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Eco-Tourism Tour, 12 days

Passionate about the environment? Tour Israel’s nature reserves, learn about farming in harsh conditions and visit sustainable-agriculture communities. This tour is focusing on Israel as an introduction tour. Nothing specialized, we try to make an attempt to show you as much as possible. I refer to the more specialized ecotours of Israel to see a specific aspect of the beauty of Israel in the other tours.

Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 – Golan Heights
Day 3 – Golan Heights
Day 4 – Acre, Haifa
Day 5 – Caesarea and Tel Aviv-Jaffa
Day 6 – Jerusalem – Old City
Day 7 – Jerusalem – New City
Day 8 – Dead Sea, Qumran, Ein Gedi, Masada
Day 9 – Negev and Eilat
Day 10 – Eilat
Day 11 – Negev, Be’er Sheva
Day 12 – Departure

What to see?

  • Day 2: Talmudic Village of Katsrin, organic farm, Alonei Habashan, Gamla Nature Reserve, Byzantine village, Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve
  • Day 3: Hula Valley Nature Reserve, Mitspe Harashim, Tzefat (Safed)
  • Day 4: Acre, Knight’s Halls, Al-Jazaar Mosque, Kibbutz Harduf, Shfar’am, Haifa, Templer Colony, Baha’i Gardens
  • Day 5: Beit Oren Valley, Caesarea, Yarkon National Park, Tel Aviv area, Tel Afek, Yarkon River
  • Day 6: Jerusalem, City of David, Warren’s Shaft, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Old City, Dung Gate, Western Wall, Excavations at the Southern Wall, Davidson Center, Jewish Quarter, Herodian Mansions, Roman Cardo, Christian Quarter, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Old City markets
  • Day 7: Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Children’s Memorial, Hall of Remembrance, Knesset, Supreme Court building, Israel Museum, Dead Sea Scrolls, Shrine of the Book, Model of ancient Jerusalem, Mahane Yehuda, Biblical Zoo.
  • Day 8: Dead Sea, Qumran, The Essenes, , Ein Gedi oasis, Kibbutz Ein Gedi’s botanical garden, Masada.
  • Day 9: Arava valley, Peace Road, Peace Lookout, Edom Mountains, Kibbutz Lotan, Kibbutz Lotan, Center for Creative Ecology, Ovda Valley, Negev
  • Day 10: Eilat, Gulf of Eilat, coral reefs, Mount Tsefahot, Timna Park, King Solomon’s Pillars, Shrine of Hathor, ancient copper furnaces, “‘Mines of Time”, King Solomon’s Mines.
  • Day 11: Negev, Mitspe Ramon, Makhtesh, Avdat, Wilderness of Tsin.

Day 1 – Arrival

This is the day that you arrive in Israel. Well, it’s not the case for those who are already here or who are living in Israel.

For those who are arriving in Israel, will be picked up from the airport by the guide and driver from Shalom Israel. And here it becomes complicated.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel and for this tour it means Haifa.

During the drive to your hotel, the bus will stop multiple times if the group requires so. One stop is for stretching your legs and to be fed real food and drink. That is included in the tour! So, please don’t spend your money on that.


Day 2 – Golan Heights

Gamla Nature Reserve

Places: Talmudic Village of Katsrin, organic farm, Alonei Habashan, Gamla Nature Reserve, Byzantine village, Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve

Beginning your tour in the north, visit the Talmudic Village of Katsrin on the Golan Heights and an organic farm, using age old traditional methods of farming and livestock management. (To visit the farm, please call 04-696-2434).

Drive to Israel’s eastern frontier, Alonei Habashan, to view the wind turbines used as an alternative source of energy.

Gamla Nature Reserve

Continue to Gamla Nature Reserve, with its host of animals and many well-preserved and dramatic remnants of the city among the first to revolt against Rome. The ruins are at the end of a hearty hour’s hike, and also visible from a lookout, nearby which are also the ruins of a Byzantine village. The reserve boasts a phenomenal concentration of vultures and a beautiful waterfall.

Meshushim Pool

Proceed to the Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve’s rivers, natural pools, and waterfalls. The 16,500-acre reserve is shaped like an outstretched hand: the palm is the Bethsaida Valley, and each finger represents a river with rushing water and waterfalls. The reserve is 400 meters above sea level at its highest point and gently slopes down toward the Sea of Galilee.

Meshushim Pool
  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Haifa.

Day 3 – Golan Heights

Hula Valley
Hula Valley

Places: Hula Valley Nature Reserve, Mitspe Harashim, Tzefat (Safed)

Start the day with a visit to the Hula Valley Nature Reserve. The reserve has lovely walking trails, including a “floating bridge” over the wetland, and special lookout points where visitors can observe the avian wildlife. In the spring of 1994 another stage in the campaign to restore natural balance in the Hula Valley was completed: the re-flooding of 250 acres now known as Lake Agmon, located approximately two kilometers north of the Hula Nature Reserve. Visitors can visit the re-flooded area to appreciate nature’s powers.
While at the Hula Valley Nature Reserve don’t forget to stop at Oforia, a fun multimedia display that tells the story of the migratory route across the region and the millions of birds that use it.

Continue to Mitspe Harashim, a small community nestled in the thick forest of Upper Galilee north of the city of Karmiel. Environmental conservation is at the heart of life at Harashim and all development is done with minimal damage to nature. Mitspe Harashim is part of the trend in Galilee and the Negev toward sustainable tourism to which Israel is committed.

Safed inn

Finish the day in Tzefat (Safed), one of the four holy cities in Israel and the home of Lurian mysticism (a branch of Jewish mysticism conceived by the 16th-century Rabbi Isaac Luria). Stroll along the lanes of the Old City and see its many synagogues, as well as its unique artist’s colony.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Haifa.

Day 4 – Acre, Haifa

Acre or Akko or Acco

Places: Acre, Knight’s Halls, Al-Jazaar Mosque, Kibbutz Harduf, Shfar’am, Haifa, Templer Colony, Baha’i Gardens

Begin your day with a drive to Acre, a historic walled port-city with continuous settlement beginning in the Phoenician period. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact both above and below today’s street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader kingdom, along with touches of the Ottoman fortified market town Acre was during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Hospitaller Fortress also known as the Citadel of Acre
Hospitaller Fortress also known as the Citadel of Acre

Explore the Knight’s Halls, the Al-Jazaar Mosque, the bathhouse with its multi-media display, and the new ethnic museum, built right into the rooms of the old wall.

Continue to Kibbutz Harduf, near the Arab town of Shfar’am, established in 1982 by a group of young people and families who wanted to create a community based on the anthroposophist ideology. The kibbutz has since developed an exemplary educational system, a large organic food industry and a very special relationship with its Israeli Arab neighbors.

Templer Colony

Then, it’s on to the modern port city of Haifa; visit the picturesque restored Templer Colony and the gorgeous terraced Baha’i Gardens, and enjoy the view from the top of Mount Carmel.

Mount Carmel Lookout Point

For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Haifa.


Day 5 – Caesarea and Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Caesarea Maritima

Places: Beit Oren Valley, Caesarea, Yarkon National Park, Tel Aviv area, Tel Afek, Yarkon River

Caesarea Maritima

Travel across Mount Carmel and the beautiful Beit Oren Valley down to Caesarea, Herod’s port city and the Roman administrative capital in the region. Enjoy a walk through the impressive remains and a visit to the ancient aqueduct on a beautiful stretch of Mediterranean beach.

Yarkon River

Proceed to Yarkon National Park, a clean, green vista in the greater Tel Aviv area. Yarkon National Park has two main attractions: Tel Afek (the Roman Antipatris) and its Ottoman-period fortress, overlooking the springs of the Yarkon River; and the area around the sources of the Yarkon River, which boasts a wealth of flora and fauna. The municipal segment of the Yarkon Park in the heart of Tel Aviv is its main urban nature attraction, where you will meet Tel Avivians bike-riding, jogging, strolling and picnicking, especially in the late afternoon

Yarkon National Park
  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Tell Aviv

Day 6 – Jerusalem – Old City

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Places: Jerusalem, City of David, Warren’s Shaft, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Old City, Dung Gate, Western Wall, Excavations at the Southern Wall, Davidson Center, Jewish Quarter, Herodian Mansions, Roman Cardo, Christian Quarter, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Old City markets

Tower of David

Making an early start to tour Jerusalem, begin with the City of David, the nucleus of Jerusalem, to view the new Visitors Center and Warren’s Shaft. You can walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, dug 2700 years ago in order to secure the water flow for Jerusalem during the Assyrian siege, or take the “dry route” also through an ancient part of the water system.

