The Lebanon

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Until relatively recently the Lebanon was probably better known for its brutal CivilWar and Western hostage taking but these days it is much more stable with only the South really presenting a danger to visitors. The Cedars and the Chouf mountains, so long out of bounds to Westerners, have passed into ski mythology.

Getting There

  • Paris: Air France every weekday, approx. 450 Euros return.
  • Geneva: Middle East airlines
  • London: British Airways or Middle East Airlines, approx 400 Pounds return.


Valid passport. For French and Swiss nationals a visa can be obtained at the airport for about 140 Francs for 15 days.

Best Period

The best snow is to be had in February and March

Where to Go

  • Faraya-Mazaar is the most fashionable ski resort in the Lebanon. It has numerous lifts and offers many off-piste possibilities. Recommended is the Auberge San Jose, Carlos Fenianos (tel: 00 961 3 312315)
    Varianos Travel run an agency specializing in ski trips to Faraya Mzaar.
  • Laqlouk is a small and very friendly resort with only a few chair lifts and beautiful descents. There are some nice day ski tour possibilities. The Hotel Shangri-La has a period style and is friendly.
  • The Cedars, this is the mythical resort of the Lebanon with skiing up to 3,000 meters. Lots of accommodation possibilities and countless fantastic descents if you are prepared to walk a bit (there are only a couple of chair lifts). From here you can traverse the mountain range Qornet es-Sawda to the famous Bekaa valley. Check out the Auberge La Cabane.
  • There are three smaller resorts of Faqra and Zaarour, both private and Qanat Bakish.


Take everything with you, especially for a bivouac. There are many sports shops but ski touring is still a bit of a mystery to the locals.


None whatsoever! At Faraya you may find some people with snowmobiles who will offer their services.


The mountains are a real maze and it's almost impossible to get hold of the accurate military maps. This website has a general map of the Lebanon

The Locals

Above all the locals are adorable and love people who take the trouble to visit their country. Whether they are Christian or Muslim everybody offers a warm welcome both in the towns and mountains. Many people speak English or French, communication shouldn't be a problem.

Remember to respect local customs especially religious sites.


If you haven't organized things in advance there are local buses, taxis and hitching is also possible.


Until recently the Lebanon was effectively occupied by Syria and Syria maintains close links with the Lebanese security services. In the south the Hezbollah militia is sporadically fighting Israel. Check the UK Government travel advice site for recent information.

Mountain Guides

There are none - the Lebanese are not adventurers and never leave the pistes except maybe to leave some tracks in the powder just to the side.

Links, Ronald Sayegh's site is dedicated to skiing in the Lebanon with up-to-date information about the weather, accommodation and snow conditions., The official Lebanese government web site., information on tourism in the Lebanon


The Reuter's Where To Ski and Snowboard Worldwide written by ski travel writer Chris Gill covers Lebanon as does the similar Where to Ski and Snowboard: 2002. Ski Journalist Rolandos Constantinides has written about his adventures.

However The Lebanon is not just about skiing, The 15 day tours organised by Horizon's Nouveaux spend half their exploring the fascinating history of this region. With the end of the war guide books have begun to appear, recommended are The Lebanon: Insider's Guide and the Syria and Lebanon Insight Guide contains many useful addresses and phone numbers. If you get a taste for the dishes of the region Lebanese Cooking offers many good recipes.

Organised Trips

Horizons Nouveaux in Switzerland organizes ski-safaris in Lebanon over two weeks with ski touring, bivouacs, and the traverse from The Cedars to the Bekaa valley. The temples in Balbeck provide some off-piste distractions.

Tel: 0041 27 7717171
Fax: 0041 27 7717175

Some information from Grand Ski, special edition of Ski magazine

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