The Golan Heights is the northernmost end of Israel. The black earth
and basalt rocks in this volcanic area distinguish it from the
bordering Upper Galilee. Israel's only ski slope, Mt Hermon, is in the
Golan Heights, and worth a visit any time of year. Rushing rivers are a
kayakers challenge in springtime, and a vacationer's delight in the
summer months. Fresh trout from the Dan River at a riverside restaurant
are one of the pleasures of dining in the Golan Heights. Experience
challenging climbs and hikes, pick berries, taste the fruit of the
vine, horse ride, bike, hike, ski, swim — and stay in a vacation villa
or bed and breakfast.
The Galilee, also in the north of Israel, is divided into the Western Galilee, Lower Galilee, and
Upper Galilee. All of these areas are characterized by natural forests,
mountains and valleys, and water sources. The Sea of Galilee – or Lake
Kinneret as it is commonly called in Israel – is in the Upper Galilee.
Streams and rivers run through all of Galilee, and the Western Galillee
is a 5 minute drive to the Mediterranean Sea in many areas. The ancient
hilltop town of Safed is located in the Upper Galilee. There are many
kibbutz and moshav settlements in this part of Israel, as well as Druze
villages, and villages of Israeli Arabs. The area has wineries, olive
oil presses, gourmet cheese dairies, and many unique places to stay.
The center of Israel runs from the ancient Roman port of Caesaria on the coast, inland to the Carmel Mountains, to Jerusalem and the surrounding Judean Hills.
Along the Mediterranean coast you will find towns and kibbutzim.
Lodging choices range from multi-storey hotels to casual kibbutz
guesthouses, to intimate bed and breakfast inns. During the summer
months of July, August and September, when there is almost no cloud
coverage, the sun is strong and hot. We find the beach most refreshing
from 5 PM onwards: the water is warm, the sun not so intense, and the
sunsets fiery and sudden. Kayakers, windsurfers, body boarders all ride
the waves. But the best months on the beach are the rest of the year,
when the sun cools down and the water refreshes.
The hills surrounding Jerusalem are populated by rural communities of kibbutz, moshav, and small neighborhoods. For independent travelers
who like to return to rural, peaceful surroundings after a day of
exploring the area by car, these Judean Hill rural communities provide
ideal locations. Often situated with expansive views, next to or in
protected areas, the lodgings offer privacy and quiet in the countryside.
The area south of Jerusalem is a hilly region rich in forests, national
parks, and hiking trails. Part of the area lies on an extensive
underground cave system which was built by the Jews during the 2nd
Temple period to escape dectection and persection at the hands of the
Romans who then ruled the land. In the early days of statehood, rural
settlements were established in this region to accommodate newly
arrived immigrants from Yemen, Morocco, Cochin, Kurdistan. Their
original economic base was agriculture, mainly poultry farms. These
days, the potential for tourism is being realized and self-contained
holiday units and rural lodgings have become a major source of income.
As you continue south, the Negev desert and the plains of the Arava lead to Eilat on the Red Sea, Israel's southernmost city. Kibbutz settlements and desert hilltop villages populate this arid region. Although desert land, the area has agricultural settlements which are watered with 10,000 year old underground water. In this most unlikely region, vineyards are planted, wines are produced, as are olive oil and desert variety vegetables.