The North of Israel is renowned for the Galilee, which is one of the most beautiful locations in Israel, besides being overflowing with beauty, culture, history, and nature. There are many fantastic places to visit in the north of Israel. The most renowned are Haifa, the Sea of Galilee, the Mountain Region, the Western Galilee and the Northern Mediterranean Coast.
Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel, and it is considered the Capital of the North of Israel. The city is located on the slopes of Mount Carmel, and it is very famous for its magnificent Bahai Gardens. Haifa owns several museums, attractions, and beautiful quarters like Haifa German Colony. Haifa is a blend of Arabic and Jewish cultures, and it is a unique city also because of its structure and architecture. At the summit of Mount Carmel, there is a breathtaking panorama with a fantastic view of the Port of Haifa, walking along the Louis Promenade, which is located close to several hotels, museums, and shops.
Moreover, in Haifa, the only subway in Israel, the Carmelit, connects the city’s upper and lower parts. Another fantastic attraction of Haifa is the beach Hof Hacarmel. The Baha’i Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are unique and breathtaking gardens in Haifa, and they are a pilgrimage destination for the Baha’i faith worshippers. The gardens are distributed on different terraces, descending Mount Carmel and facing the Mediterranean Sea. In the lower area of Haifa, there is Haifa’s German Colony, which dates back to the templar period and is well-known for its beautiful streets. There are many bars and restaurants in the main street of the German Colony, which extends from the lower area of the Baha’i gardens up to the seashore. Many museums are located in Haifa, and one of the most notable ones is the Madatech Science and Technology Museum, which is the national museum of Science of Israel. Another fantastic and interesting museum is the Haifa Educational Zoo, located on Mount Carmel and hosting more than one hundred wildlife species. The Clandestine Immigration and Navy Museum is dedicated to the history of Israel’s Navy. Moreover, it is fascinating to visit the Haifa City Museum hosting several exhibitions related to art and cinema.
In Haifa, the leisures never go missing, and indeed, there are many cultural events to attend all year round, such as the Israel Philarmonic concerts, the International Film Festival at the end of September, and the annual festival Holiday of Holidays, which celebrates the Christian, Jewish and Muslim festivals in December.
There are many ways to visit Haifa, and one of the best is to join a guided tour, which might also include Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Private tours show the area of Haifa with an excursion of the historical landmarks of Israel, in addition to a journey of the Northern Coast, Galilee, and the beautiful Carmel areas.
The Sea of Galilee – Kinneret
The Sea of Galilee is one of the lowest lakes in the world, and the location is full of history. Indeed, Galilee is a place that is linked to the history of Christianity. Visitors can enjoy different activities such as water sports and have a tour on a boat trip. Also, biking gives the possibility to enjoy the fantastic panorama and the nature of this beautiful place.
Additionally, different organised excursions are available as journeys into the cultures and flavours of Galilee, which will take the visitors on a captivating trip. The nature around the Sea of Galilee is unique and special; hence, it also deserves an excursion over one day. The cultural tours of the Galilee are mostly private tours dedicated to showing the rich religious and cultural heritage of the Galilee, including a visit to the mystic Old City of Safed, the birthplace of the Jewish Kaballah, and a charming art centre with its several beautiful art galleries. The village of Shibli is an extraordinary site related to the Bedouin and Druze cultures. Another magnificent location in the Galilee region is Mount Tabor, where the Church of the Transfiguration is located. Besides the cultural tours, there are very interesting and unique journeys to discover the tasty Israeli cuisine rich in flavours. Indeed, it is recommended to tour the Galilee greenish hills and discover the ancient markets in the historic Nazareth and the villages nearby on the Mount Carmel slopes. Most of the tours include tasting local fresh food and wines and learning about new and fresh spices, besides the well-known street food.
The Golan Heights
The region of the Golan Heights is rich in mountains, and the most renowned ones are Mount Arbel and Mount Gilboa.