Enter the Old City via Dung Gate to visit the Western Wall, sacred to the Jewish People as the last remnant of the Second Temple.

Western Wall Tunnels

Tour the Excavations at the Southern Wall, walking on the original two thousand-year old street and climbing the ancient steps to the Temple, used by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims 2,000 years ago as they ascended to the Temple. At the Davidson Center, ensconced in the basement of an eighth-century CE palace, make arrangements to see its virtual-reconstruction, high-definition interactive model.

Herodian Mansions

Cross the valley up to the Jewish Quarter and enter the Herodian Mansions, aristocratic dwellings, possibly of priestly families who served in the Temple. See evidence of First Temple times at the Broad Wall as well as the Late Roman Cardo and the medieval synagogues.

Church Of The Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem

Continue to the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and end the day wandering through the Old City markets, steeping yourself in its sights, sounds and aromas, and try your hand at hunting and bargaining for treasures.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Jerusalem.

Day 7 – Jerusalem – New City

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

Places: Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Children’s Memorial, Hall of Remembrance, Knesset, Supreme Court building, Israel Museum, Dead Sea Scrolls, Shrine of the Book, Model of ancient Jerusalem, Mahane Yehuda, Biblical Zoo.

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

Begin today with a visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial to see the astounding new museum, the Children’s Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance.

Israeli Parliament Building

Drive through the New City viewing old and new neighborhoods and the Knesset (The Israeli Parliament, open for visits on Sundays and Thursdays) and the beautifully designed Supreme Court building.

Qumran

At the nearby Israel Museum, among many other fascinating exhibits discover the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book, and see the Model of ancient Jerusalem.

Mahane Yehuda Market

Walk through downtown Jerusalem to Mahane Yehuda, the produce market of the Capital. Enjoy coffee and local dishes at one of the coffee bars or restaurants and take in the sights and aromas of Jerusalem.

Biblical Zoo, Jerusalem

Or visit the Biblical Zoo, which takes part in international programs for conservation of endangered species as well as showing off its remarkable collection of animals to the public in a lovely setting.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Jerusalem.

Day 8 – Dead Sea, Qumran, Ein Gedi, Masada

Dead Sea

Places: Dead Sea, Qumran, The Essenes,  Ein Gedi oasis, Kibbutz Ein Gedi’s botanical garden, Masada.

Leave Jerusalem and drive to the Dead Sea. Stop at Qumran and view the archaeological remains of the community that once lived here, The Essenes, according to ancient records, were excellent farmers, spending their free time studying the Bible and meditating.

Ein Gedi National Park

Proceed to the Ein Gedi oasis where you can walk along the trails of Nahal David to a refreshing waterfall. Visit Kibbutz Ein Gedi’s botanical garden, with trees and plants from tropical and other regions around the world.

Masada Mountain & Cable Car

Ascend to Masada by cable-car to explore the fortress that was the scene of the epic stand by Jewish rebels at the end of the Great Revolt against Rome nearly 2,000 years ago. The new museum at the visitor’s center reveals the secrets of daily life of the rebels, the story of the excavations, and how the site became one of Israel’s most important symbols.

End the day with a health treatment and a dip in the saltiest, lowest body of water in the world. Spend the night at one of the fine hotels along the shores of the Dead Sea, or chose a simple close-to-nature overnight experience also offered in the Dead Sea area.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel near Dead Sea.

Day 9 – Negev and Eilat

Bedouin village of Umm al Hiran in Israel’s Negev Desert

Places: Arava valley, Peace Road, Peace Lookout, Edom Mountains, Kibbutz Lotan, Kibbutz Lotan, Center for Creative Ecology, Ovda Valley, Negev

Proceed to the Arava valley and drive along the Peace Road, a 24-km road that stretches along Israel’s border with Jordan. Farmers on both sides of the border are using sophisticated methods to make the inhospitable terrain flourish.

At the Peace Lookout, take a moment to stop and enjoy the view of the Edom Mountains, the large water reservoirs and the hothouses bursting with melons, tomatoes and peppers.

Kibbutz Lotan

Proceed to Kibbutz Lotan, nestled amidst the beauty of the sun drenched Arava Valley in southern Israel, home to stunning desert birds such as the little green bee-eater and hooded wheatear. Like the Hula Valley in the north, the Arava is part of the land bridge linking Europe, Asia and Africa, which sees literally hundreds of millions of migrating birds each year. In the heart of it all, tiny Kibbutz Lotan has become recognized not only as hotspot for bird watching, but also a facility committed to the desert ecology, offering a diverse range of activities. Kibbutz Lotan also raises dairy cows, field crops and dates It is also home to Eco Fun, the Center for Creative Ecology, and a desert natural wellness center.

Ovda Valley

Continue to the Ovda Valley where desert scenery and the distance from the center guarantee detachment and rest from the hectic pace of life – in the southern Negev, where back-to-basics accommodations are available as a base for hikes in the region.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Eilat.

Day 10 – Eilat

Places: Eilat, Gulf of Eilat, coral reefs, Mount Tsefahot, Timna Park, King Solomon’s Pillars, Shrine of Hathor, ancient copper furnaces, “‘Mines of Time”, King Solomon’s Mines.

Gulf of Eilat

Spend the day in the Eilat region snorkeling or scuba diving in the Gulf of Eilat, one of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world.

Mount Tsefahot

A hike or drive up to Mount Tsefahot affords a view of three countries – Israel, Jordan and Egypt, are among one of many nature experiences in the area. You can also visit Timna Park, north of Eilat, which is an excellent example of an industrial facility (copper-mining) turned into a nature reserve. Timna is home to amazing natural phenomena: King Solomon’s Pillars, the “Mushroom”, and “Arches.”

Shrine of Hathor

See fascinating remnants of primitive cultures at the “Chariots” rock carvings, the Shrine of Hathor, and ancient copper furnaces. Marvel at the remarkable new multimedia presentation, “‘Mines of Time.” Explore King Solomon’s Mines, where copper-mining first began over six millennia ago.

Solomon’s Pillars
  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Eilat.

Day 11 – Negev, Be’er Sheva

Mitspe Ramon
Mitspe Ramon

Places: Negev, Mitspe Ramon, Makhtesh, Avdat, Wilderness of Tsin.

Mitspe Ramon
Mitspe Ramon

Continuing north via the central Negev, stop at the visitor’s center of Mitspe Ramon, located on the edge of a unique geological wonder. It is a phenomenon known as a Makhtesh: a huge crater developed by water erosion on top of a mountain ridge, creating a “window” onto the layers of rock from eons past. There are three makhteshim in Israel, which are the only formations of their kind in the world.

Ein Avdat

Continue north along Route 40 and stop at Avdat, a city built by the Nabateans as a stop along the Incense Route they created from Petra to Gaza. The Nabateans learned to live in harmony with the desert by harvesting its meager rainfall to cultivate a host of crops. In making Avdat a World Heritage Site, UNESCO has recognized the unique contribution of the Nabateans to world culture.

Ein Avdat

Stop to pay your respects at the tomb of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion with its magnificent view of the Wilderness of Tsin. Ben-Gurion believed in life in the desert, and when he retired became a member of nearby Kibbutz Sde Boker where the modest “hut” in which he lived is open to the public.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Be’er Sheva.

Day 12 – Departure

This is the day of the departure. We bring everyone back to the point where we picked them up.

Cave Tour, 12 days

The cave tour, part of the ecotourism and Eco-tours. This tour is meant for the normal public from the ago of 15 and older. It also means climbing, dragging your feet through the mud, becoming wet, walk under the burning sun, becoming dirty, etc. You’re warned!


Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 – Sorek (Avshalom) Cave
Day 3 – Bell Cave
Day 4 – Zedekiah’s Cave
Day 5 – Hariton Cave
Day 6 – Malcham
Day 7 – Caves of Qumran
Day 8 – HaYonim (The Pigeons) Cave
Day 9 – Tabun (Tanur) Cave (Oven Cave)
Day 10 – Hanahal (El-Wad) Cave
Day 11 – Pa’ar Cave
Day 12 – Departure

Where are your accommodations?

