Nature in Israel: 10 Beautiful Places

Israel is small. It spreads to a length of 424 km and to a width that ranges between 114 km to 15 km at its most narrow point. But within its short borders, it has plenty of beautiful and varied landscapes. As a local Israeli, I’ve had plenty of time to discover Israel’s different gems. There’s plenty of nature in Israel. Here are 10 of my favorite places:

1 – The Ramon Crater:

One of the most impressive natural places in Israel is the Ramon Crater, also known as Makhtesh Ramon. Ramon Crater is the largest of seven erosion craters in the world. It is about 40 km long and 9 km wide. At its deepest point, it is 350 meters deep! When you stand on the outer edge of the crater and look inside, you see a bathtub full of colors and shapes. But the best way to truly experience the natural beauty of the Makhtesh is to start hiking inside it. You’ll find amazing wadis and a variety of colorful stones. Geology is everywhere. There are many campgrounds within the crater if you wish to stay there the night. But many of them do not have drinking water, light, restrooms and other facilities.

Bonus Fact: It is called Ramon Crater thanks to the Romans, who crossed through it along the ancient Incense Route.

Where to find it? The Ramon Crater is right next to the settlement of Mitzpe Ramon. In Hebrew, “Mitzpe Ramon” means “the overlook over Ramon”. It is located in the Highlands of the Negev Desert, about 200 km from Tel Aviv, which is about a 2-hours’ drive.

Best thing – it’s free of charge!

The Ramon Crater in Israel
Entering the Ramon Crater

2 – The Hidden Lake:

Hidden from sight, this “lake” is actually an old mining quarry. People used this quarry to mine copper in the 1970s. But the quarry shut down in 1978 following the decrease of the copper stock. When it got abandoned, the people no longer pumped out the groundwater, so it flooded the place.

I have lived in Eilat for several years, and this spot was a wonderful getaway from the city. Local people come here to enjoy the cool water and the beautiful scenery in the middle of the desert. People who I take here call this place “paradise”. You can swim in the lake, but don’t put your eyes and mouth in it. The water is quite salty! And be careful as there is no lifeguard.

Where to find it? Not a lot of people know about this place, so let’s keep it a secret! If you want to get there, you can download our app – “Travel Israel by Travelkosh” – and ask me about it via the Chat. I’m Lior, by the way. What I can say is that this Hidden Lake is about 25 km north of Eilat.

Best thing – it’s free of charge!

The Hidden Lake near Timna Park, Israel
The Hidden Lake from above

3 – Agamon Hula:

Agamon Hula is another lake, but a completely artificial one. It’s located up north, where everything is green and beautiful. It is most famous for its great bird population. If you’re fond of bird watching, this is one of the most popular spots for this activity in Israel. The other spot is near Eilat, in the Eilat Birdwatching Park.

When I come to Agamon Hula, I love renting a bike and riding around the artificial lake. There’s a long, paved, well-maintained path circling the entire lake. On the way, you encounter a great variety of animals – not only birds! I recommend arriving early in the morning to see how everything is waking up.

You can read more about this site through the official website of Agamon Hula.

Where to find it? Agamon Hula is in the Upper Galilee area, about 36 km north of the Sea of Galilee. If you come from Tel Aviv, it will take about 2 hours to arrive there.

It’s free if you walk and don’t rent a bike.

Check out this amazing video by BirdingIsrael:

4 – Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve:

Up in the Jerusalem Hills hides the largest cave of stalactites in Israel. A professional guide of the “Israel Nature and Parks Authority” leads the tour inside the cave. They take you on a short route between the ancient rock formations. If you have a great imagination, you’ll be able to spot different shapes. Amongst them are the “elephant ears”, the “princess” and the “cake”. The tour includes an explanatory movie as well, which adds to the fun!

You can read more about this site in the official website of the Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve.

Where to find it? The Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve is located about 35 km from Jerusalem. It is about 35 minutes by car.

It costs money to enter.

Watch this beautiful video by Eyal Bartov:

5 – Rosh Hanikra:

Another amazing site is Rosh Hanikra. This chalk cliff meets the Mediterranean Sea at the northwesternmost point of Israel. Get on the shortest and steepest cable car in the world, where the cliff’s grottos are. Before entering the grottos, I recommend to watch the short film shown in the old railway tunnel. The film tells about the natural wonder, the grottos, and also about the history of the place. Yes, this place is not only about nature in Israel. It has also been a major point throughout human history.

The powerful waves of the sea crash inside the grottos. It’s amazing! It’s also beautiful to look at the sea from up top, before going down the cable car. This area of the sea is a nature reserve comprising of three islands. It is the only nesting place of certain rare birds in Israel. These birds are the common tern, the white wagtail, and the European herring gull. It is not allowed to visit those islands, so you can only see them for afar on a clear day.

You can read more about this site in the official website of Rosh Hanikra.

Where to find it? Rosh Hanikra stands at the northwesternmost point of Israel, on the border with Lebanon. It is about 42 km north of Haifa, which is about 40 minutes by car.

It costs money to enter.

Rosh HaNikra in Israel
Rosh HaNikra rock formations

6 – The Red Sea:

So, as I’ve already mentioned, I’ve had the honor to live in Eilat for a couple of years. I always loved looking at the amazing Red Sea and the Edom Mountains, which frame it from behind. The Red Sea and the mountains change their colors very often. Expect to see beautiful shades of blue and turquoise along with amazing shades of purple, pink, grey and brown.

