Wondering where to visit in Israel, north of Tel Aviv? Some of the loveliest spots and most fascinating places in Israel are in its northern half.
For your convenience, we've divided Israel, north of Tel Aviv into five groups.
Each group can be visited in a full day trip, or liesurely in 2+ days. Or you can easily mix and match places. Use the map of Israel North of Israel just below to plan your trip.
Port Cities. As you head to Israel north of Tel Aviv, visit three port cities: Caesarea with its ancient Roman past, Haifa - Israel's third largest city and Akko, the former capital of the Crusaders called Acre. Read more.
Natural beauty of the Far North. Enjoy the nature and history of Israel north of Tel Aviv: the unique Hula Valley and the main rivers and stream that feed the Sea of Galilee in the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. Read more.
Cities of the Galilee. The north is home to charming cities and ancient towns. Places like: Nazareth where Jesus lived, Safed (Tsfat) the home of Jewish Kabbalists, the secrets of Beit Shearim, Zipori, Capernaum and Migdal. Read more.
Carmel Mountain Range. Amid the beauty of the hills and valleys of the Carmel mountains are unique cities and towns to visit. Places like Daliyat el Carmel, Zichron Yaacov, Ein Hod, and more. Read more.
Archaeological Sites in the Jezreel Valley. The archaeological parks around the Jezreel valley are testimony to the incredible Biblical history of this area. Places such as Megiddo - known also as ancient Armageddon, Beit Shean and Beit Alfa. Read more.
Beaches of the North. Israel north of Tel Aviv has two beautiful coastlines: 150 kilometers along the Mediterranean Sea, and the beaches along the Sea of Galilee. Discover the 10 best beaches, eight of which are in Israel, north of Tel Aviv. Read more.
And at the northernmost tip if Israel's seashore, just minutes from the border with Lebanon, don't miss a visit to one of Israel's natural wonders, the marine caves and grottoes of Rosh Hanikra.
Use this Galilee Map covering all of the north of Israel to find each place of interest.
The 3 port cities of Israel north of Tel Aviv are Caesarea, Haifa and Akko.
Caesarea and Akko are Unesco World Heritage sites, as are the Bahai Gardens in Haifa.
Caesarea National Park is a 45 minute drive from Tel Aviv.
The city was built 2,000 years ago by King Herod and had the most advanced harbor of its time, worldwide. After the destruction of Jerusalem it became the Roman capital of the country and is full of remarkable, well-preserved remnants from Roman, Crusader and Byzantine periods.
You'll see remanants of scultpures and large structures - the ancient port, villas, bath houses, the huge Herodian palace remains, the ancient aqueduct and the stunning Roman amphitheater which still hosts Israel top pop performances every summer.
Read more about what to see in Caesarea here.
Haifa is the capital of the north and the third largest city in Israel. It is also one of its prettiest cities, sprawled along the hills of the Carmel Mountain range, descending down to the sandy beaches and port below.
You can see the stunning, world famous Bahai Gardens in the photo above. Haifa is the main capital of the intriguing Bahai religion originally founded in Iran.
Haifa is also one best examples in Israel that co-existence between Jews and Arabs is possible in a single city. Jews, Christians and Muslims live and work together. There are joint art, theater and food festivals.
Throughout December, Israelis of all religions visit Haifa's neighborhood Wadi Nisnas, near the German Colony to see the Christmas lights and eat the delicious local Arab treats.
Get a glimpse of the promise and challenges of Arab-Jewish coexistence in Haifa in this article.
Also worth visiting in Haifa is the beautiful Carmelite Monastery on the mountaintop called Stella Maris - Our Lady Star of the Sea.
Besides the spectacular views of the sea from atop the mountain peak, the interior of the Baroque-style church is lovely. The monastery commemorates the place where the Prophet Elijah hid from the wrath of idol worshipers after the competition in which he proved the power of God.
The ancient port city of Akko is mentioned in the Bible.
Akko is another city where Jews and Arabs coexist, in relative harmony.
Near the port area, stroll around Akko's lively streets and alleyways in the Arab market. And make sure to stop for a bite along the way. The city is famous for its well-made Arabic cuisine.
