Travel to Northern Israel

Not all visitors to the Holy Land travel to northern Israel, but it is one of the most beautiful areas of the country. The landscape is pastoral, with farmlands, vineyards, villages, rivers, and forests. Northern Israel is cooler than the south, and evenings can be chilly. In winter you might see snow on the Golan Heights, at the ski resort on Mt. Hermon, or in mountain top cities like Safed. Travel to northern Israel by car, bus, or with an organized tour. Traveling north you can see the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa, the wine-making town of Zichron Ya’akov, and the Old City of Acre, with its underground Crusader Halls.

Popular things to do in northern Israel include visiting Christian landmarks such as the Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, and the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth. You can also get baptized in the Jordan River at Yardenit. Enjoy water sports, and beaches around the Sea of Galilee, and visit Tiberias on the water’s edge. or Hamat Gader on the Golan Heights. On the Golan Heights visit Hamat Gader hot springs, the Banias Nature Reserve, and Mt. Bental. At the northernmost point of the country are the Rosh HaNikra sea caves. Outdoor activities in northern Israel include cycling, horse riding, bird-watching, caving, snappling, hiking, ATV biking, and kayaking on the Jordan River.  

Top Attractions of the Galilee

The Galilee can be divided into the Upper Galilee, Western Galilee and Lower Galilee; each has its own charm and attractions. The Galilee is characteristically lush and green with many streams and lakes to cool yourself. It was also here that Jesus spent the years of his ministry and the area is full of significant locations which appear in the Bible. In addition to the top attractions at the Sea of Galileelisted below there are numerous nature reserves, hiking paths, places to ride horses and wineries.Church of Annunciation, Nazareth.Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe Best Attractions in Lower Galilee (Nazareth area)Church of the Annunciation - the Basilica of the Annunciation was built on the site believed by Roman Catholics to be where Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel who told her of her impending pregnancy and future son. The church is said to be built on the grotto which was Mary’s childhood home in Nazareth. There were earlier churches on this site but the present structure was built in 1969. The most impressive part of the church is the courtyard where there are mosaics featuring the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. The mosaics come from Christian communities around the world and each depicts the Holy figures as they see them for example the Japanese Madonna wears a kimono.St. Gabriel's Church of Nazareth - this is one of two Churches of the Annunciation in Nazareth, established in the Byzantine era and rebuilt in the Crusader era and later again in the 18th century. The church is built over the natural spring which Eastern Orthodox Christians believe to be where Mary was informed by the Angel Gabriel of her future son. On the ground level of the church, you can see the water running into a well. The church boasts a colorful wooden “templon” screen painted with religious icons. On the ceiling are murals and a golden chandelier.Interior of the Annunciation Chruch, Nazareth.Photo credit: © ShutterstockNazareth Village - this open-air museum is a reconstruction of biblical Nazareth featuring elements of village life in Galilee at the times of Jesus. Here you can see homes, olive presses, figures dressed in traditional period costumes, and see demonstrations of traditional crafts and domestic chores from 2,000 years ago. The site offers an interactive experience where you can try your hand at different activities.Mensa Christi Church of Nazareth - this Franciscan church was built in 1861 and is famed for the Table of Christ, a granite slab believe to be the rock Jesus used as a table when dining with the disciples after his resurrection. Today the slab forms the church altar. The church has recently been restored including the mosaics and dome. Although the church is locked most of the time it can be visited on request. The name Mensa Christi is also associated with a church in Tabgha, the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter.Ancient Bath House of Nazareth - The bathhouse is nestled between Mary’s Well and the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Gabriel in the shade of a tall ficus tree. When excavated artifacts were uncovered dating back to the ancient Roman era. Today there are guided tours of the caldarium, heated tunnels of the hypocaust, and the former furnace. There is a permanent exhibition about the excavations and above the site is a store selling local handmade craft items.Church of St. Joseph- this Romanesque church stands above the grotto thought to have been Joseph’s home and workshop in Nazareth. The church which stands here today was constructed in 1914 over the ruins of earlier churches. In the crypt, you can see mosaics, an ancient water pit, and 1st-century grottos.Capernaum, the town of Jesus.Photo credit: © ShutterstockMount Precipice - just south of Nazareth on the cliffs of Mount Kedumim is Mt. Precipice overlooking the Jezreel Valley and Mount Tabor.On the mount, excavations uncovered the remains of prehistoric settlements and 18 layers of ancient civilizations. One of the findings was a group of 13 Neanderthal skeletons dating back 50,000 years. On the top of the mount are several ancient tombs, cisterns, and a mosaic as well as breathtaking views. Mt. Precipice is mentioned in the Bible in Luke 4 16-30 when Jesus is driven from the synagogue and crowds threatened to throw him from the cliffs.Mount Tabor - just 9km east of Nazareth is the Mount of Transfiguration where the Old Testament tells of the battle between Barak and the Israelite Deborah. Christians believe this to be the site of the transfiguration of Jesus. Today the mount is a popular hiking and hand gliding site. Visitors can go to the hilltop Franciscan Church of Transfiguration or the Greek Church on the eastern slope.Capernaum- situated on the shore of the Sea of Galilee began as a small fishing village during the Hasmonean dynasty (c.140BC- c.116BC). It is mentioned in all four of the Gospels as the hometown of St. Simon Peter, James, Andrew, and John. Jesus is said to have taught in the synagogue, cured a Roman Centurion’s servant, and cured a possessed man. Today the village is known for the archaeological discovery of two synagogues built on the same site during different periods.One is a 4th-century white limestone structure and the older synagogue was built of local black basalt rock. Today visitors can see the ancient ruins of Capernaum within an excavation site where there is also a Late Roman synagogue and the octagonal-shaped church built above the excavated house of St. Peters. Within the church, you can look down through an opening in the floor and see the excavated house. The complex includes the ruins of Byzantine homes and early Roman houses.Megiddo (Armageddon). Photo credit: © ShutterstockTiberias - the capital of Galilee is one of the four Jewish Holy cities; it is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Today the city has many modern attractions, boat excursions, a craft market, and luxury hotels. Tiberius is also the site of a Greek Orthodox Church at the southern end of the modern city which used to be an Ottoman city. You can see the walls of the 18th-century Ottoman city which run right down to the water’s edge. There is an open-air museum of ancient artifacts among the high-rise hotels and at various points in the city, you can see the remains of the ancient Ottoman walls. Hamat Tiberias National Park is a spa of hot springs which was used as far back as the Romans. At the site, there is a small museum in part of the original building and a synagogue dating back to the 3rd-5th century AD with a magnificent mosaic.Tiberias has a famous cemetery with graves of both Jewish and Muslim deceased. The Greek Orthodox Church and Monastery of the Twelve Apostles is a religious complex where there are three chapels, St. Peters, Mary Magdalene's, and St. Nicholas’. The tomb of Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (Rambam or Maimonides) is located in Tiberias. Rambam is a revered Jewish sage and rabbi who died in 1204. Other sites in Tiberias include the Crusader’s St. Peter Church; the Citadel, now housing an art gallery; the Antiquities Museum; the excavated Jewish Court complex of 19th-century synagogues and the Scottish Compound, now a hotel and church which was once the 19th-century Scottish enclave.Mount Precipice.Photo credit: © ShutterstockJordan River - It is possible for Christians to be baptized in the Jordan Riverat one of the sites which claim to be where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Although there is another baptismal site further south this is perhaps the most popular. Here there is a visitor’s center where you can buy a white robe to enter the water and get a certificate attesting to your baptism. There are steps and railings to help you get in and out of the water.Wedding Church - Cana is the town where Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11). The town of Cana is also referred to several times in the Bible in other contexts. The Franciscan Wedding Church commemorated the иiblical miracle, it was constructed in 1879 on a site where ancient stone wine jars were found. A nearby Greek Orthodox church is an alternative site of the miracle.Tel Megiddo - this tel or hill was a strategically important location in ancient times as it overlooked trade routes and the Jezreel Valley. At one point it was an important city-state and approximately 26 layers of ruined ancient civilizations have been found during excavations of the tel.The Greek name for the site is Armageddon and it is said to be the site where the final battle will take place during the end of time according to the Book of Revelations. Visitors can explore the archaeological site, enter through a Solomonic gateway; see an ancient altar; a grain pit; stables, and a complex water system with a 35-meter deep shaft and tunnel. There are also the remains of what may be the oldest remaining church in Israel.Jesus Trail- if you love to hike and want to really get to know the Galilee first hand then you can follow this hiking trail which links significantChristian sites in Galilee.Along the route, you will encounter Cana, Nazareth, a Roman Road, the Sea of Galilee, Tabgha, and Mount Tabor among other sites.Sea of Galilee. View from Photo by Johnnie Cohen on UnsplashThe Best Aattractions in Upper Galilee (Safed Area)Safed Visitors Center - not only can you get maps and info at this center but you can see a permanent exhibition, an excavation site under the building, and a short introductory film to the history and culture of Safed.Abuhav Synagogue - this Safed synagogue dates back to the original structure of the 1490s. The rest of the synagogue was constructed after an earthquake in 1837 destroyed most of the structure. The synagogue was built according to the Kabbalistic principle, there are ancient scrolls kept here and the walls are decorated with beautiful frescoes.Ashkenazi HaAri Synagogue - built in honor of Rabbi Isaac Luria, also known as the Ari. Luria was a Kabbalistic Rabbi who arrived in the city in 1570 and prayed in this synagogue. The highlight of this Safed synagogue is the beautifully painted Ark where Torah scrolls are kept.Sephardic HaAri Synagogue - this Safed synagogue is thought to have been built in 1522. Rabbi Luria also prayed here regularly. Legend has it that the Prophet Elijah would appear before the Rabbi as he sat studying here and enjoying the view of Mt. Meron. Meiri House Museum - the Meiri family settled here after immigrating from Iran in 1837. They established the country’s first dairy in this 16th-century house. The house has a fascinating history and was used for many purposes over the years. See a timeline of events in Safed history, see authentic furniture and historic household items and documents.Karo Synagogue - this historic building in Safed was once the headquarters of the rabbinical court and here Rabbi Karo, author of the Shulchan Aruch, together with other religious leaders laid down Jewish law.Mount Beatitudes.Photo credit: © ShutterstockInternational Center for Safed Kabbalah Visitor Center - have the Kabbalah experience, just like Madonna, Kushner, and other celebs. This ancient Jewish mystical belief is based on the religious book The Zohar. Here you can see audio-visual presentations, use interactive media stations, learn about Kabbalistic art and get brilliant views from the roof of the historic building which houses the center.Artists’ Colony, Safed - Wander the narrow cobbled streets with ancient stone buildings on either side. In the stores, you will find art galleries, Judaica, hand-made jewelry, pottery, weaving, and paintings all inspired by the spirituality atmosphere of Safed.Stam Center Safed - here you can learn about the art of writing holy texts for Torah scrolls, mezuzot, and tefillin. A writer of these texts needs to be highly skilled and follow strict rules. See a multi-sensory audio-visual presentation and learn about the mystical meaning behind Hebrew letters.Sea of Galilee - perhaps the highlight of any trip to the Galilee is a visit to the Sea of Galilee or Kinneret. The main source of Israel’s large freshwater lake is the Jordan River which flows in at the northern end and out at the southern end. The sea will be familiar to Christians as the site of many significant biblical events. Many chapels and churches on the seashore mark these events.It was here that Jesus walked on water, that he went to sea with the fishermen, and where they performed several miracles like calming the sea. Today visitors usually start their exploration of the Sea of Galilee in Tiberius, the largest city on the seashore. You can participate in water sports, swim, take boat excursions, use the beaches for camping or just enjoy the tranquil setting. You might like to enjoy a delicious meal of freshly caught fish from the Sea of Galilee.The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes, Tabgha, Israel. Photo credit: © ShutterstockChurch of Mount of Beatitudes- the church on the summit of the Mount of Beatitudes marks the site where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. Although earlier churches stood on this site the present church was commissioned by Benito Mussolini and designed by Antonio Barluzzi. The church has an octagonal shape representative of the eight Beatitudes. Inside there are beautiful mosaics and the roof bears an impressive dome.Domus Galilaeae - this modern church shared the peak of the Mount of Beatitudes and was completed in 2000. It is a large complex used for Christian seminars and conventions.Hula Valley - located above the Sea of Galilee, with the Hula Lake at its heart. The Hula Nature Reserve is a wetland and home to tens of thousands of aquatic birds. It is both a stop for migrating birds and home to local species. Visitors can walk along hiking trails and over floating bridges across the swamps or observe the birds from special “hides” or blinds. At the Oforia Visitors Center visitor can see a model of the Hula Valley, multimedia presentations with special effects, and dioramas. There are interactive computer screens with quiz questions.Manara Cliff - in the Upper Galilee, near the Lebanese border, this mount overlooks the Hula Valley. Visitors can hike or take a cable car to the top of Manara Cliff for amazing views. At the top of the mount, there are various attractions like arts and crafts for kids and extreme sports activities. To get down from the mount you can hand glide, hike, cycle, take the cable car, or take the super cool toboggan all the way down. Manara is popular with extreme sports enthusiasts who can try snappling, climbing, archery, and omega.Mount Meron - this is the highest peak in Israel (not including the Golan Heights) and the site of the highest nature reserve. Although not all the mount can be hiked there are marked paths in some areas. The mount has religious significance for the Jewish community as it is the site of the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) a 2nd-century sage. On the anniversary of the Rabbi’s death on the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer thousands of people gather on the mount to pay homage at the tomb.Rainbow in the Hula Valley.Photo by Shalev Cohen on UnsplashThe Best Attractions of the Coastal PlainRosh HaNikra grottoes - these chalk cliffs and sea caves are located on the border with Lebanon in the Western Galilee on the edge of the Mediterranean. In addition to having a fascinating history that includes pirates, arms traders, British troops, and a secret railway the site is simply breathtakingly beautiful.Visitors descend the white chalk cliff by cable car overlooking the sea and enter a 200-meter labyrinth of caves that have been formed over centuries by the water beating against the stone. The reflection of the white caves makes the water appear milky turquoise. In the vicinity are a number of nature reserves.Mount Carmel -Mount Carmel in northern Israel, near Haifa, is one of the world's 500 UNESCO bioreserves. It is home to unique plants, trees, and animals. Lots of hiking trails offer a plethora of activities and are accessible year-round. The word “karmel” is supposedly a compound of “kerem” and “el”, meaning "vineyard of God". In Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought, Elijah is associated with Mount Carmel, and it is believed that he sometimes lived in a cave there.If you are interested in visiting top Galilee sites, join one of our Galilee and Golan tours.Limestone Grottos of Rosh Hanikra.Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By Petal Mashraki

