Israel Travel Blog

Top 5 Water Hike Trails in Israel

Israel has many hike trails which go through streams offering some relief from the heat as you hike. These water hike trails are usually free and sign posted so that you can follow the colored lines painted on rocks to show you the route. For these hike trails wear good walking shoes or sandals that you don’t mind getting wet and a swimming costume or clothes to change after completion of the hike. You’ll have a good time following the many streams which criss-cross Israel, keeping cool and enjoying the gorgeous countryside. These wet hike routes are greatattractions for families with kids.Majrase National Park, Israel.Photo credit: © Doron Nissim. Published with permission of the Israel Nature and Parks AuthorityEin MaboaEin Maboa or En Fawwar spring runs through the Wadi Kelt (Prat River) riverbed carrying water from the Judean Hills near Jerusalem to the Jordan River. This is a very easy hike, in fact, there is hardly any hiking involved at all; rather the fun is in swimming in the spring pool. Each day an underground karstic cave fills up with subterranean water and only when the cave is full does it empty into a pool where the water remains for about 20 minutes before continuing on its journey.From the car park walk about 300 meters to an old British Mandate-era pumping station. Water flows out of the spring at this point into a pool which would have been part of the pumping station. After about 20 minutes the pool empties as the spring water continues on its course. In this area, you can see the remains of ancient mosaics on the ground. A few meters downstream you can see the remains of an ancient aqueduct.Prat River (Wadi Kelt). Photo byChristian BurrionUnsplashZaki TrailThis water trail follows the last part of the Meshushim Stream which flows from the Yehudiya Nature Reserve into the Sea of Galilee. The walk takes about 3 hours and much of the trail is in the water. This is not a loop trail so if arriving in one car you will have to make the walk back to your starting point after completing the route. The river is quite wide and about knee-deep with gorgeous green trees and vegetation on both sides protecting hikers from the sun. At some points along the trail there is deeper water so bring water wings if you are with children who can’t swim. If the trail is too long for you it is possible to exit the water trail at several points and follow the road back to the parking area. The Majrase is another water trail running parallel to the Zaki Trail.Yehudiah Waterfall, Israel.Photo credit:© ShutterstockNahal Amudׂׂׂ(Amud Stream)This is a challenging trail in northern Israel when taken from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean but you can also do a small section in a couple of hours. The most popular section is Nahal Amud not far from Safed. The trail goes alongside the stream with several points for jumping in along the way. This is a perennial stream that runs through a valley from Safed and empties in the Sea of Galilee but there are several points of entry including Meron where there is a parking lot and the start of a circular 4km route.Nahal Kziv (Kziv River)Together with the Monfort Trail, this is one of the most beautiful trails to follow in Israel. Meandering through the green Galilee following a perennial stream and passing by a Crusader Fortress, mountains, and a spring tunnel. There is an easy 6km circular route that requires some climbing towards the end but is suitable for all ages. Amud Stream National Park.Photo credit: © Afiw Bkreia. Published with permission of the Israel Nature and Parks AuthorityThere are other trails here that are not circular. You can enter the ancient spring tunnel (Ein Tamir) if you want but be sure to bring a flashlight. The Spring Tunnel ends in a dead-end so you have to double back to get out. This is a wonderful place to see wildflowers especially in spring (April-June).Nahal HaShofet (Shofet River)This water hike takes you through a landscape of HaZorea Forest and the greenery of the Ramat Menashe Biosphere Reserve in the Mount Carmel area. It is an easy hike suitable for the whole family and can be completed in 1-2 hours. Part of this hiking trail is fully disabled-accessible. The water flows in this stream year-round starting near Kibbutz Ein HaShofet, joining the Kishon Stream southeast of Kibbutz HaZorea. There are several routes you can take but the most popular one is a circular route.Mount Carmel, Israel. Photo credit: ©Manu Grinspan. Published with permission of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority
Par Petal Mashraki

