When to go
March - October
Cabernet, Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah
Cosmopolitan Chic (Beirut)
With an intoxicating mix of food, culture, history, and nightlife, Lebanon needs to calm down before all the other countries give up. And since it lies roughly on the same latitude as Bordeaux, the country produces complex French-style wines with an added dose of freshness from the mountainous terrain. That’s what you call a power move.
Teeny tiny Lebanon packs in overwhelming vistas of the Mediterranean Sea, a spectacular mountain range, and jaw-dropping Roman ruins that you’ll just about have all to yourself. But let’s get serious about what you’re really here for: the food. Blending bold Middle Eastern flavors with European refinement, this is one of the world’s most prolific cuisines.
If you like hedonism, you’ll feel at home in Beirut. Effortlessly straddling the East and West, Beirutis dance to traditional music and smoke shisha, while wearing the latest designer clothes and tossing back shots. To put it lightly, they know how to enjoy themselves. Soak up the rich, complex culture and history of this city, explore the wonderful Souk El Tayeb Farmers Market, and unwind at a chic Mediterranean beach club.
A convenient bonus of Lebanon’s diminutive size is that you have the option to base yourself in Beirut, while taking day trips to see the rest of the country.
Tawlet Beirut + Tawlet Ammiq
Foodies, chefs, and farmers all rave about the restaurant Tawlet Beirut, which features a rotating cast of female chefs from all over the country. Here’s what we had to learn the hard way: the experience is a marathon, not a sprint; and, you will regret wearing tight pants. Prepare for an overwhelming spread of dishes that pair beautifully with local wines.
A short, picturesque drive from Beirut lies its sister restaurant, Tawlet Ammiq. Feast on an amazing spread of dishes prepared by women of the Bekaa Valley with farm to table ingredients. It’s a toss up between whether the food, the view, or the design of the restaurant is more beautiful. Grab a lounge chair on the outdoor patio, gaze out at snow-capped peaks and farmland, and make a gluttonous day of it.
Lebanon’s history is staggeringly complex and lengthy. There’s no point in attempting a summary here, so we’ll just say this: a very clear impact of their tortured history is that the people have developed a particular brand of joie de vivre, and it’s a bona fide spectacle.
The friendliness and warmth of the Lebanese is infectious. And if we may be extra real for a second, they earn our vote for the most beautiful people on the planet. Revel among a vivacious, life-loving crowd that blends Eastern and Western cultures like no other.
sprawling roman temple complex dating back 9,000 years
Wine has been made in the lush, mountainous Bekaa Valley for over 5,000 years. Clearly, the people here know what to do with a cluster of grapes. So much so, that just beyond the vineyards, in Baalbek, the Romans chose to build the Temple of Bacchus (god of wine), the largest and most extravagant of all Roman ruins.
Domaine des Tourelles
After spending the morning at the sprawling, impossibly preserved ruins of Baalbek, lift your jaw off the ground and head to Domaine des Tourelles. You can reflect on all the history you just experienced, while tasting the acclaimed organic wines of this woman co-owned boutique winery.