In the north of Israel, where it touches the Mediterranean sea, there is an amazing amount of history and nature to see. After exploring Galilee and it’s many religious sites along the Jesus Trail in Northern Israel I continued on to check out some historic and natural places to see in Northern Israel.
Three Faiths Lookout at Mount Precipice
Just 10 minutes out of Nazareth you will find yourself at the Three Faiths Lookout on the peak of Mount Precipice.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s the hill where an angry mob tried to throw Jesus off. Legend has it that he then leaped 9 kilometres over to Mount Tabor, which gave rise to its Arabic name Jebel al-Qafzeh (mount of the leap).
The peak offers awesome panoramic views of the Jezreel Valley below. It would probably be quite amazing at sunrise and sunset.
Historic and Natural Places in Northern Israel – Haifa
Haifa in Northern Israel is a beautiful port town looking out on to the Mediterranean Sea.
One of the main attractions in the town, besides the sea, is the Baha’i Gardens.
These gardens are set on several levels, with many places for quiet contemplation.
They even have a place for worship.
You could easily spend an hour wandering around the gardens.
The best part is that despite their obvious beauty, the gardens were quite void of people. Which was lovely!
Another attraction is the Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) Monastery on Mount Carmel. Just down the road from the gardens.
Its current incarnation was opened in 1836 by the ‘Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel’, commonly known as the Carmelites.
The history of the place is both sad and amazing. I’m not going to give too much away, but you can see some of it for yourself when inside.
And even outside you can find a memorial to those who helped defend the Carmelites.
Historic Places to See in Northern Israel – Old Akko
Just 20 minutes north of Haifa is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on Earth. It has been known by many names throughout its history but is currently known as Acre. When it was founded in the Bronze Age, it was known as Akko.
It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and there are many ruins to be found around town.
There’s even an old partially intact battlement with canons overlooking the sea.
Most people head to the Old Akko Market to get a little taste of yesteryear. The narrow, twisting and turning paths of the Market could easily lead you astray if you let them. Or you could just end up finding some really delicious food.
If you manage to find your way through the market, you might end up at the waterfront.
There are a few overpriced restaurants near the waterfront, but if you keep walking past them, you can enjoy a view of Haifa Bay.
Natural Places in Northern Israel – Rosh Hanikra
Less than half an hour north of Akko is the beautiful coastal town of Rosh Hanikra. It’s set on cliffs high above the Mediterranean Sea. It is also on the Israeli border with Lebanon. But don’t think that means you can get a glimpse of Lebanon while you’re there. Given the animosity between Israel and Lebanon, the border is a no-go zone patrolled by UN peacekeepers.
That means the big white fence marks the start of the buffer zone between the two countries instead of the actual border. Not far from there, you can find a steep cable car that descend to the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes.
The area is known for its striking white cliffs and rock faces that are regularly kissed by the Mediterranean Sea. Over time, the power of the water caused caves to develop at the base of the cliffs.
You can walk around inside the caves and have a look around. There are several different caves, but the water is always amazingly blue.
Even as the caves get darker, you can still marvel at the blue waters.
The Golan Heights
The area spanning 1800 square kilometres east of the Sea of Galilee is known as the Golan Heights. Due to the fact that the area has been internationally recognised as Israeli occupied Syrian land since 1967, you could say you’ve been to Syria if you visit. Of course that’s not the main reason to visit. The place is scenically amazing.
Firstly, there are the Banias Waterfalls in the Hermon Stream Nature Reserve. They are the biggest falls in Israel. The stream that creates the waterfalls is fed by glacial water from Mount Hermon, on the border of Lebanon and (occupied) Syria. Yes, glacial water! Isn’t it beautiful?
There are four trails in the Reserve that contain natural and historical wonders. If you just want to see the falls, you can access them from the trail that starts at the Waterfalls Car Park.
If you like hiking downhill, then you’ll love going to the falls. Just remember that you’ll need to walk back up that hill to get back to the car park. The site of the falls makes it all worth it though.
Natural Things to See in Northern Israel – Mount Bentai
A short distance from the Hermon Stream Reserve is a dormant volcano called Mt Bentai.
You might be thinking this is just another hill, but it’s definitely a bit different! Firstly, there’s no climbing required. You can drive almost all the way to the top. Secondly, They have pizza.
Of course, the view over into Syria is pretty amazing too.
They even have some art made out of some recycled materials.
But things start getting a bit weird when you realise that there are barbed-wire fences with warning signs everywhere.
Then there’s this. Have you ever been on a hill that has a UN bunker on it? If that’s on your bucket list, the Mount Bentai is the place for you!
Just in case all the shenanigans on Mount Bentai confuse you, there are some signs to tell you where things are.
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