Churches of Nazareth

Nazareth, in northern Israel has one of the country’s largest Christian communities; it was the Holy Family’s biblical home town where Jesus spent about 25 years of his life. The modern city has about 30 Christian places of worship several built over holy sites marking where biblical events took place.Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth. Photo credit: © ShutterstockChurch of the Annunciation, NazarethPerhaps Nazareth’s most famous church, Basilica of Annunciation stands on the spot believed by the Roman Catholic Church to be where the Angel Gabriel appeared before Mary and told her she would have a son who would be the son of G-d. The Greek Orthodox and Coptic Church have alternative annunciation sites in Nazareth.The church that stands today was constructed in 1969 over Byzantine and Crusader churches which were also constructed to commemorate the site of this holy event. The church has two levels the lower level is an excavated Roman-era dwelling or grotto believed to have been Mary’s childhood home. The remains of the earlier Byzantine church and Crusader church can be seen in the grotto.The grotto has a 5th century floor mosaic and holds an 18th century altar next to two 4th century columns. There are stairs leading to a small cave called Mary’s kitchen, from there an exit leads to the courtyard. The upper level serves as the parish church. The Upper Church has a 51.8 meter high cupola which lets in natural light.Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth.Photo credit: © ShutterstockIn the church courtyard there are 43 mosaics depicting Mary and child, each mosaic comes from a Christian community in a different nation around the world. Each figure of Mary is depicted with the physical characteristics and traditional dress as the country the mosaic came from, so for example the Singaporean Mary has slanted Asian eyes.The church that stands today was constructed in 1969 over Byzantine and Crusader churches which were also constructed to commemorate the site of this holy event. The church has two levels the lower level is an excavated Roman-era dwelling or grotto believed to have been Mary’s childhood home. The remains of the earlier Byzantine church and Crusader church can be seen in the grotto.The grotto has a 5th century floor mosaic and holds an 18th century altar next to two 4th century columns. There are stairs leading to a small cave called Mary’s kitchen, from there an exit leads to the courtyard. The upper level serves as the parish church. The Upper Church has a 51.8 meter high cupola which lets in natural light.In the church courtyard there are 43 mosaics depicting Mary and child, each mosaic comes from a Christian community in a different nation around the world. Each figure of Mary is depicted with the physical characteristics and traditional dress as the country the mosaic came from, so for example the Singaporean Mary has slanted Asian eyes.Door ornament at the Annunciation Church, Nazareth. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinSt Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church of the AnnunciationThe screen is of carved wood and decorated wood panels with brightly colored paintings of religious icons and scenes from the Bible. The spring where Mary went to draw water is located in the crypt of the church and still flows today. Visitors can see the well and 1,000 year old steps leading down to the spring. The grotto walls are cool and you can hear the gentle flow of the water and see grooves in the side of the well where the ropes holding buckets must have dug into the stone.Greek Catholic ChurchThis church constructed in 1887 stands in the Nazareth old market adjacent to the Synagogue Church. The Greek Orthodox Catholics or Melkites are a separate denomination to the Greek Orthodox having split from the church in 1724. Today the Melkites make up about 25% of Christians in Israel. Visitors enter the church through a gated courtyard; the Synagogue Church is entered through the same gate.Inside a traditional Templon or decorated screen separates the altar area from the main body of the church. Above the screen are paintings of religious icons. The interior is predominantly white with artwork and gold decoration. There are elaborate chandeliers and a gold-painted wooden priest’s chair imported from Greece. The exterior has two tall bell towers. Within the Melkite compound is a school, guesthouse, and convent.Church of St. Joseph, Nazareth. Photo credit: © ShutterstockSynagogue ChurchThe Bible tells us that it was here that Jesus proclaimed he was the Son of G-d. His claim to be the Messiah enraged the people who then led him to the Mount of Precipice where they attempted to throw him to his death. A 12th century Crusader church is located two meters below ground level and visitors need to descend seven steps to reach the simple church. The unadorned church interior has exposed brickwork and a stone altar.Church of St. JosephThe Church of St. Joseph is built over the traditional site of Joseph’s home and workshop and over a cave used in the Roman era for food and water storage. The site was identified as the Holy family’s home and Joseph’s workshop as early as the Byzantine period when it became a place of worship.Then during the Crusade period a new church was built on the site and following its destruction in 1263 it was rebuilt in 1754. The present structure was constructed in 1914 on the earlier churches. Visitors can descent into the grotto beneath the church where there is an altar and the remains of the previous structures. Church of St. Joseph, Nazareth. Photo credit: © ShutterstockChurch of Our Lady of FrightThe ruins of this Franciscan church (1882) stand on a barren hillside overlooking the city. It is said to mark the spot where Mary stood when she watched in fear as her son Jesus was led by the townsfolk to the edge of the mountain to be thrown to his death. The people were angry that Jesus had proclaimed himself to be the Messiah but they didn’t succeed in killing him as he “…passed through the midst of them went his way.” Luke 4:22.Christ ChurchThis is a Protestant-Anglican church constructed in 1871; it was the 2nd Anglican Church to be built in Palestine. The church’s original design included a tall steeple which was never completed due to lack of funds. The cross-shaped church has a traditional Gothic Revival design. Today the church has a congregation of about 40 families and there are services in Arabic every Sunday.Salesian ChurchA major part of this church’s beauty is in the breathtaking location on a ridge overlooking the city; it is possible to walk from the church down into the city center. The large white church was constructed in the French neo-Gothic style and has twin towers on the façade. Within the church is a life-size statue of Jesus as a young boy created by sculptor Bognio.There are beautiful large stained glass windows that flood the space with natural light and high vaulted ceilings supported by pillars made of clusters of columns. The church is administered by the Roman Catholic Salesians founded in the 19th century by Saint John Bosco. The cavernous church has great acoustics and is often used for concerts and recitals.Nazareth and Sea of Galilee tour by Bein Harim Tourism Services. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinMensa Christi ChurchNot to be confused with the Greek Catholic Orthodox Churchthis church is located in downtown Nazareth near Mary’s Well and according to the Greek Orthodox tradition was the site of the annunciation. Several churches have been built and then destroyed over this holy site; the present church was constructed in 1767 on the ruins of a Crusader church. The church has a simple exterior with a tall thin bell tower while the interior is more elaborate. There is a traditional Templon, or dividing screen separating the hall of the church from the altar area.As Jesus spent part of his childhood in Nazareth, in his parent’s Jewish community, he would have prayed in a synagogue thought to have stood where this church now stands. The church is located in the center of the Old City marketplace adjacent to the Greek Catholic Church and is administered by the Melkite Greek Catholics.The Jesus Table Church was constructed in 1861 around a piece of chalk rock believed to have been the table on which Jesus ate with his disciples after his resurrection. (Mark 16). The rock bears marks made by pilgrims as early as the 17th century. The quaint dome roofed church has a stone tablet above the entrance which features the date (1861); the Franciscan symbol of the 5 crosses and another of the hands of Jesus and Francis of Assisi crossed over a crucifix. The Mensa Christi is mentioned in several places in the Bible and is also associated with a location in Tabgha.To see the churches of Nazareth consider joining one of Nazareth tours.Annunciation Church, Nazareth.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
By Petal Mashraki

