Rating in Lebanon
$ 1069

Hiking the Holy Valleys

Trekking  +  walking
Trekking + walking
min $ 1069
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Beirut
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 1069
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  • Overview & dates
  • Itinerary
  • What's included

Overview & dates

INTRO


Hike through the verdant and historic Qadisha valley discovering the stunning nature and fascinating history of this little visited region. Overnight in an 18th Century Maronite monastery, experience a true Lebanese welcome by staying with a local family. Visit a hermit, hike through a stunning Cedar forest, experience the dramatic Baatara sinkhole and explore the unique Jeita`s Grotto. And don`t forget the delicious food!


DATES

This trip can be run on dates to suit you, please contact us for more information and to let us know when you would like to travel.


All tours in Lebanon


HIGHLIGHTS

Delicious Lebanese food - treat yourself!

Explore the remarkable Jeita`s Grotto

Stay in an 18th Century monastery

See the dramatic Baatara sinkhole

Visit a living hermitage

Experience Beirut's beguiling mix of antiquity and modernity


PLACES VISITED

Beirut - Jeita's Grotto - Jbayl - Baatara sinkhole - Qadisha Valley Beirut
Jeita's Grotto
Jbayl
Baatara sinkhole
Qadisha Valley

Itinerary

ITINERARY

Short | Detailed | PDF

Day 1 : Beirut

Arrival into Beirut airport. Transfer to hotel in Beirut’s popular Hamra quarter. Overnight in Beirut.

Arrival into Beirut airport where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative. Transfer to hotel in Beirut’s popular Hamra quarter. Overnight in Beirut.

Meal plan : n/a


Beirut's history goes back more than 5,000 years. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, its antiquity is indicated by its name, which is derived from the Canaanite be'erot ("wells"), and refers to the underground water table that is still tapped by the local inhabitants. Historically occupied by the Romans, the Crusaders and the Ottomans among other ruling dynasties, Beirut’s art and architecture has had multiple and diverse influences. Excavations in the downtown area have unearthed layers of Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader and Ottoman remains. The first historical reference to Beirut dates from the 14th century BC, when it is mentioned in the cuneiform tablets of the Amarna letters, three letters that Ammunira of Biruta (Beirut) sent to the pharaoh of Egypt. Biruta is also referenced in the letters from Rib-Hadda, king of Byblos. The oldest settlement was on an island in the river that progressively silted up.

The city was known in the Roman period as Berytus, and the old Roman coins showed the head of Tycle, goddess of fortune, and the city’s symbol of a dolphin entwined around an anchor. Beirut’s rich artistic and archaeological history is reflected in its vast number of museums. Berytus' power was destroyed by an earthquake, tidal wave and fire in 551 A.D. In the following century Arab Muslim forces took the city and in 1110 it fell to the Crusaders. In 1291 it was conquered by the Mamlukes. Ottoman rule began in 1516 and lasted for 400 years until the defeat of the Turks in World War I. 

The French Mandate Period followed and in 1943 Lebanon gained its independence. Set between the Mediterranean and dramatic mountains rising up in the background, Beirut is one of the Middle East’s most lively cities. The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. While Beirut has become one of the Middle East’s most modern cities, it still maintains its fascinating history and beautiful sites, as well as a thriving arts scene. Until the civil war ended in 1990, most of the archaeological sites discovered were found by accident. However, since then there have been excavations to uncover and investigate these phenomenal sites. The Green Line was a line of separation between the Muslims in West Beirut and the Christian front in East Beirut. It was green because it was uninhabited and therefore covered in vegetation. The local people are renowned for being extremely friendly and charming.


Day 2 : Kesrouan

Breakfast at hotel. Check-out at 8:00am and transfer to the Kesrouan area, explore caves then start hike. Overnight with a local family in a unique setting overlooking the Nahr Brahim valley and Adonis river.

Breakfast at hotel. Check-out at 8:00am and transfer to the Kesrouan area, 50km North-East of Beirut. The area is most famous for the spectacular Jeita’s grotto. Spend some time exploring these incredible caves with one of the world's most impressive collection of stalagmites and stalactites. After exploring the caves the hike starts. The itinerary crosses the wooded Jabal Moussa Reserve to an isolated hamlet on its northern flank. “Jabal Moussa” or “Moses’ mountain” is home of many trees such as iron oaks, elms and junipers. The fauna is rich as well; porcupines, foxes, jackals, wolves, hyenas are all present but are rarely seen in daylight. The ruins of stone houses bear witness to the once flourishing silk industry. Hiking profile 1400-1600-800m. Cumulative uphill: 500m. Overnight with a local family in a unique setting overlooking the Nahr Brahim valley and Adonis river.

