Syriac origin, "Sephro" or "Saphro" meaning "bird" or "morning" (called Sophar before the independence)

Sawfar is a village located in a mountainous region surrounded by deep valleys and overlooking the green Metn region. This village with its sumptuous traditional residences, villas and palaces perfectly illustrates the summer haven of the Lebanese high society before the war. In its dilapidated palaces, such as the Bernina hotel or the Dona Maria palace, float still the scent of a sumptuous past where the notables of Beirut met each other during the summer. The village is also famous for its beautiful promenade with its tree alleys in perspective in which nature is discreet or exuberant to the rhythm of the seasons. Crossed in the middle by the Beirut-Damascus axis, the village may look like a road stop but retains an undeniable charm.


Must-do things
Architectural Heritage
  • The remains of Sawfar Grand Hotel with its casino founded in 1885, the first of its kind in all the Middle East
  • The remains of the Dona Maria Palace
  • The remains of the Bernina Palace hotel
  • The remains of the railway station and the railway along the side of the mountain
Natural Heritage
  • The walkway with its tree alleys in perspective
Where To Eat
  • Le télégraphe de Belle-Vue: A French bistrot in Bhamdoun, a fine cuisine and a excellent wine (Château Belle-Vue) in a charming setting. A nice outdoor space or a cosy one at the corner of a fireplace, depending on the season.
  • Halim: A Lebanese restaurant in Bhamdoun with a good mezze and delicious ortolans, the speciality of the house.
Nearby sites and villages
  • The village of Ain Trez where is located El-Saad palace with its thousand-year-old oak, a former silk farm dominating the valley and the summer residence of the Greek-Catholic patriarchate
  • The labelled villages of Hammana, Falougha and Rechmaya