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    Exploring Israel’s Natural Wonders: A Guide to the Country’s Most Beautiful Landscapes


    Israel might be a small country but that doesn’t mean you’re not spoilt for choice when it comes to natural wonders.  And the fact that the country is so diverse in its landscapes – mountains and waterfalls, deserts and coral reefs, rock formations and caves, rivers and canyons – means there’s plenty to see.

    Here are some of the most breathtaking and spectacular sights we think you shouldn’t miss, when you’re in the land of Milk and Honey…

    1.        The Dead Seaa must-see on any trip to Israel, since what other body of water can you name that’s filled with so much saline, no living creature can exist there?  Yes, the Dead Sea is almost 10 times more salty than any ocean on the planet, which means you all attempts to swim there will end in failure.  But floating is incredibly fun (you can actually read a book, whilst in the water!) and the ‘salt mushrooms’ (formations that appeared a while back) parallel to the beach are an truly astonishing site.  

    Consider taking a Dead Sea guided tour, and then you can split the day between the lowest point on earth and an ancient Herodian fortress in the Judean desert by the name of Masada.   Either hike up or take a cable car to its top and marvel at astonishing views that stretch over to the Dead Sea and onto Jordan.    The two sites are just half an hour apart by car but it’s a little awkward to move between them using public transport.

    Young woman reads a book floating in the Dead Sea in Israel

    Young woman reads a book floating in the Dead Sea in Israel
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    2.        The Grottos at Rosh ha Nikra

    Arguably one of the most beautiful spots in Israel, Rosh ha Nikra is the furthest point north in the country, just metres from Israel’s border with Lebanon.  Think glittering shades of Mediterranean turquoise blue combined with spectacular white limestone cliffs and throw in some natural grottos for good measure – trust is, it’s as good as it sounds.

    Grottoes Rosh – ha – Nikra – geological formation in northern Israel, on the border with Lebanon. Karst cave in the limestone mountain.
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    To get down to the grottos, you’ll take a short but steep cable car ride that takes less than two minutes.  From there, you can wander through the grottoes, watching the water splash against the rocks, then exit and be greeted by wonderful views of the Israeli coastline.  This is nature at its most gorgeous.

    3.        The Crater at Mitzpe Ramon

    An extraordinary geological wonder, the crater (‘’makhtesh’ in Hebrew) in the small town of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Negev desert, isn’t just marvelous to look at – you can actually hike and bike inside it!  It forms Israel’s largest national park – the Ramon nature reserve – and no-one should miss it if they’re in Israel’s south.

    Sunrise view of cliffs and landscape in Makhtesh (crater) Ramon, the Negev Desert, Southern Israel

    Sunrise view of cliffs and landscape in Makhtesh (crater) Ramon, the Negev Desert, Southern Israel
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    Formed about 220 million years ago, it measures 40 kms long, 10 kms wide and 400 metres deep and inside it is home to all kinds of fossils, volcanic rock and different coloured sand.   You can walk around its rim, take astonishing photos of it at it at sunrise and sunset and – as we said before – climb inside to see it for yourself.  The area is also home to all kinds of desert creatures, including lizards, ibex, snakes and scorpions.

    And if you’re looking for a guided tour, head to the Visitor’s Centre.

    4.        The Sea of Galilee

    Nestled in northern Israel, and surrounded by beautiful pastoral scenery, lies the Sea of Galilee (the ‘Kinneret’ in Hebrew).  The largest freshwater lake in Israel (and the lowest freshwater lake on earth) it’s steeped in Biblical history (this is where Jesus spent most of his adult life ministering) and home to many churches and synagogues.

    Sea of Galilee viewed from mount Arbel in Israel

    Sea of Galilee viewed from mount Arbel in Israel
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    Views from any part of the sea are beautiful – and you can also take boats out on the water.  There are endless vantage points from which you will have glorious views – Eshkol Overlook offers extraordinary views over the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley and the hills of Gilead, and Poriya Springs (close to the ‘Swiss Forest’ on the northern shore) is a fine place to bring a picnic and enjoy some nature.

    5.        The Banias Waterfall and Nature Reserve

    Situated in the Upper Galilee lies the Banias Nature Reserve.  There, you’ll discover a mighty waterfall, where the water crashes down 10 meters into a beautiful pool.  The surrounding area is full of lush vegetation and the force and noise of the water is quite impressive!  Whilst you can’t swim in the waterfall, you can view it from a wooden boardwalk.