Day 1 – Jerusalem
Day 2 – Jerusalem
Day 3 – Jerusalem
Day 4 – Jerusalem
Day 5 – Jerusalem
Day 6 – Dead Sea
Day 7 – Dead Sea
Day 8 – Acre
Day 9 – Haifa
Day 10 – Haifa
Day 11 – Nahariyya/Tiberias

What will you see?

  1. Sorek (Avshalom) Cave
  2. Bell Cave
  3. Zedekiah’s Cave
  4. Hariton Cave
  5. Malcham
  6. Caves of Qumran
  7. HaYonim (The Pigeons) Cave
  8. Tabun (Tanur) Cave (Oven Cave)
  9. Hanahal (El-Wad) Cave
  10. Pa’ar Cave
  11. Old and New city of Jerusalem
  12. Acre
  13. Haifa
  14. Golan
  15. Dead Sea

Day 1 – Arrival

This is the day that you arrive in Israel. Well, it’s not the case for those who are already here or who are living in Israel.

For those who are arriving in Israel, will be picked up from the airport by the guide and driver from Shalom Israel.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel and for this tour it means Jerusalem.

During the drive to your hotel, the bus will stop multiple times if the group requires so. One stop is for stretching your legs and to eat real food and drink. That is included in the tour! So, please don’t spend your money on that.

When you’ve arrived at your hotel, you check in and relax. The guide is with you and stays with you until you go back home at the end of the tour. He is available day and night (for example when you can’t sleep!).

The evening (this totally depends how late you arrive in Israel), we have a surprise for you in Jerusalem. Please, don’t eat before, because we will dine in Jerusalem.


Day 2 – Sorek (Avshalom) Cave

(Click here for map)

Avshalom Cave, also known as Soreq Cave or Stalactites Cave, is a 5,000 sq m cave in Israel, unique for its dense concentration of stalactites
Avshalom Cave, also known as Soreq Cave or Stalactites Cave, is a 5,000 sq m cave in Israel, unique for its dense concentration of stalactites.
Traditional breakfast before you go into the Negev

Traditional breakfast

After your breakfast at your hotel in Jerusalem, the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, click here for map.

Also called the Stalactite Cave, this small cavern is in a nature reserve on the western slopes of the Judean mountains between Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.

Workers blasting at a limestone quarry 44 years ago came across it by accident. Inside were stalactites and stalagmites up to 13 feet long. Some of them are believed to be at least 300,000 years old, while others are still forming.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority installed wooden walkways, lighting and handrails inside the cave and offers an audiovisual presentation and guided tour.

At the end of the day, we return to our hotel. At your hotel, dinner is waiting.

Day 3 – Bell Cave

(Click here for map)

Delicious breakfast

Delicious breakfast

After your breakfast at your hotel in Jerusalem, the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, Click here for map.

One of many caves to explore at Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park — which lies in the “land of a thousand caves” region of central to southern Israel – the Bell Cave complex is a series of 70 large caves connected by passageways. The tallest of the Bell Caves are more than 16 feet high.

Dug out as quarries during the Early Arab period in the seventh-11th centuries CE, the caves got their name because the digging was done in the shape of a bell. Arabic inscriptions and crosses can still be seen on the walls. Even Hollywood finds the area awesome; Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo III was filmed here.

We return to our hotel in Jerusalem.


Day 4 – Zedekiah’s Cave

Cave of Zedekiah
Healthy breakfast too if you really want

Healthy breakfast too if you really want

After your breakfast at your hotel in Jerusalem, the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, Click here for map.

Cave of Zedekiah

Steeped in legend, Zedekiah’s Cave goes back about 1,000 feet under the northern wall of Jerusalem’s Old City, and more than 2,000 years in history. People long believed that this was the cave described in the bible’s account of how Zedekiah, Jerusalem’s last biblical king, attempted to flee to Jericho during a Babylonian siege. He was captured and tortured, which is why the spring at the back of the cave is called “Zedekiah’s Tears.”

Cave of Zedekiah

However, the cave has no exit, so it wouldn’t have made a good escape route. Still, it has great significance because archaeologists believe it was from this quarry that workers cut the giant stones to build the Second Temple in the fourth century BCE. The cave is lighted and has signage in Hebrew, Arabic and English. About half of its length is open to the public.

At the end of the day, we return to Jerusalem.


Day 5 – Hariton Cave

Hariton Cave

(Click here for map)

Bedouin breakfast

Breakfast

After your breakfast at your hotel in Jerusalem, the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, Click here for map.

Israel’s largest limestone cave is shaped like a labyrinth, necessitating a guide from the nearby field school, lanterns and appropriate shoes. It’s located near Bethlehem and Herodion south of Jerusalem, near the town of Tekoa. According to ancient historian Josephus Flavius, Hariton was part of an underground system of escape routes used by Jews fleeing the Romans more than 2,000 years ago.

Hariton Cave

At the end of the day we return to our hotel in Jerusalem.


Day 6 – Malcham

(Click here for map)

Breakfast from heaven

Breakfast from heaven

After your breakfast at your hotel near the Jerusalem, the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, Click here for map.

The largest cave in Israel and the largest salt cave in the world, Malcham is one of more than 100 salt-rock caves in Mount Sedom at the southwest end of the Dead Sea. Open free to the public, this rare formation has huge rooms, vertical shafts over 426 feet deep, stalactites and stalagmites made of salt.

“It’s a river cave,” explains Frumkin. “Water flowing in a surface stream flows underground and dissolves the salt, creating caves – a process that is still going on when there is strong rain over the mountain about once a year.”

At the end of the day, we go to our new hotel near the Dead Sea.


Day 7 – Caves of Qumran

(Click here for map)

Food and Cuisine - RestaurantAfter your breakfast at your hotel near the Dead Sea, the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, .

In the year 68 CE, a Jewish cult occupying these caves overlooking the northwest end of the Dead Sea fled from the invading Romans. But first they hid their treasures in clay jars. They were only discovered starting in 1947, and became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The parchments – including the oldest known Bible — can be seen at the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book or online.

The caves are now a tourist site complete with a video presentation. You can walk through a room where ancient scribes may have worked and an area where the caves’ ascetic inhabitants dried dates and made clay pots like the ones used to store the scrolls for two millennia.

Our tour though, will lead us to the known and unknown (for the tourist) caves of the Qumran caves. There are more then 250 caves discovered and a few presented to the normal tourists.

Dead Sea

At the end of the tour, we might take a dip in the Dead Sea if someone volunteers. As a tip, you have there good showers to wash the dust, dirt and sweat and enables you to redress. Take pots and pans with you, because you might collect the mud of the Dead Sea, because at home you need to pay a fortune for that.

At the end of the day, the bus drives us to our hotel in Acre (Akko).


Day 8 – HaYonim (The Pigeons) Cave

HaYonim (The Pigeons) Cave

(Click here for map)

'Fruits and Grains' the foods of-the future according to Baha'i

‘Fruits and Grains’

After your breakfast at your hotel in Acre (or Akko), the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, Click here for map.

Situated in a limestone bluff in the upper Galilee, HaYonim Cave was used as a living space on and off between 250,000 and 12,000 years ago. Excavations have turned up blades, cooking hearths, finished floors and graves.

“This is a good example of a prehistoric natural cave. Such caves could be associated with two types of humans that coexisted in the last Ice Age – Homo sapiens and Neanderthals,” explains Frumkin. “In the Natufian period about 11,000 years ago, people started building small houses, and there are such structures inside the entrance of the cave.”

HaYonim (The Pigeons) Cave

Visitors can explore part of the cave for free. The archeological excavation area is blocked off. Our guide will bypass that little rule for you. Please don’t start digging though.

At the end of the day, we move hotel to Haifa.


Day 9 – Tabun (Tanur) Cave (Oven Cave)

(Click here for map)

Baha'i food

Baha’i food

After your breakfast at your hotel in Haifa, the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, Click here for map.

