You’ve drunk all the Israeli wine, popped all the champagne and danced the year away at the best Sylvester parties Tel Aviv’s boutique hotels and cocktail bars have to offer. Time to relax and recover, right? Wrong. Take that adrenaline still pumping through your veins and channel it into some of Israel’s most thrill-seeking attractions because after all the tragic losses of 2016, 2017 needs to be about living in the moment. Start the New Year off with some pep in your step. Instead of cozying up in Jerusalem cafés, rappel off the side of Tayelet or Gei Ben Hinom; instead of passing out poolside at an Eilat hotel, dive into Eilat's Red Sea waters. We’ve dug through the never-ending list of things to do in Israel and come up with New Years resolutions to fulfill every thrill-seeker’s needs. All you have to do is stick to them because before you know it, 2018 will appear out of thin air and it'll be time for a new list of resolutions.
Active things to do in Israel this 2017
The southernmost city in Israel, Eilat, has been blessed with a spectacular coral reef. The Eilat coral reef, the northernmost reef in the world and a unique Israeli attraction, is the beating heart of the one-mile long nature reserve that stretches across the gulf of Eilat. Diving or snorkeling near the reef, you will see colorful coral gardens home to a variety of multi-hued tropical fish: parrotfish, butterfly fish, giant shellfish and a wide selection of intriguing species that only come out in the dark. About a ten-minute walk from the Egyptian border, you’ll find the southernmost scubadiving club in Israel, a small venue with plenty of peace and quiet. The club offers an introductory underwater excursion for those who have no previous diving experience.
Adventuring through rock formed passages less than two meters wide yet hundreds of meters high, the Eilat Mountains offer visitors a unique and stunning desert experience. Whether hiking or biking, advanced or beginner, an experience awaits every visitor. In great weather conditions, one can see Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia from the top of mountain, making this experience uniquely Middle Eastern!
A unique way to see Jerusalem is by rappelling off the side of the Tayelet or Gei Ben Hinom, with a view of the Old City. The guide, Yaakov, a rock climbing champion, is patient and experienced, making him the perfect person to show guests the ropes. If your kids can’t stop climbing walls and trees, why not take them on an adventure they won’t soon forget? Yaakov knows how to make the excursion accessible for all, so bring the whole family! Suitable for children ages four and up, with younger guests snappling with the guide.
The Ramon Crater (“Makhtesh Ramon”) in the Negev desert is the world’s largest erosion crater. The crater’s ancient history dates back 220 million years to when an ocean once filled the massive hole, which measures 500 meters deep, 40 km long and between 2 and 10 km wide. With a network of hikes ranging from easy loops to advanced mountain scales with extreme passageways (“Shen Ramon”), this worldwide landmark is the perfect place for thrill seekers to get their adrenaline fix. Be sure to catch the unbeatable sunset at the camel lookout or camp out under the stars.
When it comes to outdoor fitness, Israeli’s take their exercise seriously. While in the rest of the world, fitness buffs are forced indoors to stuffy gyms and tiny gymnasium tracks at the first sign of flurries, in Israel, running season is a year-long activity. Leading a healthy lifestyle is important in the Middle East (hence the various vegan restaurants), and the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables offered in its markets make eating well a cinch; but, that’s only half the battle. Stay in shape with our list of Israel marathons and races from north to south, January to March. From Israman’s trying triathlon to Ein Gedi’s family-fun 2k run, there’s a race out their for all ages and fitness levels.
Known for its historic and biblical importance in Judaism, Islam and Christianity, the Sea (actually a lake) of Galilee is one of Israel's most famous and beautiful attractions. Surrounded by mountains and hills, it is a perfect area for hiking and taking in the panoramic views of the Kinneret. After hiking, cool off in the fresh water at one of the many beaches in the area. From quiet getaways to more crowded, lively beaches, the Kinneret has something for everyone.
Israel in general is famed for its many hiking trails winding their way over breathtaking heights in the north and lunar-like lows in the south. The routes are a fantastic way to see the country's beautiful landscape, and they all link up to form one giant hiking path that traverses the entire country, known as the Israel National Trail. Its northern end is at Dan, near the Lebanese border, and it extends to Eilat at the country's southernmost tip on the Red Sea. The trail is marked with three stripes (white, blue and orange) and has been named by National Geographic as one of the world’s best hikes.
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.
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.