A Great Outdoors Day Trip around Haifa

The Haifa region is one of the most beautiful in the country; it is blessed with forest covered mountains, valleys, rivers, the sea and vibrant cities. Here is an idea for a fun family outing to get a taste of Israel’s countryside and have an adventure. If you are coming from the Tel Aviv drive up the coastal road (route #2) passed Herzliya, Netanya and Caesarea. All the way you will have gorgeous Mediterranean Sea on your left and farmlands on your right. Turn onto route 70 at the Zichron Yaakov Interchange; at the Fureidis junction connect with route 4 traveling north. After about 20 minutes you will see Nahal Mearot on your right.View of Haifa from the top of Mount Carmel.Photo by Ste Ben8 on UnsplashNahal MearotOnce you reach the end of the cave there is a short film showing the dramatized life of a family of prehistoric cave dwellers. Just outside the Nahal Cave, you can see where one of 84 buried prehistoric skeletons was found. Next to the entrance of each cave, there is an information board with illustrations showing how the caves were formed and explanations in English and Hebrew.When you have enjoyed the fresh mountain air and views from the mountain slopes it is time to continue the day’s adventure. Continue north on route 4 until route 721 takes you east up into the Carmel Mountains. You’ll be surrounded by greenery as you wend your way along narrow roads clinging to the mountainsides.This route takes you through Mount Carmel National Park In 1989 a massive forest fire swept across the Carmel Mountains destroying 790 acres of natural forest. Again in 2010 a forest fire erupted across Mount Carmel and raged for 4 days claiming the lives of 44 people. 17,000 people were evacuated and 9,900 acres of forest were destroyed.Since then major projects have been initiated to replant trees across Carmel. A drive through this area; through the heart of the disaster area will show you that the forests are again thriving. Look out along the way for the mountain top memorial to those who lost their lives in the fire. The monument is a beautiful sculpture that can be seen from far away. Turn onto Route 672 which takes you past the Haifa University campus and make a sharp right onto route 705 which will bring you to the JNF Eagle Park or KKL Nesher Park.Haifa view from the Bahai Gardens' Terrace. Photo by Piotr Musioł on UnsplashNesher Park – The Hanging BridgesKids will love this short hike which takes you down a level footpath through the vegetation along the edge of a wadi (dry river gully). Looking up you can see the tall university building; the tallest building on the Carmel Mountain which looks down over Haifa. The footpath brings you to a 70-meter steel cable suspended bridge crossing the gully of Nahal Katia.The gully flows with water during the winter. Cross the bridge and then decide if you want to descend into the gully for a longer route or make a circular route crossing another suspension bridge a little further along to bring you back to where you started. In the gully, there is a quaint stone bridge that takes you further down to a woodland area where there are benches, picnic spots, and lookout points.The whole route takes about an hour to complete. Continuing on your day trip return to route 672 and wend your way down the mountainside into the city of Haifa. Route 672 reaches a fork in the road where you take the right-hand route 23 along Bikurim Street, HaAsif Street, and then left onto Sderot Kish which becomes Yefe Nof Street. Park your car on Yefe Nof when you see signs to the Ba’ha Gardens and follow the path downwards.Sailboat at Haifa Bay.Photo by Fr. Daniel Ciucci on UnsplashBa’hai Gardens, HaifaThe Ba’hai Gardens were built as a setting for the shrines of the founders of the Ba’hai faith. The Ba’hai faith is a monotheistic religion based on the teachings of the Bab and Bah’a’u’llah; prophets who received revelations from God. The Ba’hai accept the validity of other faiths and have a unique worldview.There are 450 plant species in the gardens which stretch for 1km on the northern slope of Mount Carmel in the heart of Haifa. From the top to the bottom of the 19 garden terraces it is 225 meters and at its widest point, the gardens are 400 meters wide. There are three access points to the Ba’hai Garden – from Yefe Nof Street above the upper gardens and shrine; from Hatzionut Avenue which is on the same level as the Shrine or from the bottom of the gardens at the plaza on the junction of Ben Gurion Ave and Hagefen Street in the German Colony.At 61 Yefe Nof Street, there is a viewing balcony where you can have a panoramic view of the terraced gardens and the bay of Haifa. Descending along paved paths through the gardens from the crest of Mount Carmel towards the Shrine of the Bab you will see the amazing terraces of formal and informal gardens. Halfway down the garden is the Shrine of the Bab a solemn holy site and a symbol of Haifa. The small Grecian-style shrine has a distinctive gold dome and white walls. Below the shrine, the garden terraces continue flanked by twin streams of cascading water, bridges, and steps.The Shrine of the Báb, Haifa. Photo by Ameer Basheer on UnsplashMore Sites along the WayIf that is not enough for one day or if you want to swap one of these sites for another there are many other great attractions in the area. You could visit the former British detainee camp in Atlit; the artists’ village of Ein Hod; the Haifa Science Museum or spend time on one of Haifa’s beaches. You could also follow this itinerary in reverse order.Practical InformationNahal Mearot: Admission: Adult 22 ILS, child 10 ILS, student 19 ILS, senior 11 ILS. Open Hours: Sun-Thurs 8 am-5 pm; Friday and holiday Eves 8 am-4 pm. Closure an hour earlier in winter. Information: 04 9841750/2Nesher Park: Admission: Free. Open Hours: Visit in daylight hours.Ba’hai Gardens: Admission: Free. Open Hours: Outer Gardens 9 am-5 pm daily; Shrine and Inner Gardens 9 am-noon. There are walk-in tours in English at noon every day except Wednesdays and also at 1:30 pm on Saturdays. Other tours in Hebrew, Russian and Arabic are held at 10 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, and 2 pm daily except on Wednesdays. The site is closed on the Ba’hai holidays and temporarily in rainy weather. Note: As a religious site please dress modestly and act with respect at the Ba’hai Shrine.For a real taste of local life in Haifa and its surroundings, book a private Haifa tour!Bahai Gardens, Haifa.Photo by David Holifield on Unsplash
Par Petal Mashraki

Watching Meteor Showers in Israel

One of the fun things my family does during August in Israel is to go out into the nearby farmlands, in the middle of the night, and watch the Perseid meteor shower. To get the best possible view of any meteor shower you need to be away from city lights, preferably in an elevated place, in a dark area and of course be in the right place at the right time.Where to See Meteor Showers in IsraelSo if you’re looking for a place away from the city lights to spot meteors in Israel then there are a few well known and popular places where groups gather each year to watch the spectacle. In 2012 about 9,000 Israelis gathered at Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev to watch the Perseid meteor shower.The 914.4m high location makes it even easier to spot the meteors which fall at a rate of one a minute. Club Ramon, in Mitzpe Ramon offers a 3 day program which includes accommodation, entertainment, walking tours and guided sky gazing to see the meteors. The city of Mitzpe Ramon even dims the lights at night to make it possible for the many visitors to get a better look at the meteor shower. If you’d rather have a company handle the logistics of getting to a good viewing spot then there are several options. Astronomy Israel offers Naked Eye and Telescopic Tours of the Night Sky from Mitzpe Ramon. The nearby Arava Desert is another great place to see meteor showers in Israel, mainly because of the intense darkness. In Eilat astronomer Eitan Schwartz takes groups 10km out of the city to a place near Be’er Ora where they can see the shower and even camp under the stars. The Golan Heights and Galilee are also elevated points where the showers can be seen well.The Most Stunning Meteor Showers in Israel From mid-January to mid-April there is no significant show of meteors but after that there are several showers worth seeing. The Lyrids Meteor Shower is in late April (April 16th-25th in 2014) and can reach 100 meteors an hour but averages about 10 – 20 an hour. The Aquarids Shower occurs in early May in Israel (April 19th to May 28th in 2014 with peak on May 5th) this shower can have up to 30 meteors an hour at its peak.Perseid Meteor Shower, this is perhaps the most visible meteor shower in Israel and up to 60 meteors can be seen an hour. The shower runs from July 17th to August 24th with the peak in 2013 on the night of August 11th. 2013 is set to be one of the best years to see the Perseids in Israel as the moon will set not long after midnight leaving a dark sky. The best time to see them is between 11:30pm and 4:30am.Delta Aquarids shower, late July to early August (July 12th to August 23 in 2013 with peak on July 27th) can best be seen after midnight. There can be up to 20 meteors an hour.The Orionids meteor shower in October peaks on October 21st and 22nd and can give a bright show.Draconids meteor shower in 2013 is set to be one of the most spectacular showings ever with up to 750 meteors an hour! The shower runs from October 6th to 10th and peaks on the 8th and 9th.Taurids peaks on November 4th and 5th and is a minor meteor shower and the Leonids gives an average showing peaking on November 16th and 17th but in 2013 will be hard to see because of the light from the full moon.Quadrantids, late December early January (January 1st-5th in 2014), there is usually not a strong showing of this shower in Israel but the shower can reach up to 40 meteors an hour. Look in the direction of the Bootes Constellation.
Par Petal Mashraki

