Explore Israel: Upper Galilee region in Israel

Explore Israel.

The Galilee region of Israel is filled with adventure sports on the water, mountain climbing, biking, as well as gourmet specialities to savor. With an endless list of adventure activities, culinary highlights, winery tours, superb accommodations, a trip in the north can be stretched out over however many days your time allows. On this multi-day trip, we explore the north of Israel and the waters of the Dan River.

Tavor to Tel Dan, road map, Israel

 

From the central part of Israel, enter the Trans-Israel Highway, marked Rte 6 on maps, the only toll road in the country, and the fastest way to travel. The road is not completely built yet, and sections are always being added. There are no toll booths here, but rather the road operates with an Easy Pass system that reads the licence plates and sends the bill to the driver. Rental cars may use the road as well, and the rental agency will deduct tolls from the credit card you left on account.

Directions: Exit Route 6 at the most northern exit, and turn right onto Rte 65 which will take you through Wadi Ara, a stretch of road with Israeli-Arab villages on both sides. The largest of these towns is Um-Al-Fahm. Do not hesitate to use the gas stations and services along the way. Continue on Rte 65 to Kfar Tavor.

 

[1] Kfar Tavor: Early Settlers and Marzipan

For a peek at the past, stop at the Settlement Museum which depicts life from the days of the pioneers and their attempts to settle this malaria-filled area.

One of the primary crops in the region is almonds. As testimony to the importance of almonds and almond products to the town, the Marzipan Museum was recently opened. See the marzipan factory in action, watch a film to learn about the production of marzipan, participate in a workshop, see an exhibit of fanciful marzipan sculptures, and of course, take some home from the outlet shop.

Marzipan Museum

  • Sun – Fri: 9:00 -17:00
  • Saturday & holidays 10:00-17:00
  • School vacations 9:00-18:00
  • T: 04.677.2111

[2] Makom B'Sejera: Ben Gurion's Northern Headquarters

Between Kfar Tavor and Golani Junction, find Makom B'Sejera in Moshav Ilaniyya onGolani, Sejera the left side of the road. Remains of a Jewish village, complete with the ruins of a synagogue and the original Torah scroll, from over 250 years ago were found here. The Jews who lived here kept their identity and religion a secret from their Arab neighbors. Much like the Marranos in Spain, they dressed, spoke and behaved like the rest of the population in order to hide their true identity. In later years, David Ben-Gurion established the HaShomer Movement here, and later these headquarters housed Israel's first State Department. Golda Meir frequented the site and held State meetings here. Original archives fill the lower level museum which can be entered by prior appointment only. The upper level houses a fine kosher restaurant.

CoolKosher Organic, Free-Range Restaurant alert: The upper floor is a kosher meat restaurant – for which it is advisable to reserve in advance as well. A Place in Segerah serves only organically grown produce and free-range chicken.

Directions: Return to Rte 65 and continue north to Rte 85. Turn right at Nahal Amud Junction.

[3] Cafe Kahol: Rte 85

If you are in the mood for a pit stop, make a right at the upcoming gas station and enter Cafe Kahol. Enjoy excellent coffee and sandwiches on the outdoor patio overlooking the Sea of Galilee just below.

Cafe on Kinneret

Directions: Return to Rte 85 and turn right. Continue to Amiad Junction. Turn left onto Rte 90 north.

[4] Amiad Winery

Find Amiad Winery a few meters up the road on the left. Besides grape wine, Amiad Winery produces a selection of fruit-based liqueurs. Request a winery tour, stop in at the tasting room and sample the goods, which are also for sale.

  • T: 04.693.3869

Directions: The designated driver now returns to Rte 90 and turns left (north). At the intersection of Rte 90 with Rte 89, turn left to climb the steep road to Rosh Pina.

[5] Rosh Pina (Rosh Pinna)

The town was originally settled in 1877 when families from Safed (20 minutes away on Rte 89) bought land from the Arabs of the Ja'uni Village and tried to establish the Jewish village of Gei Oni. A few years later, families from Romania bought land here and settled. Those were difficult years and many people abandoned the town. Rosh Pina became the cornerstone of Jewish settlement throughout the Galilee when, in 1884, Baron Edmund de Rothchild became Rosh Pina's sponsor.

Go to Founders' Street where original buildings have been restored. Museum and video relate the Rosh Pina's story. Don't miss the original synagogue built in 1882. Wander the streets to visit artist studios.

WinkTip 1: Indulge at Michal's Chocolate Cafe where the owner produces her own chocolate delicacies made from Belgian chocolate.

Cool Tip 2: An unusual collection of handcrafted musical instruments can be found at a unique shop, Woodsong, run by ex-South African, Pete.

