Top 5 Israel National Parks
If you want to see a completely different side to Israel
than the usual sites in Jerusalem Tel Aviv and the Golan then visit some of the
Israel National Parks. Many of the parks encompass streams, forests and
Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park
In this National Park many huge caves are hidden beneath the
ground. Visitors can follow a route through the park which connects a number of
the caves. At each cave you can descend beneath the ground as people have done
for centuries. Over the years the caves have been used in the Second Temple
era, Roman, Byzantine and Crusader era. Tel Maresha is an archaeological area
identified as the Biblical city of Maresha. Here you can find olive presses,
massive cisterns and columbarium caves. The Phoenicians left behind painted
burial caves which have been resorted. Enter the bell caves once Byzantine
quarries; see underground oil presses and caves used as bathhouses. In addition
to the caves the park encompasses a Roman amphitheater, fortress ruins, the
remains of a Crusader church and woodlands.
Gan HaShlosha National Park
Gan HaShlosha (Sahne) is located to the west of the Bet
She’an Valley. It is a very popular destination thanks to the many natural
pools and abundant streams. The park holds hot springs, hike trails and deep
natural bathing pools. There is an archaeological museum, reconstructed flour
mill, a reconstructed historic settlement and places where you can see
archaeological remains. You can visit the site of Kibbutz Tel Amal which was
the first of the Tower and Stockade settlements. Here you can climb to the top
of the tower for brilliant views. In the Israel Orchard you can see tree
species which are mentioned in the Bible. The park has many facilities
including toilets and picnic areas.
Mount Carmel National Park
Israel’s largest National Park covers almost all of the
Carmel Mountain Range near Haifa. The park is covered with dense forests of
pine, cypress and eucalyptus trees. The park has campgrounds, marked hike
trails and cycle paths. There are more than 250 archaeological sites where
prehistoric human dwellings and remains have been excavated. The Mount Carmel
National Park is a UNECO biosphere reserve. Within the park is the Hai Bar
Nature Reserve where near-extinct animals are rehabilitated and bred before
being returned to their natural habitat. Over the years the park has suffered
from forest fires. The worst was in 2010 when millions of trees were burnt
down. Thanks to its thriving Mediterranean woodlands and stunning views from
the elevated Carmel Mountains this is one of the most breathtaking parks in the
Ein Hemed National Park
Located 7km west of Jerusalem is the Ein Hemed National Park
which encompasses an ancient Roman road which once connected the coast to the
Jerusalem hills. Four springs run through the park and join up to flow for
about 400 meters. The park has several pools where you can cool off. The park
includes the remains of a Crusader-era castle and farm and ancient burial
caves. A loop hike trail takes you past the burial cave and offers views across
the Jerusalem hills. There are expansive lawns with picnic tables, toilets,
camp ground and a playground. In season you can see meadows covered with
wildflowers. The best time to visit is in winter or spring.
HaBasor National Park
This Israel National Park is on the banks of the Besor
Stream in the Western Negev. The bounteous stream is surrounded by grasslands
and the shade of many trees. The spring provides a great place for kids to
paddle in natural pool and there are picnic tables beneath the trees. In the
park you can see a reconstructed British Mandate-era train bridge. There is
also an archaeological site dating back to the ancient Egyptians. Within the
park there are two cycle trails, a camp ground and hike trails. From Shalala
Hill you can enjoy views across the Western Negev and badlands.
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