Explore Haifa

Set on the Mediterranean, and sloping down a mountain, Haifa is Israel’s third-largest city and the center of the county’s north. It might be smaller and less assuming than Tel Aviv, and perhaps doesn’t offer the ‘wow’ factor of Jerusalem, but it does have a charm all of its own. Many tourists skip Haifa or just spend a few hours there, to see the world-famous Bahai Gardens (with their beautifully manicured flower beds and fountains) but that’s a pity because Haifa (and the surrounding area) has a great deal to offer the visitor. Here are some of its top attractions, many of which are family-friendly and ideal for a morning or full-day out.Haifa Bay View from the terraces of Bahai Gardens.Photo credit: © ShutterstockMadatech, the Museum of ScienceHoused in a magnificent building that dates back to the Ottoman empire and was the original home of the Technion (Israel’s world-famous university), the facade itself is sure to delight every architect lover. Inside, Madatech offers all kinds of activities relating to science and technology - gravity, optics, mirrors, telescopes to name a few, and the exhibits are designed in such a way that children will love it and adults will find it equally fascinating.Many of the exhibits are set up not just to be looked at but engaged with - kids can play with water, gears, and pulleys, check out flying machines and even try out a crash simulator! Madatech is the kind of museum that encourages kids to partake in hands-on science experiments that are both thrilling and challenging. Want to build an eco-home or understand prisms of light? You’re in the right place. And there’s even something for toddlers - a mirror maze! You can purchase tickets online and a family card works out at good value. Even better, the museum is free of charge each Wednesday (unless that day falls upon a national holiday).Madatech, Israel National Museum of Science Technology and Space, Haifa.Photo credit: © ShutterstockStella Maris Lighthouse and Carmelite MonasteryDating back to the seventeenth century, this beautiful lighthouse suffered severe damage in World War I although afterward it was restored. During World War II, the British Army (who were ruling Israel under the Mandate) rented it from the Carmelites, in anticipation of a Nazi invasion. In the event, they stayed on until 1948, when the State of Israel was declared and since then the lighthouse has been used by the Israeli Navy. The Stella Maris Lighthouse is a wonderful place to watch the sunset and whilst it is closed to the public, it’s easy to find a beautiful spot nearby and enjoy the view.Near the lighthouse is a Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, built over a cave in which it is said Elijah the Prophet once lived. This large and imposing building today serves as a pilgrimage center for tourists who come from all over the world and the church itself houses a collection of antiques. Inside, you will find a lovely cupola and ornate altar, along with statues of Mary and Jesus, wall mosaics, and icons. (Fun fact: the monastery once served as a hospital for Napoleon’s soldiers). There is also another monastery in the Haifa area - Muhraka Monastery - which is 27 kilometers away and situated in the tiny Druze village of Daliat-el-Karmel.Muhraka Monastery, Haifa. Photo credit: © ShutterstockLouis PromenadeOne of the best places to wander and gaze out over all of Haifa has to be the Louis Promenade on Mount Carmel. Stretching along the top of the city, it’s an excellent look-out point and also well-located, being close to museums, hotels, and shops where you can buy souvenirs. Locals love this place - in the morning you’ll see elderly people chatting, in the afternoon people jogging, and, at night, couples strolling on a romantic date. And since Israel is a Mediterranean country, boasting long, hot summers, the promenade is an ideal spot to find a bench and soak up some rays.The German Colony, HaifaNo day in Haifa would be complete without a stroll in the fashionableGerman Colony, with its red-tiled roofs and stone buildings (built by the Templars in the 19th century). With a wide selection of cafes and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to grab a bite and watch the world go by."I love Haifa" video mapping project in the German Colony Haifa, Israel.Photo credit: © Or PazCarmel National ParkThis lovely national park, which makes up a large area ofMount Carmel - offers visitors a great day out. With its rivers, cliffs, hills and vales, and Mediterranean flora and fauna,Carmel National Parkis an ever-changing ecological area. It has many different hiking trails (all easily marked and quite reachable). The scenic look-out points are simply magnificent and it is beautiful at any time of the year (in the spring, the grass is a carpet of brightly-colored the winter, rain can make it particularly verdant).Historically, Carmel Park was inhabited by humans dating back 100,000 years ago and, since then, archaeologists have discovered over 200 ‘living’ areas. Around the park, there are special areas set aside for studying and maintaining the delicate ecology, making it a perfect place to hike, stroll or come with friends and family for a picnic. There are many amenities, including a restaurant, playgrounds, bicycle paths, and a Druze hospitality center that serves tea and snacks. Admission cost - 20 NIS.Carmel National Park.Photo credit: © Tal NitzanThe Hanging Bridge at Nesher ParkFor the sporty, the active, and those who thrive on adrenalin rushes, this has to be the ‘go-to’ Haifa attraction. Located on the northern side of the Carmel, south of the town of Nesher, this park offers a magnificent central feature - a seventy-meter suspension bridge that stretches across the Nahal Katia river.Made out of steel ropes and strong beams, it sways as you cross it (warning: stepping on this bridge is not for the faint-hearted). Designed to blend into the natural features of Nesher park, as you walk across (clutching the sides!) the views of the forest are quite awe-inspiring. If you’re not into this kind of high-octane activity, simply enjoy the breathtaking views of the entire area (the forest, the Carmel, and the Mediterranean) from their observation deck. But for those who like adventure, this feeling of ‘simply hanging’ between the sky and the ground must be something very special. An engineering marvel which makes for a fine excursion!German Colony, Haifa.Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By Sarah Mann


Herzliya is a city in the centre of Israel, just north of Tel Aviv, and is easily reached from there by car, train or bus. Home to around 100,000 people, it is prosperous - owing to its thriving start-up culture - and also close to a number of beaches. It covers around 21 square kilometres and its western suburbs are home to very wealthy neighbourhoods, where the tree-lined roads are filled with ‘villas’ (spacious homes that are a rarity in Israel).Yachts in Herzliya Marina.Photo credit: © Evgeny BrizeliHerzliya and its most wealthy suburb - Herzliya Pituach - is a city in which many diplomats live (it is home to a number of prominent embassies) as well as successful Israeli and international entrepreneurs. It is affluent and pleasant and according to the Israeli Bureau of Statistics, one of the wealthiest cities in Israel. With its pristine beaches, endless amenities and close proximity to Tel Aviv (with no traffic, Tel Aviv can be reached in 20 minutes by car and 15 minutes by train) it is considered to be a desirable location, both for living and holidaying.Herzliya was founded in 1924, initially as a kind of farming co-operative ‘moshav’ in Hebrew), and named after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. By 1948, when the state of Israel was founded, its population had reached around 5,000 and in 1960, when it reached 25,000 it was declared to be a city. Today, it is home to football and rugby teams, all kinds of amenities - including excellent restaurants, shopping malls and beaches - and each year hosts the ‘Herzliya Conference’, which brings together business leaders, academics and politicians from across Israel and the globe.The Mediterranean seashore north of Herzliya, Apollonia National Park.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinTop Herzliya AttractionsHerzliya Marina - Israel’s largest and most prestigious marina, here you’ll see hundreds of vessels moored and - in warm weather - hundreds more out on the Mediterranean. The Marina is a great place to stroll, stop for ice cream or a light bite, do a little shopping or grab dinner as the sun goes down. There are sports bars, live music venues and great views of the water.Apollonia National Park - Apollonia, also known as Tel Arsuf, is a hidden gem in the area. A national park, looking out over the Mediterranean Sea, it dates back to Crusader times. Visitors can explore the fortress inside, along with a moat, furnace and Roman villa, and walk along a coastal trail. Look out for gazelles, porcupines, red foxes and star lizards and enjoy the lavender bushes and eucalyptus trees.Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art - Opened in 1975, this building was constructed partly as a memorial building and partly as a museum/cultural centre. Its focus is on contemporary art produced by young artists, both from Israel and abroad, and it also has a sculpture garden.Apollonia National Park.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinKfar Shmaryahu Caves - Samaritans lived in Apollonia/Arsuf as far back as the 5th century and here, in these caves, they buried their dead. A number of these graves can still be seen today (although there are no skeletons!) and are still preserved in a rather good condition, thanks to the limestone. A fun hour or two can be had with kids here - there’s also free admission and plenty of parking.Museum Beit Rishonim - meaning ‘Founder’s House’ in Hebrew, this museum documents the history of Herzliya, from the time it was settled in 1924, onto when it was declared a city in 1960. An interesting exhibition about the ideology of Zionism and Herzl’s vision of what a Jewish state might look like.Sidna Ali - the Sidna Ali mosque is located in the old village of Al-Haram, in the northern part of the city. Inside are vaulted arcades dating back to the 13th-15th century and the tomb of a local saint, Ali Alim. The mosque is popular as a pilgrimage site with Israeli Arabs from Galilee. A playground in Herzliya. Photo credit: © Natalia BrizeliWhere to Stay? Best Herzliya HotelsPopular with tourists year-round, there’s a variety of accommodation in the city and along with no-frills apartments there are also a number of high-end hotels in Herzliya, should you be willing to splash the cash. Here are a few we’d recommend, for a pampering stay:Ritz Carlton - this luxury hotel has beautiful spacious rooms and elegant bathrooms and is only a 3-4 minute walk from the beach. The waiters at the poolside area serve free bottled water and the weekend breakfast runs to 12 midday. Great lobby bar, as well as a spa and their signature restaurant, the ‘Herbert Samuel’.Dan Accadia - close to the beach, with a large pool, the Dan is elegant yet not ostentatious. Vegan visitors rave about their food, especially the breakfasts. The Dan lounge, for members, offers light snacks and drinks. There’s also a lovely beach patio to eat out on, in the later afternoon.Publica Isrotel - the rooms are of small size, but thoughtfully designed and elegant. The infinity pool is beautiful, and the hotel offers colourful and functional workspaces for those arriving with laptops! Visitors rave about the comfortable beds and gym facilities.Herods - Comfortable rooms, excellent buffet breakfast and helpful staff make this hotel on the beach a tried and tested favourite. They offer a free shuttle to the mall and visitors report they are very child-friendly.Dan Accadia Hotel, Herzliya.Photo credit: ©Dan Accadia HerzliyaOkeanos - overlooking the beach, this ‘aparthotel’ is ideal for the business traveller or anyone who likes to keep to their own schedule. All spaces have fully-equipped kitchens and separate spaces for working, sleeping and living, as well as all the amenities of a modern hotel. Visitors rave about the pool and Okeanos also offers a 24/7 fitness centre. NYX - Attractively designed, with an excellent kosher dairy-fish restaurant and cocktail bar area. As well as a pool and spa, the NYX offers free bikes to its guests. The hotel has a business lounge and their stylish rooms all come with a Nespresso machine. Expensive but worth it!Daniel - this is an old favourite for many visitors to Israel. Close to the beach and the marina, they offer spacious rooms (many with fridges) and an excellent buffet breakfast. Visitors often comment on the friendly staff and the well-maintained sauna and jacuzzi facilities.Sharon - with its large outdoor pool, giving direct access to the beach, free bicycle hire and beautiful views of the Mediterranean, the Sharon comes highly recommended. Many of the bedrooms have been recently renovated and the breakfast buffer services an astonishing array of food. The Ritz-Carlton, Herzliya.Photo credit: ©The Ritz-Carlton, HerzliyaA Day at the Beach - Herzilya’s Finest StretchesThere is a number of spectacular Herzliya beaches, all with powdery white sand and clear water. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly activities, a sporty time or some seclusion, there’s something for everyone - and they’re all public, with quite a lot of free parking close to hand, so you don’t have to break the bank. Hasharon Beach, Herzliya - probably the city’s favourite beach, with lots of facilities, including beach chairs for rent and lots of places to eat nearby. Popular with those learning to surf, the waters can occasionally be rough here so watch out! Acadia Beach, Herzliya - Clean sand, clear waters, good working showers and a lookout make this a great place to spend a day. Pick shells, borrow a book from the public library van or just sun yourself. For those looking for an adrenaline rush, there’s also a surf school.Zvulun Beach, Herzliya - not too noisy and not too crowded, you can take shade here in the mornings from the hotel nearby. In the winter, it's a popular spot for kitesurfing. The grassy areas are also ideal for picnics.Marina and Boats Beach, Herzliya - very close to the marina, and with the shopping area and many restaurants nearby, these two interconnecting beaches are always popular and this is the place to go if you want to sail or jet ski.Apollonia Beach, Herzliya - with its empty stretches of sand and green-coloured water, Apollonia is an incredibly beautiful - and very quiet beach. Access to it is by clambering over rocks Great for a long, philosophical stroll or a romantic sunset walk, gaze up at the ancient ruins and lose yourself for a moment.A girl in Herzliya. Photo by Or Hakim on UnsplashFree Time - Things to Do in Herzliya:Shopping - Herzliya has plenty for the shopper, including the Arena and Seven Stars malls. Branded stores include Tommy Hilfiger, Nine West, Timberland and Nautica. Inside are plenty of eateries as well as activities for kids and some free workshops and shows in the summer. Water sports -Whether you want to sail, surf or take out a kite, you can do it here. Yachts can be chartered here, there’s a surf school that offers classes year-round and there are plenty of attractions for kids, including surfing in Herzliya.Israel Day tours from Herzliya -Israel is a compact country, and you can go on day tours around Israel from Herzliya to the most popular destinations like the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Galilee. Day tours from Herzliya to various places depart daily and are offered in several languages.Bars and restaurants in Herzliya:Sebastian - with its Mediterranean vibe, and delicious dishes that include arancini, chicken liver terrine and salmon with capers, Sebastian isn’t cheap but it’s definitely popular.Meat Bar - the perfect place for carnivores, specializing in steaks (T-Bone, New York, Porterhouse steaks) and the lamb chops and chicken are popular too.A girl at Herzliya Beach.Photo by Pauline on UnsplashZozobra - serving all kinds of Asian fare, particularly Ramen and curries, you sit at long tables and dishes arrive as soon as they are cooked. Reasonable prices and tasty food.Giraffe - if you like sushi, noodles or gyoza, this reasonably priced Asian fusion restaurant is perfect. Try the Orange Thai curry or the ‘Afghan’ with goose breast.Meat and Wine - this smart kosher restaurant has lots of South African inspired meat dishes, including steak, duck and goose liver. The upscale atmosphere with a good selection of wines and tasty non-dairy desserts.Getting to HerzliyaThe number 90 bus runs directly from Tel Aviv to Herzliya, beginning at the Carmel Market, through Dizengoff Street and the Namir Road and costs 10 NIS (3 USD) one way. Allow 30-45 minutes depending on traffic. Trains also leave regularly from Tel Aviv Savidor, Hashalom and Hahaganah stations and a one-way ticket costs 14 NIS (4,5 USD) and takes approx. 13-18 mins. By car, the journey will take between 20-30 minutes on Route 2 (Namir Road).If you are interested in visiting Herzliya as part of an organised private tour, we offer a number of day tours. Also, feel free to call us on (972) 3 542-2000 for more detailed information.
By Sarah Mann


