Seasoned travelers with an unquenchable thirst for out-of-the-way places and fine wines, should simply rent a car with a good GPS receiver, departing the central metropolis of Tel Aviv, bound for the Golan Heights with strategically timed stop off’s along the way for fortification, brief forays into nature and exquisite culinary satisfaction for the discerning palate.
Travelers inevitably experience an extreme increase in appetite as soon as they get in the car and begin their drive. If you get an early start, I would suggest driving straight to the Golan Heights, stopping off for the necessary cup of coffee, etc., and then you should make your first stop off at Hummus Abu Adham at Kefar Yasif, for what some claim to be the best hummus in Israel. However, if you get a late start, then you could make a strategic right turn at the Zikron Ya’acov exit to get a true taste of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, at El-Babur
Perhaps one of the best (and also the most famous) of authentic Arab cuisine is El-Babur, a family owned restaurant from Um-el-Fahem, that now has a new branch in Yokneam. The food, unlike the decor, is absolutely amazing. They offer a large variety of traditional salads and their kubbeh is one of the best in the country and the El-Babur kebab is unforgettable.
No matter what you choose: Hummus or fine Arab cuisine, from here you should travel directly to the upper Galilee to Kibbutz Yaron where you will find a fabulous winery and after a healthy wine tasting, you should proceed towards Metula to the Ayun Valley nature reserve where you can observe a beautiful waterfall.
There are numerous accommodation options in this area. Most people decide to stay in one of the rustic cabins managed by locals known as a “Tzimmer”. The word “rustic” could be construed as a misnomer since many of these rooms have undergone a complete renovation and are quite modern with luxuries like Jacuzzi and sauna and many other luxury amenities.
After a hearty, traditional Israeli breakfast which is usually included in the accommodation package, you should set out for the Mount Herman Ski Resort, but not necessarily for skiing. It is situated just a few kilometers from the Syrian border but is quite safe. This site forms part of the Herman Nature Reserve, and the views are simply stunning. One unique factor of this site is that it is not adjacent to any town as most ski resorts are. This adds to the al fresco feel of the place that can be visited in all seasons.
From here, you should proceed to the Nimrod Fortress or the “Castle of the Large Cliff” as it is known in Hebrew. This Crusader castle built in the 13th century is a fantastic site for late morning explorations. And after all the exertion felt from such pleasurable attractions, one begins to feel hungry, and your next stop will be at the mystical restaurant: The Witch’s Cauldron and the Milkman.
Situated in a wooden cabin, graced with plentiful windows overlooking the magnificent view of Birkat Ram you will experience a magical dining adventure. You will be able to choose from a large variety of pot-cooked dishes. From lamb in the pot to veal ossobuco, to Salmon or cheese from the milkman and wine from the witchcraft series, there is a distinctive flavor to match even the most discerning of palates.
If you are still in the mood for wine, then continue on to the Yekev Bazelet Hagolan. Here you can sample a large variety of kosher wines. From here, it will be time for another foray into nature, and this time it will include another waterfall.
The Banias Nature Reserve is one of the jewels in the crown of Upper Galilee nature attractions. It is a natural spring and archaeological site by the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Herman in the Golan Heights. After this climax, it would probably be a good time to head home. On your way back to Tel Aviv, you drive straight to your destination with no stop offs for food and wine.
Please feel free to contact Mazada Tours for further information and special deals.
By Brent J. Mitchell