Open Monday through Thursday: 10 – 18:00

T: 04.686.0313

Mobile: 052.379.1670

For more about Pete Isacowitz, visit his site.

Directions: Return to Rte 90 via Rte 89, and continue north.

[6] Tel Hazor National Park

An important archeological site with findings from the Caananite period, Tel Hazor National Park is located on the left side as you drive down Rte 90, opposite Kibbutz Ayelet HaShachar.

T: 04.693.7290

[6A] Tel Hazor Museum in Kibbutz Ayelet HaShachar

CoolThe Tel Hazor Museum is located on the grounds of Kibbutz Ayelet HaShachar and is worth a visit too.

Entrance fee.

Open daily from 8:00 – 17:00. Friday closes at 16:00.

T: 04.693.2111

[6B] Shooting Range in Kibbutz Ayelet HaShachar

CoolShooting, Clay Pigeon, Paintball Range

Take a break from nature and learn, or practice, your shooting skills. Kibbutz Ayelet HaShachar has an impressive shooting range with practice for amateurs and pros alike.

Children from age 8, teens, and adults are welcome to learn and improve skills.

  • Open daily. Call to reserve.
  • T: 04.693.2226

Directions: Return to Rte 90, and continue north. Look for signs for Hula Agmon Nature Reserve and turn right before reaching HaKoah Junction.

[7] Hula Agmon Lake

The Hula Valley was a malaria-ridden swampland in the early part of the 20th Century.Rosh Pina, Tel Hazor Farmers in the surrounding agricultural settlements suffered from mosquito-carried diseases and the less than ideal farming conditions. Subsequently, the swamplands were drained, eucalyptus were planted and the area was declared mosquito- and disease-free. A few years ago, environmentalists recognized the potential benefits to the area if water were allowed to run once more in this area. Waters from the Hermon were re-diverted and the area was re-flooded. Lake Hula Agmon is now a thriving microsystem to water animals, fish, birds, and flora and fauna. The preferrred destination of migrating birds from Europe, area agriculturalists solved the problem of the avian attacks on their crops by donating tons of seed and grain to the Hula Lake area. Thousands of birds of hundreds of species are now awaited each winter and welcomed by locals and tourists alike.

Tour the Hula Agmon Lake by bicycle, covered wagon, tandem bike, or by foot.

  • Sun – Thurs: 9:00 until one hour before sunset
  • Fri – Sat.: 6:30 until one hour before sunset

CoolRent a pedal boat — and contribute to nature: the pedalling activity aerates the algae and underwater growth in the lake, causing it to flourish.

Directions: Continue on Rte 90 to Goma Junction. Turn right onto Rte 977.

[8] Teva Naot Sandals: Kibbutz Neot Mordechai

On right side, enter Kibbutz Neot Mordechai, the kibbutz that created the widly popular Neot Teva shoes and sandals. The factory outlet store is open daily. Prices can't be beat!

  • Sun-Thurs: 8:00 – 17:00
  • Fri: 8:00 – 13:00
  • T: 04. 694.8133

Directions: Return to Rte 977 by turning left as you exit the kibbutz. Right turn at Goma Junction (north). Drive through the town of Kiryat Shemona and left at Rte 9977. Follow the road to Rte 886 and turn left to Manara Cliff on Kibbutz Manara.

[9] Manara Cliff (Zuk Manara)

Here you will find the longest cable car in Israel. Take it up the mountain for a superb view of the Hula Valley. The three stations on the ride up provide different attractions and activities, including rapelling, mountain biking, jeeping, wall climbing, roller coaster or omega swinging. My personal favorite is to hike down from the very top.

  • Open daily.
  • 9:30 – 17:00
  • Entrance fee.
  • T: 04.690.5830

Directions: Return to Rte 886 and turn left. Continue to the first right Rte 9997 to Tel Hai.

 

[10] Tel Hai: Headquarters of Joseph Trumpeldor

At Tel Hai, find the monument of Joseph Trumpeldor. Next to the landmark statue of the Roaring Lion dedicated to the memory of Joseph Trumpeldor, learn about the history of Jewish settlement in the Galilee. In 1920, Commander Trumpeldor and his men were attacked and killed by a band of Arabs led by Kamal Effendi.

[11] Eli Lemberger Israeli Museum of Photography

Tel Hai is also the site of the Eli Lemberger Israeli Museum of Photography, established in 1992 by Israeli industrialist Stef Wertheimer.The permanent collection documents the history of photography from 1826 to the present and features photographs of the Holyland as taken by Maison Bonfils and other photographers from the late 1800s.Maison Bonfils Holyland Photo

In contrast, the museum features exhibits works by new photographers as well as established contemporary photographers. Visit the car collection which demonstrates the development of motor vehicles from 1930, including 30 classic models located next to the museum.

