A view of a city from a hill overlooking the ocean.

Jounieh and Our Lady of Lebanon · Best Travel Guide · Beirut (2023)

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Moving to a new country every two years

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Welcome to Jounieh!

A beautiful coastal city located in Lebanon, just 25 minutes driving north of Beirut.

Close to Jounieh you will find Our Lady of Lebanon shrine, also known as the virgin Mary statue of Lebanon, which has simply the most stunning views I’ve ever witnessed.

So, come and explore the beauty and charm of Jounieh, Lebanon’s hidden gem on the coast.

Read on to learn all that this unique place has to offer!

Table of Contents

What is there to see and do in Jounieh?

This rather unknown town just above Beirut is a must-see when you’re in Lebanon.

Main Street Jounieh

In the center of Jounieh you will find the picturesque main street.

What’s so amazing about the center of Jounieh is that it feels like you’re in a southern Europe town but with touch of the Middle East.

The street is right along the coast only 20 meters from the sea.

You can explore the local cuisine by visiting the city’s several restaurants, ranging from traditional Lebanese dishes to international flavors.

Unlike Beirut, many things in Jounieh are much more affordable. Parking is only 50 cents in the city center.

The Meditteranian Sea along Jounieh

The Mediterranean Sea near Jounieh offers a breathtaking view with its crystal clear turquoise waters. It is an amazing place that is so incredibly close to the city center.

The photo above was taken from the Main Street, it is that close to the sea.

I love these old houses in Jounieh, they are so authentic and picturesque.

Of course, there is also a beach but I didn’t have enough time to visit it.

Bnoss Jounieh Festival 

Jounieh is also known for its annual Bnoss festival.

The festival features live music performances, cultural shows, and fireworks, creating a vibrant atmosphere that truly shows the almost ‘island’ kind of spirit of the town.

The festival isn’t just one day.

It goes on for more than an entire month! In 2023 it was from June 23rd until July 31st.

The festival starts in the evening when the temperature is a bit more pleasant.

During the day they are setting up all the bars.

More info can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/bnossjounieh/?hl=en

This was the program of 2022 just to give you an idea: https://www.the961.com/summer-festival-taking-place-in-jounieh/

sunset places in jounieh

Jounieh is a town right at the Mediterranean Sea with some of the best sunsets!

These are some of the best sunset places in Jounieh:


Also, the Lady of Lebanon shrine is an amazing location for a great sunset in Jounieh.

Visiting Our lady of Lebanon Shrine

No visit to Jounieh is complete without a trip to the Our Lady of Lebanon shrine, a stunning area located on top of Harissa mountain.

Sanctuaire Notre Dame Du Liban, as it is called in French, located in Harissa, Lebanon, is not just a place of worship, but also a place of inspiration and relaxing.

As you walk up the steps towards the sanctuary, you can’t help but feel a sense of peace and serenity come over you! I’m not even exaggerating.

The View From the Our Lady of Lebanon Shrine

Simply stunning, no more words needed!

St. Paul Greek Melkite Basilica

Another religious site that can be seen from the Virgin Mary statue on the right side is the St. Paul Greek Melkite Basilica. You can’t mis it!

This stunning basilica is dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, it is an architectural masterpiece with a stunning background.

The view of the St. Paul Greek Melkite Basilica with Beirut in the background is amazing. It is a view unlike I’ve seen anywhere else. What a view!

There is even relaxing, meditating music being played that you can hear in the entire area of the shrine. 

My local friend told me to put our phones on silent mode before we entered the area of the Mary statue of Lebanon. That’s how quiet and peaceful it was!

The magnificent architecture of the church leaves you in awe of its beauty. The stunning panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea from the top are epic.

Just right below the statue you will find a narrow sacred area inside the structure. It’s open for anyone who wants to visit it. Next to the entrance you will see a staircase going all the way up to the statue.

The national shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon is an absolute must-see.

Near the entrance you will also find the our lady of Lebanon shrine gift shop https://www.ourladyoflebanonshrine.com/gift-shop

Exploring Jeita Grotto

Jeita Grotto is another must-visit attraction located near Jounieh. This natural wonder consists of two interconnected caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites.

You can take a boat ride through the lower cave and explore the mesmerizing underground formations.

I haven’t visited this location myself, hopefully next time!

More info can be found here: http://jeitagrotto.com/

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/cbuHAoTumv7N3Fnv9 

For the real adventurer: Paragliding above Jounieh

Are you an adrenaline junkie looking for a thrill? Look no further than paragliding above the picturesque city of Jounieh.

Fly through the sky and feel the rush of wind against your face as you take in the views of the Mediterranean coastline.

More info: https://www.skileb.com/lebanon/paragliding/

How to get there: Practical Info

Read here how to get to Jounieh and the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon.

