Last Updated on May 22, 2023
Are you planning an adventure trip to Israel this summer? From the Negev desert to the Lebanon border, the country has a lot to offer. Are you in a wildlife and nature lover? Then grab your hiking boots, backpack, and a camera to capture breathtaking memories. These are some of the top nature places to visit in Israel.
The five best nature areas to visit in Israel
The Ramon Crater
The Ramon Crater is the largest erosion crater in the world. It is located in the Negev desert in the south of Israel and it was created over 200 million years ago when the ocean began to recede. The crater spans an excess of 40 kilometers and is between 2 and 10 kilometers wide.
At Ramon Crater, there are plenty of activities, including hiking and climbing. Definitely don’t skip Ramon Crater (Makhtesh Ramon) if you travel from Tel Aviv to Eilat: you’ll pass it on the way. It makes for a great place to break up the long drive, but if you ask me, it deserves a longer visit. Spend a night or two in Mitzpe Ramon, a small town that sits right on the edge of the crater. Wildlife sightings are almost guaranteed at the crater, especially if you get up in time for sunrise. That’s when the local ibex come right up to the crater’s edge.
Ein Gedi is located on the western shores of the Dead Sea. Surrounded by the desert, the highlight of Ein Gedi is the oasis, which includes a waterfall. It displays two springs that gush out water all year round. The area boasts diverse flora, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot some local birds. There are nine hiking trails in Ein Gedi, so definitely plan in some time for your visit. History buffs will be pleased to hear that there are still remnants of the Jews who settled in Ein Gedi in the 7th century. They include the old irrigation systems and the mosaic floor in ancient synagogues.
Admission to Ein Gedi is ILS28 (around US$8.50).
The Banias Nature Reserve
The Banias (also known as Hermon Stream), a 3.5-kilometer spring, is tranquillity at its best. The Banias Stream is located at the base of Mount Hermon in the Upper Galilee and leads to the biggest waterfall in Israel. The Nature Reserve has two separate entrances: one near the stream and one at the waterfall (or you can hike from the waterfall to the spring). The ticket (NIS28 / around US$8.50) is valid for both parts of it. If you enjoy hiking, this is one of the best nature places to visit in Israel for you, because there are four different trails, ranging from 45 to 90 minutes length. The Banias Stream offers a display of serene beauty and at the same time interesting history: a still intact Roman Bridge and the remnants of a crusader city, including the marble pillars of the Agrippa Palace, can be found nearby.
Tip: Plan a visit in the winter or spring when the waterfalls are the most powerful and impressive.
Agamon Hula is a lake located in the upper Galilee in the heart of the Hula Valley and if you are a bird watcher, you’ll definitely want to add this to your Israel itinerary, especially if you’re visiting Israel between November and March. But also non-birders will enjoy this spectacle: The Agamon Hula Valley is one of the busiest bird migration routes in the world. BBC Wildlife named Agamon Hula one of the ten most important bird watching sites in the entire world! Over 500 million birds migrate through there every fall and spring on their way from Europe to Africa. A couple of years ago, 50,000 grey cranes even decided to stay put there for the winter instead of continuing their journey to Africa. In addition to grey cranes, you’ll see thousands of storks, marsh harriers, cormorants, ibis, herons, pelicans and other water birds.
If you want to visit Agamon Hula, you will have to rent a car. The best way is to rent an Airbnb nearby so that you can head out at the crack of dawn to arrive at Lake Hula in time for sunrise. Nearby villages that offer Airbnb’s and zimmers are Ramot Naftali, Ayelet HaShahar, Sde Eli’ezer and Yesod HaMa’ala, or you can base yourself in Rosh Pina, about half an hour away.
Gan Hashlosha National Park is located near the base of Mount Gilboa in the north of Israel, about 30 minutes south of Nazareth. Sakhne Hot Spring is the main attraction here – a thermal spring with a year-round water temperature of a pleasant 28 degrees Celsius. While there isn’t much in terms of wildlife here, it is one of the best nature places to visit in Israel for two reasons: its natural beauty is incredible (it’s often called Garden Of Eden, and when you visit, you understand why!), and it’s far enough away from the country’s major tourist hot spots so that it isn’t overrun with visitors (unless you happen to find yourself in Israel in July or August!). Plan in some time to soak in one of the two large pools here, and bring food to snack on throughout the day.