    Waterfall in the Banias Nature Reserve in northern Israel

    Waterfall in the Banias Nature Reserve in northern Israel
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    Nearby, you can climb stairs which will take you to the ‘Cave of Pan;’ which was once a temple built by King Herod as a shrine to the Greek God.  And don’t miss the Hanging Trail – it’s 100 meters long and you can walk along it, very close to the water stream.  If you take one of the hiking trails (which are green and shady) look out for all kinds of local flora and fauna.

    6.        Ein Avdat National Park

    Many visitors never make it to this spectacular attraction which is a pity (although it also means if you do visit it, you’ll be able to revel in the peace).   Ein Avdat is a beautiful national park in the heart of the Negev desert (between Be’er Sheva and Mitzpe Ramon) in which you can hike and enjoy staggeringly beautiful views.

    Canyon Ein Avdat in Israel.

    Canyon Ein Avdat in Israel.
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    Ein Avdat has many springs at its southern end, which empty (via waterfalls) into deep pools of clear water.  You can also climb up a steep staircase that has been carved into the rock, and view it all from above at the En Ma’arif lookout point.  It is truly breathtaking and if you need to rest after the hike, head to the Eucalyptus poplar grove .

    7.        Mount Hermon

    Both the highest and most northern point in Israel, Mount Hermon lies in the Golan Heights and, on a clear day, from its top you can see all the way to the Galilee and also to Lebanon!  There are five different lookout points (between 1200 to 2000 metres above altitude) and this isn’t just a great place to enjoy views, but perfect for hiking and mountain biking in the spring and summer.

    View of the Hula Valley and Mount Hermon, Northern Israel

    View of the Hula Valley and Mount Hermon, Northern Israel
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    In the winter, Mount Hermon is transformed into a ski resort – covered in snow, if you take the ski lift up, at its top you’ll see for miles around.  And if skiing isn’t your thing, just rent a ‘zimmer’ (a traditional guesthouse in Israel) and go for long walks in the area, breathing in fresh clean air and enjoying the silence.

    8.        The Ein Gedi Oasis

    Ein Gedi is the largest oasis in Israel and a wonderful place to enjoy natural beauty.   Divided into three parts, there are trails, springs, waterfalls, and all kinds of flora and fauna, including ibex, rock hyraxes.  Close to both the Dead Sea and Masada, it’s a good part of the country to consider visiting by taking Israel multi-day tour packages – so you won’t miss any of the area’s attractions.

    The national park Ein Gedi, Israel

    The national park Ein Gedi, Israel
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    The David Stream is an all-year-round waterfall which is accessible by a family-friendly hiking trail.  More experienced hikers might try ‘the Dry Canyon’ (above the spring) where depressions fill with water after floods.  Don’t miss the ‘Window Waterfall’ – a very impressive lookout –  and the Ein Gedi spring itself, next to which you’ll see what’s left of an ancient flour mill.

    9,        The Coral Reefs, Eilat

    Down in the south of Israel, on the Red Sea, lies Eilat, which borders both Egypt and Jordan.  It’s home to the only coral reefs in the country and they really are quite lovely.  The area is extremely rich in wildlife, very beautiful and, even better, you don’t have to have a diving license to experience it all!

    Central public beach in Eialt

    Central public beach in Eialt
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    Within the reef, there are bridges (from which you can see the coral and the marine life that swims around it), wading pools (very shallow) close to the beach, in which small children can paddle, and also lookouts around the reef.  And with more than 100 types of stony coral and 650 species of fish, you’d be well advised to rent a mask snorkel to see them up close and personal!

    10.        Timna Park

    Just 20 minutes drive north from Eilat, in the Arava desert, lies Timna Park which isn’t just an area of stark beauty but actually home to the world’s earliest copper mining site.  Taking up more than 70,000 dunams (that’s bigger than the entire city of Tel Aviv) it’s home to astonishing rock formations (including one shaped like a mushroom) and geological sites.

    Geological rock formation called mushroom in Timna park in Negev desert, Eilat, Israel.

    Geological rock formation called mushroom in Timna park in Negev desert, Eilat, Israel.
    Photo by depositphotos.com

    As you hike in the park, you’re surrounded by yellow sandstone mountains on three sides and endless stunning natural beauty, which changes endlessly as you continue on.  There are bike trails too, and an ’evening lantern tour’ not to mention cabins you can rent if you want to stay from dusk to dawn and soak up the atmosphere.  Stare up at the Milky Way…and marvel at it all.




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