Not far from HaYonim, a 120,000-year-old Neanderthal-type female skeleton was discovered in the Tabun Cave, so named because it resembles a chimney (“oven” is “tanur” in Hebrew and “tabun” in Arabic). Different groups of humans lived inside it from 500,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Tabun is the highest one of three Carmel Caves in the Nahal Me’orot Nature Reserve. Stairs lead from a visitor’s center to the entrance. Archeologists found many hunting and foraging tools here along with piles of fallow deer bones and other leftovers of ancient meals.

The guide will explain why that is so important for the ancient history in the world, the development of the modern human and the land of Israel and it’s unique history.

At the end of the day we return to our hotel in Haifa.


Day 10 – Hanahal (El-Wad) Cave

Hanahal (El-Wad) Cave

(Click here for map)

The food plate

The food plate

After your breakfast at your hotel in Haifa, the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, Click here for map.

This is the largest of the Carmel Caves. Here you can watch an audiovisual presentation about prehistoric daily life, and see a model of a skeleton illustrating burial customs of the Natufian culture 10,000 years ago. More than 100 ancient skeletons were discovered buried here in a tightly flexed position, some with ornaments made of stone, bone or shell. (Don’t worry: The bodies were long since removed from the premises … but maybe we might find some when the guide starts wandering around with you.)

Hanahal (El-Wad) Cave

At the end of the day, we go to our new hotel in Nahariyya/Tiberias.


Day 11 – Pa’ar Cave

(Click here for map)

Druze food

Druze food

After your breakfast at your hotel in Nahariyya/Tiberias, the bus is waiting for you. Officially, the tour starts at 9:00 in the morning, so we leave at 8:15. For more information about the route, Click here for map.

This limestone sinkhole in the Upper Galilee was formed by water flowing from the surface Pa’ar Stream to the underground.

“This is maybe the best example of such a limestone phenomenon in Israel,” says Frumkin. “In winter you can follow the water with your eye and see it sinking underground. It’s in a nice [3.5-acre] nature reserve open to the public for free. Just be prepared for mud because it’s an active cave.”


Day 12 – Departure

Popular foods include cabbage, milk, sour cream, curds, mushrooms, lard, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, berries, honey, sugar, saltWe will bring you back to the airport after breakfast (this depends on your departing time).

The Food and Wine Tour

Experience Israel through the tastes and the smells: a gastronomic adventure to discover Israel’s multicultural population and unique culture while indulging yourself in a wide palate of flavors.

We’re not joking and this is not a marketing gimmick. It’s real, as you will find out. The food throughout this tour is superior, highest quality and exclusively representing the many different cultures in Israel, eating in their native environment and their restaurants. You not only eat their food, and drink their wine, but you experience their culture too! Not one kind of culture is the same, all of them with it’s own unique charm.

Here we have a breakdown for this tour, day for day.

Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 – Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee
Day 3 – Golan Heights
Day 4 – Acre, Haifa
Day 5 – Caesarea, Tel Aviv-Jaffa
Day 6 – Jerusalem – Old city
Day 7 – Jerusalem – New City
Day 8 – Negev
Day 9 – Masada, Ein Gedi
Day 10 – Departure

What are you going to see?

  • Day 2 – Golan Heights, Talmudic village of Katsrin, Eden Water Mineral Water Plant, Katsrin’s winery, Druze villages of Buk’ata and Mas’ade, Hula Valley, Sea of Galilee, St. Peter’s (tilapia).
  • Day 3 – Hula Nature Reserve, Oforia, Rosh Pina, chocolate factory, Safed (Tzefat), Hameiri Dairy
  • Day 4 – Tsipori National Park (Zippori), Moshav Tsipori, Acre, Knights Halls, Al-Jazaar Mosque, Old City, Haifa, German Templer Colony, , Baha’i Gardens, Carmel National Park
  • Day 5 – Zikhron Ya’akov, Caesarea, Tel Aviv, Carmel Market, Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv Port, Jaffa, Yefet Street, fishermen’s port, Neve Tsedek
  • Day 6 – Jerusalem, Tower of David Museum, Jaffa Gate, Jewish Quarter, Broad Wall, Ariel, Herodian Mansions, Western Wall, Southern Wall Excavations, Multimedia Davidson Center, Old City markets
  • Day 7 – Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Children’s Memorial, Hall of Remembrance, Knesset, Supreme Court building, Israel Museum, Dead Sea Scrolls, Mahane Yehuda
  • Day 8 – Eshtaol Forest, Tel Zor’a, Elah Valley, Tel Maresha, Beit Govrin National Park, Arad, Nokdim Farm, Drejat
  • Day 9 – Masada, Ein Gedi National Park

 


Day 1 – Arrival

This is the day that you arrive in Israel. Well, it’s not the case for those who are already here or who are living in Israel.

For those who are arriving in Israel, will be picked up from the airport by the guide and driver from Shalom Israel.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel and for this tour it means Tel Aviv.

During the drive to your hotel, the bus will stop multiple times if the group requires so. One stop is for stretching your legs and to be fed real food and drink. That is included in the tour! So, please don’t spend your money on that.

Depending when you all arrive at your hotel, we will start this tour with a special dinner, probably a bit unexpected! We are going to enjoy Chinese food! Yes, they have Chinese food in Israel, and yes, there is a Chinese community in Israel too.


Day 2 – Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee

Places: Golan Heights, Talmudic village of Katsrin, Eden Water Mineral Water Plant, Katsrin’s winery, Druze villages of Buk’ata and Mas’ade, Hula Valley, Sea of Galilee, St. Peter’s (tilapia).

You begin the day with a healthy breakfast. The breakfast for today is a breakfast focused on fruit and yogurts in an exclusive restaurant, together with huge collections of fresh juices.


After our breakfast, we begin your gastronomic adventure in Israel in the Golan Heights, which few people know has become a magnet for wine, food and olive-oil connoisseurs. Wine, oil and livestock have been the traditional produce of the Golan for centuries.

Talmudic village of Katsrin

One of the finest illustrations of this fact is the Talmudic village of Katsrin, where wine- and oil-presses have been discovered, and an oil press is on display and even used.

Katsrin’s winery

After a short tour of the ancient village, you can proceed to the nearby industrial zone to visit the Eden Water Mineral Water Plant and Katsrin’s winery, one of many in the Golan Heights.

Drive north through the Druze villages of Buk’ata and Mas’ade, stopping for the special Druze pita bread, cheese and za’atar (The biblical hyssop).

Cheese and za’atar
Cheese and za’atar

Descend from the Golan to the Hula Valley via the headwaters of the Jordan. Due to the abundance of water, the area is dotted with fish ponds. Dinner at a fish restaurant is a great choice in this region, with trout one of the specialties.

Hula valley
Hula valley
Hula Trails

You can also head down to the Sea of Galilee to enjoy a fish dinner along the lakefront, the local favorite being St. Peter’s (tilapia).

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Tiberias.

Dinner today is special, because we are going to eat the food of the Druze!


Day 3 – Golan Heights

Places: Hula Nature Reserve, Oforia, Rosh Pina, chocolate factory, Safed (Tzefat), Hameiri Dairy


This morning we start with pancakes. Be aware, every day of this tour we eat something else; there is no hotel food here in this tour.


Start the day at the Hula Nature Reserve after an amazing, filling breakfast. The reserve has lovely walking trails, including a “floating bridge” over the wetland, and special lookout points where visitors can observe the wild birds.
In the spring of 1994, another stage in the campaign to restore the Hula Valley was completed: the flooding of 250 acres of uncultivated land, located approximately two kilometers north of the Hula Nature Reserve. Visitors can visit the re-flooded area to appreciate nature’s powers.
While at the Hula valley Nature reserve don’t forget to stop at “Oforia,” a spectacular multimedia display that tells the story of the migratory route that crosses the region and the millions of birds that use it.

Rosh Pina

Continue to Rosh Pina, one of the first communities established by the early Zionists settlers, for a taste of rural life in the Galilee. Enjoy a meal at in one of the many fine country-style eateries that dot this picturesque community.

Rosh Pina Chocolates

A special treat is the chocolate factory in the restored part of Rosh Pina, located in the 19th-century one-room school house.

