Walk the Wild Side of The Galilee

Written by
Keren Brown
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Traveling just a couple of hours from the center of Israel will introduce you to a whole new world of activities, foods & cultures

From Druze to Bedouin to women in business, there is so much to learn about and take in. Up in the Western Galilee, there are stories to be told and people to be discovered. From an authentic Arab lunch to glamping on the beach, it’s all here for you to find in this family-friendly adventure.

Where to Sleep:

Glamping, Camping or Boutique Hotels

Glamp it up and experience nature at its finest. It’s not exactly glamour but it’s as close as it gets. Make your way to Akhziv beach about 15km North of Akko.  Here you’ll find a beach that will make you feel like you are in Thailand. In the tents, you’ll find air conditioning, beds, and everything you need for your surf and sun getaway.  For dining, the new Greek beach café and chef restaurant Nisia has mezze, souvlaki, and more. Make it a few days of beach and beer or better yet keep the Ouzo coming!

glamping.achzivbeach.co.il

Glamping at Achziv, courtesy of PR

Camping:

Are you looking to sleep on the cheap? The Israel Nature and Parks Authority offers little huts with actual beds overlooking the beach and it also includes entrance to the Akhziv National Park. In each hut, you’ll find air conditioning, refrigerator and a kettle. All this can be had for around NIS 350 per tent, with room for 4 people. On weekends, it costs NIS 450. The showers and bathrooms are brand new and super clean. If you really want to rough it out, there is also a camping site. Bring your tent and enjoy the clean bathrooms and showers. An entire website in English will help you reserve your spot at https://www.parks.org.il/en/campgrounds. In the summer, don’t miss the movie screenings for kids that are available outside.

Camping at Beit HaEmek:

Located in Beit HaEmek Kibbutz is Chan Ha Galil, huge tents for sharing with families and friends, that come equipped with mattresses for a complete camping experience. Outside you will find bathrooms and showers as well as a kitchen for cooking outside with friends. They also have rooms for rent if camping is not your thing. The Kibbutz pool is an awesome way to spend the day.

facebook.com/chanhagalil

Hotel Nea:

Located in Shavei Tsion is a stunning boutique hotel called Nea that enjoys stunning views of the pastoral Galilean backdrop.  Each of the 73 rooms come with comfortable beds and smart TVs, and many have personal balconies. As this hotel is great for families, there is also a part of the hotel that is kid-free, known as the spa area so people can experience a true getaway. Little pick me ups are in the rooms and a true pampering vibe makes this the perfect spot for a relaxing trip to the north. Three types of rooms are available from the beach house with private pools in each room for family vacations, the spa rooms or the general hotel. The main pool is stunningly beautiful with huts that have actual beds so you can read by the pool. In the spa area of the hotel, there is a watsu pool, a special pool for deep relaxation and all kinds of aquatic therapy. Also available are rooms that have a private pool in each room, a luxurious way to spend the weekend.

nea.co.il

Take in Nature:

Ganey Elmona

Located in Julis, a Druze village with a population of around 7,000, it’s hard to imagine a secret garden of this sort exists. Greenery bursts from every corner with plants and layers and layers of trees, bamboo, and winding steps that take you to this secret getaway that has been cherished and worked on for over 40 years. This garden is in a private house, where Naji is eager to tell his story and show you the hidden gem that he built here, in memory of his parents. You won’t believe a place like this exists! I Ganey Elmona is excellent for weddings photos, bar mitzvah trips, and any occasion where you want to take in the beauty of nature. It’s NIS 15 per person, and by appointment only.

ozrothagalil.org.il

Courtesy of Ganey Elmona

Where to Eat:

A cozy cafe in Julis, a Druze village

Meet a Druze Woman who has defied the odds. Basma’s story started as a perfect love story; pregnant when her husband did his service in the army, a tragic accident left him unresponsive for many years, which meant Basma’s son grew up without his father. Basma was destined to learn or do something for her son, but the rigid local culture wouldn’t let her. Go to University? That was absurd in the Druze culture, and her mom especially wouldn’t have it. Finally, after lots of convincing, she told her mom that she would learn to be a pastry chef so that she could make better pastries at home. Years later, she has the first café in Julis, a Druze village where even looking at menus was not something people did. She welcomes you into her café and will cook authentic Druze dishes on request, though the locals are always looking for Western food. Sit down and hear her story about female empowerment, defying all the odds,  and how her life is all dedicated to her son Noor, who is now getting ready to go into the army himself.

facebook.com/NoorRestaurantKonditorei

NOOR © Amos Bar-Zeev

Ha Moadon

Formerly Moadon Aruchat Haboker a.k.a Breakfast Club, located in Shavei Tsion, close to the Hotel Nea, is a rural restaurant with an outside garden and a country vibe. Known as one of the best breakfast spots in the north, people come from all over for an extravagant morning that stands apart. They recently opened evening service a few nights a week, serving up creative dishes from all over the globe such as creamy burrata with grape kebabs, overflowing salads with polenta croutons, crunchy-fried calamari with homemade sauces, and shrimps in butter with slivered almonds. When in the North, this a warm and inviting restaurant demonstrating the hospitality of the area.

breakfastclub.co.il

LaYalina

Going up north means an opportunity to experience true Arab Hospitality. In an Arab town, just 11 kilometers Northeast of Acre called Kafr Yasif is LaYalina (Our Nights) which serves up authentic Arab food such as lamb, seafood, and calamari and endless salads. It’s an excellent stop for a hearty lunch or dinner with top-notch hospitality especially for meat lovers and seafood lovers.

facebook.com/Layalina.kfar.yassif

Banachala

Nestled in the city of Nahariya is a beautiful restaurant surrounded by trees and greenery with lots of places for kids to run around. Sit outside and enjoy the summer vibe while your kids have space to play. The menu is eclectic, with dishes featuring everything from steaks to seafood. For vegetarians, they serve up Beyond Meat. There are plenty of salads and plates for sharing. Everything is made in-house, on the spot. The dessert menu is not to miss, with a delicious pecan pie showcasing pecans from the trees, homemade ice creams, and more.

banahala.co.il

Banahala © Dan Perez & Lior Horesh

Chateau de Roi

Located in Mi’ilya, a small town to the Northwest of Ma’alot -Tarshiha on Highway 89, is a stunning fortress that is destined to be one of the biggest attractions in Israel in the coming years. Salma Assaf had a dream to take a fortress, preserve it, and turn it into a magical dining spot – and that dream is now a reality. Chef Elian Lalousse came all the way from Italy and executes Italian food that is unlike anything else in the country. Here, you can fine dine on creamy risotto, tender meat, and fresh-baked Italian bread. This breathtaking gallery-turned-magic cave is a dream come true for destination dining. Opening in August, this will be the hottest thing since handmade pasta to hit Israel!

chateauduroi.co.il

Chateau de Roi, Courtesy of PR

Nisia, A Greek Chef’s Restaurant

Gingham tablecloths adorn the tables, salads of all kinds and small plates galore, a true beach spread is here. With pumping music and the sand at your feet, experience a Greek Chef’s restaurant overlooking Akhziv beach. Summertime at it’s best!

facebook.com/NISIAGreekChefRestaurant

Plan Your Trip with Treasures of the Galilee:

Treasures of the Galilee is a non-profit created by philanthropist Raya Strauss Ben Dror, who had a goal of increasing tourism in the Western Galilee. They have a whole website dedicated to finding local gems with explanations and information, all in English. Each place is visited by the team and is only added to the website if it adheres to its standards.

ozrothagalil.org.il

Galilee, Israel © Shutterstock

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