The museum is located in Tel Hai Industrial Park, one of a series of nation-wide industrial parks established by Stef Wertheimer, founder of ISCAR Metal Working and Metal Cutting Tools. In May 2006, ISCAR was acquired by Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway, for over $4 billion. ISCAR CEO, Eitan Wertheimer, was the key figure in the success of the transaction, the largest in Israel's history to date.

Where: Tel Hai Industrial Park

T: 04.695.0769

Sun – Thurs: 8:00 – 16:00

Saturdays and holidays: 10:00 – 17:00

Closed Friday.

Directions: Continue to Rte 90 north (turn left onto Rte 90) and enter Metulla.

[12] Metulla (Metula, Mettula)

Metulla, Israel's most northern town, on the Lebanese border was founded in 1896 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild on land he bought from the Druze owners; the original settlers were Russian Jews who were fleeing pogroms in Russia.

Entrance to Metulla

Farmers in Metulla and the surrounding kibbutzim use the high altitude and cold climate to grow and export Israel's best apples and pears. Be sure to taste the fruit up here.

The historic Good Fence was situated in Metulla whereby day workers from Lebanon would enter and leave Israel.

[12A] Canada Sports' Center

The Canada Sports' Center, headquarters of the Israel Ice Hockey Federation, is located in town: ice skating, swimming pool with water slides, sauna, bowling alley, squash courts, gym facilities. Local residents and soldiers stationed along the border are frequent visitors to the center.

WinkSave money by buying a daily pass.

Guests of local lodgings in Metulla are given the privilege of longer hours at the Center, the same as Metulla residents. Be sure to inquire.

T: 04. 695.0370

[13] Nahal Iyon (Ayoun) Hike

CoolHike: Nahal Iyon (Ayoun) to Tanur waterfalls . Wonderful hike of medium levelMetulla, Tel Dan difficulty. Highly recommended. There are four waterfalls in this canyon, but the most spectacular is the Tanur Waterfaills. The best season to take this hike and see the waterfalls at full capacity is in the winter and spring. During the summer months, the waterfall is less powerful.

  • Good signage along the way.
  • Open 8:00 – 17:00. Entrance to the reserve until 16:00.
  • Fridays and holiday eves: until 15:00.
  • Hike length: 1.5 hours
  • Fee

Directions: Return to Rte 90 (south). Turn left onto Rte 99 at HaMetzudat Junction.Pass Kibbutz HaGoshrim. Turn right onto Rte 9892. Horshat Tal is on the right.

[14] National Park Horshat Tal

Our family's favorite camping reserve in the north, Horshat Tal is graced with huge old trees, grassy lawns, and an ice cold spring fed swimming pool.The camping area is located along the burbling brooks of the Dan River — the perfect lullaby to hear from within your tent . Mini-market on premises. Central toilets and shower facilities.

Open all year.

T: 04.694.2360

Huge Old Trees in Horshat Tal

Directions: Return to Rte 99 and turn right. Travel past Kibbutz Dafne on the left.Look for signs to Kibbutz Dan on the left.

[15] Kibbutz Dan

Fish Farm: See trout being raised at this ever-expanding fish farm. Fresh fish can be bought here. Buy fresh trout, salmon, pink trout, and grill the fish at Horshat Tal picnic grounds. If you prefer to let others do the cooking, head for Dag Al HaDan (see below) and dine in splendor alongside the burbling brook under cool leafy trees.

Directions: Off Rte 99 on the left. Look for signs.

[16] Tel Dan Nature Reserve

A total treat in nature, the Tel Dan Nature Reserve is set along the sometimes rushing waters of the Dan, and sometimes quieter streams. Follow the marked route which takes you over bridges sand under large tree canopies.

CoolBring water to drink – lots of water around, but none to drink or dunk. In the summer it is hot – so drink plenty, and look for a swim hole outside the park.

Dan River

Directions: Off Rte 99 on the left. Look for signs.

[17] Beit Ussishkin Museum Beit Ussishkin Museum

Small museum in an old mill with dioramas depicting the story of the Hula Valley, local flora and fauna, and animal life, as well as archeological evidence of when the tribe of Dan populated this area.

T: 04.694.1704

Sun-Thurs: 8:00 – 16:30

Fri: 8:00-15:00

Sat and holidays: 9:30-16:30

[18] Dag Al HaDan Restaurant

map_dagalhadan.jpg
This is trout country. Situated among the trees and streams of the Dan River, the rustic wooden tables and tree canopy enhance the flavor of fresh trout, the main attraction on the menu.

Reservations advisable.

T: 04.695.0225

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