Best Desert Hikes in Israel

Israel has snow-capped mountains; rolling green meadows; lush valleys and stark desert landscapes. Israel's deserts are concentrated in the southern half of the country and include the Judean Desert, home to the Dead Sea; the Negev Desert covering about 16,000km²; more than half the total land area of the country and the Zin Desert also known as the biblical Wilderness of Zin.There are numerous hike trails in Israel's deserts with various levels of difficulty and different lengths. The deserts offer a unique look at a fascinating ecosystem with spectacular flora and fauna; picturesque waterfalls and endless awe-inspiring views. It is best not to hike in the desert alone and you should always follow the well-marked hike trails. Bring plenty of water and wear a hat when hiking in Israel's deserts. The best way to experience Israel's deserts is to follow one of these exhilarating desert hikes in Israel.Red Canyon HikeThis is one of the most breathtaking desert hikes in Israel. The Red Canyon is part of Wadi Shani which starts in the Sinai Desert in Egypt and crosses into Israel. Over the course of thousands of years, the elements have carved through the red sandstone rocks creating this natural canyon. There are a few places along the trail where you need to use metal wedges and ladders to get through the narrow canyon. The trail is at its best from November to April when the weather is slightly cooler. You can take the 5km route or the easier 2km route from the trailhead parking lot. You'll pass a few dry waterfalls and take some sharp turns in the narrow canyon which is less than 2 meters wide at some points. You'll reach a junction where there are black markers that will take you back to the starting point if you want to take the short hike. Otherwise, continue following the green markers into the Wadi. The loop trail should take about 3 hours to complete.Ein Gedi Nature ReserveA hike through the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve; an oasis in the Judean Desert, is one of the most enjoyable and greenest hikes in Israel. The reserve is home to the Arugot Stream and David Stream. There are several trails of different lengths and levels of difficulty ranging from a family-friendly 2km trail to a challenging 10km hike trail. Much of the shorter route is along wooden walkways or well-trodden paths that are not too challenging. You'll feel like you're taking a hike in northern Israel, surrounded by lush vegetation, trees, and abundant streams and waterfalls. The short Nahal David hike from the park entrance to David's Waterfall takes just 30 minutes. The rest of the hike involves tougher terrain, a twisting route through a narrow canyon, and some steep climbs. You'll also find sections where it is easier to wade through the streams than stay on the path. Continuing through the canyon you'll reach a spot where a natural opening in the rocks creates a "window" overlooking the Dead Sea.Wadi Qelt HikeThere are plenty of hikes near Jerusalem but if you want to experience the desert then Wadi Kelt (also known as Ein Prat or Nahal Kelt) is an excellent choice less than an hour from the capital. Starting at the trailhead in Ein Prat Nature Reserve parking lot the scenic route has a total length of about 9km but there are shorter versions of 1-5km. The best time to hike through Wadi Qelt is December to March. Most of the hike is through rocky terrain and there are some parts where metal handles have been hammered into the rock to help you. You'll go through a gorge with steep cliff sides and find natural pools you can swim in. Stop at Ein Prat, the biggest spring in the valley; enjoy small waterfalls; ancient aqueducts, and the 330AD hanging Faran Monastery on the southern cliffs. The highlight of this hike is at the end of the trail when you can look up at the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. George that was built precariously clinging to the cliffs. End the hike by returning the way you came or taking a shortcut along the top of the canyon where you can look down on the famous monastery on the opposite cliff.The Nekarot Horseshoe Hike Trail through the Ramon CraterMakhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater) is a phenomenal massive crater formed by erosion. It is 40km long, 500m deep, and 2-10km wide. Enter the Makhtesh Ramon Nature Reserve for the best experience of the crater on the southern edge of the Negev Desert. This huge natural indentation in the landscape has vibrant colored rocks, a variety of plant life, and unusual geographical formations. Take the Nekarot Horseshoe Trail loop through the crater. At a little over 6km, this trail should take about 3 hours and is suitable for families. The trail takes you past the Saharonim Spring where pools of water bubble up from the ground; past families of agile ibexes on the rocks and steel white chalk cliffs. Depending on the season you may have to swim, wade or walk through water-filled canyons. See Ardon Mountain in the distance and enjoy the deafening silence of the desert.Ein Avdat National Park Hike TrailsEin Avdat is part of the Zin Wadi or the Biblical Zin Wilderness in the Negev Desert. It is home to the largest natural spring in the Negev and a stunning 2km-long hike trail. This short hike takes you from the Ein Avdat National Park entrance to the beautiful natural pools and back again. If you are looking for something a little longer then hike to the spring water pools and instead of doubling back climb to the top of the cliffs and return via Marl Wadi of Havarim. This 10km hike is for moderately fit hikers and is best followed from December to March. The highlight of both the short and long hikes is the chain of three Ein Avdat spring pools. The first pool (Ein Ma'arif) has cascading waterfalls; the second, Ein Avdat has a 15m-high waterfall and an 8m-deep pool; the final pool is beautiful Ein Mor. When you leave the pools you can take the vertical ladder up the cliff and head back to the starting point through gentle hills that have multiple shades of golden brown.
Par Petal Mashraki