But Akko is most famous for being the Crusader capital in the Holy Land for one hundred years. You'll see an amazing mix of Crusader remnants such as the the Crusader fortress -
You can visit the uderground Hospitalier Knights Halls, and the underground Templar escape tunnel.
Read more about what to see in Akko here.
When people think of Israeli nature, they usually imagine desert landscape. Israel's far north region is utterly different.
Its a place of great natural beauty with the sparking blue, freshwater Sea of Galilee, the rivers that feed the Sea from the surrounding mountains of the upper Galilee and Golan Heights, and the unique Hula Valley wetlands with its amazing birdlife.
If you love nature, don't miss the Hula Valley! Its in the upper Galilee in between the Sea of Galilee to the south and Israel's highest peak, Mount Hermon to the north.
This unique biosphere is home to one of the grandest bird migrations worldwide!
Every year, more than half a billion birds fly through Israel in the spring on their way to northern Europe and Asia, and in the autumn on their way to Africa. Over 400 species rest in the wetlands here on their long trek.
Besides birds, you can see lots of wetland wildlife such as otters, water moose, wild boar, turtles and amphibians and lizards.
The Hula Valley Nature Reserve offers guided bird tours in a Safari Wagon which are highly recommended during bird season.
Or you can explore on your own by renting bikes or carts, and watch the birds and wildlife in one of the natural platforms spread out in the park.
Tel Dan National Park in the far north of Israel is one of the most beautiful green places in the country. Like elsewhere in Israel, amid the natural wonderland are fascinating ancient ruins.
The Dan River is the largest water source of the Sea of Galilee.
You can take a swim during the summer in the Dan river's tributaries. Not far from the rushing Dan River is an interesting archeological site.
You can see city walls, the pagan temple and other ruins of the ancient Israel Kingdom capital of Laish. The city competed with the Jerusalem temple of Judea for the hearts of the ancient Israelites.
Alexander the Great named this beautiful green paradise 'Panias' after the Greek God Pan.
He built a temple to Pan whose remains can be seen today in the Banias Nature Reserve in the Golan Heights. The nature reserve is home to the most impressive waterfall in Israel.
Beautiful willows and other trees stand along the side of the Banias stream.
The Banias Spring emerges from the foothills of Mount Hermon. It flows for several kilometers downhill, getting stronger until it culminates in the waterfall.
The beautiful Galilee is an integral part of biblical history and is full of Jewish and Christian holy sites.
Safed, or Tsfat in Hebrew is one of the most picturesque cities in the Galilee.
The city is considered the birthplace of the Jewish Kabbalah and it continues to be a center of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah studies.
It is an interesting mix of winding lanes lined by old houses, ancient synagogues, a vibrant Artist's Colony and ancient cemeteries where leading kabbalistic rabbis are buried, such as the ARI, Rabbi Isaac Luria, Rav Yosef Caro, and many more.
The city of Nazareth is often called the cradle of Christianity. It was the childhood home of Jesus.
No matter what is your religion, you should visit the impressive Church of the Annunciation. it is the largest church in the Middle East and by tradition, it is built over the site of Mary's home.
There are other churches in Nazareth such as the Greek Orthodox Church of the Archangel Gabriel, the Greek Catholic “Synagogue Church” and the Church of St. Joseph.
And there is much more to see in Nazareth than holy Christian sites! Stroll around the the winding streets of the old city, shop for spices or sweets in the market 'shuk' and enjoy a meal at one of the excellent Middle Eastern 'Galilee' restaurants.
Read more about Nazareth here.
If you interested in visiting more Christian places in the Holy Land, you can read about the ten essential Christian sites in Israel.
If you have the time, don't miss visiting Beit Shearim National Park. Its off the beaten path just 30 minutes west of Nazareth.
Beit Shearim is an amazing little place with the oldest Jewish catacombs in the world!
Discover the mysterious, ancient sarcophogi, many with beautiful engravings such as the Lions of Judah above.
The city became a center of Jewish political and economic life in Israel in the 2nd century. Although most Jews had been expelled from the Holy Land by the Romans, some stayed on in the Galilee.