Mount Arbel is situated in the Lower Galilee region beside the Sea of Galilee, rising over the Sea of Galilee. From its slopes, there is a breathtaking landscape of the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon, the tallest peak in Israel. It is a fantastic experience to explore Mount Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve because of its several hiking trails, observation posts, archaeology, and history. The magnificent view atop Mount Arbel is unique, and it is possible to ascend the mountain by foot or by car. Another incredible location is the Galilee region around the Horns of Hittin, where Saladin won against the Crusaders in 1187. Mount Arbel is a historical location with caves located on its slopes, which were the refuges of the Jews fleeing from the Greeks and Romans. The primordial caves date back to the Second Temple Era, whose details had been described by Josephus, who wrote about the Roman conquest against the Hasmoneans on the ridges of Mount Arbel. On the cliffs of Mount Arbel, there are ancient ruins of a synagogue, the only synagogue whose ark doesn’t face Jerusalem. Nowadays, it is possible to see the old ruins of this mysterious ancient synagogue. The most diffuse leisure in Mount Arbel is hiking, following the Israel National Trail coming from the south, and the Jesus Trail from the west. There are enjoyable trails inside the national park for those who prefer to walk.
Mount Gilboa is located in the Lower Galilee, in the southern area of the Sea of Galilee. It is one of the most beautiful places in Israel, with magnificent wildflowers flourishing all over the mountain all year round. Mount Gilboa is not only a quiet place but also a breathtaking location to explore, especially in the summertime when the cool breezes make the journey pretty enjoyable. The most common activities in this beautiful location are hiking, biking, and picnicking along the Gilboa Scenic Road, allowing access to many observing points to admire the scenic landscapes and magnificent areas to explore. The Gilboa Road stretches along the ridges of Mount Gilboa, offering spectacular panoramas with many stopping points. The highest peak of Mount Gilboa is 650 metres above sea level, overlooking the surrounding valleys and lowlands. The different heights in Mount Gilboa were named after the Biblical personas. Mount Shaul is one of the most famous peaks in this region, and in this area, there is a stopping viewpoint among the pine foliage with a stunning landscape of Mount Gilboa and the valley surrounding the mount.
On Mount Shaul, many outdoor activities such as paragliding take place, and around this mountain, it is a beautiful location for recreational activities, picnics, hikes, and playground areas. Moreover, the closer kibbutz is Ein Harod, which is an incredible place for its meadows and fishponds with fantastic views and nature. The beautiful natural spring of Ein Hasamal is reachable following a unique hiking trail close to the Hidden Valley, lying on the bottom of Mount Shaul. For those who are not advanced hikers, there are many trails for beginners and easier to cross, such as the trail starting from JNF Tower in Mount Barkan with astonishing panoramas of the Jenin Valley, Nablus and the West Bank.
It is highly recommended to visit Mount Gilboa Iris Reserve, especially in the autumn and wintertime, when the reserve has spring water and beautiful purple flowers, with an exciting watchtower located at Mount Barkan. The Paltiel Sela is a location with a breathtaking lookout, situated close to a forest, where it is enjoyable to picnic and have a relaxing walk in nature. Indeed, Mount Gilboa is one of the most beautiful locations in Israel, and it deserves to be explored.
The Golan Heights and Gamla
The Golan Heights are located in the eastern region of the Sea of Galilee, in the northeast area of Israel. It is a spectacular mountain with breathtaking and unique landscapes; hence, it is a stunning and magnificent destination for everyone to visit at least once.
The Golan Heights region is far from the big urban centres of Israel. It is home to different fauna and flora species, such as the eagles nesting in Gamla, deers roaming in Idem, and astonishing sceneries, especially at Mount Bental. In this area, it is worth visiting the historical natural hot springs of Hamat Gader, which date back thousands of years ago. Mount Hermon is a fantastic location, which is the only ski resort in Israel and a site offering many opportunities for hiking, biking, canyoning, rafting and many other sportive outdoor activities in the wild nature. Indeed, the Golan Heights is a remarkable unique place; moreover, the mountains’ region is a green and stony tableland situated in the eastern area of the Sea of Galilee, in the farther north of Israel. The Golan Heights consists of a small region providing the country with one-third of its water, besides being an important historical location for Israel. The Golan Heights is one of the most magnificent places in Israel, and it is characterised by both lunar landscapes and luxuriant forests with many water sources. The most spectacular waterfalls in Israel are the Saar Falls, a special and unique place, and the Banias Waterfall, the most renowned and big waterfall in Israel. The Banias Waterfall is located inside the Banias Nature Reserve, a favourite hiking location full of history. Another important site of the Golan Heights is Mount Bental, with magnificent landscapes of Galilee and the Syrian grasslands. One of Israel’s most important historical and beautiful places is the Gamla Nature Reserve, a craggy ridge with a peculiar camel shape that dates back to 2000 years ago and is considered the Masada of the North of Israel. The Gamla Nature Reserve has magnificent views, archaeological ruins and a bird watch observatory, which is well-known around the world, attracting tourists each year to see, in particular, the Griffon Vulture. Another enchanting place in the southern area of Golan Heights is Hamat Gader, a fantastic location with natural hot springs employed for over 2000 years and a breathtakingly beautiful environment.
