Although Lebanon is known for its lively capital city Beirut, its historic landmarks in Baalbek and it's amazing sea views in Byblos, there is seriously so much more to the country.
There are numerous things to do when visiting the south of Lebanon, including parts of Saida, Jnoub and even places higher up like Jezzine. If you're bored of the city and are in the mood for exploring a whole different side of Lebanon, here's your ultimate guide:
1. Go biking at La Maison de la Forêt, Bkassine
Located 70 km away from the city of Beirut, La Maison de la Forêt is a communal eco-touristic site within Bkassine’s pine forest offering a wide range of activities for all the nature lovers out there. From biking to tower climbing and rappelling, this place offers many great ways to spend your day. You could even spend the night in their bungalows if you'd like. For more information, call +961 07 800 222.
2. Visit the Crusader Castle, Saida
Fun fact: During the winter of 1227-1228, the crusaders decided to fortify the Saida port. In a few short months, they built this impressive fortress over a Phoenician site. The castle was partially destroyed and then rebuilt multiple times until it was bombed by the British marines in 1840. It is the emblem of Saida. Opening hours: From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m./ 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in winter.
3. Spend a day in Jezzine
As you first enter Jezzine, you will see the Saydet Jezzine (Our Lady of Jezzine) shrine resembling Lebanon's more famous Harissa. The town overlooks a cliff of 40 meters and is home to many beautiful landmarks including the waterfalls and the Grotto of Fakhreddin II.
4. Walk around the old souks in Saida, Nabatieh or Bint Jbeil
5. Visit Al Mina and Al Bass archaeological sites in Tyre
Dating to the third millennium BC, these ruins are a must see. Listed as UNESCO sites of Tyre, both historic sites are home to Roman and Byzantine remains.
6. Visit Bawabet Fatima near the borders
Fatima Gate, also known as the Good Fence Crossing, is a former border crossing between Lebanon and Israel. On the Lebanese side, it is close to the village of Kfar Kila. The crossing has been closed since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon at the end of the 1982-2000 South Lebanon conflict. However, you can still visit the area and clearly see Palestinian land only meters away.
7. Stop by Malhamet El Zuhoor, Msayleh
If you love lahme nayyeh, this is the place for you. It's on Msayleh, heading towards Nabatieh. For directions, call +961 03 253 219.
8. Go to the beach in Tyre
9. Drive a bit more south and take a dip in Naqoura
10. Spend the day at Litani River
This is the longest river in Lebanon, rising in the fertile Beqaa Valley and emptying into the Mediterranean sea north of Tyre. The river provides an average annual flow estimated at 920 million cubic meters.
11. And get the best saj at Al Reef, Zefta
Honestly, some of the best Lebanese cuisine can be found at this place. Take the highway leading up to Nabatieh and keep making stops to ask where Al Reef is so you won't miss the exit. For more information, you can also call +961 07 506 056.
12. Spend the night at Dar Alma in Tyre
This is a 19th century traditional Lebanese house located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Tyre. For more information on prices and bookings, call +961 07 740 082.
13. Or at the Turquoise Resort, Al Qulayleh
For more information, call +961 78 822 877 or +961 03 100 859.
14. Or at Al Yasmine Guesthouse in Naqoura
Enjoy the beautiful view, go horseback riding and many other activities at this 16 room guesthouse. For more information, call +961 03 372 888.
15. Grab a delicious fatayel sandwich at Mahfouz in Tyre
For more information, call +961 07 740 131.
16. Get a fulfilling, delicious breakfast at Ibn Al Balad, Ghazieh
If you take the seaside road in Ghazieh, you should be able to spot this sign that will lead you right to the place. Located near the beach, this place's food is a must try! From the foul to the manakeesh, you have to try a bit of everything. For more information and directions, call +961 03 592 807.