Safed (Tsfat) is a city in the Galilee built on hilltops surrounded by idyllic countryside. Safed’s high elevation gives the city warm, pleasant summers and cold winters often with snow. Safed is one of Israel’s four sacred Jewish cities.History of SafedSafed is identified with the 1st-century fortified town of Sepph and is mentioned in the Talmud as one of the elevated towns where fires were lit to indicate the new moon during the period of the Second Temple. Under the Crusaders in the 12th century, Safed was the fortified city of Saphet and the Mamluks turned Safed into an administrative center for the region. The Ottomans made Safed their capital of the Galilee and since the 16th century, Safed has been associated with Kabbalah Jewish mysticism.Safed and JudaismSafed street.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinIn the 16th century, Rabbi Isaac Luria (1531-1573) headed the Kabbalah movement in Safed and the city has remained a center of Jewish mysticism and study. The primary Kabbalistic text, the Zohar states that the Jewish messiah will reveal himself in Galilee and probably Safed. Points of Interest in SafedSafed’s Old City consists of meandering stone-paved narrow lanes flanked with stone houses. The Old City is divided into a Jewish Quarter and the Artists’ Quarter. The steep hillside means that stairways are necessary in some places to connect street levels. Window boxes bloom and vines adorn many of the buildings. The ruins of the former Crusader and later Mamluk fortress stand on the edge of the Old City. Safed’s Artists’ Quarter is home to artists who work and sell their creations along the lanes of the Old City. Their work is unique, often inspired by the Kabbalah. Many artists are attracted to Safed by its extraordinary beauty, the tranquil countryside, and the spirituality of Safed.In the Jewish Quarter, you can visit a number of historic synagogues (there are 32 synagogues in this neighborhood) including the two synagogues named after Rabbi Isaac Luria (known as Ari after his initials in Hebrew). Other noteworthy synagogues include the Abuhav Synagogue and Yosif Karo Synagogue named after the author of the book Shulchan Aruch.Abuhav Synagogue, Safed. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By Petal Mashraki


Caesarea is an affluent modern city along the northern Mediterranean coast of Israel between Tel Aviv and Haifa. It is also the site of extensive archaeological remains. Along the seafront are the remains of the Roman port city of Caesarea Maritima and subsequent Byzantine, Muslim and Crusader structures.A Brief History of CaesareaWith so many great civilizations leaving their mark on Israel it is sometimes difficult to keep track of the chronology of historical events. Archaeological findings in Israel often reveal multiple layers remaining from different historical periods. When you visit Caesarea the expanse of the excavations can be overwhelming so here is a brief overview of Caesarea’s history and the evidence we can see on a visit to the Caesarea Archeological Park.4th Century BC - Phoenician Port.The site was first settled in the 4th century BC as a Phoenician port city called Strato’s Tower.1st Century BC - Hasmonean Kingdom. In 90 BC King Alexander Yannai captured the city for the Hasmonean Kingdom. After being under Cleopatra for a short time and an autonomous city under Pompey, Caesarea was given to Augustus Caesar.63 BC – 640 AD Roman and Byzantine Empire. The ancient Roman history of this site is recorded by Roman historian Josephus Flavius. Rome-appointed King of Judea, Herod the Great, instigated major construction and development in the city. Most of what you can see today on a visit to Caesarea’s archaeological park came from this period. In 25-13 BC Herod commissioned the construction of a large port. The port city of Caesarea Maritima became the administrative center of the Judaea Province. Herod had a double harbor constructed, Sebastos. The breakwaters can still be seen in aerial shots 5 meters below sea level, it was the largest port on the eastern Mediterranean coast.Caesarea Port, Israel.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinIn 6 AD the city became the seat of the Roman Procurators of Judea. The Herodian aqueduct can still be seen today, it carried fresh water from a spring 9km to the north. Expert engineering insured that the construction and use of natural gravity kept the water flowing. Some sections of the aqueduct were supported on a row of raised stone arches which can still be seen along the coast.66 AD-70 AD - the Great Revolt occurred, when the uprising was crushed the Romans continued ruling Palestine. In 325 AD the Roman Empire was Christianized under Emperor Constantine. Caesarea was also home to Jews under Roman rule and the remains of a 5th-century synagogue were found near the harbor. During the Byzantine period, a church was built on the remains of the Roman temple.640 AD – 1101 AD - Muslim Rule.In 640AD the city fell to the Muslims and Caesarea was left neglected.1101 AD – 1265 AD Crusaders.1101 AD when the Crusaders, led by Baldwin I captured the city the city’s walls were fortified and a fortress constructed. For a year (1251-52) Louis IX spent time in the city helping (with his bare hands) to reconstruct the city walls and moat.1265 AD - Mamluks. Fearing the return of the Crusaders the Mamluks practiced a “scorched earth” strategy burning and destroying the coastal cities and ports. In 1265 the Mamluks Sultan Baybars captured and destroyed the city leaving it in disrepair for 619 years until in 1884 it was once again re-inhabited. 1884 to present and the State of Israel -This time by a group of refugee Muslims from Bosnia, who formed a small fishing village here. In 1948 the city was once again abandoned. After the establishment of the new State of Israel in 1949, the surrounding areas were gradually settled, and eventually, excavation of Caesarea was begun.In 1884 a small group of immigrants from Bosnia settled in Caesarea and established a fishing village and in 1940 the Jewish Kibbutz Sdot Yam was founded alongside the village. In 1952 the present Jewish community established the town we know today as the city of Caesarea. The city is known for the world-class golf course; the Roman theater which hosts top performers, the annual Caesarea Jazz Festival, a beautiful beach, and the Caesarea National Park that protects the archaeological sites.Columns in Caesarea.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinCaesarea National ParkA walk through the archeological park will take you into the remains of Roman baths; a temple facing the harbor, warehouses, and public buildings. In the southern part of the city, Herod’s luxurious palace was constructed on a 110 X 60-meter plot. The Roman theater is now a functioning performance venue. Here a plaque was found with an inscription referring to Emperor Tiberius and Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea. This was the first recorded mention of Pilate’s name dated within Jesus's lifetime.Roman Theatre - This classic Roman theater is perfectly preserved. It has the typical semi-circular shape with seating on staggered stone steps facing the stage and the sea beyond. In Roman times the theatre would have been important in entertaining the many foreigners and sailors who came into port. The theatre was originally built under Emperor Vespasian and later expanded by King Herod.Herod’s Reef Palace - Several pillars remain from the inner courtyard of King Herod’s Reef Palace. The opulent palace would have had two stories and was partly built on the marine reef jutting out onto the sea. Today parts of the palace can still be seen and parts are submerged beneath the sea. Experts differ in opinion as to whether this was Herod’s palace or a later construction. We can also see the remains of a swimming pool alongside a floor mosaic and ritual bath.Hippodrome - Among the archaeological remains there is a large hippodrome with reconstructed frescoes. Here the Romans would hold horse and chariot races. Another surviving piece of the ancient structure is the public toilets – a row of stone seats with holes in them. The grand hippodrome could hold 20,000 spectators and horse and chariot races were held here every 5 years under Roman rule. Roman theatre in Caesarea.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinThroughout the park, there are large Roman columns, capitals, sculptures, gravestones, and carved architectural features attesting to the importance and opulence of this former Roman city. Also at the site, we can see where the bathhouse, temples, storerooms, and homes once stood. Structures remaining from the Byzantine era include a villa with floor mosaics and the ruins of a Byzantine church. Remains dating back to the Crusader era include the reconstructed Crusader Gate; a large moat that encircled the Crusader fortress, a high defensive wall, and arched entranceways.Caesarea PortUp until the construction of Herod’s port at Caesarea, only natural bays were used to land on the Mediterranean shore of the Holy Land. Herod’s port was the first quay-based port along this stretch of coast. It was one of the largest and most sophisticated ports at the time. The port consisted of submerged quays on wooden rafts; a lighthouse and a breakwater stone wall.Vessels came and went from Caesarea port to cities across the Mediterranean. The port provided services necessary to the visiting vessels including ship repair and supplies. All this did not come without a price and the ships were taxed by the Romans making the city even richer.Herod created the port as a stop on the trade route bringing precious goods to Rome. The port took about 12 years to construct (22-10BC) and was the largest and most modern artificial harbor in the Roman Empire. Maritima soon became the economic, commercial, and political center of the country. Herod’s harbor offered an enclosed area of 20 hectares where boats could anchor.This area comprised three basins. The inner basin was dug inland and today the basin is silted up and mostly covered with grass. The only reminder of where the inner basin was is a circular tower which was probably from the earlier Hellenistic fortifications. The intermediate basin was built on top of the kurkar ridge, it was a natural bay and Herod’s engineers added piers that provided more docking area.To build the open sea basin materials were imported and two large breakwaters were constructed. This was innovative at the time and the breakwaters were the first of their kind. One breakwater formed a large arc about 500 meters long and 60cm wide at its base. At regular intervals, a quay on the inner rim offered space for docking ships. There was probably a promenade and warehouses along the length of this sea wall. Aerial view of Caesarea. Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe largest tower, Drusion, stood where the Citadel stands today and may have been used as a lighthouse. A straight, shorter breakwater formed the enclosing northern side of the harbor. Between the two breakwaters, there was an opening for ships to enter and twin towers marked the entrance on either side. A platform would have once connected the two towers and been designed to carry sculptures.So what caused the demise of this modern wonder of the 1st century? The downfall of Herod’s port was a lack of engineering know-how. Over the course of several years, the quays collapsed and by the Byzantine era, the port no longer functioned. Soon after its completion, the harbor foundations began to sink. It is thought that a geological fault line may have had something to do with it, or an earthquake, tsunami, the weight of the structures, or the instability of the sandy seabed. Many ships were wrecked due to the sunken breakwaters and several sunken anchors are testament to the development of anchors over the years. The sunken harbor provides a phenomenal diving area where four tracks have been created marking a route connecting 28 points of interest beneath the water.The earliest was the Hellenistic town of Straton’s Tower followed by King Herod’s Sebastos port built for the city of Maritima and then the Roman, Byzantine, early Arab, and Crusader harbors. Arial views of Caesarea clearly show the remains of man-made harbors beneath the translucent water. In discovering the sunken harbor the main sources of information were the writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and the Roman architect Vitruvius. Caesarea Aqueduct.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinMulti-Media Experiences at CaesareaIn addition to the archaeological site itself, there are three multi-media displays to help visitors understand the history of Caesarea.The Caesarea Experience is a cinematic display taking you back in time through the history of Caesarea for a look at different periods and the cultures of those times.Caesarea Stars brings to life prominent figures from Caesarea’s history so that visitors can “meet” them and hear their stories. This attraction includes a 3D view of Caesarea showing the physical changes it has undergone over the centuries.Time Tower is a computerized animated presentation in the Crusader Tower. Scenes from Caesarea’s history are shown with a focus on how the Roman port city was constructed.Visiting CaesareaToday the port area is a lively entertainment area where the ancient structures are home to galleries, cafes, stores, and restaurants. Many activities take place in Caesarea. During Passover the hippodrome hosts “Horses in the Hippodrome” where horses and their riders perform in Roman costume. The Festival of Ancient Times is held during the Sukkot holiday (usually in September). This is a theatrical festival with shows that present stories of ancient times. Visitors can take tours of the National Park and in the summer there are even candlelight tours at night. The Roman theater hosts the biggest Israeli and international stars. Divers visiting Caesarea are treated to an underwater archaeological park. They can dive among the remains of Herod’s port in an “Underwater Museum. Since 1976 sea excavations have been ongoing to uncover the ancient harbors of successive eras. Visitors enjoying the beach at Caesarea will be just meters from the ancient Roman aqueduct that runs the length of the beach. Join Caesarea day tour to explore this fantastic site!Modern sculpture in Caesarea.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
By Petal Mashraki