International Festival of Puppet Theatre Jerusalem

For four days in August the Train Theatre presents puppet shows and performances from Israel and around the world. The performances range from modern to traditional puppet theatre and from internationally acclaimed puppet troupes to relatively unknown performers. The aim of the festival is to introduce the public to the many facets of puppetry and show the artistic complexity, communicative power and sophisticated aspects of puppetry for all ages and tastes. Performances take place both at indoor venues across Jerusalem and in the theatre courtyard so that many of the events are free. The festival promotes multi-cultural interaction and a chance to learn about the world of puppetry and have some fun at the same time. The event is geared towards adults and children alike, in fact there are even puppet shows for adults only. The festival is a major platform for up-and-coming puppet artists and the performances are unique, professional and of exceptional quality.In addition to the puppet performances there are puptrpetry workshops and a chance to meet the artists. Performances take place throughout the day from 10am to 11pm and are listed according to the ideal age of the audience. There are shows suited for 2-4 year olds, 4-9 year olds, 3-9 year olds, 3-8 year olds, 3-7 year olds, 5-12 year olds, over 8s, all ages and for adults only. Among the international performers at the festival this year there are artists from Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain and China represented by master puppeteer Yeung Fai.Special Festival Eventsfish puppetZoooo-There is no Animal like It – This event has been specially created for the festival; it will take place in the Jerusalem Liberty Bell Park. At this multidisciplinary event visitors can meet all kinds of “animals” created by master puppeteers. See puppet monkeys, giraffes, tigers and go on a safari. There will be live musical performances and activities for the whole family a the park becomes a zoo of puppets.a puppet showStory time – There will be story time for kids using puppets to act out the stories.Coffee with Puppets – Visitors are invited to enjoy a cup of coffee with the puppets while joining in the puppet technique workshop. There will also be puppet making and mask making workshops.Sing-along – There will be a public sing-along of well known songs using puppets.Animal Band – See a musical performance where the performers are puppet animals.Every evening at 10pm there will be musical performances, cabarets and parties for adults only in the courtyard Khan.Practical Details:Where: Train Theatre, Khan Theatre, Gerard Behar Center, The First Station and Beit Shmuel, JerusalemWhen: 15-18 August 2016Admission: 10ILS-100ILS depending on the performance.Contact: For more information call 02 5618514 or see the Train Theatre website.
Par Petal Mashraki

Knights of the Night Festival in the Jerusalem Old City 2013

Once a year the Old City of Jerusalem reverts to the Middle Ages and visitors can wander the narrow cobbled lanes and encounter scenes with knights doing gallant and valiant acts! The theme of this year’s Knights of the Night Festival is “Knights and Dragons” and entrance to the fun family event is free!As you stroll through the streets of the Old City you may see musicians performing medieval music; dancers in medieval costume; magicians who look remarkably like Merlin and Jesters offering comic relief. Knights and dragons also feature prominently, with re-enacted jousting, sword fights and duels. Town criers ring their bells to beckon pedestrians to the various stages set up for performers and above the streets flags fly. In previous years there have even been performances by costumed “knights” battling as they hang from wires and fly through the air with the ancient city walls as their background.You may see medieval blacksmiths or the local executioner with his big axe waiting in the shadows! In previous years performers from other countries have joined Israelis in the many street shows and in 2013 artists from the Venice Festival will be participating in the event. Peddlers in medieval costume and fire eaters perform as the medieval music permeates the air. You may even see a performance from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet performed from a real balcony or a knight in shining armor rescuing a princess. Get your fortune told by a soothsayer and cheer for the troubadours!For the 2013 Knights Festival some of the stations planned include a knight’s banquet at the Jaffa Gate; a victory parade; a battle between knights and dragons where the audience will be invited to join in; a treasure hunt with audience participation and a half-man-half-dragon chasing after a maiden in distress along St. Peter Street. Adults can purchase a wooden goblet and enter the Knights Bar to quench their thirst.To experience this slice of living history enter the Old City of Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate and follow the circular route to the Muristan Square and back again to the Jaffa Gate. The fun and games will occur from 6pm to 11pm in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and will be held on the 31st October and 7th, 14th and 21st of November 2013 (consecutive Thursdays). Entrance is free and the event is suitable for the whole family.
Par Petal Mashraki