But the best part about the Red Sea is that it is home to the northernmost coral reef in the world. You can rent a snorkel or diving gear and start exploring the amazing underwater life. I recommend to go as far south as possible to see the most beautiful reefs. You can also join a diving tour, as the diving guides know exactly where all the outstanding points are. If you prefer snorkeling, the Coral Beach Nature Reserve is another one of my favorite picks.

The official website: Coral Beach Nature Reserve.

Where to find it? The Red Sea is right next to the city of Eilat on the Israeli side and the city of Aqaba on the Jordanian side. It is the southernmost point of Israel.

Best thing – it’s free of charge, unless you rent equipment for exploring it from the inside.

Watch this nice video by the Eilat Municipality:

7 – The Eilat Mountains:

The desert surroundings of Eilat are beautiful. The well-maintained road number 12 goes up to the Eilat Mountains and drives through them. You can stop at some points along the way and explore the surroundings by foot. Everything is so colorful up there – orange yellow, brown, black and even pink! I recommend climbing up Mount Yoash to enjoy a great view of the borders – Israel, Jordan, Arab Saudi and Egypt. It’s a short and quite easy 20 minutes’ climb to the top. And of course, there’s the Red Canyon, a short trail through the beautiful, reddish Wadi Shani.

Best thing – it’s free of charge!

On the Eilat Mountains in Israel
On the Eilat Mountains

8 – Keshet Cave:

Well, this isn’t a cave anymore. The Keshet Cave was once a cave formed by karstic processes, but at some point it collapsed. It left us only with a beautiful arch. “Keshet” in Hebrew means “arch”. A short path leads to it. You can take some nice photos, but it’s most famous as a rappelling site. So if you’re into rappelling, you should try and book some rappelling in advance!

There’s a great story behind the formation of the Keshet Cave. The story takes us back hundreds of years ago. There was a gang of Bedouin bandits, who used the top of the cave as a lookout point over the nearest road. People travelled along this road daily, sometimes very rich people. Those were the people that the bandits were looking for. They robbed a lot of gold along the years. One day, they heard that a very-very wealthy man was planning to travel on the road the next morning. They had a chance to become very-very rich, so they were very excited. They planned the attack on his entourage all day long.

During the night, the chief of the bandits had a very unusual dream. An angel came to him and told him: “It’s time to go. Hell is waiting for you.” He asked: “Why?” And the angel told him: “Because you are a bandit”. “If I am a bandit and it is already over, then why have you come to me?” asked the man. “Because I want to hear if you have any way of improving yourself,” said the angel. “You know what?” said the man, “I will be a good man from now on, and will only do good deeds.”

The chief woke up all sweaty and went to his two fellow bandits to tell them: “I don’t want to be a bandit anymore. I’m not going to take part in this robbery today.” They tried to convince him to stay, but he refused to hear them. He even decided that he will stand up on the top of the cave and warn the entourage. The two other bandits understood that their chief is not the same and so decided to kill him. “We’ll push him off the edge of the cave,” they said to themselves. But when they came behind his back, the angel saw them from above and collapsed the cave beneath their feet. The chief remained on the arch of the cave, and the other two bandits fell down to their death.

Where to find it? Keshet Cave is located in the Admit Park in the western part of the Upper Galilee. It is about 53 km north of Haifa, which means about 50 minutes by car.

Best thing – it’s free of charge!

Keshet Cave in Israel
Keshet Cave

9 – The Dead Sea:

I’ve kept it close to last on the list, but it doesn’t mean anything about its beauty. The Dead Sea is one of the most relaxing and amazing places in Israel. It is a worldwide nature wonder thanks to its mineral-rich, salty waters. Unfortunately, much of the Dead Sea had already dried up. Its southern part is actually an artificial salt pool made in the area of Ein Bokek. Make your way to one of the northern beaches if you want to experience the real Dead Sea, which hasn’t dried up yet.

Where to find it? The Dead Sea is in the Judean Desert, about 430 meters under the sea, at the lowest point on Earth. It is about half an hour away from Jerusalem by car.

The northern beaches have an entrance fee, but there are a lot of great facilities.

The Dead Sea in Israel
The Dead Sea

10 – Mount Arbel:

There are many beautiful lookout points in Israel, but this one is one of my personal favorites. If you don’t want to hike to the top, you can drive up there and enjoy the view without any physical effort. The lookout from Mount Arbel overlooks the amazing Sea of Galilee, the Galilee and Golan mountains and the agricultural fields of the area, . On clear days you can even see the city of Safed. The mountain rises to a height of about 180 meters above sea level, and about 390 meters above the Sea of Galilee!

You can read more about it in the official website of the Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve.

Where to find it? Mount Arbel rises above the Sea of Galilee, not far from the city of Tiberias.

It costs money to enter.

Check out this beautiful video by Tal Hanoci:

Those are my ten favorite natural places in Israel. Hope you’ll enjoy the beautiful nature in Israel!

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The article was written by Lior Connelly, Israeli tour guide and owner of Backpack Israel, the ultimate website for budget travelers.


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