One of Lebanon’s most popular mountain resorts, Bikfaya’s crisp air and forests of oak and pine make it a must-see destination all year round. A moderate climate, photogenic red-roofed houses and gorgeous views of the Mediterranean draw travellers looking for a taste of traditional, small-town life.
Things to do
If you only do one thing in Bikfaya, visit Jeita Grotto. This breathtaking system of limestone caves was a finalist for the Seven Wonders of Nature competition. Take a boat along the underground river and marvel at the echoing caverns and otherworldly atmosphere. You can also ride the cable car to the upper levels to admire the stone formations shaped like curtains and huge mushrooms.
Once back in Bikfaya, head for the thermal springs, which have been drawing travellers since the 10th century. Other historical attractions include two monasteries on a hill above the town where the remains of an 8th-century stone chapel were recently discovered, the 16th-century Mar Abda church and a traditional Lebanese civic building called a “serail”, where the local nobles once lived.
Fancy a healthy snack? Bikfaya is renowned for its delicious fruit, especially peaches and cherries, and the area is covered in orchards. Try them fresh from local fruit vendors scattered around town or grab a table in Tallet Nasr and sample the restaurant’s delicious Lebanese and Mediterranean food.
Bikfaya is 25 kilometres from Beirut, about a 40-minute drive along a route with beautiful mountain scenery. There are no formal bus stops but you can flag down one of the service taxis or minibuses that run throughout the town.