The most renowned attraction of Golan Heights is Mount Hermon Ski Resort, the only ski resort in Israel and a location that provides fifty days of skiing every year during the wintertime. Nevertheless, the unicity of Mount Hermon is also its surroundings, such as the desert, and during the summertime, the resort is a fantastic place for its flora and splendid panoramas. Indeed, it is enjoyable to hike and swim in the summer, and in the spring, the prairies are full of colourful flowers; meanwhile, autumn is the best season for hiking and exploring magnificent woods. Among the several trails for hikes, Golan Trail is the most popular one; moreover, another unique location is Nimrod Fortress, the most famous and imponent Crusader fortress in Israel, which has been conserved exquisitely. The most common way to reach the Golan Heights is by car or through a guided tour. It takes almost two and half hours driving from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to get to the southern area of the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights offer several outdoor activities. It is possible to go by car or join a tour to explore the prominent locations of the region while enjoying the magnificent views and getting to know the historical places. Canyoning and water hiking, especially in the famous Black Canyon, are popular activities in the Golan Heights region. And mainly in the summertime, it is delightful to explore the many water streams of the Golan and the well-known Jordan River in the western area. In the northern region of Golan Heights, there is an extraordinary and unique location: the Gamla Nature Reserve, a beautiful natural park with archaeological ruins and rare fauna species such as vultures and the Gamla Eagle. The Gamla Nature Reserve is a stunning and magical location with unbelievably magnificent sceneries of the Sea of Galilee. It is possible to explore The Gamla Nature Reserve over a day thoroughly, hiking and admiring the unique nature and historical remains. The vultures are the most important attractions of Gamla, and through the Vulture Trail, it is possible to reach the bird observation posts located on a cliff. In Gamla Nature Reserve, eighty vultures live; being each of them is 1 metre tall with a wingspan of almost 3 metres, making this kind of bird very impressive. Walking through the Vulture Trail, there is a magnificent view of Mount Gamla, one of the marvellous mountains in Israel. The “Ancient Path” is a fantastic hiking trail full of bird watching stations to admire the beautiful birds living in the forest. There are archaeological ruins on Mount Gamla and surroundings related to several important historical events, especially on “Ancient Mount Gamla”, an important historical site. The Gamla Waterfall is the tallest in Israel, measuring almost 52 metres. It is reachable through a 90-minute trail, where ancient dolmans are located; the dolmans are mysterious stone monuments shaped as tables with unknown functions.
Mount Hermon Ski Resort is Israel’s only winter ski and snowboard resort. It is located in the Golan Heights in the most northern region of Israel, which is a blend of different environments and landscapes within a few kilometres. Indeed, Mount Hermon’s location is a few hours drive from the desert, and the ski resort is top-rated in the world; it is active during the winter visitors can enjoy several sportive activities. Mount Hermon offers many outdoor activities during spring, summer, and autumn, such as hiking and biking while enjoying magnificent landscapes. The Mount Hermon ski resort is open for 50 days from January up to March in the wintertime, and it owns five chair lifts and fourteen ski runs, allowing beginners to take lessons.
