Deir el Ahmar lies 2h away from Beirut in the heart of the Bekaa Valley. Famous for the Lady of Bechwat Sanctuary, this town has long stood in the shade of Baalbek the City of the Sun. I think combining both in one trip would be a great idea for foreign or local tourists, because this village has a lot to offer. It would be a prefect day-trip for those seeking to discover the genuine Lebanese culture and interact with the generous local community.
6 Ideas for you to plan your perfect week end getaway to Deir el Ahmar:
1- Take a tour around the vineyards and taste some exquisite wine at one of the two local wineries of the region; the Chateau Barqa family winery and the Covent Rouge winery of Deir el Ahmar. You can also participate in grape picking activities during harvesting season in September. This sector has been newly introduced to the northern side of the Bekka Valley, combining excellent climate conditions and a convenient soil to produce some of the best wine quality.
2- Organic fruits and vegetables picking and traditional cooking classes with local women of the village or at one of the many farms of the region.
3- The Lady of Bechwat is without any doubt a holistic and a must visit when you are in town, but you can also add other religious locations on your list that are as significant as this one, such as the Monastery of the Lady of the Rosary (Saydet el Wardiye) where the world’s biggest rosary is under construction at the moment or The Monastery of the Cross (Deir el Salib) where you can witness a charming outdoor church and a magnificent scenery overlooking the village of Deir el Ahmar and the colorful Bekaa plains.
4- For those fond of hiking; several hiking trails can be arranged by the guidance of local experts;
- At the Yammoune Natural Reserve (30 mins away from Deir el Ahmar by car)
- The Mamlaket el Lezzeb Area in Rabiaa (45 mins away from Deir el Ahmar by car)
- The Historical Roman road or the Via appia trek which links Byblos to Baalbek.
- The Religious trek or “Dareb Maryam” as they call it.
5- Sightseeing between traditional houses and centuries old mills in Deir el Ahmar and its surrounding villages.
6- Immerse yourself into the local community and savour homemade regional food prepared by the village women. They will host you at one of their traditional homes for accommodation in exchange of a certain fee (35$/person/night including breakfast). These guesthouses are part of the DIYAFA Association network, where locals offer guests a unique experience combining traditional architecture, warm atmosphere, and generous homemade food at their privately owned properties).
These Eco touristic activities were established in Deir el Ahmar, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the W.A.D.A (women association of Deir el Ahmar). You can contact them for any local guide or guesthouse reservation on: +961 3 622 369.