Rural Tourism Day

Providing opportunities for rich experiences and the preservation of cultural heritage, rural tourism is a pillar of economic growth outside of big cities. Countless rural communities around the world look to tourism as a lifeline and leading provider of employment opportunities.

This year’s edition of World Tourism Day is celebrated under the theme of “Tourism and Rural Development.” Although the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made this year exceptionally challenging  for the tourism sector, we remain optimistic that the golden days of rural tourism are still over the horizon.

Connecting nine villages in higher Chouf and West Bekaa, Darb El Karam is a food tourism network that offers thematic packages according to harvest seasons. Visitors can delight in Lebanon’s unique food culture through activities like picking and preservation, tours across the country to discover traditional food processing methods and unique culinary experiences at the houses of food producers.

Looking forward beyond lockdown, we’ve planned some exciting culinary adventures. Situated in the charming West Bekaa Valley, our upcoming goat trail on Saturday, October 3rd will introduce visitors to local goat shepherds, offer a variety of authentic dairy delicacy and wine tastings, a hike with breathtaking views between Ain Zebde and Saghbine and much more.

Stay tuned for our future rural adventures for 2020 which will be announced soon!


Establishing a Food Trail in Higher Shouf and West Bekaa

In the framework of the Lebanese Industry Value Chain Development LIVCD project, the USAID granted The Environment and Sustainable Development Unit ESDU of the American University of Beirut AUB, funds to initiate its project aiming at establishing food trails in the regions of Higher Shouf and West Bekaa.

The project is implemented by ESDU in close collaboration with the Food Heritage Foundation FHF and the Shouf Cedar Biosphere Reserve SCBR, and the established trails will connect ten villages within the Biosphere geographical area.

The goal of the project is to increase touristic competitiveness of Higher Shouf and West Beqaa areas through the development of touristic packages based on agricultural harvesting and food processing, a kind of tourism best known as food tourism. Through the incorporation of tourism to agricultural and food processing activities, the project aims to increase and diversify the income of small farmers, producers, SMEs, local guides, and bed and breakfast operations integrated to the food trail.

To the tourist, food tourism aims to raise awareness about the history and origin of a food product or a traditional dish and its cultural and emotional ties to the destination. Similarly, this kind of tourism puts the visitor in direct contact with the farmer/ producer, who is the storyteller and the beholder of this food culture.

Hosts and local guides

Abla Majed, Niha Al Shouf

We like to nickname her the “Sirdele” lady. A sirdele producer for more than 20 years, Abla never thought that one day she would become a dairy producer! Her husband’s family had been raising and herding goats for generations and once part of the family, she got down to business and excelled in it.


Sirdele in Shouf, a type of labne produced in clay jars, is the result of the fermentation of goat milk with coarse salt over a period of few months. It is also called Ambarees in the Bekaa Valley.

In 2006, Abla went to Torino to take part in the 2nd Terra Madre event by Slowfood International and was hailed for her traditional labne product.

With Abla, you will learn how Sirdele is produced after coming back from a hike with her husband and his goats!

Eat Local

Breakfast at May’s house in Mresti


Mresti, one of the highest villages in Shouf is known for its old Oak trees. On the food trail, you will also be in touch with its hospitable and friendly inhabitants,  Like May, the owner of a minimarket in the older part of the village. May is known for the bread she bakes and her whole wheat mana’ish.




Food Tourism Activities

Apple harvest

Autumn is a special time of the year in rural Lebanon. Darb el Karam offers you the chance to participate in apple harvest activities with small farmers in the West Bekaa and Higher Shouf villages and to learn the authentic preparation method of apple jam.

Apple picking

Farmer Zeidan from Mresti explains to the visitors about the local varieties of apples and how to carefully pick the apple fruits and put them in the plastic boxes.

Apple picking

Eat at tables d’hote May Kanaan and Bassima Zeidan in Mresti and Lina Haddad in Kherbet Kanafar local apple specialties and participate in jam making.

apple jam apple jam