Israel is full of exciting attractions beyond the typical tourist spots of the Dead Sea and Masada. The following five hidden gems showcase another side of the country’s fascinating history. From stunning grottoes to artist colonies, get a unique taste of Israel by exploring these less-known, yet wonderful destination spots and prepare to be amazed.
Located in the farthest point north of Israel’s Mediterranean Coastline, Rosh HaNikra is a geological formation from which you can experience the beauty of the Mediterranean sea from a unique vantage point. A cable car transports visitors up to explore the breathtaking grottoes (pro-tip: wear sports shoes, as the path tends to be quite slippery). The frequently stormy weather creates a spectacle of waves crashing through the grottoes, so be prepared to get wet.
For hiking enthusiasts, this is a must-visit; Ein Gedi is one of Israel’s top hiking spots. There are over nine different hiking trails, which can last between half an hour or a day. The basic hike has incredible views of the Israeli landscape, and along the trail you will find cooling waterfalls and pools, which epitomize Ein Gedi’s status as a desert oasis. Furthermore, this spot is full of biblical references. It is believed to be where the young King David took refuge from King Saul in the Bible. Additionally, archaeological remains found in Ein Gedi trace its history back 5,000 years.
The Apollonia National Park is an absolute hidden treasure located between bustling Tel Aviv and Herzliya Pituach. You’ll discover cliffs with unobstructed and stunning views of the clear water beaches below. Also, for history buffs, visitors can explore the Crusade-era fortress, which was built between 1241 and 1265. This is truly a great spot to escape the city, sit back, relax and take in the view.
Apollonia National Park, Herzliya, Israel, 09-955-0929
Set in the Carmel Forest near Haifa, this picturesque village covered with the residents’ art was established by artist Marcel Janco in 1953. There are 150 artists and their families residing currently in Ein Hod; it is the only artists’ village in the whole of Israel. Tourists can visit the artists’ studios, which are open to the public, and talk with the artists themselves about their artwork and their methods. Make sure to visit the Janco-Dada Museum, which features the work of the Village’s founder, as well as art activities for children. For art lovers, this town is undoubtedly a must-see.
Janco-Dada Museum, Ein Hod, Israel, 04-984-2350
This national park is a secret paradise on the northern coastline of Israel. In Achziv you’ll find rocky shorelines, clear water pools, and small marine life such as octopi and anemones that like to play along the rocks. This spot is also known for its unusual history: in 1972 an Israeli man named Eli Avivi founded a micronation called ‘Achzivland’ on its grounds. Achzivland was famous for wild counterculture parties back in the 1970s and 1980s, so if you spot Eli or his wife, be sure to ask them for fascinating stories.
Achziv National Park, Rt. 2 Nahariya, Israel, 04-982-3263