Is your desktop background a wallpaper with white sandy beaches and palm trees? Ever dreamed of escaping to that same island? So did we! So buckle up, we’re off to the North! Yes, you’ve read that right! The North of Lebanon, just off the coast of Tripoli is actually home to wonderful little islands called THE PALM ISLANDS, a natural treasure that provides both the allure of a faraway land and the convenience of a domestic getaway. Which is why last Sunday, we grabbed our Rifai goodies, coconut water and headed to those magical Lebanese lands before we could even say nuts!
After arriving to Tripoli, 11km and a half-hour ferry ride later; we got to this enchanted place called the Rabbit Island (Jazeeret al Araneb). Endless white sand beach, crystal clear water, loggerhead turtles, rare monk seals, flying fish and around 156 species of migratory birds are awaiting you! Isn’t that magical?
It is also said that you can find there some medicinal plants and an exceptional butterfly specie known as the painted lady. Fascinating!
Covering 6km on the Northwest of Tripoli, this island is one of the three islands (including Sanani and Ramkine) that form the so-called Palm Islands Nature Reserve since 1993. The Araneb Island got its name due to the huge number of rabbits that were brought there by the French for hunting in the 20th century. If you’re lucky, you can still see some of them while walking around! The island is also ideal for hiking, snorkeling, diving and let’s not forget about the amazing pictures you’ll be having for your instagram feed!
Even if there is no sign of human life besides a wooden cabin that was probably once used as a lookout point, and some foundations from the crusader period that were uncovered in the 70s, the landmass still has its own charm. It was even said that a royal wedding took place over there! Queen Alice of Cyprus came to the island in 1224 to marry Prince Bohemond V of Antioch. The wedding took place in a church that was dedicated to St.Thomas. There are still some remains of the church to this day so turn on your camera and take a stroll! It’s worth it.
After diving into the warm and refreshing water and discovering every bits and pieces of this magical place, it is safe to say that this trip was even better than going to any European island!
It is truly fascinating to see the little gems of Lebanon and how well they are preserved. From the beautiful nature, stunning beach, and amazing species, we strongly recommend you to pay a visit this weekend. And let’s not forget the boat ride up! A pure joy.
All three islands can be reached by boat from Tripoli and are open from July to September. For more information call on 06 615 938.
Photo credits: @rabbitsislands , @Lory_hazarian