How to Get from Haifa to Jerusalem

By North American or European standards, Israel is not a large country. In fact, you can easily travel from one end to another i.e. the Golan Heights to Eilat, in a few hours. Whether you’re using the bus, train, taxi or renting a car, it’s easy to move between cities, which means you can pack a lot into your trip.Haifa Maritime Museum, Israel. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinToday, we’re looking at how to get from Haifa to Jerusalem. Haifa is Israel’s largest city in the north of the country and sits on the Mediterranean coast, on the slopes of Mount Carmel. Within the city itself, there are some fine things to see, including the iconic Bahai Gardens, the German Colony neighborhood (with its Templer houses), Wadi NisNas (with its tiny alleyways, old stone houses, and colorful market), and the National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space.Not too far from Haifa itself are beautiful nature reserves, parks, hiking trails, and also attractions such as Acre (an ancient Crusader City), Rosh Hanikra, in the Western Galilee, with its caves and grottos, and also Nazareth, the city where Jesus’ birth was announced by an angel and where Jesus himself spent many of his formative years.Of course, no trip to Israel would be complete without a visit to Jerusalem, a city of three world faiths and home to some extraordinary museums, places of worship, and archaeological sites. Staying in Haifa doesn’t mean a day trip to Jerusalem is out of the question either, as long as you’re prepared to make an early start. The actual distance between Jerusalem and Haifa is just 120 km (74 miles), which is really quite manageable. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to get between these two cities, and some step-by-step directions to make your journey run smoothly.Haifa View from Bahai Gardens Terrace.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin1. Bus from Haifa to JerusalemIsrael’s public network is cheap, efficient, and modern, and traveling from Haifa to Jerusalem is easy and inexpensive. Without traffic, the journey should take around 1 hour 40 minutes. There are different bus stations at which you can catch an Egged bus (Israel’s national bus line) including Haifa Merkazit Hamifrats/Inter-City Platform, Hof HaCarmel, and the Technion/visitors station.HaMifratz central bus station is the main bus station of the Haifa Bay district. It is next to Haifa's central railway station (see below under the ‘train’ section) and also the Lev HaMifratz shopping mall.Egged bus from Haifa to Jerusalem (№960) leaves from Floor 3 Haifa Merkazit Hamifrats/Inter-City Platform bus station, every 20 minutes. It takes, on average, 1 hour and 44 minutes, and a one-way ticket costs 36 NIS (11 USD).Hof HaCarmel is close to the sea and Haifa’s central bus station. It serves local buses within the city and all Egged buses heading south. Passengers can ask for a free transfer to urban buses when they buy their inter-city ticket to continue from one central bus station to the other one, or into the city. FromHof HaCarmelbus 947 runs less frequently but is also a direct service, taking just under 2 hours. Again, it costs around 36 NIS.Technion - the Israeli Institute of Technology has a visitors center and buses run from there.From the Technion University, it is possible to take the 796 to Mishmar HaGvul junction, walk 3 minutes then catch the 942 to Jerusalem. All buses alight at Yitzhak Navon, the central bus station in Jerusalem, which is adjacent to the city’s light railway (the best way to travel around Jerusalem). Haifa Bay View from Bahai Gardens. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin2. Trainfrom Haifa to JerusalemTaking the train from Haifa to Jerusalem is an excellent way to travel - Israeli trains are comfortable and modern and the service is frequent - every half an hour. At present, it is necessary to change trains at either Tel Aviv Savidor or Ben Gurion Airport stations - there is a connection time of around 11 minutes - before continuing on to Jerusalem. The journey, in general, takes between 1 hour and 42 minutes to 2 hours. Most tourists will wish to alight at Jerusalem’s main train station, Yitzhak Navon. Spacious and modern, it is conveniently located on Jaffa Road, next to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station and the light railway (which runs every 3-5 minutes, both to downtown Jerusalem and the Damascus Gate, in the Old City).Payment can be made by buying a ticket from the cashier's office, by booking through the Israel Railways website, using a green Rav Kav card loaded with pre-paid credit (which can be purchased from any station and many pharmacies and stores in Israel), or the Rav Kav mobile telephone app. The cost of a regular one-way ticket is 42 NIS (around 13 USD). Trains begin running at approximately 5.30 am and the last train leaves Haifa at approximately 21.30, arriving in Jerusalem two hours later (11.30 pm).Trains depart from three stations within Haifa itself - Center HaShmona, Bat Galim, and Hof HaCarmel. The largest of these is HaShmona which is situated at Plumer Square, on Independence Road. The station itself was built by the British under the Mandate, in the Bauhaus style, and opened in 1937.Bat Galim was Haifa’s major train station from 1975 until the early 2000s. It is within walking distance of the port and also the city’s Rambam hospital. Hof HaCarmel - located next to the Carmel Beach central bus station. Situated on Sakharov street - this is the city’s busiest train station. It is within walking distance of two shopping malls and the MATAM high-tech park. The train in Israel does not run between Friday afternoon and Saturday evening (two hours before Shabbat commences and an hour after it ends).Interior of the Israeli train.Photo by Lital Bamnulker on Unsplash3. Getting from Haifa to Jerusalem by TaxiTaxis are plentiful in Israel and it should not be difficult to find one to take you to Jerusalem. You can either ask your hotel concierge to book one for you or call one of the numerous operators in the Haifa area. You should look to pay somewhere between 700-800 NIS (215-250 USD). One of the most popular companies to use is BookTaxi.4. Getting from Haifa to Jerusalem with Private TransferPrivate transfers are very easy to arrange in Israel but it's advisable to book them through a trustworthy Israeli tour operator, who has contacts within the industry and can ensure you will be put in touch with a reputable and honest operator. Once you are satisfied with the quote, you will be charged by credit card and all matters forthwith will be handled by the tour operator, giving you complete peace of mind.At Bein Harim, we are always happy to help obtain quotes for people visiting Israel who need a private taxi - please call us or send us your details on our ‘Contact Us’ form and we will get back to you promptly, with a competitive offer.Taxis in East Jerusalem.Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash5. Israel Shore Excursions from Haifa PortHaifa is becoming an incredibly popular destination for international cruise liners, and if you have a full day on land, traveling to Jerusalem is a wonderful idea. A ship-to-shore excursion to Jerusalem is really worth considering - you will be picked up at Haifa port by a private guide and whisked off to Jerusalem, giving you time to see world-famous spots, historical and religious landmarks, and even walk on the Mount of Olives. You’ll have a comfortable and interesting experience, and it will all be timed perfectly so you’ll return to Haifa before your ship leaves the port.6. Getting from Haifa to Jerusalem with a rental carRenting a car in Israel is a popular way to see the country. Rental charges are not exorbitant and using a car to get around gives you a level of freedom that nothing else can. Whilst parking can be a challenge in Jerusalem (and it may be advisable to pay for a spot for the day), it’s a fast way to get you from one city to the next. Taking Route 90 (Yitzhak Rabin Highway) will usually take about 2 hours, as long as there is not too much traffic on the road.Popular rental hire companies in Israel include Eldan, Hertz, Shlomo Sixt, and Thrifty, and, on average, renting a car costs around 260 NIS per day. All are convenient to work with, accessible, and competitively priced, and if you shop around beforehand you can get some great deals.View of Jerusalem Old City.Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash
By Sarah Mann

