Israel is a beautiful country with many breathtaking places to visit. If you are planning a trip to this wonderful country, you might want to add some of these national parks to your list. Israel has 81 national parks and 400 nature reserves, all with their own unique sights and features. Follow along to discover 11 beautiful national parks in Israel and what they offer!
1. Ashkelon National Park
Ashkelon National Park is within the ancient Ashkelon. It sits along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The remains of a wall built in the mid-12th century surround this beautiful national park. The wall used to be nearly 50 feet tall and 7217.8 feet long. In Ashkelon National Park are many impressive archeological remains from ancient occupants such as the Greeks, Persians, Romans, Crusaders, Byzantines, and Muslims. Take a stroll on one of Ashkelon National Park’s hiking trails to get some of the best views of the remains.
2. Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park
Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park is a popular national park in Central Israel and consists of many underground caves. The underground connected cave system is a World Heritage Site. Within the park are the archeological remains of multiple important cities, including Bayt Jibrin and Maresha. Some of the most interesting archeological remains uncovered in the park are the Sidonian burial caves, bell caves, cave dwellings, The Church of Saint Anne, a large roman amphitheater, Byzantine mosaics, and over 2,300-year-old astragali.
3. Ein Hemed National Park
Ein Hemed National Park is a national park and a protected nature reserve. It’s located near modern Jerusalem and the Old City. The park and area are also known as Aqua Bella and Khirbat Iqbalā. The park was first established in 1968 and has a rich history. For instance, within the park are a Crusader courtyard building and an old Muslim cemetery. There are also the remains of a farm. While visiting Ein Hemed National Park, you can enjoy a picnic. There are many picnic tables under the shade and a playground.
4. Eshkol National Park
Eshkol National Park is a beautiful national park in Northern Negev, Israel. The park covers 875 acres of land, including lawns and shaded picnic areas. Within the park is a large spring. There are also remains of old ancient buildings uncovered in the park. The oldest settlement strata are likely from the Early Bronze Age. This park doesn’t just have impressive ancient remains and a luxurious spring but unique flora and fauna. For instance, the park grows over 2,000 date palms. Many animals also call Eshkol National Park home, including European bee-eaters, rare eastern imperial eagles, and porcupines.
5. Gan HaShlosha National Park
Gan HaShlosha National Park is one of the most popular national parks in all of Israel. Israeli filmmaker Ran Tal produced a beautiful documentary about this national park, which premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival in July 2012. While visiting Gan HaShlosha National Park, visitors can enjoy the natural warm water pool. Not only can you take a swim, but you can also visit the Museum of Regional and Mediterranean Archaeology in the park. This museum holds rare Greek tools and artifacts from various excavations. Interestingly, over 2,000 jugglers come together in Gan HaShlosha National Park every year for the Israeli Juggling Convention.
6. Hamat Tverya National Park
Hamat Tverya National Park is also known as Hammath Tiberias or Hammat Tiberias. It’s a national park and ancient archaeological site in Israel. You can find this beautiful national park on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The national park is home to the Hamei Tveriya natural hot springs. While visiting, you can admire mosaics of ancient synagogues and a Turkish Hamam. You can also walk two trails in and around the park, which take you through Tiberias Forest. You can find this beautiful national park on the western shore of Lake Kinneret.
7. Horshat Tal National Park
Horshat Tal National Park is a national park and nature reserve in Israel. It was established as a national park in 1968. You can find this beautiful park in the northern part of the Hula Valley on Highway 99. There are many things to do in this park. For example, on the campgrounds, bungalows and cabins are offered. There is also a swimming pool with water slides fed by a stream from the Dan River within the park. The national park is stunning, as is the nature reserve. It holds 240 old Valonia oak trees and is part of a local Muslim holy site. Some trees are between 350 to 400 years old. Horshat Tal National Park is perfect for nature lovers who want to feel connected to water. There are also many animals in Horshat Tal National Park, like Mesopotamian fallow deer and the rare a rare arboricolous ant Liometopum microcephalum.
8. Mount Carmel National Park
Next on our list is the largest national park in Israel, Mount Carmel National Park. It covers most of the Carmel mountain range and comprises at least 10,000 hectares of pine, eucalyptus, and cypress forests. The park is large and contains many hiking and biking trails. It is a popular national park and is visited by many people from all over the world. Mount Carmel National Park has over 250 archaeological sites and is located in northern Israel. There are many hiking trails and opportunities to camp on recreational campgrounds. Many of the trails lead to unique points. If you want to see breathtaking views, you can climb to the Muhraka Monastery’s roof or walk up Hagana Hill. Mount Carmel National Park is also filled with wildlife like hyenas, mongoose, broad-toothed field mice, and the Near-Eastern fire salamander.
9. Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve
Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve was established in 1967. Many visitors flock to this stunning national park and nature reserve to climb Arbel Cliff. The cliff is tall and offers a spectacular view of many places like the Jordan Valley, Galilee, Mount Hermon, and the Sea of Galilee. Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve is also home to a unique snail species, Cristataria genezerethana. Throughout the national park, you can also find natural caves, which once were used as prehistoric dwellings. They were then formed into a large fortress with many layers, including staircases, halls, and concealed passages. In the park also stands the remains of the Arbel Synagogue.
10. Kfar Nahum (Capernaum) National Park
Kfar Nahum (Capernaum) National Park was home to an ancient fishing settlement dating back to the Second Temple. Now, the remains of an old Byzantine synagogue sits in the park. Christian pilgrims made use of the area and created a dwelling in the first century CE. There were flowers and inscriptions on the walls made with plaster. At least 173 plaster fragments in Greek remain. In Kfar Nahum (Capernaum) National Park, you can find an information booth and a gift shop. Within the national park, Christ-thorn jujube grows naturally. This national park is also a major pilgrim destination.
11. Yehi’am Fortress National Park
Last but not least is the Yehi’am Fortress National Park. The main focus for many people when visiting Yehi’am Fortress National Park is the remains of a massive and important fortress. The fortress dates back to Crusader and Ottoman periods. Some great observation points include the Crusader tower and the western observation terrace. There are many tree species within Yehi’am Fortress National Park, like sweet bay, Palestine oak, Aleppo pine, and eucalyptus. Many reptiles also call Yehi’am Fortress National Park home, including the European legless and Lebanon lizards. Previously, barn owls nested in the national park, but they haven’t been recorded in years.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alexander Sviridov/Shutterstock.com
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