My road trip through Lebanon continued in the city of Batroun, a beautiful beach town roughly one hour north of Beirut. We were going to do a mix of food and historical sites this afternoon. Come with me as we explore Lebanese seafood and the ancient sites in the city of Batroun, Lebanon!
Batroun is a coastal city in northern Lebanon, located on the Mediterranean Sea. It is known for its historical monuments, including the Phoenician Sea Wall and the Crusader-era Cathedral of Our Lady of the Seas. It’s also one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world!
My friend and guide Nico and I began at Hilmi’s House of Lemonade, a lemonade museum and spot in town. It’s the world’s most iconic lemonade spot, and the world’s only lemonade museum! I learned that it dates back to 1888!
There are lots of displays showing the history of Hilmi’s. The three Hilmi sisters were the first to sell lemonade in Batroun, Lebanon. Later, Chez Hilmi founded the Hilmi brand in 1962. This museum was founded by Rana, Farah, and Nour Hilmi.
There’s also a gift shop and a room where you can try their different lemonades. They have over a dozen varieties, as well as smoothies, other fruit juices, ice cream, and more.
I went with the original. It was tart, cold, and half-frozen, but it was also one of the best lemonades I’d ever had. They also have Red Moon lemonade, mint lemonade, Strawberry lemonade, and more. They even have one called On Fire, which contains tequila! It cost 30,000 LL, or about $1.50 USD.
Back outside, the rain cleared up, and we set out to explore the city. We could see old stone houses with medieval architecture. The stones were massive!
The houses were being renovated. There were also several restaurants and older buildings like churches. I recommend coming to Batroun in the summer, as many spots are closed in the winter.
We saw St. Stephen’s Church, which was built by an Italian architect. Next to it is the port with a few boats. I learned that most of the men here were either fishermen and sponge divers.
Then, we headed across a rocky beach toward the Phoenician Sea Wall. These rocks were used to make the stones used to build the buildings in town.
To get great views, you climb up to the Church of Our Lady of the Sea. The Phoenician Sea Wall there is massive. It’s a huge breakwater that began as petrified sand dunes. The ancient Phoenicians reinforced it with rocks until it reached 225 meters in length. It’s also 1.5 meters thick. Parts of it have crumbled away, but it’s still one of the most beautiful sites in Batroun, Lebanon!
Next, we headed to Batroun Pebble Beach. It was high tide at the time of our visit. If you’re hungry, there are restaurants nearby.
Then, we walked to Georges Maalouf Seafood & Snack for one of Batroun’s famous seafood sandwiches!
They sell many varieties, including octopus, shrimp, calamari, fish eggs, squid with ink, raw fish, grilled fish, and more. They also sell raw fish plates and mussels.
We went with the raw fish sandwich, which is made with a red meat fish similar to tuna, and soy sauce. It tasted like sashimi and was like a raw seafood wrap. Adding some chilies gave it a little kick.
Nico got the calamari sandwich, which comes with lettuce, lime juice, coriander, salt, and olive oil. They brush za’atar and a reddish sauce on top and chop it into three pieces. It was fresh, spicy, and crispy, and cost $5 USD.
Next, we drove to Colonel Brewery & Distillery. This local brewery in Batroun, Lebanon makes arak, vodka, gin, white rum, and beer.
At their bar, we started with some unfiltered lager, which was smooth and ice-cold. Next was their passionfruit lager, which is lager with passionfruit syrup. It was unique and had a light, summer feel. We followed that with an herbal gin and some milky arak.
Inside the kitchen, they made some shrimp rolls, fish kibbeh, and more for the fried seafood combo. They also made shrimp with butter, lemon juice, oil, and garlic. The tajin with lionfish, tahini, garlic, nuts, and onion looked amazing, too.
The calamari with sweet chili sauce was excellent. The fish kibbeh was the perfect bar food, as was the fried shrimp with tartar sauce. I loved the shrimp rolls, and the garlic shrimp was excellent. The lionfish tajin was unreal! I also loved the moutabel!
All in all, it was a fantastic way to end our time in Batroun, Lebanon!
97 Countries • 1400 Cities
Leave a Reply