The Western Galilee is a little known gem in the north of Israel. For anyone planning a trip to Israel, it’s worth taking the time to enjoy this special Israeli experience.
Often when tourists are planning Israel vacations, they stick to the more centralized areas, maybe adding a drive to the south to see Masada and the Dead Sea. While the major centralized areas and the south have so much to offer, it is little known that the north is actually one of the most spectacular areas in our small country of Israel. On your next Israel vacation, I would consider making the time to visit the north!
Cities of the North
It may seem daunting to tourists to drive to the north. It sounds far, but in reality it’s only about a two hour drive from Tel Aviv, and there are tons of fun activities on the way. I recommend making a pit stop in Haifa. Haifa is the third largest city in Israel after Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and in my opinion, it is the most diverse city in Israel. Haifa isn’t visited nearly enough by tourists, though there is so much the city has to offer. Be sure to visit the Baha’i gardens, an unbelievably gorgeous symmetric garden outside of the Baha’i Temple. From there, grab lunch in the German Colony or in the awesome newly renovated port area. Just across the Haifa Bay, a bit further north along the seashore, is Acre, or Akko as we call it in Hebrew. Akko is a special city with a lovely market that lets out by a buzzing marina (with some of the best hummus in Israel). There are also some awesome museums and monuments in Akko, from canon balls belonging to Napoleon, to the Underground Prisoners Museum, to the Lochamei HaGetaot Museum (the Ghetto Fighter’s House Museum). Once you’ve had a good taste of the cities, it’s time to begin the fun off-the-beaten-path!
Spectacular view of Acre’s marina
The Northern Beaches
As opposed to the beaches in Tel Aviv which tend to be packed with tourists and Israelis alike, the northern shores of Israel tend to be spacious, clean, and mind-blowing. The Western Galilee sits on the northwestern shore of Israel, so the beautiful beach scenes blend with the greenery for a spectacular and peaceful view. My favorite beach in the Western Galilee is Shavei Tsiyon beach. It’s clean, long, very beautiful, and great for surfing and other water sports. Added bonus: the sunset on the beach is breathtaking. Moreover, Shavei Tsiyon beach is on the outskirts of Moshav Shavei Tsiyon, a quaint town with lovely people and a local cafe, “The Breakfast Club”, that’s worth checking out.
The Food, Wine and Culture
If you know Puzzle Israel, then you know that there is no Puzzle tour without a culinary tour. AND there is no better place to get to know and taste true Israeli cuisine than in the Western Galilee region. Most most meals are made with the freshest and most local crops, meats, and cheeses because most restaurants actually cook and serve homegrown food. Be sure to pair meals with the aromatic wines of the Western Galilee wineries. The north produces amazing wine because grapes do very well in the unique climate.
Another unique cultural and culinary experience in the Western Galilee is the Bedouin Experience. The Bedouins of the north are different that those in the Negev desert, with similar traditions but different stories. Puzzle Israel even works with a Bedouin family to offer Bedouin cooking workshops, giving a new culinary spin to any Israel vacation.
Bedouin cooking workshop
One of the most special natural phenomenons in Israel is at Rosh Hanikra, on Israel’s northern maritime border. Rosh Hanikra is a site where the sea literally carved the mountains, creating fascinating and mind blowing grottos, reachable only by cable car.
Cable car lowering visitors to the grottos within the cliff of Rosh Hanikra
Don’t miss out on a visit to the Keshet Cave (Rainbow Cave), one of the most beautiful geological wonders in Israel. Once a cave, the Rainbow Cave was worn down by weathering processes, and is now a massive arch hanging over a magnificent view! Puzzle Israel will arrange for you a private certified instructor guide who will instruct you through rappelling from the arch down to the ground below.
Rappelling down the Keshet Cave
All of this is of course only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to travelling in the Western Galilee. There is no doubt that the Western Galilee is a true hidden treasure in Israel, waiting to be discovered by every tourist, and offering a true experience, not just a tour. Trips to Israel shouldn’t only be about seeing the sites, they should be about feeling, tasting, touching, and experiencing every possible place and culture. The Western Galilee is certainly an experience for all the senses!