Nestled in the mountains of North Lebanon circa 1,200 meters above the sea, Douma remains the most truthful representation of authentic Lebanese villages known for their red-tiled roof houses, green mountains, refreshing climate, and heartwarming hospitality.
Douma: a haven of tranquility.
Thirty minutes from Batroun and far away from any kind of urban invasion, the village of Douma offers all the ingredients of a perfect retreat. Noise-free streets, beautiful traditional architecture, a charming old souk, a fresh breeze, and splendid nature rich with olive trees, Douma combines everything that’s appeasing to the senses. No wonder that the pronunciation of Douma comes from the Hebrew language word “Doumah”, meaning calm and rest.
Douma is mostly famous for its old souk that has well preserved its traditional cachet. Small paved streets welcome you with old wooden doors that open to reveal fresh local produce, beautiful artisanal works, and craftsmen forging wood or iron. With an abundance of iron in its oil, Douma was a hub for the iron industry back in its golden age (1881-1914), attracting craftsmanship and buyers alike, hence another name it has been known for: “Douma El Hadid”.
Douma: a central location.
Perched in a valley surrounded by mountains, Douma is strategically located in the Batroun district bordered by the beautiful villages of Tannourine, Bshaaleh, Hardeen, and Neha. Only 30 minutes from Laqlouq and Balou3 Balaa and few minutes away from Assia and Tannourine, the town presents a heavenly location for all hikers and outdoor lovers!
Where to Sleep: Beit Douma.
An extension of Souk el Tayeb and a member of L’Hote Libanais, the old renovated Lebanese house captures the essence and spirit of this family of guesthouses which tries to protect Lebanon’s heritage and promote rural tourism.
Entering Beit Douma, you’re immediately drawn by the warmth of a place that makes you feel straight at home. Centered around a Dar, the first floor of a beautiful traditional house welcomes you with a high ceiling, typical Lebanese arches, a living room with a rich library, and a big table decorated with flowers and delicious complimentary desserts and coffee, just like your grandma would serve them.
The second floor houses 4 of the guesthouse’s 6 rooms, along with a common lounge room warmly decorated with flowers, lamps, wall frames, and books. In addition to a legendary breakfast consisting of fresh local produce, guests have also access to the lovely terrace and gardens surrounding the guesthouse.
Must-try in Douma
You can find several dining options in the village of Douma but there’s one you shouldn’t miss: Istirahit El Moukhtara. Her real name is Jamal and she’s the one you should visit for the best Awarma, Keshek and Saj in town. She won’t mind opening her place and heating her oven just for you, while she lights up your mood with funny stories and makes you fall in love with her passion and kindness. You can contact her on: 71-224446.
What to do around Douma
Many wonderful hikes and activities can be organized around Douma such as trekking in the cedar reserve of Tannourine, a visit to the waterfall and cave of Balou3 Balaa, hiking in Nahr el Joz – the river of Tannourine, climbing in Tannourine, hiking Jabal Douma, visiting the 6000-year old olive trees of Bsha’leh, or the nearby biodynamic Sept Winery.
The hike I chose to do during my stay in Douma was in the village of Assia, most specifically its wadi, 7 minutes by car from Douma. Assia is a village of exceptional beauty. It is rich in remains of ancient civilizations such as sarcophagi, old historical churches and old grape and olive presses. Assia has many springs and water ponds like Saidet el Qalaa Pond, or The Lady of the Fortress Pond, irrigated by a gorgeous waterfall. The village is also known to be the last producer of 100% natural handcrafted pottery in Lebanon. Visit Sana Jabbour who welcomes you in her house to explain more about the art of pottery. (Sana: 03-630 626)
How to get to Douma:
Take the Tannourine highway from the city of Batroun and follow the signs to reach Douma after approximately a 30-minute drive.