For a small country, the number of intellectuals and writers that have come out of Lebanon is staggering. It seems that every couple of years a Lebanese citizen or resident is recognized for a unique (and often controversial) publication. The country’s history of war and social strife has made for interesting stories to tell. From Khalil Gibran to Rawi Hage, there are many books worth picking up on your next visit. Not sure where to go? Visit these independent shops.
A fast-growing brand, Sarah’s Bag is an authentically Lebanese handbag. Founded by Sarah Beydoun in 2000, Sarah’s Bags make statements–often snarky comments on reality of life as a Lebanese local! These are the perfect souvenir to take back home from a trip to Lebanon. If you’re looking for that original clutch to complete a wardrobe this brand is for you!
Perhaps one of the best gifts to take back home from Lebanon is food. Stores like Hallab and Douaihy have packages especially for travelers and outlets at the Beirut International Airport. Indulge in a taste of Lebanon once you’ve left with sweet treats that’ll last a while.
Al Hallab Sweets: Camil Chamoun Road, New Karout Mall, Gallery semaan, Chiyah, Beirut, Lebanon, +961 1 271 881
Douaihy Sweets: Autostrade Zalka towards Jounieh Centre Le Baron, Beirut, +961 1 878 886
Assorted roasted nuts are a local favorite. More often than not if you’re visiting a Lebanese home you’ll eventually find a bowl of roasted, salted nuts and seeds in front of you with a drink. Like sweets, you can easily find them prepared for travel at places like Al-Amine or Al-Rifai Roasteries all across the country.
Al-Amine Roasteries: Tripoli, Ryad El Soleh Str., Akkar, El Abdeh, Tripoli, Lebanon, +961 71 608 434
Al Rifai Roasteries: Fouad Chehab Street, Beirut, Lebanon, +961 1 888 884
Usually found in old souks like the one in Tripoli, silver home trinkets and Turkish coffee accessories are some of the most Lebanese items you could take back home. When you visit you’ll soon find that the locals love their Turkish coffee, with many drinking several pots throughout the day! Take the beloved tradition home with you in style.
Like Sarah’s Bag, this is a home-wear brand with a twist. Rana Salam’s home decoration items include plates, prints and pillows, all dedicated to reflecting Lebanese heritage with a modern touch. Explore an assortment of beautiful trinkets that’ll leave you wishing you’d budgeted better!
Mar Maroun, Beirut, Lebanon, +961 1 446 216
If you’re going to the cedars, you’ll probably see these wood carvings all around you. Take a piece of the forest’s magic with you, and even personalize it with your or a loved one’s name.
Like any other Arab country, Lebanon is full of stores selling the country’s traditional clothing, including beautiful kaftans. If you’re looking for an original dress as a wedding guest, or just love the culture, make sure to pick one up from the numerous high-end oriental shops.
499, Omar Daouk, Beirut, Lebanon, +961 1 369 499
Another witty take on local youth culture, Art 7ake is a Lebanese brand dedicated to sarcastic Lebanese millennials. With items inspired by ’60s Beirut and contemporary realities, the various prints, T-shirts and totes are a perfect souvenir to take back home.
Quickly gaining momentum worldwide, Lebanese wines like Chateau Ksara are an essential part of experiencing Lebanon, and a good reminder of the time you spent in the country. With good pricing and even better taste, take a bottle or two home to age, and take it out when you miss Lebanon!