Food and Drink Festivals in Israel

Food is always a highlight of any trip to Israel; the country has delicious locally created dishes and many international imports brought to the Holy Land by immigrants. Wine has been produced in Israel since Biblical times and the rich soil and varied terrains provide nourishing earth for the local vineyards. If you are lucky enough to be in Israel during one of these food and beverage festivals then you will have the opportunity to sample some of the country’s best cuisine.Chefs for Peace Food EventThis festival was established by a group of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish chefs who want to promote peace by bringing people together over a meal. Using food as a common language they hold events throughout the country and sometimes internationally. At these events, you can taste dishes prepared by the chefs and help support their worthy cause. The aim of the Chefs for Peace is to promote understanding and coexistence between the different cultures in the region and hopefully reduce conflict. The chefs see food as the universal means of encountering new cultures. In the past Chefs for Peace events have been held in many countries like Norway, Canada, Italy and most often in Israel. Check out their list of upcoming events on the Chefs for Peace website.So French So Good, FebruaryFor the fourth year running So French, So Good is putting the spotlight on French cuisine with the help of 28 restaurants and 4 bakeries from around the country. This culinary festival is presented by Israeli chefs and bakeries in collaboration with French chefs to create French/Israeli fusion dishes. The festival is run by the French Embassy in Israel and is held at the beginning of February (February 8-10, 2016). For the 2016 festival one of the participants was Chef Laurent Azoulay, a Michelin-star chef from L’Ekrin restaurant in Meribel, ski resort in the French Alps who joined Meir Adoni of the BlueSky restaurant and judge on one of Israel’s cooking reality shows. Other chefs who have joined together for the festival are Chef Michel Sarran (Michelin rated) from Toulouse who worked together with Israeli Chef Moran Yanai who has his restaurant in Hotel Montefiore. By pairing up French chefs with Israeli chefs many amazing new creations are produced. The ideas and culinary customs of the French and Israeli culture come together to create a unique food. In the 2016 festival chefs came from Acre, Tiberias, Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv. While the international side of the equation was filled in by chefs like Ridha Khadher of the Au Paradis du Gourmand in Paris, Guillaume Gomez, head chef of the Presidential Palace Elysee and Stephane Leger of Archange restaurant in Saint Raphael. The festival will be held in restaurants across the country where the specially created menus will be on offer. In addition to the French culinary delights there are also screenings of food-related films at the French Institute in Tel Aviv, cookery classes at the Sheraton Tel Aviv and French alcohol tasting.Shokoland Chocolate Festival, FebruaryTel Aviv’s chocolate festival is held for three days at the historic Old Station complex – HaTachana. The country’s top chocolatiers come together to present a huge range of chocolates At the festival there are also cooking demonstrations, chocolate making demonstrations, chocolate displays, chocolate tastings, chocolate ice-creams, chocolate sculptures, chocolate fondue and even chocolate beer. The countries chocolate boutique stores will treating you to delicious chocolate in all shapes, flavors and colors.Diner en Blanc , Junehe concept behind this culinary event is to bring people together across a table to share a meal. The dinner is held the night before Tel Aviv’s famous Tel Aviv White Nights when the city’s restaurants, clubs and some stores stay open until the early hours of the morning. 2016 will be the 3rd annual Diner en Blanc event and about 500 people will take part. The location of this pop-up event is only announced an hour before the dinner to people who have previously registered online. Participants need to bring their own white table, white chairs and picnic basket full of delicious food. Dinner in White is an elegant and sophisticated event held in up to 60 locations around the world. The whole event is decorated in white with white table cloths, decorations and balloons. The participants are asked to attend wearing only white clothes. While eating their dinner there is live entertainment and dancing. The event is quiet exclusive with “friends bring friends” so you can’t really get an invitation unless you know someone who is already involved. There are also quite a lot of rules about etiquette and decorum at the event.Taste of Tel Aviv Food Festival ,JuneTel Aviv has literally thousands of restaurants from gourmet fine dining establishments to hole-in-the-wall humus places. You won’t be able to sample all that the city’s restaurants have to offer but you can do pretty well if you attend this festival held in the spring. Some of Israel’s most renowned chefs participate as well as many restaurants from the city. Each restaurant sets up a stall in the festival and offers a selection of food from their menu all at a drastically reduced price. The idea is to bring gourmet food to the general public at affordable prices. The festival is the largest food festival in the country and is visited by over a million people each year (making a profit of over a million dollars). Restaurants offer a tasting menu for a set discount price. Dates for the next festival have yet to be announced but it is usually held in Ganei Yehoshua (HaYarkon Park), Tel Aviv.Herzliya Marina Beer Festival ,JulyThe Herzliya Marina is a great place to visit even if you miss the festival; a large up-market mall faces the marina where yachts are docked along the edge of a wide expansive deck and plaza. This is where the festival is held, out in the open on long summer nights. The festival presents a wide variety of beers as well as a beer-brewing competition. While sipping beer and enjoying the sea breeze visitors are entertained by live performances by top Israeli artists.Chef, Eat!JulyUnlike other food festivals this one does not have one location or even one date; it is held in several restaurants across Jerusalem a number of times a year. Participating restaurants offer a two course meal at a discount price. Guests get a starter and main course for under 100ILS plus they can add a few extra shekels for dessert.Jerusalem Wine Festival, August2016 was the 13th year for this annual festival. It is Israel’s largest wine festival and features wine tastings, food stalls, workshops and live musical performances. The Israel Museum hosts this beverage event which feels a lot more cultural because of its surroundings than other alcohol festivals do. The event is held in the grounds of the museum where there are several sculptures and works of art. The festival celebrates Israeli wines and snacks are on offer while live music plays in the background. Approximately 60 Israeli wineries are represented offering over 100 different types of wine. In 2016 20,000 people are expected to attend. At the festival you can buy bottles of the Israeli wines to take home.Jerusalem Beer Festival, AugustThis is perhaps the biggest and most important annual beer event in Israel. Over the course of two days the festival is open from sundown until midnight and sees about 20,000 guests. 