How to get to Jounieh from Beirut

To reach Jounieh from Beirut, there are several transportation options available.

Taxis are available throughout the city, and the journey from Beirut to Jounieh takes approximately 25 minutes, depending on the traffic.

Fridays are considerably more busy than other days. An easy option to book a taxi is Uber.

You can pay in cash at the end of the ride.

How to get to Our Lady of Lebanon

Visiting Our Lady of Lebanon is easily reached by car or taxi. The shrine is located atop Harissa mountain.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xGEdn7ybo5n2oSZv9

The road is quite well maintained but there are some holes. The journey itself is an experience, as the road winds its way up the mountain, providing glimpses of the bay and the city below.

This is also one of the reasons why it is a must-visit when you are in Beirut. The trip up and down to Jounieh including to Our Lady of Lebanon only takes about 2 hours and you’ll be back in the city of Beirut.

Parking at Our Lady of Lebanon

Parking is free and the parking lot is actually right next to the shrine and church so it’s super easy to reach.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/7TvqHqsabEAUzQ6PA

Teleferique du Liban

Or if you are already in Jounieh, take a ride on the Teleferique du Liban, a cable car that offers epic views of Jounieh and the surrounding area.

It takes you up the mountain, allowing you to see the panoramic view.

More info can be found here https://www.teleferiquelb.com/ 

No Entrance Fee

A great thing about visiting Our Lady of Lebanon is that there is no entrance fee.

You can explore the shrine and its beautiful surroundings without any additional cost. However, it is appreciated to make a donation to contribute to the maintenance of the place.

What to wear when visiting Our Lady of Lebanon shrine?

When visiting the shrine, it is advised to dress modestly when you’d like to go inside the church below the statue.

You may consider wearing long pants or skirts, and covering your shoulders.

If you don’t have long pants they will provide a rope for free for you to wear.

Best time to visit Jounieh

The best time to visit Jounieh, a coastal city in Lebanon, is actually all year around!

During summer the temperature is warm and it is a bit humid but it is perfectly fine to walk outside and sit on a terrace in the shadow.

During winter time at night it can get a bit colder but during the day it is still around an acceptable 18 degrees.

The Bnoss festival takes place between June 23rd until July 31st.

In my experience Jounieh never got really crowded. If you arrive at the city center early around 6 pm it will be easy to find a parking spot.

Final thoughts on visiting Jounieh and Harissa, Our Lady of Lebanon

One of the best things to do and visit in Jounieh, Lebanon is the Our Lady of Lebanon Shrine, the famous Mary Statue of Lebanon.

It was my absolute highlight when I was in Beirut.

It is also the perfect area to relax or even meditate during sunset with the music that fills the air at the area.

It is well worth the short trip from Beirut to the beautiful town Jounieh. The streets have such a relaxed Southern European feeling.

The Virgin Mary statue of Lebanon and the Harissa Lebanon church are one of the best places to visit when you are in Beirut or Jounieh.

It is such a unique place it is hard to describe how spectacular the view is and how serene it feels.

For me, it is even one of the most spectacular views and places in the Middle East. 

Hopefully this comprehensive guide to Jounieh and the Lady of Lebanon shrine will help you to get the most out of your trip!

Discover more hidden gems on Beirut.com

F.A.Q. Jounieh and Our Lady of Lebanon

Our Lady of Lebanon, also known as Notre Dame du Liban, is a Maronite Catholic shrine located in Harissa, Lebanon.

It was built by a Lebanese architect named Pierre Kikano. Construction of the shrine began in 1904 and was completed in 1908.

The statue of the Virgin Mary, which stands at the top of the shrine, was sculpted by French artist Michel-Ange Slodtz.

Our Lady of Lebanon, or Notre Dame du Liban, represents the Virgin Mary and holds great significance in the Maronite Catholic tradition.

Locals told me that even in the difficult situation Beirut is currently in the country is still holding itself together because of the influence by Our Lady of Lebanon.

Jounieh is located approximately 16 km north of Beirut. Depending on traffic the ride will take about 25 minutes.

Yes, Jounieh offers beautiful beaches such as Sahel Alma and the Gem resort. Beaches are even very close to the center of the town.

You can get around in Jounieh by taking a bus, Uber, or renting a car. Easiest way is to take an Uber.

An Uber ride in the city will cost about 5 dollars.

Yes, you can visit Our Lady of Lebanon, a famous religious site located in Jounieh with stunning views of the bay.

It is only 5 minutes driving from Jounieh.

A man standing on top of a sand dune with his arms outstretched.

About the author

Chris Oberman is the founder and author of Moving Jack and has been traveling the world for over 20 years to 40+ countries.

He lives in a different country every two years which allows him to gain unique in-depth insights and experiences in new places abroad.

Quoted on Gritdaily.com, NRC Newspaper, Vice,and Feedspot.

Read more about the author.

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