Rte 3: Road trip from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon, Israel

Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

The intersection of Rte 3 and the Jerusalem–Tel-Aviv Highway, Rte 1, going south, presents a combination of gourmet and historic sites well worth exploring. The route takes you to [1] Latrun Monastery, Domaine de Latrun winery, the outdoor Latrun Tank Museum (Yad L'Shiryon), and radar station at Latrun, [2] an exhibit of Israel in miniature at Mini-Israel, [3] the Arab–Jewish settlement of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam, [4] a winery, cheese plant, and vitrage studio at Kibbutz Nachshon, [5] Soreq Winery at Tal Shahar, [6] remains of a Philistine site, and Roman glass jewelry studio at Kibbutz Revadim, [7] Carlsberg Beer Factory, and the seaside Philistine town of Ashkelon, and [8] the mineral water-rich day spa at Hamei Yoav.

Rte 3: Latroun to Ashkelon, Israel road map

Note: Not all wine produced in Israel is kosher; we indicate which wines have kashrut supervision.

From Foothills of Jerusalem to the Sea

[1] Latroun

[1A] Domaine de Latroun Winery

Located in a Trappist monastery, the vineyards are on site, and tended by the monks who have been producing wine here since the 1890s. For aguided tour, advance reservations necessary.

  • Summer hours: 8:30 – 12 noon; 15:30 – 17:00
  • Winter hours: 8:30 – 11:00; 14:30 – 16:00
  • T: 08.925.5180
  • Closed on Sundays and Christian holidays.

Exit the monastery. At the traffic light, go straight. Look for the entrance to the Latroun Tank Museum on your right. Go up the hill and park in the large parking lot. There is one cafeteria style restaurant (kosher) across from the entrance to the museum, as well as a fast food place (not kosher) near the gas station below. In addition, there is a small supermarket with sandwiches to go.

[1B] Latroun Tank Museum

Latrun Outdoor Tank Museum (Yad L'Shiryon)

Opposite the Latrun Monastery you will find an outdoor tank museum with tanks from World War I through advanced tanks in use today. Visitors are welcome to explore the tanks. To arrange an on site tours, contact the visitor center.

  • T: 08-924.6722, 08-925.5268

[1C] Latrun Radar Station

Latroun Radar Station 

Look for a green dome further up the hill from the outdoor tank museum. This is a weather station under the management of the Dept. of Meteorology of Tel Aviv University. Located in the path of migrating birds, this radar station serves the dual purpose of detecting  flocks of birds as they enter Israeli airspace – and then warn the airforce and commercial airlines. Migrating birds pose a major threat to airplanes and fighter jets. Visitors are welcome to see the exhibition explaining how birds may endanger lives. 

Return to Rte 3 by making a left as you leave the compound, and a right onto Rte 3. Follow the road until you see signs for Kibbutz Nachshon. These signs will take you off Rte 3 to smaller roads. Follow signs and enter the kibbutz. If the gates are closed, call the cell phone number on the gate and see if they will let you in to see the winery. The best advise though, is to book your wine and cheese tours in advance.

[2] Mini-Israel Park 

Enter this well-laid out exhibit of Israel in miniature for a comprehensive view of the entire country. Kosher cafeteria. Gift shop. 

  • Sun – Thurs: 10:00 – 21:00
  • Fri: 10:00 – 14:00
  • T: 08.922.2444
  • Fee

[3] Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam / Oasis of Peace

The only community created with the express purpose of coexistence, Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam is a unique community where Jews and Arabs live side by side in peace. Throughout the elementary school  years, children study together. Created in the early 1970s, the community has grown over the years. Visitors are welcome. Visit the unique House of Silence for prayer and meditation.

  • T: 02.991.7160; 02.999.3030

WinkRelated Story: Hills of Jerusalem

[4] Kibbutz Nachshon 

[4A] Nachshon Winery 

Nachshon Winery is located across the road from Latroun Monastery on Kibbutz Nachshon. The winery was established in 1996 and produces an annual yield of over 16,000 bottles. Wines do not have kosher certificate. Kosher wines of other boutique wineries on sale in gift shop.

[4B] Nachshon Cheeses

Besides the winery, Kibbutz Nachshon has a gourmet sheep and goat cheese plant. The cheeses are kosher.