How to Get from Haifa to Tel Aviv

If you’re visiting Israel, whether it’s for the first time or the tenth, the chances are you aren’t going to want to stay in one place. And why should you? Israel has it all - beaches, archaeological sites, wineries, places of worship, nature trails, mountains, deserts and so much more besides.View of Bahai Gardens, Haifa.Photo credit: © ShutterstockTo give you an idea of the size of Israel, it’s about equivalent to the US state of New Jersey or half the size of Switzerland. Its total area is 22.145 square km (8.630 square miles) of which 21. 671 km is land. Israel is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Egypt to the southwest, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.And something else that’s really great about travel in Israel is that the country has a highly developed infrastructure - highways and public transportation in Israel are both modern and efficient, making it easy to move around - and reach one end of the country from the other - quickly and with not too much effort. This means that even if you’re just in the country for a few days, you can see several areas without wasting too much of your precious time.In this article, we’ll be looking at how to get from Haifa to Tel Aviv. Haifa is the ‘capital’ of the north of the country and a real Mediterranean city, perched on the slopes of the lovely Mount Carmel. Historically a port city, and today very mixed (Jews and Arabs continue to live and work together here) it’s a lovely place to visit or even spend a few days.Within the city itself there is lots to explore - the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood, with its bustling market and small alleys, the German Colony (home to the German Templar movement, over a century ago) and, of course, the world-famous Bahai Gardens (affording spectacular views of the city), with its perfectly manicured lawns and shimmering gold dome. Haifa Maritime Museum, Israel.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinOutside Haifa, less than an hour’s drive from the city you can find nature reserves, the Crusader City of Acre, the Herodian ruins of Caesarea, Druze villages, charming vineyards, rustic zimmers (upmarket ‘cabin style’ accommodation, usually in pastoral settings), Nazareth (where Jesus spent many of his early years) and the Sea of Galilee. And if you want to head as far north as possible, there’s also Rosh Hanikra, with its spectacular caves, close to quiet and pristine beaches. Of course, we haven’t yet mentioned Tel Aviv - Israel’s largest and most lively city, in the heart of the country, close to Ben Gurion airport and also situated on the shores of the Mediterranean. Just 92 km (50 miles) separates the two cities, so traveling between the two is really very easy - whether you want to go for a few hours, make a day of it or take a mini-break in the ‘White City’ giving you time to explore its cafes, boutiques, Bauhaus architecture, and excellent restaurants.Below, we’d like to give you some detailed information on the different ways to make the journey - taking the bus from Haifa to Tel Aviv, catching a train, a private or shared taxi, using a private transfer, opting for a shore excursion from your cruise ship or simply renting a car. This will give you a better idea of how to plan, for when you arrive in Israel and start planning your trip around the country. The distance from Tel Aviv to Haifa is approximately 94 km.The Bahai Temple in Haifa.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin1. Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv by BusIsrael’s bus service is modern, comfortable, inexpensive, and reasonably efficient. Traveling from Haifa to Tel Aviv by bus is a popular option since buses leave regularly. If there is no traffic on the road, the journey should take between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes, and a one-way ticket costs 24 NIS (approx. $7.50).Haifa Bus StationsThere are two different bus stations at which you can catch an Egged bus (Israel’s national bus line) including Haifa Merkazit Hamifrats/Inter-City Platform and Hof HaKarmel station. HaMifratz central bus station is the main bus station of the Haifa Bay district. It is next to Haifa's central railway station (see below under the ‘train’ section) and also the Lev HaMifratz shopping mall.Egged bus 910 leaves Haifa Merkazit Hamifrats/Inter-City Platform bus station from Floor 3, every 20 minutes and runs directly to Tel Aviv Central bus station. It takes between 60-90 minutes and a one-way ticket costs 21 NIS (6,5 USD). You can pay the driver in cash when boarding or use your Rav Kav Card. View of Haifa Bay from the top terrace of Bahai Gardens.Photo credit: © ShutterstockIt will drop you directly at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station (see below). It is also possible to alight on the Namir Road, at the Arlozorov (Savidor) bus station, if you are heading to the north (rather than south or central) Tel Aviv. Buses can also drop you further down, at the Azrieli Centre (ideal for connections with the HaShalom railway station).The green Rav Kav cards are used widely in Israel - they can be purchased either at bus and train stations or stores and pharmacies in cities and towns. It is possible either to pre-pay specific amounts (with cash or credit cards) or purchase daily/monthly passes. For more information, take a look at the official Rav Kav website.From Hof HaKarmel, bus number 910 can also be caught. Also known as the Carmel Beach bus station, it opened in 2003. Passengers are entitled to receive a free transfer to urban buses when they buy their intercity ticket to continue from one central bus station to the other one, or into the city.Banana Beach,Tel Aviv.Photo by Daniel Klein on UnsplashTel Aviv Bus StationsTel Aviv’s Central Bus Station is located in the south of the city on Levinsky Street. The 910 bus alights at the seventh floor and from there it is possible either to take a private taxi, a yellow van shared taxi / monit sherut (see below) or Dan local buses to your destination. The Levinsky bus station is a gateway to cities around Israel, and also operates buses that run every two hours down to Eilat, for those wishing to connect on for their trip to Petra, Jordan. Tel Aviv’s second bus station is in the north of the city, on the corner of the Namir Road and Arlozorov streets, next to the Savidor Railway Station. It is close to the Ramat Gan Bourse, as well as a half an hour walk to the beachfront. Many local buses run from this station around the city, as well as out to Ramat Aviv and the university, as well as intercity buses onto Jerusalem and Beer Sheva.2. Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv by TrainTaking the train from Haifa to Tel Aviv is highly recommended. It’s a fast, frequent and very efficient way to travel and trains leave every 20 to 30 minutes, making it easy to change your plans at the last minute. And because, on Israel Railways, you can buy a ticket at the last minute and it won’t cost you any more than if you book it in advance, you don’t even have to worry if you’re delayed - simply take the next train!The journey from Haifa to Tel Aviv takes approximately 1 hour 4 minutes on the fastest train, which runs directly between the two cities. There are also slower trains, which take up to 1 hour and 26 minutes. A one-way ticket costs 31 NIS (approx $9.50) and trains run from 5.25 am to 11.35 pm. A train is also an excellent option if you’re time conscious since you won’t have to factor in traffic jams and tailbacks which, unfortunately, are very common on the main highway during commuter hours.Yachts in Jaffa Port.Photo credit: © ShutterstockHaifa Train StationsThere are three train stations from which you can begin your journey from Haifa to Tel Aviv - Center HaShmona, Bat Galim, and Hof HaKarmel. HaShmona is the largest of the three and is located on Independence Road, at Plumer Square. The station opened in 1937 and was built by the British (under the Mandate) and has a Bauhaus design.Bat Galim was Haifa’s primary train station from 1975 until the early 2000s. If you are staying close to the port or coming from Rambam - the city hospital - this station is within walking distance. Hof HaKarmel situated on Sakharov Street is the city’s busiest train station. It is conveniently located next to the Carmel Beach central bus station and walking distance from the MATAM high-tech park.Payment can be made by buying a ticket from the cashier's office, by booking through the Israel Railways website, using a green Rav Kav card loaded with pre-paid credit (which can be purchased from any station and many pharmacies and stores in Israel), or the Rav Kav mobile telephone app. Please note, much like the bus services, there are no trains in Israel on the Jewish sabbath. From two hours before Shabbat commences (Friday afternoon) and an hour after Shabbat ends (Saturday evening) public transport in Israel does not run. Israeli train.Photo by John Adeoye on UnsplashTel Aviv Train StationsSavidor (Arlozorov) - this is located at the intersection of Namir Road and Arlozorov street and is next to the bus station, providing quick access to local buses. From here, it's a quick journey to Tel Aviv University and north Tel Aviv. HaShalom is the train station closest to the Azriel Towers and many large offices in the city center. HaHaganah train station is Tel Aviv’s most southern railway station and is located about 400 meters from the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station (Tachana Merkazit).3.Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv byPrivate Taxi / Shared Taxi (Monit Sherut)Taxis in Israel are easy to come by - you can either hail them in the street, use one of the many operators in Haifa or Tel Aviv (ask your hotel concierge or check online) or book a taxi from Haifa to Tel Aviv directly through an app such as Gett. You should look to pay somewhere between 700-900 NIS ($215 to $280) for the drive.Another useful service in Israel is the monit sherut from Haifa to Tel Aviv (in Hebrew this means ‘ shared taxi’). These little yellow vans are operated privately and seat 10 passengers. They run between cities and you simply get in and pay the driver. The only ‘catch’ is that they don’t leave until the van is full, so if you’re the first one in you might have to wait a few minutes. The upside to the monit sheruts is that because they are not state-operated, they operate on the Jewish sabbath. They are an excellent option for those who wish to travel late Friday or on Saturday. Sheruts in Haifa can be found in HaNevi’im street in the Hadar neighborhood and run to Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Station. Expect to pay a few shekels more than you would for a bus ticket.Cozy streets of Old Jaffa.Photo credit: © Shutterstock4. Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv with a Private TransferPrivate transfers are a comfortable way to travel between cities and in Israel they are easy to arrange. However, we do advise that you book them through a trustworthy tour operator - this means you’re likely to get a fair price and an honest driver. Once you have been given the price and are comfortable with it, your credit card will be charged and everything afterwards will be taken care of, meaning you won’t have to deal with any aspect of the journey. At Bein Harim, we are always happy to help with private transfers in Israel - please call us or send us your details on our ‘Contact Us’ form and we will get back to you promptly, with a competitive offer.5. Israel Shore Excursions from Haifa PortHaifa is a famous port and, as the years have passed, has become an increasingly popular destination for a cruise. So if your ship is stopping in northern Israel for the day, making a trip to Tel Aviv is a fantastic idea. With shore excursions from Haifa Port, the moment you disembark, you will be met by a private guide and set off quickly for Tel Aviv.Just over an hour later, traffic permitting, you’ll be at your destination, giving you several hours to explore this buzzy, cosmopolitan city.Take a stroll along Rothschild Boulevard and admire the Bauhaus architecture, wander the streets of the charming Neve Tzedek neighborhood, book a tour to the Jaffa flea market or simply stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy lunch at one of the many fantastic restaurants in the city. With a ship-to-shore excursion from Haifa to Tel Aviv, you can really make the most of your free day and, rest assured, we’ll get you back up north in plenty of time before your scheduled departure.Lifeguard Station, Tel Aviv. Photo credit: © Shutterstock6. Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv with a Rental carRenting a car in Israel is an excellent way to see the country, leaving you in control of when and where you travel. It is not incredibly expensive to rent a car (indeed, prices are quite competitive) and the freedom it gives you is unparalleled - you can travel before dawn breaks, on Shabbat, and to the tiniest villages in the Galilee and Negev desert that public transport won’t get you to.Parking in Tel Aviv, however, can be an enormous headache so if you are planning on driving from Haifa to Tel Aviv, think about either paying to leave the car in a lot (although it won’t be cheap). Alternatively, there is some free parking up at Reading, in the north of the city, near to the Tel Aviv Port and you can then take a bus, electric scooter, taxi, or even bike into the city.Driving from Haifa to Tel Aviv, via route 90 (Yitzhak Rabin Highway) will take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half (depending on how much traffic you encounter and how fast you drive!) Popular rental hire companies in Israel include Shlomo Sixt, Hertz, Eldan, Thrifty, and, on average, renting a car costs around 260 NIS (80 USD) per day. All of the representatives will speak good English and their hubs are accessible. Take a look beforehand online - if you shop around, there are some great deals to be had.Namal (Tel Aviv Port), Israel.Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By Sarah Mann

5 Best Winter Hikes in Northern Israel

Most tourists miss out on the incredible landscapes of Israel but in fact, the Holy Land is crisscrossed with numerous interesting hike routes and has over 60 national parks and nature reserves. Each season nature paints the land with different colors and you can see animals and plants unique to each season. Winter is no exception. Israeli winters are extremely mild compared to Europe or the US and you can easily enjoy hikes across the country and especially in Northern Israel. Not only that but with the winter comes rain and hikers can enjoy abundant waterfalls flowing streams and lush vegetation and wildflowers that come alive after a thirsty summer.The Hula Lake, Israel.Photo credit:© Oksana Mats1. The Hula Lake (Agamon HaHula)Winter is the perfect time to visit Agamon HaHula (the Hula Lake). Israel is a stopover point for thousands of migrating birds each winter and the Agamon HaHula happens to be one of the most frequented spots for visiting birds. In fact, it is one of the top 10 bird-watching places in the world. For the best birdwatching, it is best to arrive very early in the morning or just before sunset. You can hike around the lake following an 8.5km path; cycle or rent a golf cart. You could spend 2-3 hours hiking around the lake. You'll enjoy the sight of huge flocks of cranes and the sound of thousands of wings flapping as they take off. On the route are several lookout huts and areas where you can see turtles, fish, beavers, water buffalo, wild boar, and other species of birds. Once this was a mosquito-infested marsh but it has been drained and rehabilitated into an idyllic park. The lake and surrounding area are beautiful even without the birds!Cranes at the Hula Lake, Israel.Photo credit:© Eli Orr2. Nahal AmudNahal Amud is one of the most popular hike destinations in Northern Israel; located near Safed the hiking route takes you east following the Amud Stream from Mt. Meron in the west to the Sea of Galilee. The hike route takes 2-4 hours to complete and can be started at either end. If you start at Mount Meron you will encounter more downhill stretches and have to follow a steep path from the nature reserve entrance to the water's edge. The route is mostly under the shade of beautiful trees and you can choose to walk in the stream or on the banks. Winter is the perfect time to follow this popular hike route which gets crowded during the summer. Some points of interest along the way include historic water-powered flour mills and natural pools. There are several points where you can cut the hike short if you want to. You could also take the shortest route and double back to the parking lot.Amud Stream, Israel. Photo credit: © Oksana Mats3. Nesher ParkThis trail is within Nesher Park not far from Haifa and is not as frequented as some of Israel's more popular hike trails so in winter you may have it all to yourself. Highlights of the hike include the two 70m-long steel hanging bridges crossing Katia River which only flows in the winter. From the bridges, there are panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and gully below. Within Nesher Park are sports facilities, footpaths, scenic lookout points, and the trail itself. The landscape includes pine and oak tree woodlands; strawberry trees and an old stone bridge. Enter the park and access the trail from Heharuv Street.Nesher National Park, Israel.Photo credit: © Oksana Mats4. The Banias National ParkThe Banias is definitely one of the most beautiful areas in Israel and especially in winter when the brilliant green of lush vegetation comes alive. Like a fairy forest out of a children's book, this corner of the country is so idyllic it has been suggested that this was the site of the Garden of Paradise.The Banias National Park is home to several streams and the longest hike trail in the area stretching for 4 hours. Some visitors to the Banias come for the scenery while others are on a Christian pilgrimage to see the place where Peter told Jesus he was the Messiah and Jesus gave Peter his blessing to lead the church. Highlights include the ancient temple ruins; the streams, rivers, and waterfalls. As you enter the park you can pick up a free map and choose which route to follow.Banias Nature Reserve, Israel.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin5. Carmel Scenic RouteThe Carmel Scenic Route or Derech Nof HaCarmel can be followed on foot; by bike or by car. The route travels through orchards; pine tree forests; hills; valleys and farmlands stretching for about 25km (15.5miles) onMount Carmel. Along the route, there are views of Jezreel Valley and the Galilean Hills. Hike up from the Nesher Highway to the Carmelite Monastery Deir al-Muhraka where you can take in the views from the monastery balcony. You'll see the Carmel Ridge Forests, carpets of wildflowers, scenic lookout points, rivers, dramatic cliffs, and woodlands. The Carmel Forest stretches from Ramat Menashe in the south to Haifa Bay in the north. There are several routes you could follow in this area including the Cyclamen Trail which comes alive with colorful cyclamens in the winter.Winter Hikes in IsraelNorthern Israel is a wonderful place for winter hiking although the entire country offers hiking opportunities from hikes near Jerusalem to desert hikes in Israel. No matter when you visit there are hikes to follow. Each hike in Israel has its own highlights – from the waterfalls of the north and the ancient ruins of the Jerusalem area to vineyards, natural springs, and expansive desert vistas.The Shaar HaCarmel Recreation Area, Israel.Photo credit: © Oksana Mats
By Petal Mashraki

