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Expat Exchange - Best Places to Visit in Lebanon for Christmas Cheer
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Best Places to Visit in Lebanon for Christmas Cheer

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in Lebanon for Christmas cheer.

Lebanon, a country known for its rich history and cultural diversity, also offers a unique holiday experience for expats and digital nomads looking to get into the Christmas spirit. From the vibrant streets of Beirut to the charming mountain villages, Lebanon lights up in December with festive decorations, holiday markets, and events that bring joy and warmth to the winter season. Here are some of the best places to visit in Lebanon during the holidays.

Beirut's Downtown District

The heart of Lebanon's capital, Beirut's Downtown District, transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. The area is adorned with sparkling lights, Christmas trees, and festive decorations. One of the highlights is the Beirut Souks Christmas Market, where you can find a variety of holiday gifts, crafts, and traditional Lebanese Christmas treats like Maamoul and Buche de Noel. The market usually runs throughout December, offering a perfect blend of local and international holiday experiences.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to try the warm and spicy mulled wine, which is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. The festive atmosphere is further enhanced by live music and carolers that fill the air with holiday cheer.

Byblos

Byblos, one of the oldest cities in the world, is renowned for its spectacular Christmas festivities. The Byblos Christmas Festival typically includes a stunning display of lights and decorations throughout the ancient city. The main square features a large Christmas tree and a life-size nativity scene. The festival often hosts concerts, parades, and a Christmas market selling handcrafted goods and seasonal foods. The event usually starts in early December and continues until the end of the month.

We Recommend: Make sure to taste the traditional Lebanese sweets like Sfouf and Maamoul, which are especially popular during the holiday season. The picturesque setting of Byblos provides a magical backdrop for these festive treats.

Jounieh

Jounieh is known for its beautiful bay and lively atmosphere, and during December, it becomes even more enchanting with its Christmas decorations. The Jounieh Christmas Village is a must-visit, featuring a variety of stalls selling Christmas crafts, decorations, and delicious food. The highlight of the season is the Jounieh International Festival, which includes a spectacular fireworks display and a boat parade along the bay, typically held in mid-December.

We Recommend: Experience the unique tradition of enjoying roasted chestnuts and warm Sahlab, a sweet milky drink topped with cinnamon, as you stroll along the bay and take in the festive lights.

Zahle

Zahle, known as the "City of Wine and Poetry," offers a charming Christmas experience with its own holiday market and festive events. The city's main boulevard is beautifully lit, and the Christmas market, often referred to as the Zahle Christmas Market, features local artisans and vendors selling everything from Christmas decorations to gourmet food items. The market is a great place to find unique gifts and to enjoy the local culinary delights.

We Recommend: Don't leave without trying the famous Lebanese mulled wine, known as "Vino Caldo," which is particularly popular in this region known for its vineyards and wineries.

Broummana

Broummana, a picturesque mountain town, becomes a cozy retreat during the holiday season. The town is famous for its Christmas decorations and the Broummana Christmas Market, where visitors can shop for handmade crafts, local produce, and festive foods. The town also hosts various Christmas concerts and activities that create a warm and inviting atmosphere for all who visit.

We Recommend: Indulge in the local specialty of hot chocolate, often served with a twist of Lebanese flavors, as you enjoy the panoramic views of the snow-capped mountains.

Beirut's Hamra Neighborhood

Hamra, one of Beirut's most vibrant neighborhoods, is bustling with energy during the Christmas season. The streets are lined with festive lights and decorations, and the shops offer holiday sales and seasonal items. The Hamra Christmas Market is a great place to find unique gifts, and the neighborhood's cafes and restaurants serve up holiday-themed menus and drinks.

We Recommend: Enjoy a slice of Buche de Noel, a Lebanese Christmas cake that is both a visual and culinary delight, as you soak up the lively atmosphere of Hamra.

Cedars of God

For a truly white Christmas, head to the Cedars of God, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This ancient forest is a serene place to enjoy the natural beauty of Lebanon during the winter. Although there isn't a traditional Christmas market here, the snow-covered cedar trees and the nearby ski resorts offer a unique holiday experience, complete with winter sports and cozy mountain lodges.

We Recommend: After a day in the snow, warm up with a glass of locally produced Arak, an anise-flavored spirit that is a staple in Lebanese celebrations.

Batroun

The coastal city of Batroun is another destination that comes alive during the Christmas season. The Batroun Christmas Market is known for its festive atmosphere, with local vendors selling handcrafted goods, Christmas decorations, and traditional foods. The city also hosts a Christmas parade and a variety of events that bring the community together in celebration.

We Recommend: Sample the local seafood dishes that are given a festive twist during the holiday season, and pair them with a glass of wine from one of the nearby vineyards.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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