The Golan Heights: top attractions
Although extremely popular for winter sports during the winter months, Mount Hermon provides fabulous year round outdoor activities. From summer walks to winter skiing, Mount Hermon has it all. With panoramic views from Lebanon to Syria and no entrance fees in the summer, visiting is a no-brainer. For those history buffs check out Har Habtarim; according to tradition, this is where God promised Abraham that he would give the land to his descendants.
The Golan Heights Winery is attributed with being responsible for the country’s wine revolution. In 1983, the wine connoisseurs at Golan brought New World winemaking techniques to Israel and began offering homegrown quality table wines, some of which are now considered the world’s finest wines. Take a wine-tasting tour and visit the oak barrel cellar or else hop into a jeep for a tour of the vineyards themselves to learn about the different grape varieties.
Visiting Gamla National Park gives visitors the chance to either view the antiquities from a distance or get up close and personal by hiking up the steep trail through the ancient ruins. The park also creates a place for visitors to view the many vultures that call this national park home. After viewing the vultures and antiquities, take a hike to view Mount Gamla and the beautiful Gamla Waterfall.
Located in the Golan Heights at the base of Mount Hermon, the Dan River is a wonderful destination for nature lovers with abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy. For those in the mood to relax, rent a tube and float along the cool waters. If you have a thrill for excitement, kayaking or white water rafting provide a great adrenaline- boost. Whichever you choose, a trip down the river makes for a lovely summer’s afternoon. A true highlight of the area is the famous Dag al HaDan (fish from the Dan) restaurant, which is nestled amidst the trees on the river serving freshly caught fish and a delectable array of refreshing Israeli salads. Nearby, located on the ruins of the biblical city of Dan, the Tel Dan National Park is a remarkable place to experience nature and archaeology all in one place. Visitors are offered a glimpse into ancient life through ruins and artifacts. In addition, the reserve also offers dozens of streams and hiking trails.
Why not head up north and explore Ramot Ranch, the largest riding establishment in the north of Israel, overlooking the Sea of Galilee? You should. For a true cowboy adventure, the Ranch offers a variety of tailor made horseback riding treks from a few hours to even a number of days in the Golan Heights & the Galilee.
The Banias Nature Reserve contains an abundance of natural and historical beauty, from the ruins of ancient cities to the roaring Banias Waterfall – the biggest waterfall in Israel. Found in the Upper Golan between the fertile Hula Valley and the Mount Hermon area, the Banias is a favorite for those visiting the Golan. Hours can be spent here; walking the trails, exploring the ruins and picnicking in the plush green woodlands. The falls and the springs are what makes this reserve so exceptional. The Banias Spring emerges at the foot of Mount Hermon and flows powerfully through a canyon for 3.5 km, eventually leading to the waterfall, the most impressive cascade in Israel. This is quite a site and makes this hike truly worthwhile. A stepped path near the spring leads to the Banias Cave where visitors will find the remains of a temple built by Herod the Great.
Get ready to experience the wonders of Israel on this fantastic nature reserve. Roam with wild boars and wild birds while taking in the Golan Height’s unobstructed natural beauty. Choose from the circular 4-hour hike for beginners that passes through two separate deep natural pools or a more advanced hike that enters three additional pools. Suitable for families with strollers and advanced hikers, there is no excuse not to visit this beautiful natural escape.
Dated to be between 5,000 and 6,000 years old, Gilgal Refaim is reminiscent of England's famous ancient megalithic structure, Stonehenge. The site consists of around 42,000 tons of basalt rocks forming four circles, and archaeologists believe the walls of the structure once towered nine meters high, making it an especially impressive site when viewed from the air.
Unsure whether to hike or swim this weekend? Why not do both. As Israel’s largest freshwater nature reserve, the Daliyot River Estuary (also known as the “Majrase”) provides an alternative way to stay cool while hiking with its refreshing wet circuit “water hike.” Don’t forget to pack your water shoes and swimsuit because with water up to your hips, you’re in for a wet ride.