2016 will be the 11th year for the annual festival. In the past it has been held in the historic Old Train Station complex and at Gan HaAtzmut. At the event Israeli breweries set up stalls offering a taste of their brew. There are over 150 beers offered each year from large and micro-breweries including international labels. You have the opportunity to sample beer from Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Japan and more. There are even some unusual beers like banana infused beer. In addition to the beer guests will be entertained by live musical performances and the beer is accompanied by a great selection of food. There will also be beer making demonstrations and an arts and craft market. In 2015 tickets cost 40ILS.Around the World in Rishon LeZion, AugustThe world food fair (Yarid Colinari, Ta’am Olami) offers a taste of cuisine from countries around the globe and entrance is free. The festival is held in the 140 dunam Shikma Park along the avenue of palm trees and on the lawns of the park. Ten zones of the world are created featuring large models of the country’s landmarks; the country or region’s traditional foods as well as other cultural elements like national costume, traditional folk dancing and the local music. On the lawns of the park will be a Greek-style tavern selling beers, cocktails and wine from around the world. In the same area here will be a special section for cheeses from around the world and those entering the area where alcohol is sold will have to show ID to prove they are over 18. In the past the countries represented were America, France, Italy, Lebanon, China, Morocco, Greece, Russia and India.The Kosher Taste of the City, AugustIsraeli cuisine faces the unique challenge of contending with kosher law – no mixing of meat and milk; no seafood; no fish without scales and fins; meat must be from specific animals, slaughtered in a specific manner and prepared in a specific way. This is one of the rare festivals where kosher-observant Jews can enjoy the food on offer. The event is held on the Hof Argmon promenade in Natanya where kosher restaurants present their dishes for a small price (usually under 80ILS). Kitchenware is sold at the festival and there are a number of activities including kid’s entertainment and life musical performances. The festival lasts 10 days and about 50 kosher gourmet restaurants participate.Taste of the Galilee Food Festival, September/OctoberThis annual event is held in the Galilee region of northern Israel at Montfort Lake Park and select locations in the region usually during the Sukkot holidays. The festival features music, workshops, shows, children’s activities and foods produced and grown in the Galilee region. Cafes, restaurants and kibbutzim will be participating and presenting themed menus. The festival highlights the culinary world of northern Israel, the rich farm produce and cottage industry food products as well as the Galilee’s famous wines. Entrance is free to Montfort Lake Park where you can relax on the lawns between meals, rent pedal boats on the lake and enjoy the live performances in the evening. The festival opens in the park at noon and continues until sundown when the shows begin.Taybeh Oktoberfest, OctoberTaybeh is a small Christian village in Palestine’s West Bank surrounded by the majority Muslim communities. Although the Muslim majority prohibits alcohol for religious reasons the Christians of Taybeh have managed to keep one of the oldest trades in the Holy Land alive. Here the municipality has collaborated with the local brewery since 2005 in holding the West Banks only beer festival. The festival has gone from strength to strength and draws in approximately 16,000 visitors each year for the two day festival. The event boosts the local economy and has put the small village of Taybeh on the international map. The Taybeh Brewing Company’s beer is drunk in countries around the world and they have recently added wine to their product list. The wine is called “Nadim” and is produced in the company’s new winery which is beneath a boutique hotel built specifically to accommodate visitors to the brewery, winery and festival.Visiting the festival supports local businesses and helps to bring stability to this area of the country where life always seems to be in flux. The festival is usually held on the first Saturday and Sunday of October but exact dates for 2016 have not yet been announced. At the festival local music groups perform as well as international guest artists. Performances are in several venues and there are also local arts and crafts on sale as well as village tours, a small museum, a Taybeh beer tour and exhibitions held at the Society for the Preservation of Christian Heritage Historical Center of Taybeh. At past festivals there have been street hockey games, Henna body painting, prayer services in the three local churches, folklore dancing performances, stand-up comedy performances, a children’s program, karate demonstrations and a lottery. You can also buy local products like olive oil and honey. The festival helps to promote a different side of Palestine to that perceived on the international news.A-Sham - Arab Food Festival of Haifa, December2016 was the first year for Israel’s Arab Food Festival. The festival looks to become an annual event and features 25 chefs, Jewish, Christian and Muslim from across the country. Arabic delicacies are created by chefs of all faiths in Israel, there are no borders or political conflict when it comes to Israel’s culinary community. Haifa is the perfect city to host this festival as citizens of all faiths share the city and mostly live in harmony side-by-side. The Holiday of Holidays is an annual event when Hanukah, Christmas and Eid al-Fitr are celebrated together by events held throughout the city. The Arab Food Festival is now a part of the annual Holiday of Holidays events. The festival was the idea of Arab Israeli chef Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, the winner of Israel’s 2014 reality show Master Chef (and also a microbiologist). The festival highlights traditional Arabic cuisine which is fast disappearing from the local culinary landscape. The Levantine kitchen is presented in a number of variations to show the cultural context of these dishes and the traditional lifestyles. Many of the traditional Arabic dishes are very labor intensive and many are associated with specific events like religious festivals, weddings and celebrating a new born. Among the traditional Arabic foods on offer there is hilbe, commonly eaten by Yemeni Jews and made out of fenugreek seeds; habisa, a black and white dessert sweetened with carob juice and haroumanieh, eggplant and green lentils prepared in pomegranate juice. Those wanting to enjoy the amazing Arabic foods on offer only need to pay 35ILS (2015 price); you then receive a map of 25 restaurants offering the festival dishes and you can set off to taste them at the various eateries. There are a number of additional festival events including a workshop given by Christian Orthodox Arab women of how to prepare traditional Christmas cookies; tastings of Galilee olive oil, honey, almonds and carob syrup and panel discussions.
Par Petal Mashraki