The Churches of Jesus Ministry in the Galilee

The Christian gospels tell us that Jesus spent 3-6 years (27/29 AD – 30/36 AD) preaching in the Galilee, during his ministry in the Galilee he met and recruited his disciples and traveled around the countryside preaching as well as performing several miracles. His Galilee ministry began with his baptism at the site now known as Yardenit. Today several churches mark the significant sites where biblical events occurred in the Galilee.The Greek Orthodox Church of the Marriage Feast, Cana, Israel. Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe Church of the House of St Peter, CapernaumJesus based himself in the village of Capernaum (Kfar Nahum) during his Galilee ministry; extensive excavations have uncovered a Roman-era synagogue constructed of black basalt rock which could have been where Jesus preached. In addition, Capernaum was the hometown of Saint Peter (and several other future disciples). St. Peter’s house was used for gatherings of the followers of Jesus during his lifetime and later the site was revered by Christians so that over the years churches have been built above the house to commemorate St. Peter.Today the Church of St. Peter is a modern structure located within the Kfar Nahum National Park. The modern church has been built on the site of St. Peter’s house but raised above archaeological findings. Visitors can peer down through a glass-covered opening in the center of the church and see the excavated house of St. Peter as well as a later 5th-century octagonal Byzantine church. In the tradition of earlier churches, the modern Church of St Peter is also octagonal. Within the structure are motifs of the Sea of Galilee and biblical scenes from Saint Peter’s life.Aerial view of Capernaum, Town of Jesus, Galilee, Israel.Photo credit: © ShutterstockChurch of the Apostles, CapernaumThe Greek Orthodox Church of the Apostles is located on the southeastern edge of what would have been the Roman village of Capernaum; the church is dedicated to the seven apostles named in the Gospel of John. The church was completed in 1931 on the site where the village of Capernaum was relocated following an earthquake in 746 AD. The picturesque church has a white exterior with bright red onion domes. Within the church, almost every surface is covered with intricate and colorful murals.Church of the BeatitudesLocated on the Mount of Beatitudes above Capernaum overlooking the Sea of Galilee is the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave his sermon on the mount which contains some of the pivotal teachings in Christianity. The sermon contained the 10 blessings that begin “Blessed are…” as well as the Lord’s Prayer. To mark the site where Jesus gave his longest teaching of Christian principles is the Franciscan Church of the Beatitudes. The church was designed by renowned Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi and constructed in 1938. The church is set in a tranquil garden and the exterior has a covered arcade supported by columns separated by arched openings. The roof of the church has a single central dome. Within the church are stained glass windows featuring the beatitudes and gold mosaics in the dome. The church has an octagonal shape to symbolize the 8 beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11). The church has been visited by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II.Church of the Beatitudes.Photo credit: © ShutterstockChurch of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, TabghaTabgha is believed to have been the site of the first feeding when Jesus performed the miracle of sharing 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish with 5,000 people who had come to hear him. The Roman Catholic Church is a modern structure constructed on the site of two earlier churches. Elements of the earlier churches have been preserved including a 5th-century floor mosaic in the two transepts featuring plants, animals, and a lotus flower. Near the altar is a mosaic of two fish and a basket of bread. During excavations a limestone slab of rock was found, this now lies under the altar and is thought to have been the table where Jesus shared out the miraculous meal.Church of the Primacy of Peter, TabghaThis modern Franciscan chapel built in 1933 marks the site where Jesus ate with his disciples following his resurrection and also where Jesus reinstated St. Peter who had denied knowing Jesus three times at Jesus’ crucifixion. It is the signature event of Jesus appointing Peter to look over his church that led to the Pope (a successor of Peter) being the leader of the Christian world (John 21:15-19). The church is located on the water’s edge of the Sea of Galilee, there are even stone steps going down to the water. The steps were carved out of the rock c.2nd century. On the water’s edge at the base of the steps are 12 heart-shaped blocks called the Twelve Thrones dedicated to the 12 Apostles. At high tide, the block columns are submerged beneath the water. The church holds the Mensa Christi or the table where Jesus and his disciples ate. Earlier churches that stood on this site have been incorporated into the more recent structure. Remains of the walls of a 4th-century church are visible in the grey stone structure.Inside the Church of the Multiplication, near the sea of Galilee, Israel. Photo credit: © ShutterstockCana FranciscanWedding Church, Kfar CanaUnlike the churches mentioned above which all lie on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, this church is in the Lower Galilee between the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth. It was here that Jesus performed his first miracle turning water into wine at a wedding celebration (John 2:1-11).The site of this miracle is marked with a church. It is a Franciscan Catholic church constructed from 1879 to 1883 over the ruins of a 6th-century church and also has a 4th-century mosaic floor with Aramaic inscriptions. The baroque-style church has twin bell towers, and a façade topped with angel statues. There is an arcaded narthex and a pleasant front courtyard. The interior has two levels with a dome above the upper church and a nave on the lower level where you can see part of a Byzantine mosaic. On the lower level is a chapel and museum with artifacts found during the construction.Church of St. George, Kfar CanaNext to the Marriage Church is a Greek Orthodox Church built in 1886, the church holds two of the six jars believed to have been used in the miracle of the wine. Outside the church is a courtyard with palm trees, bells, gazebos, and fountains but the interior is usually closed to tourists.Franciscan Wedding Church, Cana. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By Petal Mashraki

Golan Heights

Archeological finds on the Golan Heights, which date as far back as the Chalcolithic Age, include Gamla, the Jewish city destroyed by the Romans during the Jewish Revolt between 67 and 70 CE, and Katzrin, the restored city of the Mishnah and Talmud period. Adjoining the historic Katzrin is the modern Katzrin, a city of over 30,000, well-known for the winery producing the prize-winning Gamla, Yarden, and Golan wines.The Golan Heights.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinThere are two National Parks in the north each with hiking trails. Banias (Caesarea Philippi) is particularly interesting to Christian pilgrims while the excavations at Dan have uncovered the Canaanite and Israelite cities.Majdal Shams, Ein Kenya, Masada, and Bukata are the four Druze villages that came under Israeli control after the Six-Day War in 1967 and were formally annexed by a law passed in the Knesset in 1981. The law was condemned internationally and determined null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 497. Most of the Druze on the Golan Heights chose not to become Israeli citizens and maintain close relations with their brethren in Syria. Some of the apples from their numerous orchards are exported to Syria.In 1964 the Syrians began extensive work to prevent the water of the Snir, Hermon (Banias), and Dan rivers from reaching the Jordan River and ultimately the Kinneret.This was contra to international agreements concerning the use of water and threatened Israel’s water source which was at that time dependent on pumping water from the Kinneret.In retaliation for the Israeli attempt to thwart the Syrian efforts, Syria used the entire western ridge which overlooks Israel to fire on Israeli towns and villages in eastern Galilee and on the shores of the Kinneret. Children on the kibbutzim in range of the Syrian shelling lived in underground bomb shelters, coming out to play only close to the shelters.When the Six-Day War began in June 1967 Syria, as the ally of Egypt in the United Arab Republic, increased its bombardment of the Israeli towns and villages from the heights. Due to the strategic and topographic advantage of the Syrian positions and the ineffectiveness of the Israeli bombings Israel was reluctant to undertake a frontal attack on the Syrian bunkers. Some of these can still be seen at the Gadot Memorial Banias Nature Reserve.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinThe Six-Day WarIt was only on the fifth day of the war that Israeli began her infantry advance, directly up the slopes under Syrian emplacements. Within sixty hours the entire plateau, the Golan Heights came under Israeli control. Hoping for a peace treaty with Syria, Israel made no move to annex the Golan Heights. In October 1973, in a surprise attack, the Syrians attempted to retake the Golan Heights and advance into Israel. When the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Syria was signed in May 1974 the Golan Heights were firmly back under Israeli control. Feeling no threat from Israel during both wars, the Druze population of the four villages remained and prospered.Israeli settlement on the Golan Heights began only after the Yom Kippur War when Syria rejected all proposals for direct negotiations with Israel. The town of Katzrin serves as the commercial and administrative center for the kibbutzim and moshavim on the heights.As mentioned above, it was only in 1981, after repeated refusals by Syria to enter into negotiations with Israel, that the Golan Heights, from which Israel had been attacked in 1948, 1964-67, and 1973, were legally annexed.Valley of Tears, Golan Heights.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinWhere is the Golan HeightsThe Golan Heights stretch one hundred kilometers from the Hermon Mountain in the north to the Yarmuk River, which is the border between Israel and Jordan, in the South. The western ridge looks down on the northern part of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee, hence the ‘heights’.Although there are a number of mountains and extinct volcanoes on the eastern side it was the ceasefire agreements between Israel and Syria that defined the eastern border. Damascus, the capital of Syria is about fifty kilometers to the east; Kuneitra is immediate across the demilitarized zone. Most of the area is mainly a basaltic plateau. At its widest point, passing through Katzrin, the heights are twenty-four kilometers wide.WeatherThe weather in the summer months is peasant during the day and cool in the evening. Holiday-makers can enjoy a variety of activities including cherry-picking, hikes in the many streams, and waterfalls bird watching on the cliffs of the Gamla Nature Reserve.In the winter months, there can be snow on the northern part of the heights, especially on Mount Hermon where there are facilities for skiing. To cater to the many visitors, accommodation is available in hotels, guesthouses, and at private homes offering small but luxurious bed and breakfast suites.Snow in Hermon, Golan Heights.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
By Petal Mashraki