Here in Beit Shearim, Judah the Prince (Yehuda HaNasi) and the Jewish Sages first wrote the Jewish oral tradition called 'the Mishna' which evolved into the Talmud.
Read more about ancient catacombs of Beit Shearim here.
One of the most fascinating places in the Galilee is the National Park of Zipori, the 'capital' of the Galilee 2,000 years ago.
Zipori was the Roman capital of northern Israel. You can walk down the streets and visit the Roman villas and see some of the best preserve mosaics in the world from 1800 years ago.
Zipori was also home to the Sanhedrin, the equivilant of the Knesset in those days. You can visit an ancient synagogue with lifelike mosaics picturing Biblical tales.
And don't miss the ancient, underground water supply channel.
Two other small places with amazing, ancient Jewish and Christian roots are Migdal which was once called Magdala, and Capernaum.
Located 10 kilometers apart, both are along the Sea of Galilee.
You can visit the remains of these ancient communities - uncovered Jewish synagogues, Christian churches, houses and warehouses along streets and ancient mosaics.
Read more about the archaeological discoveries of Ancient Magdala here.
Driving 45 minutes north of Tel Aviv along the Mediterranean Sea, you'll see from the road the southern slopes of the Carmel mountain range and the city of Zichron Yaacov along the peak.
Zichron Yaakov is a charming city built in 1882.
Drive up and walk around in the area of the pedestrian mall. You'll see the cobbled streets, some of the original and restored tiled roof homes and courtyards and the statue of the farmer commemorating Zichron Yaacov's roots.
The city was settled by idealistic Zionist immigrants from Romania and was one of the first Jewish farming towns in Israel.
The pioneers endured poverty and malaria, but refused to succumb. Finally, the Baron Edmond de Rothschild came to the rescue. He helped build the settlement and planted vineyards. The wine grapes grown in Zichron Yaacov became a huge success. Zichron is the home of Carmel Winery, the first winery of Israel and still Israel's largest.
There are other excellent wineries in the Zichron area. Taking a tour of the winery is great fun. Read more about Israel's top wine regions.
Atop Carmel Mount is the Horn of Carmel, also called Muchraka.
There's a spectacular view of Jezereel Valley from the roof the Carmelite Monastery which according to tradition, is located where the Prophet Elijah competed with the priests of Baal.
The area of Beit Oren in the Carmel Mountains is one of the most scenic in all of Israel. Its also known as 'Little Switzerland.'
Besides the scenic nature of the Carmel Mountain range, you can also find there several towns and villages. Perhaps the most famous is the Druse village of Daliyat el Carmel.
Stroll around the main shopping streets and shuks. Its a great place to find antiques and knick-knacks.
The best day to visit is on Saturday when there is an open-air bazaar.
One of the loveliest places in the Carmel is Ein Hod, the artist colony.
You can enjoy the unique atomosphere of outdoor scultpures and artwork that line the streets amid the green hills.
Its a good place torowse around the art galleries and you may want to visit the interesting the Ein Hod Art Museum and the Museum dedicated to world famous Dadaist Marcel Yanko.
Read more about what to see in Mount Carmel.
Besides being one of the loveliest places in Israel, north of Tel Aviv, the Jezreel Valley is home to places of incredible ancient history.
Megiddo is the jewel in the crown in the world of biblical archaeology.
Megiddo is the 2nd oldest city in Israel, having witnessed endless epic battles in its 11 thousand years of existence. Megiddo was located stragegically on the ancient trade route between Egypt and the northern empires of Assyria, Babylon and Aram.
It was one of the first walled cities on Earth. Only the city of Jericho is older in the Middle East.
Discover the intriguing ruins - King Solomon's Citadel and Gates, the altars, the Egyptian ruins, the underground ancient water supply system, and much more.
In Beit Shean National Park you can explore the amazing archaeological ruins. There are remains of an Egyptian city and the outstanding Roman-Byzantine city including an ancient amphitheater.
While in the Jezreel Valley, don't forget to visit Beit Alfa National Park.
You'll get to see one of the most beautiful synagogue mosaic floors in Israel, dating from the early sixth century CE.
It depicts an amazing, ancient Zodiac circle. Here is a clearer replication.
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