Moreover, everyone can rent equipment at the resort, and for those who don’t ski, there are ski lifts for both the spectators and skiing visitors. The warm seasons allow visitors to explore the mountain region and admire spectacular landscapes, especially by taking the cable car to reach HaMa’apil peak. Additionally, it is very recommended to join guided tours to discover the typical flora and fauna of the Hermon region, and of course, hiking and biking following the different trails. Indeed, the most diffuse outdoor sport is mountain biking at Mount Hermon, especially in the Bike Park, a biking reserve located in the Hermon Ski Resort with three bicycle trails. For beginners, there are classes on mountain biking, and there are two 5 kilometres of trails in the downhill area starting from the top up to the bottom of the ski resort, allowing bikers to reach the top of the biking routes through ski chairlifts.
The Hula Valley
The Hula Valley is located in the Upper Galilee region. It is one of the most beautiful and enchanted places in Israel, being unique because of its blend of nature, history and miracles. Moreover, the Hula Valley is the best bird watching place in Israel. It is unique because it is in an area corresponding to a major bird migration route for birds migrating from Europe to Asia and Africa. The Hula Valley Nature Reserve and its surroundings have several bird observation spots, besides biking, hiking and walking trails, and the magnificent nature with its breathtaking landscapes. In the 1950s, the valley was a malarial swamp, which had been drained to develop an agricultural area, leaving only the central lake. The Hila Valley Nature Reserve is open throughout the year, and it is an enchanting place every season. In the 1990s, the area was flooded because of the heavy rains; hence the surrounding region was redesigned, leaving the valley as it was, calling the new place Agmon HaHula, which became residence to thousands of thousand migratory birds crossing the area in springs and autumns, and of several native birds; hence the site became a well-known bird watching observational location attracting visitors and tourists from all over the world. The reserve hosts more than 200 species of birds, such as cormorants, cranes, egrets, pelicans, and storks, which can find a lot of food in the Hula Valley.
Additionally, there are rare aquatic plants in the Hula Reserve, like the paper reed, yellow flag, and white water lily. Water buffalos are among the fauna that lives in the valley, especially in the meadows, and rare species such as the white-tailed eagle have also been reintroduced into the wildlife sanctuary because it was an endangered species of eagle. In Agmon HaHula, several walking paths and observation spots with telescopes allow visitors to admire the thousands of birds living in the Hula Valley. The Hula Valley is part of the northern Great Rift Valley, which is also known as the African Rift Valley extending up to Mozambique in Africa. From all over the world, bird watchers visit the Valley to enjoy the unique habitat and, in the meanwhile, they can enjoy the several facilities of the natural reserve such as observational points with telescopes, walking, hiking and biking trails. There are also guided tours to allow visitors to explore the Hula Valley thoroughly, with many explanations regarding the birds living there. There is abundant water in the Hula Valley, and many natural springs and rivers diffuse throughout the area. Among the natural springs, the most famous are the Ein Tina and the Jakhula; meanwhile, among the large rivers, there are the Hemon, Dan, Snir and the River Jordan. Hence, the area is green because of the large amount of water, and many flowers adorn the Hula Valley, which includes several natural reserves such as the Banias with its beautiful waterfall, HaTanur, and Tel Dan. The area contains many hiking and biking paths thanks to the particular topography of the valley that is flat. Another popular outdoor activity is kayaking, especially on the River Jordan during the summertime. In the Hula Valley, there are historical ruins and archaeological areas such as Tel Hatzor, and another popular tourist attraction is the well-known Tel Hai Photography Museum, the historical Tel Hai Compound and many entertainments for children and adults like the Manara Cliffsand cable car. The Hula Valley is definitely one of the most beautiful locations in the northern region of Israel, which is a unique and fantastic country.
The Upper Galilee
The Upper Galilee is located farther north of Israel. It is an incredible region offering many leisures such as skiing on Mount Hermon in the wintertime and exploring the ancient ruins and natural reserves. The picturesque valleys and hills are extraordinary, and they make the Upper Galilee a fantastic location to relax and have a good time. One of the best places in the Upper Galilee is Rosh Pina, a small and rural town that was one of the first settlements in Israel. Rosh Pina is characterised by restored houses, and in the main streets, the restaurants and hotels have a peculiar country style.