Meal plan : Breakfast, lunch & dinner


Jeita's Grotto is a group of Caverns that have been sculpted over thousands of years by water. These caves were discovered in 1836 by Reverend William Thomson, an American missionary. The caves provide a tunnel or escape route for the underground river, which is the principal source of the Nar el-Kalb (Dog River). The lower galleries, discovered in 1836 and opened to the public in 1958, are visited by boat. The upper galleries, opened in January 1969, can be explored on foot.

Day 3 : Jbayl

Continue along the Adonis River to the “smoking hole”. Passing a Phoenician altar, the trail ascends through wild pines and apple orchards. Arrive into the Laqlouq ski resort for an overnight.

The route continues along the Adonis river’s southern flank before it crosses a natural bridge of great beauty to the right bank and into the Jbayl district. Here you will find what is known as the “"smoking hole"” because of a curious phenomenon. The whole river disappears underground for 70m before it surges up again forming a high column of water vapor. Depending on weather conditions, the column can reach over 100m in height. Seen from afar, it looks like a forest fire. Here one recalls the seasonal rebirth of Adonis, killed by a jealous god at the river’s bank. Passing a Phoenician altar, the trail starts a long ascent through wild pines and apple orchards. Finally we arrive into the Laqlouq ski resort for an overnight. 800- 550-1500m. Uphill 1000m.

Meal plan : Breakfast, lunch & dinner


Here you will find what is known as the “smoking hole” because of a curious phenomenon. The whole river disappears underground for 70m before it surges up again forming a high column of water vapour. Depending on weather conditions, the column can reach over 100m in height. Seen from afar, it looks like a forest fire. Here one recalls the seasonal rebirth of Adonis, killed by a jealous god at the river’s bank. Passing a Phoenician altar, the trail starts a long ascent through wild pines and apple orchards.



Day 4 : Tannourine

After breakfast start uphill to rock dwellings of a past dissident bishop, then to an organic farm and the “3 bridges” Baatara sinkhole. Walk through a deep gorge to Tannourine and the Houb monastery for an overnight.

After breakfast the itinerary starts uphill to the curious rock dwellings of a past dissident bishop, before descending gently to an organic farm and the breathtaking “3 bridges” Baatara sinkhole, an impressive natural phenomenon that has drawn rock climbers and speleologists from all over the world. The route continues through a deep gorge to Tannourine and the serene setting of the Houb monastery for an overnight. 1500-1200-1700-1500-1600m. Uphill 800m.

Meal plan : Breakfast, lunch & dinner




Day 5 : Qadisha Valley

Cross the Reserve of Tannourine and the forest of Hadath. Enter UNESCO Qadisha valley. Visit Qannoubine monastery and 13th Century Haouqa Seminar. Trek ends. Transfer to Beirut. Overnight in Beirut (Hamra).

The itinerary crosses the Reserve of Tannourine and the stunning cedar forest of Hadath. Continue along a steep but beautiful path to the Qannoubine hamlet in the heart of the UNESCO-listed Qadisha valley. Qadisha (“saint” in Syriac) Valley has since medieval times been the abode of numerous monks and hermits that have chosen the shelter of its high cliffs and grottoes as an ideal place for prayer and contemplation. In the valley visit the Qannoubine monastery, residence of 17 Maronite patriarchs since 1440, now the summer residence of nuns. Stop at the 13th Century Haouqa Seminar, now occupied by a Colombian hermit. The trek ends at the end of the valley. 8:30-16:30 Trekking. 1600-1700-1500-1700-550m. Uphill 500m. Transfer to Beirut, 100km from Torza. Overnight in Beirut (Hamra).

Meal plan : Breakfast & lunch


Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998, the stunning Qadisha Valley offers spectacular scenery and a unique atmosphere. With the Qadisha River running through the bottom of the gorge, the valley is considered one of Lebanons most beautiful places to visit. Qadisha comes from a Semitic root meaning ‘holy’. Scattered with caves and rock shelters from the third millennium B.C. to the Roman period, the valley is filled with cave chapels, hermitages and monasteries cut from rock.
 

Hamra (“red” in Arabic) owes its name to the ochre dunes that once covered this sparsely inhabited area. Things changed in 1866 with the founding of the American missionary "Syrian Protestant College", later to become the famous AUB (American University of Beirut) and its no-less-renowned AUH hospital. With the civil war, the area lost some of its glamour but remains a most interesting place to stay in.

Day 6 : Beirut - Departure

Breakfast at hotel and transfer to airport for return flight.

Breakfast at hotel and transfer to airport for return flight.

Meal plan : Breakfast


What's included

INCLUDED International return flight (where indicated) Airport pick-up & drop-off Overnights in a monastery, with a local family and in lodges All ground transport and drivers English-speaking guide All entrancefees Most meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan) Bottled water (3 litres per person per day) Day pack only. Luggage transfer is assured
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Travel The Unknown
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