Tzefat

Proceed to Safed (Tzefat), one of the four holy cities in Israel and the home of Lurianic Kabalah (a branch of Jewish mysticism conceived by the 16-century Rabbi Isaac Luria).Stroll along the lanes of Safed’s old city, visiting its many synagogues and its unique artist’s colony.
Visit Hameiri Dairy – The first dairy in the country.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Tiberias.

Our dinner tonight is in Safed.


Day 4 – Acre, Haifa

Places: Tsipori National Park (Zippori), Moshav Tsipori, Acre, Knights Halls, Al-Jazaar Mosque, Old City, Haifa, German Templer Colony, , Baha’i Gardens, Carmel National Park


Breakfast today is presented to you in Russian style! Look out, when you don’t say STOP, it keeps on coming …


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Tsipori National Park

Visit Tsipori National Park (Zippori), with its ruins of a Second-Temple era Jewish city, where Judah Hanasi redacted the Mishnah some 1800 years ago.
The beautiful villa, the triclinium dining room and the “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” mosaic floor with its banqueting motifs, suggest that food and wine were important then as now.

Stop at Moshav Tsipori for a taste of their honey and organic olive oil.

Acre food

Proceed to Acre. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact both above and below today’s street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader kingdom, along with touches of the Ottoman fortified market town Acre was during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Akko or Acre

Explore the Knights Halls, the Al-Jazaar Mosque, the bathho?use with its multi-media display, and the new ethnic museum, built right into the rooms of the old wall.
Stroll through the alleys of the Old City, stop in at its spice shops, and taste the local humus and other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean delicacies.

Continue to the Port city of Haifa; visit its picturesque German Templer Colony, the Baha’i Gardens and the Carmel National Park on the outskirts of the city.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Haifa.

And guess what we are going to eat today for this evening? That’s right, we eat the same food as the Baha’i eat!


Day 5 – Caesarea, Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Places: Zikhron Ya’akov, Caesarea, Tel Aviv, Carmel Market, Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv Port, Jaffa, Yefet Street, fishermen’s port, Neve Tsedek

Breakfast time again! This day we go for the sweet and healthy breakfasts!

Zikhron Ya’akov

Start the day with a visit to the pioneering town of Zikhron Ya’akov – an area abundant in vineyards and wine and visit a local winery.

Caesarea

Continue to Caesarea, Herod’s magnificent port city. Visit the theater, newly excavated hippodrome, palace, bathhouse and the port area showing the influence of the Crusader conquest in the 11th century CE.

Carmel Market
Carmel Market

Continue to Tel Aviv. In the heart of the city, you’ll enjoy the colors and aromas of the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv’s open air fresh produce market.

Carmel Market
Carmel Market

In July, 2003, UNESCO Organization proclaimed the unique urban and historical fabric of early Tel Aviv, known as the White City, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the midst of the White City is Rothschild Boulevard, with many interesting architectural monuments, as well as a selection of the city’s good restaurants.

Tel Aviv Blues Festival Winter Acoustic Edition
Tel Aviv nightlife

Tel Aviv boasts restaurants for every palate, preference and pocket. Ask your concierge for the best recommendations. Some of the best fish restaurants in the city are located in the Tel Aviv Port, along with ice cream bars and cafes.

Sheinkin Street
Sheinkin Street Tel Aviv

Head for Jaffa, where you can buy the freshest bread for miles around at the bakery on Jaffa’s main drag, Yefet Street, a favorite with locals that does its best business on Saturday nights.

Stroll the alleyways of old Jaffa and enjoy the artists’ colony, the picturesque fishermen’s port, the archaeological remains and restaurants.

Neve Tsedek Neighborhood
Neve Tsedek

Neve Tsedek, the first Jewish neighborhood outside the walls of old Jaffa, is now a gentrified part of town that is one of the city’s cultural hubs as well.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Tel Aviv.

And what’s for dinner? This time we are eating with the Arab kitchen!


Day 6 – Jerusalem – Old city

Places: Jerusalem, Tower of David Museum, Jaffa Gate, Jewish Quarter, Broad Wall, Ariel, Herodian Mansions, Western Wall, Southern Wall Excavations, Multimedia Davidson Center, Old City markets

With this new day, we have again a new kind of breakfast!

We take the highway number one to Jerusalem via the Judean Mountains.

Tower of David Light Show

The Citadel/Tower of David

Start your visit in Israel’s capital at the Tower of David Museum dedicated to the history of Jerusalem from the founding of the city to modern times, in its unique location in the old Turkish citadel near the Old City’s Jaffa Gate.

Old City Jewish Quarter
Jewish Quarter

Continue to the Jewish Quarter, which was home to European and Sephardic Jews who prayed and studied during the centuries under Ottoman rule, to visit the Broad Wall, a 2,700 year old defensive fortification; the Ariel – First Temple period museum; and Herodian Mansions.

Old City Jewish Quarter
Jewish Quarter

Descend from the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall, the last remnant of the Herodian Temple Mount. Visit the Southern Wall Excavations. Walk on the original street from two thousand years ago, climb the ancient steps, and visit the Multimedia Davidson Center, in the basement of an eighth-century CE building.

Mahane Yehuda Market
The oriental market in Old Jerusalem

Wander the Old City markets, steeping yourself in its sights, sounds and aromas, and try your hand at hunting and bargaining for treasures.

Dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in Jerusalem.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Jerusalem.

Dinner today is special again. We are eating Arab-dinner made by people from Morocco!


Day 7 – Jerusalem – New City

Places: Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Children’s Memorial, Hall of Remembrance, Knesset, Supreme Court building, Israel Museum, Dead Sea Scrolls, Mahane Yehuda

Breakfast time has arrived. After waking up, breakfast is waiting for you! Let us surprise you with this breakfast:

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

Yad Vashem

Start the day with a Visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Walk through the astounding new Museum with its new and moving focus on the individual in the Holocaust, the Children’s Memorial and Hall of Remembrance.
Drive through the New City viewing old and new neighborhoods and the Knesset (The Israeli Parliament) (open for visits on Sundays and Thursdays) and the beautifully designed Supreme Court building.

At the nearby Israel Museum, among many other fascinating exhibits discover the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book and see the Model of ancient Jerusalem.

Mahane Yehuda Market

Mahane Yehuda

For a change of pace visit Mahane Yehuda, the produce market of the capital, where a number of good restaurants have opened there lately, in the old stone buildings.

Finish the day with optional evening tours that explore the development of Jerusalem from the 19th century on. (Must be pre-arranged, can be booked through the concierge at your hotel)

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Jerusalem.

And what do we have for dinner? Well, honestly, that’s up to you, because we hire a restaurant, kick everyone out – and that includes the cook too – and you (or some of you) will volunteer to kook for all of us.

Empty kitchen in restaurant
Empty kitchen in restaurant

Don’t worry, you can make a mess and don’t need to clean it up. That’s what the cook will do … or the guide.


Day 8 – Negev

Places: Eshtaol Forest, Tel Zor’a, Elah Valley, Tel Maresha, Beit Govrin National Park, Arad, Nokdim Farm, Drejat

It’s breakfast time again. But this time we go a bit more traditional with the breakfast, because we will go into the desert and you don’t know what kind of culinary surprises we will find right in the middle of nowhere.


Eshtaol Forest

Start the day with a scenic drive to the Eshtaol Forest, located about 30 minutes west of Jerusalem. This area is famous as the scene of Samson’s exploits, and includes Tel Zor’a, where Samson’s traditional tomb is located. As a Nazirite, this biblical strongman wasn’t allowed to drink wine.

Drive to the Elah Valley famous for the biblical story of David’s battle with Goliath, where wine and table grapes are being grown as they were in Bible times.

Continue to Tel Maresha located in Beit Govrin National Park. The area is known for its manmade caves dating back to the Hellenistic period. These subterranean complexes served as the industrial zone of the city producing oil that was mostly exported to Egypt, and you can see a restored olive press in one of them.

Drive through the desert town of Arad to enjoy Bedouin hospitality in the Nokdim Farm or in the picturesque village of Drejat.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Negev.

Day 9 – Masada, Ein Gedi

Places: Masada, Ein Gedi National Park

And we have breakfast! Because we are still with the Bedouins, we will start this day with the Bedouin breakfast!

