Israel off-the-beaten-path

En Yorqe'am, Israel

With so many can’t-miss sites and a pretty small piece of land, it may sometimes seem hard for visitors to find the off-the-beaten-path sites of Israel. However, as in any destination, you can always find local experiences if you look hard enough. Here, you will find our list of the best hidden gems of Israel, with beautiful regions and sites to visit, that will provide you with a great local experience away from the crowds and tourists.

Best underrated destinations in Israel

Arava region

An Oryx in the Arava Region

The Arava, the eastern Negev region located north of Eilat, across the border with Jordan, is much more than just a stop on the way to Eilat. In recent years, more and more local visitors are beginning to discover the magic of the Arava, and now is the perfect time to come here, before the secret is out to the world.
At first glance, the Arava may look a bit monotonous, but a deeper look reveals a varied and fascinating landscape. During your visit here, you will find impressive canyons, unique geological formations, water reservoirs in the middle of the desert, and above all, a peaceful and unique atmosphere.

It’s a great region to visit for families as well, as here you can travel on donkeys and camels, go on jeep tours, fill bottles with colored sand, and even see antelopes in the Antelope Ranch.
There is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site here – in July 2005, UNESCO – in the form of the Nabataean perfume road that runs through the Arava, providing visitors with unique historical sites to visit.

Southern Coastal Plain

The southern part of the Israeli Coastal Plain, located just south of the cities of Bat Yam and Tel Aviv, offers a truly local experience for visitors who are looking to get away from the crowds, in a very short distance from the center of Israel. With beautiful beaches and two big and interesting cities in Ashdod and Ashkelon, you will find a huge variety of things to do here.

Some of the best places to visit in this region include the Ashkelon National Park, where you can see the ruins of an ancient city, that goes back as far as 10,000 years ago. In addition, the dune of Ashdod offers great sand boarding options, and Zikim Beach, the southernmost beach of the Mediterranean Sea in Israel, is one of the best and most quiet beaches in the country.

Sharon Region

the charming Sharon Region, located just north of the center of Israel, is a beautiful area, with plenty of fields, hills, and picturesque agricultural villages. This region is at its best in winter and spring, when the weather is nice and the fields are in full bloom, creating stunning scenery.

Some of the best sites to visit in the Sharon Region include Alexander River, Hof Hasharon National Park, and the Iris Argaman Reserve in Netanya. In addition, this area features several nice cities to visit for those looking for a local experience, like Kfar Saba, Ra’anana, and Herzliya.

Most beautiful hidden gems in Israel

Migdal Tzedek

What is more romantic than a sunset trip and observation from an ancient crusader fortress? Migdal Tzedek National Park, located in Central Israel, next to the city of Rosh Ha’ayin, offers just that, with an ancient crusader fortress that was first built here in the 12th century.

The fort, which bore the no less romantic name – “Mirabelle” which means a beautiful view, has changed quite a bit over the years and changed hands many times. The current fort you will see here today was built in the 19th century.

To get to the fort you can choose one of several short hiking trails, or climb the stairs that lead straight to it. In the two-story fort, you can tour the different rooms, and go up to the second floor to get a spectacular view of the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area and the beach, for one of the best sunset spots you can ever find.

The best time to visit here is In winter when the whole hill turns green.

Nahal Hashofet

Nahal Hashofet, located in the Menashe Mountains is an amazing hidden gem of a site to visit, especially during winter when the area is filled with incredibly spectacular flowers, which create stunning carpets of blossoms. But even in the summer, when the place is almost empty of visitors, it serves as an ideal nature getaway and a great place for walks.

The main hiking trail of Nahal Hashofet goes through great natural pools that you can wade in and offers plenty of shade, impressive caves hidden in the thickets of vegetation, bridges, trees, and blessed silence.

Sheikh Avrek Hill – the statue of Alexander Zaid

This great hidden gem, located near Beit She’arim National Park, is even unknown to most Israelis. This great viewpoint offers a spectacular view, where you will have a panoramic look at the Jezreel Valley, with its charming fields, villages, and hills. At the top of the hill stands a monument to the memory of Alexander Zaid, one of the most important figures in the Zionist movement, mounted on his horse. Next to the statue is the tomb of Sheikh Avrek, a Muslim saint, built in a double-domed formation.

Habsor National Park

On the banks of Nahal Habsor, you will find the impressive, quiet, and non-touristic Habsor National Park, which offers a great oasis in the Northern Negev. Fully surrounded by the desert, the park offers pastoral carpets of well-kept lawns and trees, refreshing natural wading pools, picnic tables, a historic site from the ancient Egyptian era, bike trails, and even overnight options in a convenient campground that offers toilets and showers.

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