National Park in Israel is very abundant of Biblical sites because it is where most of Christian events accounted in the Bible took place. The remnants of post-biblical Jewish, Roman, Byzantine, Muslim and Crusader settlements and most of the national parks have been associated with these sites. Many of these went through centuries of abandon and neglect. But luckily, with the intervention of God, Israel was transformed into something very winsome, something very beautiful. Something that draws millions of tourists each year. The National Parks Authority, a group that looks after these sites, had to undertake restoration programs, and provide amenities and access for every tourist. Here is a list of some of the national parks in Israel that are really worth visiting for.
Hurshat Tal National Park
The National Park is located in the north of Hula Valley – which is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the wonders of nature.
A single stream from the Dan River which passes through the park to fill a huge pond – which is best for swimming. They also have this fishing area which provides relaxation with no additional charges to worry.
The growth of 240 giant oaks of Mount tabor, is one of the reasons why the 25 acre national park were considered a nature reserve. After rainy season, many spring flowers and anemones of various colors adorned the park’s surroundings.
The drive to Hurshat Tal National Park is located on road 99 about 5 km east of the Metsudot junction. The whole day tour lasts for 2 hours. The park offers facilities such as: guest rooms, bungalows, showers, picnic sites, snack bar, lifeguard and the giant water-slide. It is open from 8am– 5pm in the months of April–October, 8am–4pm in the months of November–March, and 8am– 3pm on Fridays and holidays. Campground reception hour starts from 2pm–11pm. Hurshat Tal National Park’s entrance fee costs 36 NIS for adults and 22 NIS for children. Senior citizens get 50% discount.
Tel Hazor National Park
Flourished in the Middle Bronze Age and the Israelite period, it was described in the Bible as “the head of all those kingdoms”.
It is an archaeological mound that is divided into two parts: the acropolis and the lower city. It features fortifications from the Middle Bronze Age, the large, Late Bronze Age ‘palace,’ a case mate wall attributed to King Solomon, a cultic site from the period of the settlement of the Israelite tribes and a storehouse attributed to the time of King Ahab. Tel Hazor National Park belongs to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
The drive to Tel Hazor National Park is road no. 90, an exit toward Ayelet HaShasar. The park opens from 8am–5pm on the months of April–September, 8am–4pm on the months of October– March, and 8am–3pm on Fridays and holidays. The length of the tour lasts for 1–3 hours. The parks’ entrance fee costs 20 NIS for adults and 9 NIS for children.
Capernaum National Park
A fishing village in Jesus’ time, this is where most of his Galilee ministry took place. The site fulfilled such a central role in the life of Jesus that it was sometimes called “the town of Jesus.
The frequently visited area was a first-century C.E – which is a Christian dwelling place. They have found a Greek fragment bearing inscriptions in 173 plaster. Some are written like “our Lord; “the Nazarene,” “the greatest of all” and “Simon,” attested to the existence of a Christian community.
They have made a dock – which allows visitors to sail to Capernaum from Tiberias and Ein Gev. Now, the park shelters natural and domesticated plants, through which pilgrims can wander as they connect to the sacred history of the site. One of the trees which naturally grows in the spot is the Christ-thorn jujube – which the crown of thorn that Jesus wore at his crucifixion was made from.
How to Get There
Capernaum is situated on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee. From Capernaum junction on the Tiberias-Rosh Pina road no. 90, then turn east to road 87 and drive for 4 km. An information booth is established at the national park, with a souvenir shop, toilets, a restaurant and a snack bar. The park is open from 8am–4pm daily.
City of David (Jerusalem Walls) National Park
It is the city where kings and prophets walked. It is the ancient center-point of Jerusalem located south of the Temple Mount and is surrounded on all sides by valleys, near the Gihon Spring. Walls and towers that protected the city from its enemies will be seen in the site. Visitors can also dip in the Gihon Spring and get to know its dwellings and historical figures as they are reflected in the Bible and in archaeological excavations.
To reach Mount Zion parking lot, take the street passing the old railroad station, past the Cinemateque and turn right on to the road above the Hinom Valley, and walk along the base of the Old City wall to the City of David Visitors Center. The park’s daily tour lasts for three hours including a walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Facilities and services offered in the park are: snack bar, rental of flashlights and water shoes; and guided tours for groups and individuals.
The park is open from 8am–7pm on the months of April–September, 8am–5pm on the months of October–March and 8am–3pm on Fridays and Holidays. The entrance fee costs 25NIS for adults and 13NIS for children.
En Gedi Nature Reserve and Natural Park
It is blessed with two streams, the David Stream in the north and the Arugot Stream in the south.
The combination of En Gedi’s location and its fresh water sources allow animals and plants to live harmoniously. This includes the acacia, the Christ-thorn and the Sodom apple. Among the mammals in the site are herds of ibex and groups of hyrax, which visitors can meet close at hand.
There are three main trails in the En Gedi Stream. The lower David Stream, which leads up to the spectacular David Waterfall. The trail for experienced hikers t is called the upper David Trail, which begins at the David Stream and continues up the slope to the Shulamit Spring. The Tsafit trail that leads to the dry Window Waterfall and canyon, the En Gedi Spring and the lower David Stream. This trail follows the seam between the arid parts of the reserve. It begins at the En Gedi Field Study Center and continues along the northern bank of the David Stream, descends to the dry Window Waterfall, and finally crosses to the southern bank of the stream to the En Gedi Spring, ending at the lower En Gedi Stream.
The reserve is located off the Dead Sea road no. 90 about one kilometer north of Kibbutz En Gedi. The all day tour lasts for 1 and a half hour. The reserve opens from 8am–5pm in the months of April–September and 8am–4pm in the months of October–March. The entrance fee costs 25NIS for adults and 13NIS for children.
Masada National Park
It is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. This National Park is the symbol of determination and heroism
This site is an ancient fortress built by Herod. It has large and small palaces, a bathhouse, storerooms for food and drink and many other amenities. This is also where the historic mass suicide of the Jew rebels occurred.
The top of the Masada mesa can be accessed through a cable-car, or by a couple of trails called: ramp trail– a steep but rather brief trail that goes up from the western parking lot and takes 20 minutes to hike; and Snake Path– a steeper and longer trail that ascends from the eastern parking lot of the Masada and takes 45 minutes to hike.
Among the activities that Masada National Park showcases are: a rip- roaring audio- visual show that recounts the incredible story of the rebels’ remaining days at the Masada. The show occurs on the months of March to October every Tuesday and Thursday. You can actually attend the show without reservations. However, groups of more than 30 members must schedule a reservation ahead of time. There’s also the Audio-Guide at Masada.
Through the use of this, you may wander the area and listen to the spine–tingling and fascinating story of the rebels, including all the latest archaeological and other information. The audio-guide will help you to choose trivia to listen to which originated from 2,000 years ago, including ‘the king’s bedroom, gossip and the politics. The entrance fee for the audio visual show costs 45NIS for adults, and 31NIS for children. Overnight camping near the site of the audio– visual show is also at hand for groups with reservation. Facilities include a large tent and areas where smaller tents may be pitched, as well as toilets, cooking areas and barbecue equipment.
How to Get There
Masada is found approximately 12 kilometers north of Eh Bokek and 18 kilometers south of Eh Gedi. It is open from 8am–5pm in the months of April–September, 8am–4pm in the months of October–March, and 8am–3pm on Fridays and Holidays.