Bsharri and The Cedars
Distance from Beirut: 130km
Getting there: Take the autostrade to Chekka, south of Tripoli, and then turn up towards Amioun. From there the road passes along the side of the Kadisha Gorge through Kousba, Tourza, Hadet, Hasroun, Bazaoun and Bsharri. The journey from Beirut takes 2 1/2 hours.
Al-ARZ (The Cedars), named after the ancient unique trees which form a forest in the heart of the village. Hundreds of young Cedar trees have been planted around the area over the last 30 years, but since they only grow at a rate of 1cm every year, it will be many generations before these saplings reach the impressive size of those in the heart of the forest. In addition to the Cedar forest, there are a number of sites of interest in the area. The town of Bsharri is best known as the birthplace and resting place of Gibran Khalil Gibran, Lebanon's most famous mystic, poet, artist and novelist. The Gibran Museum, a converted monastry, houses his paintings, drawings, and personal effects, as well as his casket. The town also has three churches and a waterfall.
The resort of the Cedars had its first ski lift installed by the government in 1953. The high altitude of Al-Arz means that it generally has a slightly longer season than the other resorts, sometimes beginning as early as November, and often lasting until mid or late April. The number of skiers on the slopes at weekends often reaches between two and three thousand.
Since it is a fair distance from Beirut, the resort boasts a number of excellent hotels, as well as about 300 chalets available for rental. The main pistes are equipped with four lifts, one of which is lit at night. There are great opportunities for cross-skiing, and snowboarding. There are also ski schools as well as creche facilities where activities are arranged at the Kid's Club for children aged between five and twelve years.