[4C] Nachshon Stained Glass Studio

Nachshon's stained glass studio, or vitrage studio, is under the artistic direction of glass artist, Shedmi. original works by glass artist Shedmi, for sale.

All three areas are worth a visit. Gift shop sells all the items plus others from the area.

  • One hour tour includes wine, cheese, and olive oil tasting. Fee. Must be pre-booked.
  • 8:00 – 16:00
  • Other times are available upon request.
  • Wine-Cheese Tours:  08.927.8641
  • Tours do not include the stained glass workshop.
  • Call Shedmi for a glass studio tour. 08.927.8615

Note: When you arrive at the gates of Kibbutz Nachshon, do not hesitate to call the mobile number listed and ask to be let in. 

  • T: 08.927.8641. Reservations recommended at the winery – be sure to request a tour with vintner Aryeh Padawer, if possible.

WinkRelated stories:

[5] Soreq Winery

Located in Moshav Tal Shahar, Soreq Winery produces notable wines, according to local and foreign critics. 

Advance reservations required for wine tour. Wines available for purchase.

  • T: 054.490.5066

[6] Kibbutz Revadim

Archeological excavations at Kibbutz Revadim proved that this was the site of the ancient Philistine town of Ekron. The museum chronicles the dig, displaying the impressive finds. Walk down a reconstructed Philistine street and find shards of ancient Roman glass (maybe). Kibbutz members have found many such shards, and cleverly turned them into jewelry.

Kiss Stop Shop Alert: Roman Glass Jewelry Factory Outlet

Roman Glass Jewelry of Kibbutz Revadim is sold in better stores around the world. Stop in here for your pick of exquisite designer jewelry which incorporates genuine Roman glass. Meet the in-house designers, and perhaps commission a piece.

  • Open daily
  • T: 08.858.8709 

Overnight accommodations are available at Kibbutz Revadim.

  • T: 08.858.8762

[7] Ashkelon

[7A] Ashkelon National Park

Ashkelon National Park, perfect for exploring, picnics, swimming, is located on the waterfront. Original pillars from the days of the Philistines are scattered throughout.

  • Open all year until 17:00
  • Allow one hour for your visit.
  • T:  08.673.4444

[7B] Carlsberg Beer Visitor Center

Carlsberg Beer for the Israel market is produced locally. Visit the visitor center to learn about the beer making process, watch a spectacular audio-video presentation and experience a beery atmosphere in this state-of-the-art center. Pub brewery museum with unlimited free tastings.

Directions: From Ashkelon Junction, drive south for approx. 3 km. Take the first right turn to the Southern Industrial Area. Center is at the end of the road on the right.

  • Open Sun – Thurs: 9:00 – 16:00. Advance reservations required. 
  • Fee
  • 5 Bar Lev St., Industrial Area, Ashkelon
  • T:  08.674.0727

[8] Hamei Yoav Day Spa 

Rte 35

Parts of Israel is situated on large reserves of underground thermal water. Most of these water sources were discovered quite by accident during routine excavations for building purposes. When discovered however, they were recognized as a valuable resource, with a captive audience. Local area residents have learned to soak away the day's aches and pains at Hamei Yoav which is situated in a rural agricultural area of moshavim and kibbutzim. The word Hamei stems from the root Ham, or hot, and from the Turkish word for spa, Hamma.

Directions: Hamei Yoav is located on Rte 35 between Ashkelon and Kiryat Gat. From Rte 4, exit at Birkhiyya Junction and turn left onto Rte 35. Continue past Givati Junction. Hamei Yoav is on the right.   

Hamei Yoav spa features natural sulfur and mineral water pools for submerging. Posted signs state water temperatures of each pool. 

SmileOne of the best features is the sulfur- and mineral-rich water shower room where strong jets of smelly water pound your body and soothe away aches.

For men and women together. Bring a bathing suit.

Entrance fee is to mineral pools, showers, use of grounds and lounge chairs.

Bathrobe, towel, soap, shampoo and locker may be rented for an additional fee.

Massage and other therapeutic treatments are available; to ensure a session, we suggest booking treatments in advance.

  • Open daily from 7:30. Some late evenings.
  • Off Route 35 on Kibbutz Sde Yoav.
  • T: 08.672.1150