Beyond Israel’s Sacred Treasures Lies an Adventure Wonderland Unknown to Most

Beyond its religious treasures, Israel has 81 national parks, about 400 nature reserves, and opportunities for diving, surfing, skiing, and desert sports. They embody its slogan, “Israel, Exactly Like Nowhere Else.”

While many travel to Israel to explore the sacred sites of Jerusalem and the coastal city of Tel Aviv, the country’s wealth of outdoor experiences remains largely unknown to many. 

Just ask Scott Bakken, an adventure lover who has visited Israel many times. “Time and again, I’ve journeyed to Israel, drawn by its profound spiritual resonance. Yet, beyond its sacred significance lies a myriad of experiences waiting to be uncovered. Visit Tel Aviv’s pristine beaches or get lost in the magic of a sunset yacht cruise. For those with an adventurous spirit looking to get more rugged, the Negev offers thrilling ATV rides, immersive glamping, and invigorating hikes,” he says. 

“Israel is a land so rich in experiences that one visit simply isn’t enough,” Bakken explains.

Dive Into Israel’s Underwater Archaeological Park

Caesarea Underwater Archaeological Park - Israel
Photo Credit: [@lucidwaters/DepositPhotos]

Caesarea Underwater Archaeological Park, the first of its kind, is an experience for those drawn to the mysteries of the sea and the history of the ancient world. Located in northern Israel, off the coast of Caesarea, lies the remains of a 2,000-year-old city constructed in the first century BCE by King Herod. 

Diving or snorkeling in this 50-acre underwater world isn’t just a recreational activity—it’s a journey back in time. Under the blue waters of the Mediterranean, travelers are greeted by a sunken harbor, where they’ll see the wreck of a steamer, two ancient towers, granite and marble columns, and old anchors, all silently telling stories from the past. 

The Caesarea Underwater Archaeological Park is more than just a historical site. It’s also a thriving marine sanctuary. Visitors can explore reefs, canyons, and caves alongside the Mediterranean marine life that now inhabits this ancient city.

Explore National Parks and Nature Reserves

Rosh Hanikra Achziv Marine Reserve - Israel
Photo Credit: [@kobbydagan/DepositPhotos]

With 81 national parks and some 400 nature reserves, making up about 20% of the country, outdoor adventures in Israel may seem endless. But with so many options, how does a traveler choose where to go? That’s whee the Israel Pass comes in. Visitors can pick from among three different park passes that offer access to some of Israel’s most notable national parks at a discount. Some options also include transportation. The pass covers popular national parks, including Masada, Ein Gedi, and Israel’s newest marine nature reserve, Rosh Hanikra-Achziv.

Rosh Hanikra-Achziv Marine Reserve, is the only marine nature reserve on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, providing 11 exciting miles of underwater adventure for snorkelers and divers. The area features islands, rocky underwater terrain, and a deep canyon that plunges nearly 2,800 feet. There are also opportunities for kayaking, windsurfing, standup paddleboarding, and four beaches for relaxation. 

Miles of Surf-Ready Mediterranean Coastline

Tel Aviv Beach - Israel
Photo Credit: [@Dudlajzov/DepositPhotos]

Israel’s surf scene, dating back to 1956, is a vibrant and growing community of passionate surfers. Israel is at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, and anything generated within the Mediterranean ultimately reaches the shore. While the surf is mainly wind swell, there are times when mid-period waves can reach heights of six or more feet. 

Winter is considered the best time to surf in Israel. Tel Aviv, the country’s surfing capital, is home to Israel’s most famous surf spot, Hilton Beach. Surf shops that offer surfing lessons are all over Tel Aviv, making it easy for visitors to hit the waves.

“Meet The Desert” at Israel’s Timna Park

Timna Park - Israel
Photo Credit: [@mirovic/DepositPhotos]

Timna Park is one of the largest parks in Israel, covering about 70,000 acres. The park is famous for its impressive rock formations, including Solomon’s Pillars, the Chariots, the Arches, and Mushroom Rock. Timna Park is home to some of the world’s oldest known copper mines, dating back to the time of the ancient Egyptians.

Visitors can explore Timna Park by foot, bicycle, e-bike, or car, making it easy for anyone to enjoy. The park has hiking trails suitable for all hikers, guided tours, challenging cycling tracks, ziplining, pedal boats at Timna Lake, rock climbing, and bouldering opportunities. 

Mount Hermon: Israel’s Winter Wonderland

Mount Hermon Ski Resort - Israel
Photo Credit: [@makarenko/DEpositPhotos]

Despite Israel’s predominantly sun-soaked climate, Mount Hermon transforms into a winter wonderland during the colder months. In fact, it’s Israel’s only skiable mountain.

At nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, the Mount Hermon ski area offers 27 miles of terrain perfect for skiers, snowboarders, and other winter sports enthusiasts. With 11 chair lifts, a ski school, and equipment rentals, visitors can enjoy snow sledding, an alpine coaster, cable car rides, and snow games.

“Israel, Exactly Like Nowhere Else”

Dead Sea - Israel
Photo Credit: [@kavramm/DepositPhotos]

Israel is a land of surprising diversity, offering far more than its religious landmarks. Beyond the sacred sites lies a largely untapped world of landscapes waiting to be uncovered. From its national parks and sun-kissed deserts to nearly 200 miles of coastline, Israel invites travelers on a journey of discovery and adventure “exactly like nowhere else.”

This article originally appeared on Media Decision. Featured Photo Credit: [@alexeys/DEpositPhotos]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandrea Sumuel - Groves is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. Her work has appeared on MSN, YAHOO!, Euronews, and FOX, ABC, and NBC affiliates across the United States. 

Alex travels to experience, eat, explore, and occasionally escape! She collaborates with destinations, vacation property management companies, and hospitality technology firms to provide her readers with exclusive insights and information.