Central-Bekaa is one of Lebanon’s most historically rich areas. It’s home for many touristic sites and is also known for its dairy and wine production industries. I came up with a list of things to do in Central-Bekaa but there are of course much more places to discover.
The Sun temple aka Haïdara
Haïdara is an unfinished tomb that is carved in the rocks on a high cliff in Kab Elias. Some say it dates to the beginning of the Roman era, others to the Persian Achaemenid period. According to local legends, this monument is called “Temple of the Sun” due to its polished marble façade that reflects the first rays of the sun.
Founded by the Jesuits in 1857, Château Ksara is one of the oldest and most known modern wine industries in Lebanon. It has a diverse range of 17 red, white and rosé wines.
Niha is famous for its Roman archeological ruins, and in particular two lower temples that date back to the 1st century AD. Hosn Niha is still unexcavated, it’s the less famous temple and is located two kilometers up in the mountain.
Rayak’s abandoned train station
The Rayak Railway Station is a former passenger railway station and railway repair shop. Rayak was a strategically-located station within the Lebanese railway system; it acted as a junction, with the main branch to Syria towards the cities of Homs and Damascus (reaching Mosul in Iraq) as well as a large repair facility. The station complex had nine buildings, including a hotel, a telecommunications center and a ticket office. Other buildings onsite included a military center, a postal station, the employee lounge and a security building. The first train arrived to Rayak from Beirut in 1895.
The beautiful Souk of Zahle
Zahle Souk is one of the most charming and authentic Souks in Lebanon. It’s surely a must-visit.
The Umayyad ruins of Anjar
The city of Anjar was founded during the Umayyad period under Caliph Walid Ibn Abd Al-Malak (705-715), it bears outstanding witness to the Umayyad civilization. It’s a great example of an inland commercial center, at the crossroads of two important routes: one leading from Beirut to Damascus and the other crossing the Bekaa and leading to Homs. The site of this ancient city was only discovered by archaeologists at the end of the 1940s.
The Roman temple of Majdel Anjar
Few kilometers away from Anjar ruins, lies the less known Roman Temple of Majdel Anjar. Located on a strategic hilltop overlooking the Bekaa valley, this temple was built between 41 and 48 AD. More details here.
Taanayel Lake and Monastery
Taanayel is a manmade lake and a well-known touristic destination in Central Beqaa. It’s always great to visit this place and enjoy the tranquil nature and a bike ride away from the chaos. There’s also a beautiful Chapel and nice vineyard trails nearby.
Saadnayel’s train station
Saadnayel’s station was restored and transformed by the municipality to a public library back in 2015.
Where to eat? Al Chams (Anjar), Wadi Chamsine (Barr Elias), Besten El Hor (Barr Elias), Sama Chtaura, Beit El Sett (Zahle), Tallit Abou Zayd (Zahle), Abou Farid (Zahle)…
Where to stay?
Al Haush is an exceptional agritourism destination in Central Bekaa with calm, charm and authentic agricultural traditions.
Featuring a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre, as well as a restaurant, Grand Kadri Hotel is set in Zahlé and is one of the rare remaining historical landmark hotels in Lebanon.
Beit El Kroum
It’s a beautiful Boutique Hotel with a small pool and panoramic view over Zahle and the valley.
An authentic guesthouse, Lebanese restaurant, outdoor adventure games, picnic and events venue in the middle of Kab-Elias. Domaine Chouchene also provides guided strolls and tours in the beautiful nature of Kab-Elias.