescues church in Smar Jbeil, is one of the oldest St Mary churches in Lebanon and the East. It was built during the Crusaders era in the Middle Ages. The roofless church have at its vicinity an old Oak tree. #lebanon #lebanonhouses #churchesoflebanon #smallchurch #church #churchesoftheworld #sundayblessings #faith #smarjbeil #batroun #livelovebatroun #igerslebanon #lebanontourism #natgeoyourshot #viewbug #libanon #ig_lebanon #yourshotphotographer #lebanonspotlights #whatsuplebanon #lebanontimes #livelovebeirut #vrlwanderwednesday #insta_lebanon #nidalmajdalani

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6-The wines

Lebanese wines are becoming more trendy! What started to be 14 wineries has become a business of 54 wineries added only this century. More and more wine brands are coming to light. The Lebanese wines are more on the crafted wine industry side than anything else which makes it more trendy and more appealing to Millennial. You can visit the wineries, taste the wine, make a tour, and even have lunch there.

7- The beaches

Despite all the recent controversies about the polluted beaches in Lebanon, we’ve got some beautiful and clean ones to visit ***there is hope…we hope***

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Beach edition ⛱🎏🌊

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8- The villages

Most who come to Lebanon, go for Beirut. While Beirut is a good reasons to come visit, we find that to immerse into the authentic Lebanese traditions and culture, the typical villages should be added to your visit. I have already written an article about why you should go to my beautiful village Tannourine (click here to read).

Nidal will show you through her lens the beauty of some of the most typical Lebanese villages.

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Happy Monday my dears 🌸🌞🌸 hope you made the best of your weekend. I will definitely share more of Saturday's travel to Hermel/AL Assi but for now allow me to give you a brief of this wonderful village that I drove to and hiked through yesterday. Rashaya el-Wadi is around 85km from Beirut, South Beqaa, on the Western slope of Mount Hermon very close to the Syrian borders. It is known as the Independence City, as written on its sign (check the story). In its citadel, the early national leaders were held during the 1943 rebellion that led to our independence. As you can see in this capture, the old traditional houses are so close to each other in most areas and their windows, arcades, chimnies, gates and bricks are just too beautiful. Its landscape live story is still on. On a side note, I was touched by the villagers hospitality, as is the case in many of our villages. Cheers to our beautiful rural escapes ❤️🇱🇧 #bekaa #rashaya #livelovebekaa #rashayaelwadi #libanon #libano #lebanonspotlights #livelovebeirut #ig_lebanon #insta_lebanon #lebanontimes #wearelebanon #livelovelebanon #nidalmajdalani #travellinglebanon #super_lebanon #superhubs #bestofleb #meetlebanon #feellebanon #beirut #lbcilebanon #travelphotography #canonglobal #lebanesevillages #layers #ruraltourism #lebanontourism #houses

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Goood morning Sunday ❤️💚 Wishing you a blessed and a wonderful day 💐 Douma is a Lebanese village, 80 km from Beirut, located at an altitude of 1150 m, in Batroun District. It is known for its beautiful location, in a valley, surrounded by mountains and most of its houses are made of red brick. #libanon #douma #batroun #livelovedouma #livelovebeirut #lebanonspotlights #lebanontimes #wearelebanon #ig_lebanon #insta_lebanon #lebanese #nidalmajdalani #travellinglebanon #colors #meetlebanon #natgeotravel #instagood #amazing #dubai #hello_rooftops #hello_worldpics #libanaise #lebaneseinkhobar #lebaneseimmigrants #visitlebanon #lebanon #ig_masterpiece #superhubs #super_lebanon #insta _worldz

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9- The sunsets

One of the things I missed most when I moved to the Netherlands besides my family, friends and the food were the sunsets. They are so red and intense and I was never able to stop myself from being in total awe every time.

Nidal has a great eye as you have seen. Her sunset pictures are killers and make me miss those even more.

