Tourists are taking notice of Israel’s diverse landscape and the adventurous activities it offers
Beyond Israel’s most popular tourist attractions – such as Jerusalem’s Old City, the Dead Sea and Tel Aviv’s White City – the diverse country has lush forests to the north and a vibrant desert to the south, offering ample opportunities for adventure travelers to explore. Whether visitors are looking to rappel off an arch into a great and beautiful abyss, hike cross country or swim among the dolphins, adventure tourism in Israel is booming.
Spanning only 263 miles, adventure-seekers will appreciate Israel’s offerings for adventurers of every level and interest, whether they are traveling north, south, east or west.
In the North
· Rappelling at Keshet Cave: Keshet Cave, one of the lesser known rappelling sites in Israel, offers a beautiful view of Israel from the highest point in the Western Galilee, with a vista that extends to the Mediterranean Sea, Akko, Haifa and the entire Galilee. Travelers will rappel off the high natural stone arch through the air and down 130 – 165 feet with an amazing panoramic view.
· Skiing in Golan Heights: Israel isn’t known for having snow, but during the winter months, avid skiers have the opportunity to enjoy their favorite sport and jump slopes at the Mount Hermon Ski Resort in the Golan Heights. Mount Hermon has 14 ski runs and 5 chair lifts attracting about 300,000 visitors between January and March.
· Bird Watching: Bird-watching enthusiasts will love this nature reserve, as 500 million migrating birds pass through Hula Valley Nature Reserve wetlands each year. In the springtime you can find more than 390 different species of birds passing through and stopping in this valley, which truly makes for a magical site to see.
· Hot air balloon ride - If adrenaline isn’t calling out to you, enjoy a leisurely Hot Air Balloon ride in the Jazreel Valley as you watch the sun rise over the horizon with champagne breakfast
In the South
· Sand Boarding: With a significant part of Israel being covered by desert, travelers can jeep across the dunes in the Negev Desert. Throughout the area are a variety of clear and suitable sand dunes that are perfect for sand surfing.
· Swimming with Dolphins: The famous Dolphin Reef in Eilat is an ecological site that is a natural habitat for dolphins, allowing animal-lovers to get up close and swim along with the dolphins as they enjoy the beautiful coral reef.
· Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, Eilat’s coral reef is one of Israel’s most popular areas for snorkeling and scuba diving. Home to over 250 coral species and more than 1,200 fish species, travelers can expect to see a variety of turtles, rays, butterfly fish, parrotfish, octopus, lionfish and more. Perfect for families with kids, the Underwater Observatory Park allows visitors to explore its marine life 40 feet below the surface with two submerged observation decks.
· Tandem skydiving - Enjoy a birds’ eye view of the Mediterranean, Dead or Red Sea when you go skydiving in Israel
· Rapelling on the cliffs of the world’s largest natural crater - The Ramon Crater in Israel’s Negev Desert is the world’s largest natural erosion crater or makhtesh. Go rappelling on the cliffs of the crater, camel ride or horseback ride along its rim or hop on a jeep tour and head to Bio Ramon, home to 40 species of desert wildlife. Sleep beneath the stars at the only campsite in the makhtesh, Be’erot campground, to experience Bedouin hospitality in its true spirit
· Hiking the Israel National Trail: Covering Israel from top to bottom, hikers will traverse a wide range of landscapes as they trek roughly 683 miles from north to south and east to west. From the green hills of the Galilee to the orange desert in the Negev, backpackers will enjoy all the beauty Israel has to offer. Wadis are magnets for hikers and bikers alike and canyons are ideal for wild ibex and gazelle sightings. Alternatively, cycle on the Dead Sea shore or the Nahal Pratzim River Valley Trail that offers stunning mountain scenery and a possible stop in the Flour Cave, a definite thrill as it is spookily white inside
· ATV or Jeep Tours: ATV and Jeep tours offer thrill-seekers the opportunity to explore Israel in style, whether they want to explore the Golan, the Galilee, the Judean or Negev deserts. Each tour is custom tailored to leave every traveler speechless as they explore the adventurous side of Israel. Take a jeep tour to Timna Park in Eilat, home to the world’s first copper mine, with beautiful hikes in the Red Canyon.
· Windsurfing and Kitesurfing: A popular activity in Tel Aviv, Eilat and the Sea of Galilee, travelers have the opportunity to experience this favorite sport in different conditions. Beginners can take a course at the prestigious windsurfing and kitesurfing school north of Tel Aviv.
· White water rafting – True adrenaline rush can be experienced while rafting on the River Jordan with incredible rapids that have narrow passages bordered by overhanging trees. If the rapids are too intense, one can go water-skiing, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, parasailing or enjoy a number of water activities all year round in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Sea of Galilee