Masada Mountain & Cable Car

Masada

Option 1: Wake up before dawn and drive 20 minutes to the western slopes of Masada. Ascend by foot as the sun rises to enjoy its full glory from the top of the Mountain.
Tour the fortress, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was a fabulous palace of Herod the Great, and became world-famous as the last Jewish stronghold during the great Jewish Revolt against Rome nearly 2,000 years ago.

Option 2: We drive from the Arad area to the eastern side of Masada (about one hour) and ascend the mountain via the Snake Path or the cable-car.

Ein Gedi National Park

Ein Gedi near Dead Sea

After touring Masada, drive north to Ein Gedi National Park for a hike through its lush oasis to a beautiful waterfall.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure at one of the spa hotels or country-style accommodations in the Dead Sea area.

  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel in Dead Sea area.

The time has come for dinner. We are still in the desert, and what are we going to eat?

Enjoy amidst the desert with a lovely dinner in tranquility
Enjoy amidst the desert with a lovely dinner in tranquility
Dinner in the middle of the desert
Dinner in the middle of the desert

Day 12 – Departure

Before you leave, some breakfast first. And this is honestly not some breakfast, it’s a breakfast feast!

This is the day of the departure. We bring everyone back to the point where we picked them up.


National Parks Tour in Northern Israel, 14 days

Tel Dan Nature Reserve
Tel Dan Nature Reserve

This is the tour about the National Parks, but this time we focus on North of Israel. What’s also different in this itinerary is, that I added the link to the Google Maps for each of the parks, because I know that many people simply go by themselves (and why not?).

What is the program for this tour? We will meet one of the first Homo Sapiens at Nahal Me’arot, we see the wild nature at Ein Afek, the ancient city Tel Megiddo, water, waterfalls, streams at Nahal Betzet and Nahal Kziv with castles, Crusaders, grottoes, mountains, forests, cave-fortresses, and much more.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 – Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve, Mt. Carmel – Haifa
Day 3 – Ein Afek Nature Reserve, Western Galilee – Haifa
Day 4 – Tel Megiddo National Park, Jezreel Valley – Haifa/Afula
Day 5 – Nahal Betzet, Upper Galilee – Nahariyya
Day 6 – Nahal Kziv, Upper Galilee – Nahariyya
Day 7 – Rosh HaNikra, Western Galilee – Nahariyya
Day 8 – Mount Meron, Upper Galilee – Tiberias/Nahariyya
Day 9 – Nahal Ayun, Upper Galilee – Tiberias/Nahariyya
Day 10 – Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve, Upper Galilee – Tiberias
Day 11 – Tel Dan Nature Reserve, Upper Galilee – Tiberias
Day 12 – Mount Arbel, Lower Galilee – Tiberias
Day 13 – Mount Tabor, Lower Galilee – Tiberias
Day 14 – Departure

You stay at hotels at the following locations:
Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 – Haifa
Day 3 – Haifa
Day 4 – Haifa/Afula
Day 5 – Nahariyya
Day 6 – Nahariyya
Day 7 – Nahariyya
Day 8 – Tiberias/Nahariyya
Day 9 – Tiberias/Nahariyya
Day 10 – Tiberias
Day 11 – Tiberias
Day 12 – Tiberias
Day 13 – Tiberias
Day 14 – Departure

What do you see?

  • Day 1Arrival
  • Day 2Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve – Prehistoric human beings
  • Day 3Ein Afek Nature Reserve – Swamps
  • Day 4Tel Megiddo National Park – Ancient city-state
  • Day 5Nahal Betzet – Stream in the Upper Galilee
  • Day 6Nahal Kziv – Stream and Crusader castle, Montfort
  • Day 7Rosh HaNikra – Spectacular grottoes
  • Day 8Mount Meron – Mount Meron is the highest peak in Israel
  • Day 9Nahal Ayun – Streams, waterfalls
  • Day 10Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve – Mountain with beautiful high cliffs
  • Day 11Tel Dan Nature Reserve – Ancient northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel
  • Day 12Mount Arbel – Mountain with deep cliffs, trails, grottoes and cave-fortress
  • Day 13Mount Tabor – Hiking around the mounting
  • Day 14Departure

Day 1 – Arrival

  • For those who are arriving in Israel, will be picked up from the airport by the guide and driver from Shalom Israel.
  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel and for this tour it means Haifa.

During the drive to your hotel, the bus will stop multiple times if the group requires so. One stop is for stretching your legs and to be fed real food and drink. That is included in the tour! So, please don’t spend your money on that.

Depending when you all arrive at your hotel, we will start this tour with a special dinner, and a special evening tour. This depends on when the group is complete on this day of arrival. But what’s for sure, you are going to meat the guides. If the group is small, you have two guides, otherwise you have four guides.


Active holidayOne word of warning. This is a tour, which focusing itself on visiting parks and reserves and that means hiking. Not extreme hiking, but you walk a lot!

Each day after the breakfast we leave (at about 9 AM) and we are back between late afternoon/ early evening (6-7 PM). Some days you might be earlier back to your hotel, in those cases special evening tours are organized for those who still have the energy.

Lunch is normally served in a restaurant. But many days this is impractical or even impossible. Instead at those days you will be offered a picnic or barbecue. Breakfast is served at the hotel and dinner is served at the hotel or restaurant.

icon day toursSnacks are available in the bus throughout the day (and one of the guides carries always something) (fruit, sweets, chocolates, etc.). Water is being delivered before and during the tour by us. We have many bottles of water for you to take. Hats we have too, because it’s likely that it’ll will be hot! And we have reserve shoes in case your will break during the tour.


Day 2 – Visit the first human a the Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve

(Click here for the Google Map)

Outside the cave is a model of a skeleton illustrating the burial practices of members of Natufian culture, who lived some ten thousand years ago.

Members of five prehistoric cultures inhabited the caves at Nahal Me`arot: Acheulian culture (150-200 thousand years ago), Muarian culture (100-150 thousand years ago), Mousterian culture (40-100 thousand years ago), Uriniacian culture (12-40 thousand years ago), and Natufian culture (9-12 thousand years ago). Remnants from the Natufian period were found at the mouth of Stream Cave, where a small village served as a permanent settlement. During this period, people began to hunt and gather in an organized fashion, the precursor to planting crops and domesticating animals. Art objects, such as stone carvings and strings of shells, were produced during this time.

In the spring, the reserve is awash with flowers. Signposted trails from the parking lot lead to a number of exquisite spots on the Carmel Mountain Range. At the reserve`s guidance center, visitors can purchase guidebooks and maps and perhaps ask the wardens about the hikes they would most highly recommend.

We return to our hotel in Haifa.


Day 3 – Look at the amazing and fast disappearing swamps and it’s beautiful nature at the Ein Afek Nature Reserve

(Click here for the Google Map)
Crusaders, Water

When the water level rises in the winter, birds flock to the reserve: pelicans, cranes, pygmy cormorants, gray herons, moorhens, European coots, and black-winged stilts, to name just a few. In the winter and spring, the reserve is carpeted with flowers. A fine spot for admiring the blossoms is Tel Afek, situated on a low sandstone hill on the edge of the reserve. On the northern slope of Tel Afek is a two-story fortified building from the Crusader period, where a film about the flora and fauna in the reserve is now screened. A flour mill once operated on the lower floor of the building. The roof affords a magnificent view of the surrounding area.

In April 1991, seven buffalo were brought to the reserve from the Hula Nature Reserve and placed in a pen with electric sensors, to prevent them from wandering into the swamp. From time to time they can be seen grazing or stretching out in the specially dug pond.

The guidance center at the reserve provides information in Hebrew and Arabic to members of the general public, students, and educational institutions about the Land of Israel, ecology, wetlands, and biotopes.

We return to our hotel in Haifa.


Day 4 – Ancient city with thousands of years of history at Tel Megiddo National Park

(Click here for the Google Map)

The site is now protected as Megiddo National Park and is a World Heritage Site.

