Moderate
Difficulty level
Hiking/Walking
Activity (Hike)
7 Night, 8 Day
Duration

Israel: Galilee and Golan Heights Hike

Seven nights, eight days of activity. Explore ‘the Galilee’, a land of immense natural beauty, historic and religious significance, and demographic diversity.


“A day still does not go by that I do not think of my great trip to Israel.” – Larry L.


WHY THIS TRIP?

  • A good mix of short walks and more challenging hikes along diverse landscape: lush valleys and forests, rocky mountains, caves, ravines, and natural springs.
  • The Upper Galilee.
  • The Gamla Nature Reserve (‘Masada of the North’) – famous for its incredible observatory and griffon vultures.
  • Land of rich and complex history and religion; birthplace of the Torah and the Bible, famous battlegrounds
  • Banias Nature Reserve.
  • Nazareth.
  • Roman-Byzantine city of Zippori, known for its intricate mosaic floors.
  • UNESCO Old City of Akko.

 

ROUTE EXPECTATIONS:

Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.


Average of 10km/day of hiking on established and marked trails through National Parks and historic sites, with optional extra distances some days. Trail surfaces vary from packed dirt to some sections with loose stones. Walking poles are recommended for easier descents.


Daily Distance:

  • DAY 1: Introductions, ~7 km
  • DAY 2: ~11 km
  • DAY 3: Up to ~12 km
  • DAY 4: ~13 km
  • DAY 5: ~8 km
  • DAY 6: Variable
  • DAY 7: ~11 km

Galilee and Golan Heights Hike – Elevation Profile

(Click image to enlarge)

 

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

 

Start: Ben Gurion Airport, for 2-3 hour transfer north to the start of the tour. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

Finish: Haifa, 16:00; or optional transfer to Tel Aviv, arriving by 18:00, day eight.

Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

1

Introductions, transfer to north.

Meet at the Ben Gurion Airport for the 2 to 3-hour drive to the north, stopping for a short walk and view of the land from the Givat Hamoreh Observation Tower. On clear days, you’ll see the Jezreel and Harod Valleys extending to the foothills; Mount Tabor and the mountains of Nazareth in the north; Mount Gilboa to the south; and in the east, Beit She’an Valley and the Gilead mountains. This is a good place from which to contemplate the complexities of the topography, water sources, and the agricultural potential of the land that has determined the economic, military, and cultural processes of human history here. Tonight, you will rest at the charming and historical village of Rosh Pina. From your lodging you can see the slopes of the Golan Heights to which you will adventure tomorrow. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips; self-guided trips include breakfast)

Isrotel Mizpe-Hayamim, Rosh Pina

2

Nimrod Fortress 5km, Banias Stream 6km

Start with an exploration of Nimrod, the largest Crusade-era castle in Israel, built on an 800m ridge on Mount Hermon. This stronghold has overlooked the Golan Heights since the 13th century, protecting a major access route to Damascus from armies coming from the west. Your hike includes a steep downhill trail through the bush to the old Biblical-time city of Panias. Your backdrop today is Mount Hermon, the highest peak in Israel; its limestone ridge, often snowy, is shared by neighbouring Syria and Lebanon. This afternoon you will walk along the Banias Stream through the lush green woodlands of the Banias Nature Reserve. The lush terrain of Banias juxtaposes the volcanic-cones towering above the flat basalt plateau that predominantly characterizes the Golan Heights. These two dramatic landscapes showcase the fresh air of high altitudes, crystal clear spring waters, and the magnificent views of three countries. BLD

Merom Golan Volcano Resort, Merom Golan

3

Morning sightseeing and optional hikes: easy 5km or challenging 12km

Today’s highlights include the now-dormant volcanic setting of the Golan Heights. The volcano of Mount Bental was the battle site of Israel’s wars for the Golan in 1967 and again in 1973. Visit the local coffee shop there, Koffee Anan (‘Coffee in the Clouds’ in Hebrew, and also the name of the former Secretary-General of the UN, pun intended). The dramatic volcanic activity of the past played a prominent role in defining the topography, ecology and culture of today. Afternoon options include a hike along the canyon edge to Israel’s tallest waterfall at the Gamla Nature Reserve, and hikes in the river-carved valleys of the plateau. You will rest this evening on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. BLD

The Setai, Sea of Galilee; or, Ein Gev Holiday Resor, Ein Gev

4

Mount Karnei Hittim to Mount Arbel 10km, Mountain of the Sermon to Capernaum 3km

Nestled between the Galilee Mountains and the Golan Heights is the Sea of Galilee, the only natural fresh-water lake existing in the Middle East. The vistas during your morning hike are beautiful and seemingly endless, and you will understand the influence of this sea on the imagination and spirit of humans to create myth, legend, philosophy, and religion. This afternoon’s walk is on the paved trail starting at the Mount of Beatitudes, where it’s believed that Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount, to the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, believed to have been the hometown of Matthew the Apostle. Return to your lodging in time to relax and enjoy its seaside setting. BLD