Guide to Mitzpe Ramon and the Surrounding Negev Desert

The small community of Mitzpe Ramon in southern Israel sits on the edge of Makhtesh Ramon (the Ramon Crater); a 38 km wide crater formed thousands of years ago. Perched on the northern ridge of the crater, overlooking the Negev Desert, Mitzpe Ramon has breathtaking views across the desert and plenty to see and do.The community was founded in 1951 to accommodate workers constructing the road to Eilat. Immigrants from Romania and North Africa settled here and the town grew to be a thriving community and the gateway to the Negev. Although Mitzpe Ramon is in the desert it enjoys relatively cool weather thanks to the winds which blow in across the crater to the elevated town. Mitzpe Ramon even experiences snow several times a year. In recent years the area has become a center for organic farming, homemade food products, spiritual retreats, and natural living. A visit to Mitzpe Ramon offers a completely fresh and unique experience, unlike anything you could experience in any other part of Israel.Getting to Mitzpe RamonIf arriving from Tel Aviv take the #40 highway south to Mitzpe Ramon; the town is about 85 km south of Be’er Sheva. If setting out in Tel Aviv you can take #660 and from Jerusalem bus #470. Trains travel from Tel Aviv arriving in Be’er Sheva and from there you can continue on to Mitzpe Ramon by bus #65 or #64. Driving from Tel Aviv to Mitzpe Ramon will take you about 1.15 hours and the bus or train and bus combo will take you 1.15-3 hours. Once in Mitzpe Ramon you can explore the town on foot or by car and take organized excursions into the desert.Mitzpe Ramon AccommodationThere are about six hotels in Mitzpe Ramon including the famous Beresheet Hotel, a luxury hotel of the Isrotel chain which overlooks the crater. Each room has views of the crater and there are spa treatments on offer as well as gourmet food. Chez Eugene is a recommended chic boutique hotel and there is also the Ramon Suites Hotel and Ramon Inn. In the surrounding areas, there are many B&Bs and small inns as well as campgrounds. Try the ibex Unique Desert Inn or Khan Be’erotayim for a desert experience. Budget accommodation can be found at the Green Backpackers Hostel, Mitzpe Ramon Hostel, or the basic Succah in the Desert.Mitzpe Ramon EateriesThe region is known for its organic farms and traditionally edible products like honey, wine, cheese, yogurt, and olive oil. Among the top-rated restaurants in Mitzpe Ramon, there is Hahavit (the Barrel) a bar/restaurant with standard pub food; Beresheet Dairy Restaurant in the Beresheet Hotel has stunning views and Hakatze serves hearty Israeli food in simple surroundings. At Hadassar Natural Living Restaurant you can enjoy locally sourced, organic, vegetarian fare in bohemian-style surroundings. Other dining options are the generic Café Neto, an Israeli coffee house chain, and fine dining at Chez Eugene.Attractions in Mitzpe Ramon & the Negev1. Ramon Crater and Makhtesh Ramon Visitor CenterThe crater (makhtesh) is 38 km long, 6 km wide, and 450 meters deep; this natural wonder looks like something out of a space odyssey. At the Makhtesh Visitor Center, you can get a bird’s eye view across the crater and learn about the history, facts, and figures of the site. To really experience the crater take one of the themed excursions by jeep or on foot into the heart of the makhtesh.2. Ein Avdat National ParkNestled in the Zin Valley this national park centers on the Ein Avdat Spring which flows to a beautiful 8-meter high waterfall and pour into a pool below. The water attracts local wildlife and allows vegetation and trees to grow around the oasis. There are several streams in the park and hike trails through the canyon and along the water’s edge. If you like this attraction you should also visit Ein Gedi by the Dead Sea.3. Alpaca FarmThis fun attraction is home to a herd of alpacas and lamas; the farm also offers accommodation and light meals. A visit includes feeding the alpacas and getting an informative talk from one of the guides.4. Nabatean Avdat AcropolisThe ancient Nabatean civilization set up rest points along the spice route which ran from the Arabian peninsula north to Syria and the Mediterranean. The remains of some of these Nabatean cities include the khan or roadside motel where they had a wine cellar and mud-brick structures. Another Nabatean site in the area is the Ramalia Cisterns, huge wells which were dug out by the ancient civilization to preserve water.5. Desert Jeep TourA desert jeep excursion is a perfect way to discover the crater and the surrounding desert. The thrill of bumping and jumping over rough terrain is unforgettable. Jeep tours can take you to nearby Zin Valley or into the crater and you can see stunning scenery, camels grazing, local Bedouin, and shepherds herding their goats. Many of the tours combine the jeep trip with a stop for coffee in the desert, a dip in a desert spring, or to show you geological wonders.6. Mitzpe Ramon “north”The old industrial zone of Mitzpe Ramon has been gentrified and turned into a hub of boutique specialty stores and places of entertainment. Check out the bakeries, restaurants, craft workshops, Mitzpe Ramon Jazz Club, and Faran cosmetics factory where the products are inspired by the natural surroundings.7. RappellingRappelling or abseiling down the cliffs of the Ramon Crater is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – not just because of the actual activity but also because of the unique location and views as you descend. Several companies in Mitzpe Ramon lead visitors to the edge of the cliff (literally). You don’t need any prior experience, just the guts to hang yourself over the side of a cliff on a rope!8. StargazingFrom Mitzpe Ramon you can take a stargazing excursion into the desert where there is very little artificial light from cities and the wide-open sky can be seen unhindered by skyscrapers or city pollution. Ira and Pam Machefsky run Astronomy Israel; they take visitors to the rim of the crater and set up telescopes, provide a warm blanket and explain the night sky with enthusiasm and humor.9. Rota WineryNorth of Kibbutz Revivim on route #222 is this organic winery where there are wine and cheese tasting as well as tours of the farm. Erez Rota is an artist who used to live in Tel Aviv before moving south and establishing his farm. His metal sculptured art installations can be seen scattered across the farm.10. Neve MidbarThis mineral water health spa features natural thermal bath waters. It is located off route #222 and offers use of the pools plus the option for spa treatments at an additional fee. Visitors can enjoy the coffee bar and cafe.11. Neot Smadar Goat FarmHere you can get a picnic basket filled with the delicious locally-produced cheeses and yogurts made using milk from the 150 strong herds of goats. At the farm, there is a café and store where you can by goat milk products. The store also sells organic products produced on the kibbutz.12. Bedouin Tent ExperienceVisit a real Bedouin tent in the middle of the desert. Visitors can join the Bedouins of the Negev for some dates and black coffee and have the opportunity to see how Bedouin live. Some of the Bedouin offer tours into the desert where they explain about the foraging of food in the harsh surroundings and about the plants they use for traditional medicine. There are Bedouin tent experiences which include a meal, entertainment, and even an overnight stay in the tent.
Par Petal Mashraki