History

Megiddo was a site of great importance in the ancient world. It guarded the western branch of a narrow pass and trade route connecting Egypt and Assyria. Because of its strategic location, Megiddo was the site of several historical battles. The site was inhabited from approximately 7000 BC to 586 BCE (the same time as the destruction of the First Israelite Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and subsequent fall of Israelite rule and exile), though the first significant remains date to the Chalcolithic period (4500-3500 BCE). Megiddo’s Early Bronze Age I (3500-3100 BCE) temple has been described by its excavators as “the most monumental single edifice so far uncovered in the EB I Levant and ranks among the largest structures of its time in the Near East.” The first wall was constructed in the Early Bronze Age II or III period. However, the town experienced a decline in the Early Bronze-Age IV period (2300-2000 BCE), but the city was somewhat revived around 2000 BCE. Following massive construction, the town reached its largest size in the Middle Bronze-Age, at 10-12 hectares. Though the city was subjugated by Thutmose III, it still prospered, and a massive and incredibly elaborate palace was constructed in the Late Bronze Age. The city was destroyed around 1150 BCE, and the area was resettled by what some scholars have identified as early Israelites, before being replaced with an unwalled Philistine town. When the Israelites captured it, though, it became an important city, before being destroyed, possibly by Aramaean raiders, and rebuilt, this time as an administrative center for Tiglath-Pileser III’s occupation of Samaria. However, its importance soon dwindled, and it was finally abandoned around 586 BCE. Since that time it has remained uninhabited, preserving ruins pre-dating 586 BCE without settlements ever disturbing them. Instead, the town of Lajjun (not to be confused with the el-Lajjun archaeological site in Jordan) was built up near to the site, but without inhabiting or disturbing its remains.
Megiddo is mentioned in Ancient Egyptian writings because one of Egypt’s mighty kings, Thutmose III, waged war upon the city in 1478 BCE. The battle is described in detail in the hieroglyphics found on the walls of his temple in Upper Egypt.
Mentioned in the Bible as “Derekh HaYam” or “Way of the Sea,” it became an important military artery of the Roman Empire and was known as the Via Maris.

Famous battles include:

  1. Battle of Megiddo (15th century BCE): fought between the armies of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition led by the rulers of Megiddo and Kadesh.
  2. Battle of Megiddo (609 BCE): fought between Egyptian pharaoh Necho II and the Kingdom of Judah, in which King Josiah fell.
  3. Battle of Megiddo (1918): fought during World War I between Allied troops, led by General
  4. Edmund Allenby, and the defending Ottoman army.

Kibbutz Megiddo is nearby, less than 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) to the south. Today, Megiddo Junction is on the main road connecting the center of Israel with lower Galilee and the north. It lies at the northern entrance to Wadi Ara, an important mountain pass connecting the Jezreel Valley with Israel’s coastal plain.
In 1964, during Pope Paul VI’s visit to the Holy Land, Megiddo was the site where he met with Israeli dignitaries, including Israeli President Zalman Shazar and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.

We return to our hotel in Haifa or Afula.


Day 5 – Beautiful nature and loads of water to hike through at Nahal Betzet

(Click here for the Google Map)
Caves, nature

The Betzet Stream runs through limestone, and is fed by the Karkara springs. The national water company pumps the water from the stream, and in 1999 the stream dried up. Water is being pumped back into the stream, but the ecosystem is being damaged by the poor quality water.
Many caves were formed in the limestone by the stream. These include the Keshet Cave and the Namir stalactite cave, both within the Betzet nature reserve. A few ancient sites can also be found within the nature reserve.
There are a number of hiking trails which run through the reserve. This trail takes you from Granot HaGalil to Moshav Ya’ara, and will take about half a day. The trail is of medium difficulty. The trail is the blue trail, marked 2206 on the trail maps.

The hike begins at the Sarakh stream, which is the main tributary to the Betzet Stream. The Sarach Stream, is named for the Sarach or ferns which adorn the creek walls. The trail passes the De’ne’ilah ruins.  The De’Ne’ilah ruins are the remains of a farm from the Roman and Byzantine periods, from the 1st-7th centuries CE.  A number of oil presses were excavated at the site.

The hike then passes the Sarakh stalactite cave; the cave is closed during the bat hibernation season in the  winter, but is otherwise open to tourists. The Sarach cave is a large karstic cave; the first 10 meters are relatively easy and a stalagmite stands in front of a wall.  If you wish to continue further into the cave, climb the carved stairs in the wall, using the handholds as you climb. At the top of the climb, the left side is closed and reserved for the bats. On the right side is a narrow and steep passage; handholds can be found on the left. This leads to a narrow tunnel where you will need to crawl. This leads to an exit at the top of the cave; head back down to the stream with care.

After the cave, the Sarakh stream leads into the Betzet Stream. A pool of water amongst oleanders signals the Karkara springs. The pumped-in water runs from here until a large pool, which used to overflow with water.
Continue on the trail, past the turn to the Keshet Cave and the turn to Kibbutz Eilon and the Mekorot water pumping station.
The trail leads past the Karkara ruins, a Byzantine period settlement with a restored oil press, and continues on leading to Moshav Ya’ara.

We return to our hotel in Nahariyya.


Day 6 – Between the amazing nature and water and forests you see the ruins and castle of the old Crusaders at Nahal Kziv

(Click here for the Google Map)

640px-Nahal_KzivMost of the stream is part of a nature reserve that bears its name, and includes the Montfort Castle and other Crusader-period ruins. A stone carving of a man, 1.78 m high can be found near where the Abirim stream empties into Nahal Kziv. The carving is thought to date from the Hellenistic period.
Flora in the area includes Lilium candidum, Rubus sanguineus, Nerium oleander, Platanus orientalis, Artemisia arborescens, and Ferns. Persian fallow deer were brought to the area in 1996, as part of an effort to prevent extinction of the species. Other wildlife belonging to the nature reserve include golden jackals, wolves, wild boar, and the rare striped hyena.

We return to our hotel in Nahariyya.


Day 7 – Unbelievable beautiful grottoes hidden between breathtaking nature at Rosh HaNikra

(Click here for the Google Map)

The Rosh HaNikra grottos are cavernous tunnels formed by sea action on the soft chalk rock. The total length is some 200 metres. They branch off in various directions with some interconnecting segments. In the past, the only access to them was from the sea and experienced divers were the only ones capable of visiting. Today a cable car takes visitors down to see the grottos. A kibbutz, also named Rosh HaNikra, is located nearby. The Israeli city Nahariya is located about 10 km (6 miles) south of Rosh HaNikra.

History
The former British Cairo-Istanbul railway tunnel photographed in 1964.
The Book of Joshua mentions “Misraphot Mayim” as a place south of Rosh HaNikra that was the border of the Israelite tribes of the time (13:6). Jewish sages referred to the cliff as “The Ladder of Tyre” (Hebrew: sullam Tzor?). The site was later renamed A-Nawakir (“the grottos”) after an Arab conquest. The present name, Rosh HaNikra, is Hebrew for the later Arabic name “Ras-an-Nakura”.
Throughout human history, Rosh HaNikra served as a passage point for trade caravans and armies between Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and Africa. During World War II, British Commonwealth forces blasted railway tunnels through the nearby rocks for trains running along the Cairo-Istanbul line. A railway bridge was destroyed by Jewish underground fighters prior to 1948 during the Night of the bridges operation. The tunnel portal leading to Lebanon has since been sealed. Nowadays all the railways on the Lebanese side of the border have been dismantled while the Coastal Railway in Israel currently ends near Nahariya, several kilometers to the south.
Rosh Hanikra was the location where Israeli and Lebanese officials negotiated and concluded an armistice agreement in 1949 which ended the Lebanese-Israeli component of the 1948 War of Israeli Independence. A border passage across the Blue Line into Lebanon at the site is sometimes used by UNIFIL personnel.

Nature reserves and national park

The area around Rosh HaNikra includes a number of nature reserves:

  • The Rosh HaNikra islands – 311 dunams declared in 1965
    The Rosh HaNikra reserve – 500 dunams declared in 1969, and an additional 765 dunams in 1996.
    Rosh HaNikra beach – 230 dunams, declared in 2003
  • The Rosh HaNikra national park also has jurisdiction of 220 dunams in the area.

Cable car
The Rosh HaNikra cable car is a cable car serving tourists wishing to visit the grottoes The Cable car is situated very close to the Lebanese border. The site is popular with tourists, and is one of the facilities available for tourists in Kibbutz Rosh HaNikra. The cable car was manufactured by Austrian manufacturer Doppelmayr Garaventa Group, and claims to be the steepest cable car in the world, ascending at a gradient of 60 degrees. Due to its lower base station being located on the sea, the cable car is occasionally affected by stormy weather.

