A visit to Israel’s northern-most region, The Golan Heights, is a treat at any time of the year. The region is known for its mountainous terrain, stunning landscapes, award-winning wines, and of course, its natural beauty. There’s no doubt that adding a few days on your Holy Land tour in The Golan Heights will only enrich your entire trip. In fact, this may quickly become your favorite part of Israel! With so much to do and see, let’s take a look at the highlights of The Golan Heights so that you can get a better idea of all the fantastic sites the whole family can enjoy.
As the tallest mountain in Israel, Mount Hermon is a popular destination for both local and international tourists. The peak season here is during the winter, where you’re almost guaranteed to see snow on a yearly basis. While you may not envision Israel as a place for winter sports, visitors to Mount Hermon can enjoy skiing or snowboarding on the slopes with amazing views of The Golan Heights surrounding you. Typically, the peak time for skiing is in January and February, but that can change each year depending on the weather trends.
Golan Heights Winery
Undeniably one of the largest and most influential wineries in Israel, the Golan Heights Winery is responsible for bringing new wine-making techniques to the country in the early 1980s. Visitors here can take a tour of the vineyards and cellars, enjoy a wine tasting accompanied by local cheeses, and view a short movie explaining the history of the area. The wines produced here, namely the Gamla, Yarden, and Golan labels are distributed internationally in over 30 countries. Paired with the stunning mountainous surroundings, this winery is not to be missed on any Israel wine tour!
The main attraction in the Banias Nature Reserve is the stunning Banias waterfall, the tallest in Israel. Like Mount Hermon, this spot is also popular during the winter months. The snow melts off the mountains and gushes through the falls, making it a beautiful sight and a nice place to cool down. Banias Nature Reserve is popular with both locals and tourists alike for its natural wonders. If you’re after something a little more active, there are many great trails in the area where you can get different views of the nature reserve. You’ll surely work up an appetite at the waterfall or on the trek, so be sure to stop for some delicious local Druze Pita!
Rafting on the Jordan River
Cool down by jumping on a raft and cruising down the Jordan River! Rafting on the Jordan River is best suited for the summer months when the water is warmer and more pleasant. But don’t worry about the heat. Not only will you be surrounded by refreshing water, but the river itself is quite shaded by a natural canopy of trees. Your journey can be as relaxing or exciting as you want it to be. Lay down in your raft and let the water take you on a leisurely trip down the river, or opt for a more challenging route and paddle down the rapids while getting splashed with water. After a long day touring The Golan Heights, an afternoon spent on the Jordan River is the perfect activity for the whole family!
Gamla National Park
If you’re after historical and natural landscapes, then Gamla National Park is a must-see in The Golan Heights. One of the main attractions is the large vultures that the park is home to. Hike the trails and spot these magnificent birds soaring overhead. Mount Gamla in the park is known as the “Masada of the North” due to its similar story. The Romans besieged the city on the mountaintop and in order to avoid capture, its inhabitants committed mass suicide. Now, the location is home to an interesting archeological site. Lastly, there’s also a waterfall here to visit. Visitors can hike the trail past interesting rock formations to reach the beautiful 170ft waterfall at the end.
The Nimrod Fortress is located in the northern part of Israel’s Golan Heights. It’s a real treat for anyone willing to stray off the beaten path. This medieval fortress is perched on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon, not far from the Banias Spring. If you hike to the fortress, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the forests and mountains of The Golan Heights. You can also explore inside the 13th-century fortress and learn about its history. For a more scenic view, we recommend organizing a tour to go see the amazing site just before sunset. The fortress is illuminated and the Meditteranean sunset as a backdrop will surely make for some beautiful photos and great memories!
Trek up to Mount Bental for the amazing views on the valleys below. This place is also a great point to learn more about Israel’s military history. On the mountain, there is an old base and bunkers on the mountain. If you’re traveling with children, they’ll be able to walk through some of the old bunkers as parts of them are open to exploring. From the top of the mountain, you can actually see Syria in the distance. Grab a coffee at the cafe at the top of the mountain and take in the stunning view of Israel’s magnificent Golan Heights from a unique vantage point.
Golan Hiking Trail
Looking for something a little more adventurous? Then the Golan Hiking Trail is the perfect option for you. Opt to hike parts of it, or work up the courage to take on the entire 125km trail. The trail itself begins at Mount Hermon and ends by the Sea of Galilee. You’ll surely want to go for a dip after all that hiking! The entire hike will take you around one week. However, locals and tourists often choose sections of the trail for a one or two day hike.
There are so many things to do and see in The Golan Heights. You can easily spend weeks there taking in all the natural landscapes, going on hikes, and relaxing by the cool rivers and waterfalls. Our travel experts at Mazada Tour would be thrilled to put together a customized Golan Heights itinerary for you! This can be done as part of a larger Israel tour, or as a standalone Golan Heights itinerary. Contact us today to get started so that you can discover the beauty of Israel’s Golan Heights for yourself!