Free Things for Families to Do in Israel this Summer 2016

During the summer there are always several free events and attractions organized for Israeli families and kids that are on school vacation. There is no reason why tourists shouldn’t join in and take advantage of these great activities – for free!Secondhand Market, Tel AvivThe summertime secondhand market can be found if you follow the Lahat Promenade along Tel Aviv’s coast towards Jaffa. Just as you reach the entrance to Jaffa you’ll find Charles Clore Park. Here there is a secondhand market where stalls are set up and you can buy almost anything for next to nothing. Not only is there plenty to buy but as part of the market there is also free entertainment, live music, stand-up comedy performances, dance, fashion shows, circus acts and food stalls. There are special performances geared towards kids with famous characters from kid’s TV programs.Fairy Tale, Tel AvivAt twilight time when you want to unwind and relax after a long day shopping and sightseeing what better than to sit the kids down in front of a good show and hang out in the park. Each Wednesday there is a children’s play performed (for free) in the peaceful setting of this Tel Aviv park.Yafui Magic, Ed Koch Tennis CourtsThis special evening is geared towards kids although parents are welcome. One of Israel’s top children’s entertainers will keep the crowd happy with performances of much-loved Israeli songs. Expect bright costumes, dance, music, lots of laughs and appearances by well known children’s TV characters.Street Ball, Tel AvivThe Israel Basketball Association is organizing an all night event at basketball courts across the city. There will be competitions, games and demonstrations where everyone can join in. In addition the areas around the courts will hold some activities, food stalls and more – all night long. This is perfect for older kids and teens.Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall, JerusalemJoin locals in welcoming the Shabbat as the sun goes down at the holiest Jewish place of worship, the Western Wall (Kotel or Wailing Wall). You can observe or join in with those chanting the traditional prayers. There is singing, chanting of prayers and dancing by Jews from diverse backgrounds. See the traditional clothing of some of the sectors of the ultra-religious Jews and listen to the different melodies used by different Jewish sectors.BeachesIt goes without saying that you can enjoy the gorgeous Israeli beaches for free during the summer. Visit the beaches along the Mediterranean coast, those in Eilat on the Red Sea or on the Dead Sea or Sea of Galilee.Israeli ParksThere are many parks in Israel but a few stand out as being extra special. In Tel Aviv you have the Yarkon Park with the Yarkon River wending its way through the green lawn. Here there are several attractions including peddle boat and row boat hire, bicycles to hire, a climbing wall, paths, playgrounds and picnic areas. In Raanana (about 20 minutes north of Tel Aviv) there is a great park with a small zoo, a special playground for children with physical disabilities, a skate park, café, lake and playgrounds. In Herzalia (opposite the Sheva Kochavim/Seven Stars Mall) there is a park with a huge climbing apparatus. You can climb up ladders, cross rope bridges and slide down enclosed tubes. There is a café nearby, a regular playground, BBQ areas and a gorgeous wild marsh area with a boardwalk leading through it. This section has been left in its natural state. In Jerusalem the Teddy Park has a great way for kids to cool off, a flat surface will fountains that squirt up as kids run in and out of the water. During the day the fountain “show” takes place at 10am, noon and 4pm and in the evening at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm the water is accompanied by sound and lights.Fountain ShowsThere are several dancing fountains in Israel where music and the movement of the fountains have been synchronized with colored lights and laser effects creating an overall spectacle. The state-of-the-art presentations are all free and performed several times a night.Tel Aviv PortThe port area is great at any time of year but especially in the summer when there are street entertainers, balloon artists and special events. On the northeastern side of the Port boardwalk is a concert venue which stages children’s shows every Tuesday at 6pm for free. In addition there is a huge sandpit and a carousel. On Fridays from 10am-5pm there is Friday Live a special happening with live musical performances, a designer market, art exhibits and an organic food markets.Front Stage Festival, JerusalemThroughout the summer on Friday nights the downtown area of Jerusalem turns into a live concert venue complete with art exhibitions, food stalls, dancing and performances by famous Israeli bands and singers. The event starts at noon and everyone is welcome for free. See the Jerusalem Municipality website for more details.Israel Museum, JerusalemOk this one is not completely free as adults need to pay an entrance fee but throughout July kids enter for free on Tuesdays and entrance is free for kids every day throughout August. At the museum there is a lot to see; families will enjoy the Children’s’ Wing where there are regular activities for families especially in the summer. There is also the sculpture garden, modern art, classic art, Judaica and the Shrine of the Book holding the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Par Petal Mashraki

Jerusalem International Arts and Crafts Fair 2016

The Chutzot Hayotzer Fair (Arts and Crafts Fair) is an exciting annual event held in one of the most magical places in Jerusalem – Sultan’s Pool alongside the walls of the Old City. The fair is a lot more than an exhibition or market it is also a place of entertainment for the whole family with the atmosphere of a European carnival. The event is presented by the Jerusalem Municipality. In the gorgeous setting of Sultan’s Pool artists set up stalls displaying their creations. In addition there is a lineup of top Israeli artists performing well loved songs; children’s entertainment; shows for toddlers; Israeli and international entertainers; street performers; circus performers; a beer garden; design exhibitions and artists workshops.Among the arts and crafts on display and for sale there are works by weavers, hand-made jewelry, cobblers, calligraphers, sculptors, painters and ceramic artists. Visitors can not only see the arts and crafts but they can also meet the artists and in some cases see them at work. Among the Israeli art exhibited there is stained glass, hand-made puppets, textiles, wood work, metal work and sculptures. International artists will be demonstrating their skills. There will be artists from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Salvador, Uruguay, Ecuador, Argentina, Armenia, Ghana, Germany, South Africa, India, Hungary, Zimbabwe, Turkmenistan, Madagascar, Macedonia, Mexico, China, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Russia, Bolivia and Brazil. The artists from each of these nations brings with them their own unique style and traditional arts and crafts. And of course no Israeli event is complete without some good food and drink. You’ll be able to get a great cup of coffee, cold drinks, wine or beer as well as a variety of foods.Practical Information:Where: Sultan’s Pool, Hebron Road, JerusalemWhen: 15-27 August 2016 – Sunday-Thursday 10am-5pm; Fridays and holiday eves 10am-2pmContact: 02-6457113Admission: Adults 65ILS; students, youths (13yrs-18yrs), seniors, soldiers, Jerusalem residents, groups 55ILS; children (5yrs-12yrs) 30ILS.
Par Petal Mashraki
  • Affichage de 15 - 24 résultats sur 24
  • 1
  • 2