As you drive past Tyre and its crowded streets, the scenery becomes more rural and the sky flat above you welcomes you to a clear view of a lonely road leading to Palestine with nothing but open blue skies. There is something quiet enchanting about a road by the sea that hasn’t been tampered by civilization. Although this whole region has been occupied by Israeli forces not long ago and has seen some atrocities, today it lies calmly drifting on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Naqoura is in an area forgotten by most, and loved by those who seek an authentic rugged beach experience. Occupied by the Israeli army until the year 2000, it is characterized by a weak demographic growth and a population that does not exceed 3,800 inhabitants. This region, like the majority of South Lebanon’s regions, was preserved during the Israeli occupation from anarchic and massive construction that Lebanon endured during the 1975-1990 civil war and later. In addition, the region lost most of its inhabitants and became a kind of “no- man’s land”. The village sits on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, whose coast has remained in a pristine state. Naqoura is a true example of what beaches in Lebanon could look like if they were well taken care of.
The white rocky cliffs, as you reach Mansouri, with their wild green vegetation are a site of beauty. They stand proud unmoved by years of heartache and somehow the loneliness bestowed upon them, seems to mingle with the sea breeze as it hits its rocky shores, unmoved by time and unmoved by mankind.
As you reach Mansouri, take a right and go down to Tyros Resort. You can either spend the day at Tyros or mingle with the locals as we did on the beach just next to it. You will see a small road where the locals park their cars and bikes to go for a swim or a picnic by the sea. Naqoura, Mansouri, and Bayyada are actually the cleanest and most pristine beaches in Lebanon. You can either park your car and just walk the 3 minutes downhill that leads you to the beach, or for those with a more adventurous spirit, you can walk, like the young locals do, on the beaten path of those rocky hills and then climb down and find a virgin spot that would be your little spot of heaven for the whole day. We were with the kids and adventure was not our plan for the day, so we stayed by the beach. The locals are very friendly and they will help you to find your way and advise you where to go. As we sat there by the sea, just us, a family, and a couple of young men, I could see from a distance a few friends jumping from a rock that extends to the beach, adding a little touch of Lebanon to the whole scenery. It truly is a peaceful place where love of life and sea mingle easily together.
I asked a couple of young men, much to my husbands’ dismay, if they could take me to see the bridge with the little blue lagoon that I have heard so much about. As we walked on this little trail that leads to it with nothing but the turquoise sea a kilometer below us, I found it hard to keep my balance as you really have to know your way around, of course they were jumping from one rock to the other as if they were born on those cliffs. They probably were. The tough walk was definitely worth it tough. The difficult path opens up to a white coastline that is visible from the high way above to a small creek with pristine translucent waters and a bridge that you can walk on. Although they were happy to throw themselves in the cooling waters below and walk on the bridge, unfortunately my fear of heights stopped me and I was more then happy to see them enjoy the land that they has been bestowed upon them. I promised myself though that the next time we go there, I will swim to it from where we were, which is another way of reaching it. This little bridge with turquoise water is located in Ras el Bayyada.
We spent a wonderful day with the kids on the beach and then took the winding roads on the white cliffs to a restaurant called Amwaj el Bayada with an amazing view over the Mediterranean Sea. The grilled fresh fish that we had was by far the best I’ve ever had in Lebanon.
Somehow along the day we found ourselves lost on this little piece of land, with all our worries and city life behind and nothing but the fresh crisp open waters ahead. The sea rolling softly, gently, powerful in its beauty amongst the chaos of life, rested calmly. Taking in the sounds, the soft taste of salt as it touched our lips, I breathed deeply, letting the deep-sea air fill my lungs. The beach, deserted, was ours for the day and I felt like a speck, insignificant along a vast expanse of shifting white ground, just out of reach of the world for a couple of hours. And I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t leave. Not yet…
To my South, thank you for the beauty and for the escape.