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Do you love dogs? Personally, I had a great experience with a baby dog that we saved from the street and raised for 10 months now. She was so cute, beautiful, patient and extremely loving.. I posted a video months ago showing how lovely and hyper she was! How much we tend to be unfair to such genuine creatures as we get busy with our life and forget them at home, especially when it comes to the large sized, active ones. Sometimes, we have to take decisions that we don't want but we do it in the name of love and for the sake of others; after searching for long, we found a loving family that was able to offer a home to my dog, a home with a garden to enjoy! We were all in tears as she left last Saturday but we stayed connected to the new parents. The first four days she rarely ate but they were kind enough to make her love them…with tears I am dedicating this post to her, may we all be just to our pets and even more to the animals left unsheltered in the streets, hoping to find a solution for them. The dog in this post isn't mine and I will share "my" dog's beauty in a story. Wishing you a pleasant evening my dears ❤️ tomorrow is a new day, stay tuned to my hiking trip 💚 #lebanon #lebanonspotlights #dbayeh #livelovebeirut #ig_lebanon #insta_lebanon #lebanontimes #wearelebanon #nidalmajdalani #travellinglebanon #bestofleb #instagram #instagood #natgeotravel #animal #animalplanet #dogs #doglovers #animallovers #writer #bbcearth #bbc_travel #cnntravel #natgeochannel #natgeo #doglove #sunset #ig_masterpiece

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10- Nature

We have learned in school that Lebanon is famous for it’s green nature. Yet we grow up in the cities where green is almost nonexistent, we travel to foreign countries and we compare their greenery with ours…cynically! Yet we stay in the comfort of  our cities and we miss out on that green space we were taught in school! Thank God Nidal doesn’t do the same: she goes and explore all around Lebanon and she proves that the green theory is indeed real. Lebanese nature is beautiful and it does exist and we must cherish and protect it!!!

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Honored to have my capture chosen to be the foundation of Lebanon Traveler’s promotional campaign all across Lebanon, over a large number of billboard posters, digital billboards, online ads and postcards beside being personally featured in their magazine issues of this year ❤️ Looking forward to a summer full of new explorations, adventures and photography and who knows, I may organize few tours for those who are asking me to join 💚🇱🇧 Wishing you a wonderful day my dears 🌸🌞🌸 #libanon #libano #lebanonspotlights #livelovelebanon #ilovelebanon #lebanontimes #nature #livelovebeirut #insta_lebanon #natgeo #instagram #marketing #lebanon # #photography #travel #wearelebanon #beirut #photographer #canon_global #nidalmajdalani #travellinglebanon #advertising #onlinemarketing #marketingdigital #entrepreneur #lebanese #maglebanon #todaysoutlook #mtvlebanon

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11- The authenticity

In the middle of a society that loves to wear brands and show it, that loves to drive Ferraris and Porsche and park it front row to show it off, that idolize plastic surgeries and loves to wear the bandage with pride, to a society which is highly consumer driven,….exists a magical authenticity which helps bring back the balance. That contradiction between the opposites of a Lebanese society is definitely worth exploring. Lebanon by a Local main objective is to capture that authenticity. So is Nidal with her beautiful raw pictures.

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A sharp look as he was looking at my 4×4 blocking the way; the outfit clashing with a 30°C temperature; a sleepy donkey driven by a stick; sheep taking orders by looking at his shadow; A hilarious experience as they flooded around the 4×4 moving and scratching it with their thorns… But above all, a beautiful and welcoming smile from this guy and the one in the back as he drew nearer… May God bless our land and its workers 💚 Wishing you a wonderful day ahead 💐 A note: the capture was taken with his consent. Check the stories for more 🍃🌞🍃 #bekaa #ammik #livelovebeirut #people #ig_lebanon #insta_lebanon #libanon #livelovebekaa #lebanonspotlights #feellebanon #lebanontimes #lebanontimes #wearelebanon #livelovelebanon #nidalmajdalani #travellinglebanon #thephotosociety #beirut #lebanontourism #lebanon #dubai #canonglobal #lebanese ##photonature_rgb #naturephotography #peopleandworld #qatar #moments #ig_masterpiece #photooftheday

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12- The typical Lebanese houses

While the Netherlands is famous for it’s doll look a like houses, Lebanon’s typical one has red roof bricks, a stone facade and arched walls.

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Mir Amin #LEBANONHOUSES Photo by @notes.of.a.traveler

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hello #LEBANONHOUSES Photo by @taste.of.beirut

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So…are you packing yet???

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