Touring the North of Israel

The Galilee and the Golan — or simply The North of Israel —  extend from the coast (including Haifa, Acre & Rosh HaNikra) through the hills and valleys of he Galilee towards the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). From here, it climbs over the Golan Heights. Just south of the Kinneret is the Bet Shean Valley.

The Galilee and Golan are slightly overshadowed by some other places in Israel. However, it should not be that way, for the region is very special with views, holy cities, pilgrimage sites and vacation attractions. In general this is the greenest part of Israel; although in August it may not seem that way.

The Galillee and Golan are lands of immense and truly remarkable natural beauty, religious and historical significance, and geographical diversity. There is so much more to explore in the region — the verdant rolling hills of the Upper Galilee, the dazzling carpet of wild spring flowers, the historical treasures on the Northern coastline, the wild and untouched peaks and plateaus of the Golan Heights, and the Sea of Galilee.

garden with a gold dome
Baha’i Gardens in Haifa

Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city, is a bustling, modern port town that is often likened to San Francisco in the USA. But unlike many industry-heavy cities, Haifa’s landscape of steep cliffs rolling down the shore gives the city a beautiful and picturesque setting. This landscape is further enhanced by the vast and beautiful Baha’i Gardens, which straddles the slopes of Mount Carmel, and whose highlight is the Baha’i Shrine with its unmissable golden dome.

tall grasses, a blue lake, and a mountain
Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee — the lowest freshwater lake on earth — and its immediate surroundings, are inevitably tied with centuries-old history. Aside from its importance to Christianity as the site of several stories in the New Testament (Capernaum, a village on the northern shore, is cited in all four gospels of the New Testament), there are lots of things to do in the Sea of Galilee. You can do boating and other kinds of water sports there.

farm fields
Farm in Golan Heights

If you are a mountain person type or more of a nature lover, the Galilee and Golan are never short of these peaks of beauty. There are too many beautiful mountains in this region to give each one a mention here, so we can only mention a few. There’s Mount Arbel, which provides breathtaking views of most of Sea of Galilee and the surrounding lands. Mount Gilboa, not far from Mount Arbel, is known for its beautiful scenery and especially the eye-catching spread of wild flowers that bloom during the spring.

In the Golan Heights, the Gamla is an ancient city and a nature reserve, which boasts stunning views and where archeological ruins lie. History lovers and hikers will also enjoy visiting Gamla — they will also get a glimpse of the Mount Gamla that holds another historical significance, not to mention spectacular views.

The Galilee and Golan are major internal tourist destinations especially among the locals, with many families making an annual trip or two for a long weekend or for a few days. There are literally hundreds of zimmers, wineries, fine restaurants and get away from it all and have fun options. With a few notable exceptions, however, it is a region that is less well frequented by the foreign tourist.

Jump behind the wheel of your hire car and come and see what everybody has been missing.