Jeita Grotto is a complex of caves in the foothills of Mount Lebanon. The lower cave was inhabited in prehistoric times, but not rediscovered until 1836. The upper cave, or gallery, wasn’t discovered until 1958. The caves are karstic – they were formed over millions of years by the dissolution of bedrock with water. The upper gallery is more than a mile long, with a ceiling more than 100m tall in spots. Only about half is accessible to tourists to prevent ecological damage. The lower cave is only accessible by boat. The spring flowing through here is an important source of drinking water for Beirut.
In a word, Jeita Grotto is spectacular. The whole complex another testament to what nature can do with a little time. Visits can be arranged through hotels and tour companies. An organized tour by MAPAS, the company in charge of the grotto, should take about two hours. Be sure to take the cable car to the upper gallery, and then make your way down to avoid a steep climb.
A national symbol of Lebanon, Jeita Grotto is not to be missed, even though it is relatively expensive. The temperature in the caves is constantly a comfortable 22C in the upper cave, and 16C in the lower cave, making them a great escape to the summer heat or winter cold.
Locations: 18km northeast of Beirut
Telephone: +961 9 220 841/843
Tuesday-Sunday 09:00-17:00, varying seasonally
Open Monday in July and August
Admission: Admission charge.