Israel may be known for its religious tourism, however, do not overlook the backdrop for those historical events. The country has multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites, unique land formations, national parks, and nature reserves. There are over 400 reserves established to protect flora and fauna.
Get to know what the country has to offer with these three nature-filled destinations:
- Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and National Park
While you are visiting the Dead Sea, visit the Ein Gedi Nature Reverse and National Park on the east side of the Judean Desert. Ein Gedi takes up 3,500 acres of land that is home to a variety of plants from warm climate regions like the tropics, deserts, and steppes. During spring and fall, it is an excellent time for bird watchers to visit because of the migration influx of 200 additional species. You can look for short term rentals in Israel if you plan to spend more than a day to watch the birds. The website www.koshack.com has an extensive list with Jerusalem vacation rentals and other favorite cities you may opt to stay in before the migration.
Besides the plants and animals, there are also two springs that create streams that help maintain the vegetation of the region. After exploring the nature reserve, you can also visit the national park which focuses on the archaeological sites and finds.
- Mount Carmel National Park
When you are in Haifa, visit the Mount Carmel National Park on the Carmel mountain range. It is the largest of its kind in Israel with over 10,000 hectares. It is home to forests with pine, eucalyptus, and cypress trees among other vegetation. UNESCO considers the park as a biosphere reserve because of its biological and geographical diversity. UNESCO also recognizes the batha and garrigue vegetation and coastal zone as areas of interest for conversation.
When exploring the national park, you can follow the walk or bike through the reserve. While you are there, consider the historical and religious aspect of the place. It is the site where the prophet Elijah (a prominent figure in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Druze) confronts King Ahab and the prophets of Baal.
- Masada National Park
Another park you can visit when you go to the Dead Sea besides Ein Gedi is the Masada National Park. It sits on top of a rocky plateau that overlooks the Judean desert. It is home to the ruins of the Jew’s last fortress that stood against the Romans in 73 C.E. as well as the palace of Herod the Great. You can reach the top of the plateau through two hiking trails on the eastern (Snake Trail) and western (Roman Ramp) part of the mountain. If you are the type who appreciates nature by seeing rather than experiencing, there are cable cars that can take you up and down. There is also a museum at the foot of the mountain that features archaeological finds from Masada and gives an overview of the historical events that took place on the plateau and surrounding region.
Walkways, mountain trails, and bicycle lanes – there are many ways to enjoy the reserves and parks in Israel. You can plan your trip around seasons that best bring out your area of interest. For example, spring or fall for birds. For all the nature lovers out there, don’t miss out on the unique blend of flora and fauna.