In the Arab world, Lebanon is known for its stunning nature and enviable atmosphere, with one of the distinctive features being its winter and ski season. It has many ski resorts littered around The Cedars and Faraya Mzaar. Of the two, the more recent is Faraya Mzaar, and it is certainly worth the trip.
The Cedars, while an excellent place for winter sports, is mountainous terrain. Under the snow is a layer of rocks and tree stumps. Moreover, for the people who prefer to stray off the tracks, there might be more trees and fauna to navigate through as well as steep inclines. Faraya, being lower, offers skiing with fewer obstacles. That, however, doesn’t mean that there aren’t slopes for the more professional of skiers.
Where is it?
Skiers can find Faraya in Keserwan, Lebanon. Its name comes from a Phoenician word that means fertility, which references its fertile soil. The site is 42 kilometers (26 miles) away from Beirut and 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away from Jounieh and is at an altitude ranging between 1,600–2,300 meters (5,249–7,546 feet).
Where to stay?
Since it’s a destination for both locals and tourists, the site is full of places to stay. The options range from hotels to apartments and houses. Some of the highest rated accommodations are the InterContinental, MzaarViews, and L’escale Du Mzaar. It’s best if you book your stay for longer than a day because you definitely need more time to really enjoy the atmosphere and the stunning scenery provided in Faraya.
Where to eat?
While you can eat at your hotel or cook in your chalet, you need to try the food offered by locals in the area. Lebanese food is known globally for being delicious and healthy—sometimes. Regardless, the country’s cuisine is perfect for an energy boost, before or after your snow adventures. Make sure to have a Man’oushe (Lebanese pastry) in the morning as it is the tradition. Then enjoy an authentic lunch of hummus, assorted meats and tabbouleh for the perfect pick-me-up after a day of activity. Some of the best options for food are Saj Mema (for that Man’oushe), Chez Michel, and Aand Shaker.
Skiing at Faraya
The ski resort is divided into three connected areas. The newest is Wardeh, which follows from Jonction, the main ski domain. Then there is Refuge, which is exclusive to the guests of the InterContinental. The ski lifts offered at these spots provide access to different ski points. The height of these slopes ranges from 200 meters (656 feet) to 1,652 meters (5,420 feet)—their levels ranging from beginner to advanced. The highest ski point is accessible at the Jonction ski area, and the lowest is available at Wardeh.
Also, there is a wide selection of equipment stores to rent and buy your sports supplies in and around the ski resort. For your enjoyment, there are also snowmobile tours to explore the area. Moreover, there are spa packages provided by the InterContinental for those guests looking to spend a relaxing weekend in the snow.
Winter is an ideal season to visit Lebanon, especially with all the activities offered, and Faraya is undoubtedly one of the best ski resort spots in the country—if not the best. It is perfect for both the avid skier and the person just looking to spend a nice weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city.