Tuesday, 20 November 2018

10 best sites to tour and visit during the Israel winter.

There is a wide choice of tourist attractions and sites to visit during Israel's cold winter months. Eilat is warm even in the winter months and exploring the surrounding hills during the day is is a hiker's dream.

In the summer time there is nothing more rewarding than jumping into a cold stream or pool after a day of sightseeing.  The cool waters of the Dan River, Snir River and the Jordan River are welcoming but in winter, hot springs are an appealing alternative. We've chose 10 of our favorite sites for winter family outings.

travel israel mt hermon

Stunning views from Mount Hermon

1. Mt. Hermon

Mt. Hermon is the queen of all winter tourist sites. Located in Northern Israel on the Golan Heights on the border of Syria and Lebanon. Aside from its strategic position, Mt. Hermon is the only winter ski resort in Israel. If skiing is not for you, you might enjoy snowboarding instead. You can take lessons and rent equipment. Spending an entire day on the slopes is a must but we suggest you take a couple of days to explore the area.  Dozens of hikes and trails in the area and if you are into mountain biking, this is the place.

It the spring summer months Mt. Hermon is a paradise of greenery and flowers and you can enjoy magnificent panoramic views overlooking the entire region.

2. Ein Sedek - Natural hot springs

Ein Sikk (or Ein Kedem), is a beautiful natural hot spring. Located near the Dead Sea between Mitzpeh Shalem and the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. Warm, mineral-rich pools will improve your skin and your mood.

If you don't have a 4x4, it's a 10 minute walk from the main road.

3. Nahal Halilim - a stream and cave near Mevasseret Zion

A great family outing and easy hike. Flowers like cyclamens are in abundance during the spring months.  The trail begins in Mevasserted Zion and for your convenience, it is marked in green. Ruins of village dating back the to the period of the 2nd temple can be seen. Ruins from the Byzantine period; a wine press, a mikveh (ritual bath) and a burial cave.

The burial cave is adjacent to the main Halilim cave, which is about midway along the trail.  Over centuries rainwater soaked into the chalk stone and created the cave.  The cave is some 40 meters long. Bring a flashlight to explore the caves.

If you are lucky your might also see foxes, rabbits and deer.

4. Nahal Ayun near Metulla

In the Nahal AyrnA spectacular 30 meter high waterfall.  The Nahal (river) is flanked by an abundance of vegetation and water plants. A short circular train starts at the lower parking lot.

Opening hours

Sunday - Thursday and Saturday: 16:00 - 08:00 (during summer until 17:00)
Fridays and holiday eves: 15:00 - 8:00 (during summer until 16:00)

5. The vanishing lake in the Ga'aton quarry

The vanishing lake in the Ga'aton quarry is a perfect winter trip for the whole family.  Situated in the Upper Galilee near Kibbutz Kabri, the vanishing lake was created by quarry activity in the area.  A hole was opened which filled with groundwater. The water is very deep and clear and during the winter months the lake is a magical place.

6. The Beit Zayit Reservoir

What a suprise!  The Beit Zayit Reservoir is an artificial lake near Moshav Beit Zayit in the Jerusalem hills. It's a seasonal lake and fills up only in the winter after several days of heavy rainfall.  The  Beit Zayit dam blocks the flow of water in Nahal Soreq and fills the reservoir.  There is a path around the perimeter of the reservoir that curves between the surrounding mountains.  A wonderful place for a picnis and a family hike.  Take note that bathing is not allowed in the lake.  

7.  The Ramon Crater 

In Mitzpe Ramon ies the largest crater in the world and fits into the geological category called "Makhtesh".  Makhtesh Ramon or the Ramon Crater was created by erosion and not by impact.  Views from the cliff of the Negev desert will awe you. If you are lucky you might see an Ibex and other small desert creatures.  Be sure to visit the Ramon Visitor's Center for an in depth explanation of the fauna and flora of the desert.

8. Mount Bental - Golan Heights

After a visit to Mt. Hermon take a tour of Mt. Bental. The mountain is actually part of an inactive volcano in the northeastern Golan Heights and its peak reaches 1,165 meters above sea level. Magnificent views of Moumt Avital and Mount Herman as well as the ruins of the city of Kuneitra.

9. Hula Valley

About 35,000 cranes arrive in the Hulla Valley during the autumn months, and about 15,000 of them stay for the winter. Watch the cranes feed  and look out onto the lake from a wooden observatory located on a manmade hill.  The Hula Valley, situated between the Golan Heights, the Naftali Mountains and the Lebanon Valley, is about 30 km long and about 7 km wide. Its abundance of water and wildlife draw large crowds.  Hula Lake Park also won international recognition in 2009, when BBC Wildlife declared it one of the most important observation and photography sites in the world. 

10. Hamat Gader Park

Hamat Gader Park near the Sea of Galilee in the Yarmuk River Valley, boasts natural thermo-mineral springs that chase the winter chill away.There are several mineral springs with waters of up to 50º C. After a relaxing afternoon in the pools you can take in the ancient synagogue with stunning mosaics. Also watch some 200 crocodiles, alligators and other reptiles that are housed in about forty acres of parkland.