Following the Gospel Trail

In Israel you can literally follow in the footsteps of Jesus, visiting the many locations where he preached, lived and died. The Gospel Trail (also called the Jesus Trail) is a moderate hike route which has been devised linking several significant points mentioned in the Gospel so that those following the trail can not only enjoy the gorgeous countryside of northern Israel but also visit biblical sites.Stones With The Colorful Christian Religious Drawing.Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe Gospel Trail runs through Galilee, often called the cradle of Christianity because it was here that Jesus grew up and where he returned to preach during his ministry. Jesus grew up in Nazarethand later based himself in Capernaum during his ministry when he went from village to village preaching God’s word.The Gospel Trail opened in 2011 today it covers 60 km of signposted footpaths and roads which trace historical and biblical routes where Jesus is believed to have walked when he left Nazareth for Capernaum on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The signposts which mark the route are hewn into basalt rock to blend into the natural surroundings. Each signpost features scriptures relating to the Biblical events which took place at that location. Along the way, there are also information stands, picnic sites, and benches.It is possible to follow the trail on foot, bike, by car, or combine those using different forms of transport on different stretches of the trail. You can choose which segments of the route you follow according to your interests and your fitness level. There are even stretches of the trail which are wheelchair accessible.The thorn crown.Photo by Samuel Lopes on UnsplashThe Gospel Trail RouteThe Gospel Trail runs from Nazareth to Capernaum. The route begins at Mount Precipice, on the southern outskirts of Nazareth, and travels through valleys and limestone hills via Beit Qeshet Oak Reserve, Magdala, Tabgha and finally reaches Capernaum on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. The route incorporates pathways that have been used by shepherds, travelers, farmers, and merchants since ancient times. The route ends at the Capernaum Center from where you can reach the Sea of Galilee where a dock has been constructed so that followers of the trail can pray at the water’s edge and enjoy the breathtaking views across the water.Gospel Trail Points of InterestNazareth – The city where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her of her future pregnancy and son. It is also the city where Jesus grew up. One of the highlights of Nazareth is the Church of the AnnunciationTsipori National Park – This was the administrative capital of Galilee in Jesus’ lifetime. In addition to the amazing nature, there is an archeological site dating back to the 2nd century. It is most famous for its Byzantine mosaics on an ancient synagogue floor.Cana – Here Jesus performed his first miracle turning water into wine. Visitors can see the Wedding Church and museum.Mount of Beatitudes, Israel.Photo credit: © ShutterstockIlaniya – This small Jewish community was one of the earliest farming community settlements. Today the community offers visitors a model 20th century farm, the ruins of a Byzantine synagogue, and some ancient caves.Roman Road – The route crosses an ancient Roman road that would have been used by Jesus. During his lifetime it was a major thoroughfare running east to west.Kibbutz Lavi – One of only a few orthodox religious kibbutzim; it was founded in 1949 and today is known as a major producer of synagogue furniture.Horns of Hattin – A decisive battle took place here between the Crusaders and Saladin in 1187. From the double hills, there are brilliant views across the Galilee.Nebi Shu’eib – The site of the traditional Tomb of Jethro, father-in-law of Moses. Today the site is marked by a large Druze mosque and complex.Arbel National Park – There are gorgeous views from these dramatic cliffs where the Romans conquered the Hasmonean rebels.Interior of the Church of the Multiplication, Tabgha. Photo credit: © ShutterstockMigdal (Magdala)– This is the site of the ancient town of Magdala, the hometown of Mary Magdalene. Here there are several Roman-era ruins.Sea of Galilee – Israel’s largest freshwater lake is also the site of many biblical events. It was here that Jesus walked on water and calmed the storm. Today you can take short cruises on the lake, swim and enjoy the beaches.Jesus Boat – A 1st-century fishing boat was discovered in the Sea of Galilee; it has been preserved and is on display at Kibbutz Ginosar.Tabgha – Visit the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes and see where Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection.Mount of Beatitudes – This was the site of the Sermon on the Mount. Today the mount is topped by a beautiful church.St. Peter’s Primacy, Tabgha– This church on the water’s edge was built in 1933 and marks the site where Jesus made Peter head of the church. The church holds the Mensa Christi, a slab of rock thought to be where Jesus sat with his disciples.Capernaum – Jesus based himself in Capernaum while preaching in Galilee and there are several mentions of Capernaum in the Bible. This is also where Jesus performed a number of miracles and where you can see St. Peter’s House.You can continue on from Capernaum to visit the city of Tiberias, the Jordan River, Mount Tabor, and Mount Precipice as a continuation of the Gospel Trail. Most of these sites can be covered with Nazareth and Galilee toursor Christian Israel tour packages.Sea of Galilee view. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By 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
By Petal Mashraki

Camping Around the Sea of Galilee

When you camp around the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) you are literally camping “around” the Sea of Galilee as you can see from the campground names which are usually identified with the name of the beach they occupy. Israelis love to camp and you can find campgrounds suited for families and others more suited to youngsters. Here we have listed some of the facilities on offer at each site but there may be more facilities.Camping Around the Sea of Galilee. Photo by Adam Sherez on UnsplashTake into account that during the Israeli school holidays the campgrounds get very full and very noisy with individual sound systems and all-night gatherings around a BBQ. But another thing about Israelis is they love to include all those around them so you won’t be left out. Camping is a great way to meet the locals. There is no ideal location to camp on the Kinneret as the total distance around the Sea of Galilee is 55 km so everything is pretty close. Whether you want to be close to Tiberias would perhaps be the only factor to consider in terms of location. Otherwise, choose the style of campground you prefer and the one with the facilities you need.Jordan Park CampgroundThis campground is run by the JNF (Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael or KKL) and is within Jordan Park which covers 250 acres northeast of the Kinneret alongside the eastern channel of the Jordan River. It is one of the area’s largest campgrounds. The campground is free to enter if you walk in but there is a fee per car. At several points in the park, there are streams from the Jordan River, and some deep enough to swim. Here you can find electricity outlets, lighting, restrooms, showers, water coolers, camping tables, a small amusement park, mini-market, lawns, and a place to pitch your tent. Uba Kayak, a popular kayak rental business is located in the park. You can kayak on the Jordan River from here. Nearby there is an opportunity to go horseback riding. This is considered a unique campsite and is operated from April to November.Tiberias. Photo by Thalia Tran on UnsplashAmnon BeachLocated near Kfar Nahum at the northern end of the Kinneret this campsite has many facilities and is popular with Christians who recognize this site as Capernaum. Tents and caravans can use this site and there are picnic tables, benches, shaded areas, showers, restrooms, and parking.In the summer there are water sports and attractions for the kids. You can enjoy a buffet breakfast from the beach cafeteria and if you keep Shabbat you can pre-order food for the Sabbath. You can rent mattresses and chairs from the cafeteria as well. The beach is not serviced by a lifeguard. Price of camping (at time of publication) 150ILS per car for 24 hours.Bereniki BeachStretching for over 2.5 km to the west of the Sea of Galilee this is a quiet beach near Tiberias which is popular with Israeli families and youths. It has shady trees, night lighting, showers (cold water only), restrooms, cafeteria, tables, umbrellas, chairs (no charge), BBQ stands, and campers are allowed to play music.There is a small area which is serviced by a lifeguard and swimming is only allowed in this area from 9 am to 5 pm. The rest of the beach is an unofficial beach and swimming is at your own risk. The beach is wheelchair-friendly. Here as with many of the camp beaches, you pay for the parking rather than the camping. It costs 5.9ILS for each of the first 3 hours and 2.1 for each hour after that so 24 hours camping would cost you 61.8ILS.Shores of the Sea of Galilee, Israel.Photo credit: © ShutterstockDugit BeachThis campsite is located on the northeastern side of the Sea of Galilee and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches surrounded by a picturesque forest. Here you can canoe, sail and partake of other water sports. There is room for tents, a mini-market, cafeteria, and restaurant. There are cold water showers, restrooms, lighting, and lifeguard service. Playing loud music and even bringing loudspeakers into the area is strictly forbidden. Here (like most of the Sea of Galilee campgrounds) you pay for the parking (62ILS for 24 hours) and can then camp. The fee is by the hour. The campsite is wheelchair accessible and chairs and tables can be rented.Gofra BeachOffering room for up to 300 tents this campground on the eastern shore of the lake 2km north of Ein Gev has restrooms, showers, a mini-market, cafeteria, camping equipment, small refrigerators for rent, playgrounds, and moorings for boats. The facilities and accommodation options are expansive. The site only operates during the spring and summer.There is daily cleaning of the beach, lifeguard service, BBQ stands, and a beautiful 1,500-meter long beach, and a small forest. Access to the beach is only on foot. This campsite is suitable for caravans or you could rent one of their caravans for 250ILS for 24 hours. You can even rent a tent which has 6 mattresses, chairs, and tables.View of the Sea of Galilee.Photo credit: © ShutterstockGreen BeachThis is a Blue Flag beach and one of the most beautiful in the area. This beach-park campground is 3km north of Nof Ginossar on the northwestern side of the Sea of Galilee. It is a well-kept beach with lawns up to the sand and shady trees. There are parking, showers, restrooms, camping tables, lighting, and a convenience store.The park operates year-round. Animals, jet skis, sound systems, and generators are prohibited. It is possible to rent tents, mattresses, tables, and chairs. One tent, a table, and 4 chairs will cost you 245ILS for the night. You can bring your caravan to this campsite or rent one (750ILS-1799ILS). The campground offers several deals like tent, mattress, chair, table, and breakfast for 119ILS per person.Haon BeachThe campsite is next to the Haon Holiday Village, south of Kibbutz Haon and the beach is shared by guests of the Holiday Village and campers. The beach runs for 1km and there is a lifeguard service. There are restrooms, showers, tables, benches, umbrellas, refrigerator rental, electrical outlets, and BBQ stands. There is wheelchair access to the campsite but no organized wheelchair access to the water.Camping supplies.Photo by Brina Blum on UnsplashJordan-Kinneret BeachThis beach runs for 0.5km and is a family beach campground. For this reason, it is a quieter beach than others and amplifying sound systems are prohibited. Playing music (not using an amplifier) is allowed from 8 am to 11 pm. There is no lifeguard service. The campground offers restrooms, showers (with 24 hours hot water), picnic tables, a mini-market, refrigerator rental, lighting, and a place to recharge mobile phones. The campsite is not suitable for wheelchair access.Lavnun BeachThe Lavnun Beach is a string of three beaches together with Halukim and Kursi so there are three areas for pitching a tent. The site offers water sports (kayaks, water skiing, paddle boats, etc). You will find drinking water, a place to wash your dishes, ball courts, a restaurant, cold water showers, a place to recharge mobile phones, and an exciting, young atmosphere.This beach is popular with the young Israeli crowds so expect plenty of noise especially during the Israeli holidays. Israeli teens like to camp here and bring their karaoke machines, so expect an all-night party. There is a lifeguard service but limited wheelchair access. Cost is approximately 70ILS for 24 hours for parking and camping.Water sports at the Sea of Galilee. Photo credit: © ShutterstockSussita BeachJust north of Ein Gev this beach is about 0.5km long on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee and is managed by the Ein Gev Kibbutz. It is named after a car that used to be produced in Israel and has sentimental significance for a lot of Israelis. This is an unofficial beach so there is no lifeguard service and swimming is not allowed.The campground operates from April to the end of October. Groups camping on the grass area near the beach should be pre-arranged but you can pitch your tent on the beach as well. There are tables, restrooms, shade, lighting, showers, and a cafeteria. The beach is not wheelchair-friendly as there are 11 steps down from the parking lot to the beach. The cost of camping here is 100ILS per car.Tzinbari BeachThis is one of the Kinneret’s most famous beaches and campsites, it is a venue for many summer festivals. The beach runs for 1km and there is a lifeguard service in a small central area from 9 am to 5 pm. Here you will find water slides, a baby's pool, electrical outlets, lighting, a place to pitch your tent, indoor lodging, beach umbrellas, shade, chairs, locker rooms, cold water showers, a place to recharge mobile phones.There are also restrooms, water sports, lighting, a restaurant, loads of parking, and wheelchair access is limited due to stones and pebbles plus reaching the water requires going down several steps. Amplified sound systems are not allowed in the southern part of the area which is indicated by signs.Sunset view at the shores of Kinneret. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By Petal Mashraki
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