We return to our hotel in Nahariyya.


Day 8 – The highest peak in Israel at Mount Meron

(Click here for the Google Map)

Mount Meron is a mountain in Israel. It has special significance in Jewish religious tradition and parts of it have been declared a nature reserve.
At 1,208 metres (3,963 ft) above sea level, Mount Meron is the highest peak in Israel, though many peaks in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are higher.
In 1965, an 84000-dunam nature reserve was declared. An additional 1199 dunams were declared part of the reserve in 2005. It is the highest reserve in Israel, at an altitude of 1208 meters above sea level, and the largest reserve in the north of the country.

Religious significance
The village of Meron and the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai are on Mount Meron. Leading up to the anniversary of his death on Lag B’Omer, thousands of people camp out along the slopes near the tomb, and on Lag B’Omer itself, hundreds of thousands make pilgrimages to celebrate the occasion.

Hiking paths
The mountain has a strong undergrowth and it cannot be walked up from every direction. The main path starts at the north west side of the Meron village. There is a gate next to the road, with a color-marked path of about 10 km. There is also a path on the west side of the mountain.

We return to our hotel in Tiberias or Nahariyya.


Day 9 – Waterfalls, streams and all of that between the forests, mountains at Nahal Ayun

(Click here for the Google Map)

Nature Reserve Eshed Fall

Differences in elevation form waterfalls in the streams course. During the rainy winter months, the water-flow is strongest. During the summer months, water is diverted, closer to the stream’s sources, for crop irrigation. These falls were declared a nature reserve, and include:

  1. Ayun waterfall, 9.2 m
  2. Tahana waterfall (=flourmill), 21 m
  3. Eshed waterfall, with two steps, 5 m and 9 m
  4. Tanur waterfall, 30 m

We return to our hotel in Tiberias or Nahariyya.


Day 10 – The most amazing cliffs to watch the whole northern Israel at the Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve

(Click here for the Google Map)

Mount-ArbelThere are four villages on the mountain: Kfar Zeitim, Arbel, Kfar Hittim, and Mitzpa. The peak, at 181 metres above sea level (380 metres above the surrounding area), dominates the surroundings (much of the area is below sea level) and from the lookout atop the mountain, almost all of the Galilee into the Golan Heights including Safed, Tiberias and most of the Sea of Galilee, is visible.

Nature reserve and national park
The area was declared a nature reserve in 1967, covering 1400 dunams. The national park (8509 dunams) includes most of Nahal Arbel, that begins near Eilabun and empties into the Sea of Galilee near Migdal. The reserve covers the immediate area around the cliff.
Mount Arbel from Nof Ginnosar.jpg
On the south side of the cliff, there is a gradual prolonged climb through agricultural and pasture land and from the peak there is a steep 400 meters drop. From here there are metal handholds driven into the rock to aid those who want to make the climb down to the valley below. Below that are a series of switchbacks that eventually lead to the Bedouin village of Hamaam.
Mt. Arbel, with its 110 metre vertical drop, is the only known mountain in Israel to serve as a base jumping site. A hike to the top of Mount Arbel from the south is included in the Israel National Trail, and an approach from the west is part of the Jesus Trail; the trails converge temporarily at the peak.

We return to our hotel in Tiberias.


Day 11 – Ancient city in the old Kingdom of Israel at Tel Dan Nature Reserve

(Click here for the Google Map)

Tel Dan Nature ReserveHistory and archaeology
According to the archaeological excavations at the site, the town was originally occupied in the late Neolithic era (c 4500 BCE), although at some time in the fourth millennium BC it was abandoned, for almost 1,000 years.

Tel Dan nature reserve
Tel Dan Nature Reserve3The Tel Dan reserve was first declared on 391 dunams surrounding the tel in 1974. 90 dunams were added to the reserve in 1989. The Dan River is one of the three water sources of the Jordan River that meet in the northern part of the Hula Valley.

We return to our hotel in Tiberias.


Day 12 – Find the mountain with deep cliffs, trails, grottoes and cave-fortress at Mount Arbel

(Click here for the Google Map)

Mount Arbel2There are four villages on the mountain: Kfar Zeitim, Arbel, Kfar Hittim, and Mitzpa. The peak, at 181 metres above sea level (380 metres above the surrounding area), dominates the surroundings (much of the area is below sea level) and from the lookout atop the mountain, almost all of the Galilee into the Golan Heights including Safed, Tiberias and most of the Sea of Galilee, is visible.

The area was declared a nature reserve in 1967, covering 1400 dunams. The national park (8509 dunams) includes most of Nahal Arbel, that begins near Eilabun and empties into the Sea of Galilee near Migdal. The reserve covers the immediate area around the cliff.
On the south side of the cliff, there is a gradual prolonged climb through agricultural and pasture land and from the peak there is a steep 400 meters drop. From here there are metal handholds driven into the rock to aid those who want to make the climb down to the valley below. Below that are a series of switchbacks that eventually lead to the Bedouin village of Hamaam.
Mt. Arbel, with its 110 metre vertical drop, is the only known mountain in Israel to serve as a base jumping site.  A hike to the top of Mount Arbel from the south is included in the Israel National Trail, and an approach from the west is part of the Jesus Trail; the trails converge temporarily at the peak.

We return to our hotel in Tiberias.


Day 13 – This is hiking around this mountain at Mount Tabor

(Click here for the Google Map)

There are two paths: the long track, which starts from the Bedouin village Shibli, which length is about five kilometers long and a short nature track of about 2.5 kilometers at the summit.
Mount TaborThe track which surrounds the mountain passes in well-developed Mediterranean woodlands. the color marking alternates to green at the eastern part of the track. Behind the monastery its possible to see remnants from the First Jewish-Roman War. In the path there is a view of the Jezreel Valley, Mount Gilboa, Samaria mountains, Mount Carmel, the Golan Heights, Gilead, the Lower Galilee and the Upper Galilee. On days with good visibility one could also see the Mount Hermon.
Israel National Trail goes up the mountain from mount Tabor the Gazit junction and the Shibli village, surrounding the summit and descends across the Arab village of Daburiyya towards the Nazareth mountains.

Activities on Mount Tabor
In April each year, the regional council of Lower Galilee holds a 12 kilometer race around Mount Tabor in memory of Yitzhak Sadeh, the first commander of the Palmach and one of the founders of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the State of Israel’s independence.
By obtaining a game permit issued by the Ministry of the Interior, hunting of small animals is allowed in certain designated seasons.
The churches located on the mountain allow visits at specific hours. (Modest attire required).
Approximately three quarters of the way up the mountain, a path circles it entirely and is accessible for private vehicles as well (four-wheel drive advised).
The mountain serves as one of Israel’s preferred locales for hang gliding.

Church of the Transfiguration
Between 1919 until 1924 an impressive Roman Catholic church of the Franciscan order named “Church of the Transfiguration” was built on the peak of Mount Tabor. The architect who designed the church, as well as other churches in Israel, was Antonio Barluzzi. The church was built upon the ruins of a Byzantine church from the fifth or sixth century and a Crusader church from the 12th century, which was built in honor of Tancred, Prince of Galilee. The friars of the church live next to the church in a monastery established in 1873.

The Eastern Orthodox sanctuary
Bell tower of the Eastern Orthodox monastery.
On the northeast side of the Church of the Transfiguration there is the more modest Orthodox Church which was built in 1862 with funds from Romania. The church was dedicated to Elijah the prophet and was the first religious structure built by Romanian Christians in the Holy Land.
On the northwest side of the church there is a cave named after Melchizedek the King of Salem. According to the Christian tradition, this cave was the place where Abraham met the king of Salem. The cave was known to pilgrims and Christians during the Middle Ages. With an increase in pilgrimages, the church is now open to the public (though it closes for a few hours at noon).
An All-Night Vigil is held at the Eastern Orthodox church every year on the Orthodox Feast of the Transfiguration (August 19, which is August 6 according to the Julian Calendar).

We return to our hotel in Tiberias.


Day 14 – Departure

Airplane

Airplane

Before you leave, some breakfast first. And this is honestly not some breakfast, it’s a breakfast feast!

This is the day of the departure. We bring everyone back to the point where we picked them up.