The mystic city of Safed is located close to Rosh Pina, and it is very popular as the international centre of Kabbalah. Safed has a magnificent Old City with the renowned Artists Quarter and many synagogues and Kaballah schools. It is fantastic to tour the surroundings of Safed, with beautiful green hills such as Mount Arbel.
The Hula Vallery is another magnificent place in the Upper Galilee; as was explained previously, it is a dried swamp transformed into a nature reserve with a big lake. It is also home to rare species of fauna and flora, and its museum shows information about the Hula Valley.
Moreover, the area of the Hula Valley is full of biking and hiking trails, besides hosting many observation stations for bird watching because this area is a primary migration path for birds, and in 2009, BBC Nature Magazine mentioned the Hula Valley as one of the best places in the world to admire nature.
In the Upper Galilee, the Jordan River is located, and in the southern area, there is the Sea of Galilee, where there are baptismal sites for Christian pilgrims. The Jordan River is narrower and faster in the Upper Galilee, giving a chance for the visitors to kayak because of the river’s swift currents. The Upper Galilee is an excellent place for hiking, with several trails for every level. Horse riding is another outdoor activity in this region, and to explore and discover this beautiful place much better, the visitors can join jeep tours. In Rosh Pina and the surroundings, there are many accommodations, and in the Upper Galilee and especially in Safed, there are spas and hotels. Indeed, the Galilee is an extraordinary region of Israel, giving many opportunities for entertainment and fun for everyone, especially for hikers and bikers, also thanks to the several trails easily accessible and the many hiking tours. It is recommended to join a guided tour to get to know the history and geology of Israel. Canyoning, caving, paragliding and skiing are the most popular sports in this region of Israel.
The Northern Mediterranean Coast
The Northern Mediterranean Coast in Israel is the Western Galilee. It is a thin and less populated region, not overbuilt. The Western Galilee has many fantastic bays and coves, and one of its cities is Akko, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another excellent place in this beautiful region is Rosh Hanikra, with its magnificent caves that had been carved by sea into the cliffs.
It is possible to join a guided tour to discover the beauty and the history of the Northern Coast. It is recommended to explore the Western Galilee through a car or a tourist tour of the northern region of Israel. Even though the Western Galilee is a small district in the northwestern area of Israel, nevertheless, it is an extraordinary place to discover and enjoy for at least two days. The Western Galilee stretches from the Mediterranean northern coast of Haifa up to the Upper Galilee, becoming more rural and full of nature along the coastline going up to the ancient city of Akko, very well-known for its Crusader period. Moving towards the northern area, the region of Western Galilee becomes more deserted and calm, with its beautiful bays and hills. The farther it is from Haifa, the more the Western Galilee becomes pastoral and rustic. The inland hills give a magical atmosphere to the region’s landscape, and they are part of the scenario made of archaeological sites and spectacular views.
Among the most beautiful places in the Western Galilee, the Old City of Akko is a magnificent ancient Crusader city that was recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is impressive to walk through a labyrinth of alleyways and discover the history of this beautiful city and visit the many museums located nearby the ancient Arab shuk.
The Tefen Open Museum is a fantastic museum located in the Tefen Industrial Park, which is unique for its peculiar and innovative industrial setting. In the museum, there are artworks, sculpture gardens, vintage car collections and different exhibitions. One of the most magnificent natural habitats in Israel is Rosh HaNikra, which is popular because of the grottoes at the northeast point of the Mediterranean coastline of Israel, where the sea carved several underground caves, creating a breathtaking tourist location with walking trails between the caves, which are accessible through the steepest cable car in the world. The Western Galilee is a peaceful location, and the coastline close to Akko and Nahariya is beautiful and pleasantly calm, differently from the popular beaches in the southern regions.
The Keshet Cave or Rainbow Cave is a magnificent location with spectacular landscapes whose surroundings are rural and slightly populated with small agricultural communities living on the hillsides, and the area is one of the greenest and most uncontaminated in Israel, being the natural environment unaltered by urban modifications. There are many private tours to explore Rosh Hanikra and some landmarks of the northern coast, such as Akko, Caesarea, and Haifa. Indeed the beautiful and ancient northern coast, i.e. Western Galilee, is one of the richest regions in Israel because of its stunning beauty and its antique history.