Q'adisha Valley

  • Entrance to Q"adisha Valley - © By Stephen Barber
  • Where the hermit still lives - © By Stephen Barber
  • Hermits" Caves - © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber
  • © By Stephen Barber

Key information: Q'adisha Valley

  • Walk along this imposing, mystical gorge in Lebanon.
  • A refuge for Christian monks for centuries, its cliff-faces are mined with monasteries, churches and cells.
  • A moving experience in dramatic scenery, with forests and ancient terracing among the cliffs and a rich bird population.

Walkopedia rating

(Top 100)
  • Walkopedia rating92.5
  • Beauty31
  • Natural interest14.5
  • Human interest16
  • Charisma33
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating92.5
  • Note: Neg: increasing tourism

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Half day
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Hermits' Caves - © By Stephen Barber


The following information is provided by Stephen Barber (many thanks!).

The Qadisha, or Holy Valley, is a deep gorge running approximately east-west in central Lebanon. This valley has been a key site of the Maronite Christians since the fifth century, and a place of refuge over many centuries due to its wild, inaccessible geography and its natural caves. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Many of the monasteries, churches and cells that line its steep cliffs are cut into the rock face. Each has its own animus; some are restored, some still retain an earthen floor and rough stone barrel vaulting. Outside, the air is alive with birdsong and hawks soar effortlessly on thermals rising from the valley floor way below. The steepest slopes between the cliffs are thickly wooded with pine, walnut, evergreen, oak and acacia, the less steep have been cut into terraces by generations of Maronite peasants, who still work the land by hand.

Walk the route eastwards between the monasteries of Qozhaya and Qannoubin, via the hermitage of Hawqa and the sanctuary of St Marina. A hermit, of Colombian origin, still occupies Hawqa.

At the head of the valley, just outside Bcharré, is a small but unique stand of ancient Cedars of Lebanon (the Cedars of God), some of which are said to be over three thousand years old.


Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.


See also expedition planning, including our universal expedition checklist. Walkopedia encourages responsible travel.

Books and Maps

Suggest books and maps

Books on this walk

Syria and Lebanon – Laura Dunston, Terry Carter (Lonely Planet)

Middle East – A. Ham, R. Wlodarski, J. Bainbridge, C. Soriano, J. Walker, A. Thomas (Lonely Planet)

The Dark Tourist: Sightseeing Unlikely Destinations – Dom Joly

Lebanon – M. McCrossan, H. Taylor (Globetrotter Travel Guide) 1847734774

Other books

From the Holy Mountain – William Dalrymple

1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die – Eds., M. Bright and J. Barrett

Lebanon, the Phoenician Pearl – J-P. Planquin

Lebanon: Cultures of the World – S. Sheehan, Z. Abdul Latif


Lebanon (Globetrotter Travel Map) – New Holland Publishers

Syria, Lebanon (Country Map)­ – Cartographia

Lebanon (Travel Reference Map)­ – International Travel Maps

Lebanon (Bartholemew World Travel Map)­ – C. Moore

Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk.An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).

Also try www.mapsworldwide.com and www.trektools.com.

Best times to walk/weather

Best times to walk

Spring and Autumn.


Very hot in summer, cold in winter.

For detailed weather information, have a look at: www.worldweather.org or www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/country-guides

Getting there/transport/permits/fees

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See Walk Summary above.

Route Map

Possible problems, health, other warnings

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  • Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
  • Heights: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights.
  • Harmful animals, including snakes, stinging/biting insects and plants. Take all appropriate precautions.

See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and problems can arise on any walk. Many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks and possible problems. This website cannot, does not purport to, identify all actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to a walk or a country. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Make sure you have appropriate insurance.

Guided or independent?

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You can do this walk independently.


Traveling here with a knowledgeable guide has real advantages (but take care you get someone competent and agree a fee in advance!). Expedition organisers include:


The guidebooks have a selection of possible accommodation. If you book your visit through a tour organiser they will often sort out your accommodation.

Hostelbookersusually has a good selection of cheaper-end accommodation.

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Other information and tips

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Useful websites and information

There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.

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Other things to do in the area

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Other walks

Lebanon Mountain Trail, a newly-opened trail running north-south.

© By Stephen Barber

share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

© By Stephen Barber...

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