Distance from Beirut: 44km
Getting there: Take Saida Road as far as Nahr el-Damour, then go up the mountains, on a wide, scenic road passing through Damour which is famous for its delicious bananas. Continue to Kfarhim, with its old and beautiful olive trees, then to Deir el-Qamar, the old historic ancient capital of the of the Emir Fakhredine and residence of the governors of Lebanon from the 16th to the 18th centuries, and finally to Beiteddine.
BEITEDDINE means "house of faith'. Beiteddine is a palace built at the beginning of the 19th century, by Emir Bechir Chehab II, on a rocky spur dominating a steep, precipitous valley. A perfect example of classic Lebanese architecture of the time, it has decorated ceilings, colourful marble mosaic floors, luxurious Turkish Baths and harem suites, in a setting of beautifully groomed gardens, a guest house in which the French Poet "Lamartine" once dwelt, water jets and colonnades. The palace remained the emir’s residence until his forced exile in 1840, when the Ottomans used it as the government residence. It was declared a historic monument in 1934, and then began a restoration process. Since 1943, it has been the summer home of the president.A folkroric museum occupies one wing and in the palace's renovated stables is an exquisite display of mosaics from a ruined Byzantine church and other structures of the same period.
MIR AMINE PALACE Just minutes from Beiteddine is a restored palace of the same period that is now one of the most beautiful hotels in Lebanon. Make a quick detour to see the hotel, not forgetting to check out the bottom of the swimming pool which is tiled to look like a Persian carpet. The view from the hotel is breathtaking.