Same lodging, or Lavi Kibbutz Hotel, Lavi

5

Gilboa Mountain to the Sahne Pools (optional swim) 4km, Nahal Herod to Beit She’an Park 4km

Today you will explore the sites of the Jezreel Valley, the domain of King Saul (the first king of the Kingdom of Israel) and known in Christianity as the Valley of the Armageddon (the prophesied setting for the beginning of the end of the world). The valley is dotted with biblical and historical landmarks like Megiddo (Armageddon), Mount Tabor, Jezreel, Beit Shean, Givat Hamoreh – even Nazareth is nearby on a northern hill. You will drive Mount Gilboa then walk its ridge from where magnificent views of the entire valley are seen. Descend by foot to the warm spring then follow a bubbling brook along the eastern side of the valley to visit the ancient city of Beit She’an. BLD

Lavi Kibbutz Hotel, Lavi

6

Mount Tabor, Nazareth, Zippori

Today is a series of short walks amid the vistas, cultural, and historical landmarks of the Lower Galilee. Mount Tabor, in the middle of eastern Jezreel Valley, was a famous battle ground throughout Biblical, Medieval, and Napoleonic eras. Today it is known for its Catholic and Greek-Orthodox monasteries which focus on pilgrimages to the site of The Transfiguration. Next is the ancient city of Nazareth, believed to be the hometown of Jesus Christ. Besides the Church of the Annunciation (the largest church in the Middle East), it has more Catholic, Greek-Orthodox, Russian-Orthodox, Anglican, and Monophisite institutions than any other city in this land, after Jerusalem. Finally, you will visit the famous Roman-Byzantine city of Zippori, considered by many a highlight of the north. Surrounded by impressive Mount Tabor Oak trees, Zippori is known for its gorgeous mosaic floors, and its water reservoir system – a feat of ancient engineering, featuring a tunnel transporting water from the surrounding springs to the city. BLD

Same lodging

7

The Upper Galilee; Mount Meron Loop 2km; Nahal Kziv Ravine 9km

Today’s hike will be considered a highlight of your tour! The Upper Galilee is a mountainous region of high peaks and deep ravines. Roads to the moderate slops of the mountains are limited and there are no wide valleys to establish substantial fields; no major cities ever developed here. This is where the mountainous tribes prevailed, and the crusaders’ fortresses were built as secret retreats or safe-houses. Lush forests, hidden brooks, cliffs, and caves join together here to form a paradise for nature lovers and walkers. Beginning in the Mount Meron Nature Reserve you’ll walk a circular trail around the mountain’s summit. Continue to the more challenging 9km hike across the deep ravine of Nahal Kziv, one of the many perennial streams in Upper Galilee. Visit the famous Teutonic crusaders’ castle of Montfort. Later this afternoon, you’ll head west to the Mediterranean where you will spend the night in the historic and multicultural city of Akko (Acre). BLD

Akkotel, or, Arabesque Hotel, Akko

8

Exploring Old City Akko and Mediterranean Coastal Walks

The Old City of Akko (or Acre to the crusaders) is teeming with history and preserved stonework. Unlike similar sites in Israel, this city prioritizes its inhabitants over tourists by leaving much of the city to family homes and working markets. Spend the morning exploring the ramparts and museums of this UNESCO site. You will then follow the coast south to Haifa where you adventure concludes, or opt for transfer to Tel Aviv. B

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


Guided: C 5895 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners, entrance fees, luggage handling, ground transportation, guide support, taxes


Single Occupancy: 1890


All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


2022 Guided dates:

  • Apr 3-10
  • May 15-22
  • Oct 9-16

2023 Guided dates:

  • Apr 2-9
  • May 14-21
  • Oct 8-15

New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.

Interested in custom or private departures?


Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.

1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.

2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.

 
PLEASE NOTE: Trip Cancellation Insurance is highly recommended. If this is not provided by your credit card or elsewhere, please let us know and we can provide recommendations.

More Reading:


Israel is brimming with compelling culture, history, and geology, where many roots of Western Civilization are clearly evident. It is where the Torah and the Bible were created, and is a great place to celebrate or dream. From nature’s perspective, it is one of the most beautiful places in Israel with its rugged landscape, almost lunar in some places. Its greatest resource is the water that has created a lush green landscape with iconic waterfalls, the largest of which is set in the Banias Nature Reserve, an area of significant cultural and religious history (and wonderful hikes!). The Golan Heights also border the east side of the Sea of Galilee, the most important fresh water source in Israel. The Gamla Nature Reserve, a rocky, camel-shaped outcrop, is the site of a Jewish city founded 2000 years ago. Dubbed the ‘Masada of the North’, it is known for its stunning views and observatory which draws bird enthusiasts from around the world to watch the griffon vultures. Lofty hills and mountains, dense shrubbery, indigenous flora and fauna, springs, caves, and observation points – all these await you in the Upper Galilee. End the tour in Israel’s third largest city, Haifa, extending from the Mediterranean up the north slope of Mount Carmel. This adventure will fascinate you with both new and ‘old world’ pleasures; between the wonderful people and magical places, it will deepen your understanding of the marvellous complexity of Israel.