An important cultural and economic hub in the Jabal Amel area, Nabatieh is a small market city with various cultural centres of interest. It makes a good base for exploring the castle and fortress ruins of southern Lebanon and the hiking trails of Wadi al-Hujeir National Reserve.
Things to do
Nabatieh features two historic mosques, the Mosque of Old Saray that dates to the 16th century and the Mosque of the Prophet that was built during the Mamluk period. On Mondays, a market ignites the streets of Souq al-Tanen, with traders from neighbouring villages coming to sell their wares and fresh produce.
A short drive south-east of Nabatieh takes you to the village of Arnoun, which is watched over by the ruins of Beaufort Castle. This ancient fortification has long been known to Arab travellers as Shqif Arnun, with Crusaders adding to the structure during the 12th century.
Make a day trip to Wadi al-Hujeir National Reserve, which stretches from the Litani River in the south of Nabatieh to the town of Aytaroun. Its pristine valleys are covered with Valonia oak forests and dotted with natural springs, along with restaurants, houses and mosques.
Wadi al-Hujeir can easily be combined with a visit to the hilltop castle of Tebnine, which was built in 1104 by the Crusaders. It was rebuilt in the mid-18th century by a local Shiite sheikh to defend against Ottoman rule, with nine well-preserved towers.
Nabatieh is just over one hour’s drive south of Beirut and the Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport. It’s connected by regular bus services to the surrounding towns and cities. Its compact size makes it easy to explore on foot.