The summer heat is best relieved by refreshing in cool springs and rivers. The Golan Heights is the perfect location for pleasant evenings in view of the Sea of Galilee and plenty of wet activities nearby.
The Peace Vista Country Lodge
The winding road starting to the south of the Sea of Galilee, alongside the Yarmouk River in the southern Golan Heights, took our breath away. There is no doubt that it is one of the steepest and most exciting roads in Israel, providing an impressive view of the Yarmouk and its terraces, Hamat Gader springs, and Jordan. A few moments of drive and we were already in the Golan Heights heading to our destination, the Peace Vista Country Lodge (Mitzpe HaShalom) in Kfar Haruv. After a quick check-in, we crossed two rows of wooden cabins surrounded by vegetation and arrived at our cabin in the first row facing an open view of the Sea of Galilee. The children had already found their way to the scattered hammocks, while we were in awe of the view of the Sea of Galilee – in all its glory from north to south.
The cabins here are spacious, they have a bedroom and a living room with a dining area and kitchenette equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, and kettle. The bathroom features a huge jacuzzi and the children have a gallery to which they climb a ladder. The cabins are suitable for couples and families.
The resort also has a separate section for adults only, with rooms for couples and pampering water suites with a jacuzzi and a view. It is next to the Breeze Over the Water center, a relaxation complex overlooking the Sea of Galilee with three salt pools of variable salinity where unique water treatments are offered, RSVP is required. I promised myself to book it the next time I am there. This time, we enjoyed swimming in the kibbutz pool which is open to all guests.
Breakfast is delivered to the room in a basket, and includes freshly baked grain bread, omelets, salad, a selection of cheeses and spreads, juice, and croissants. I loved sitting on the balcony for breakfast, surrounded by greenery and of course facing the view if the cabin is in the first row.
The resort is located right on the cliff and has a small boardwalk overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
The view here is divine, and in the evening the guests gather to watch the sunset. After the sun goes down the mountains turn red and when the lights of Tiberias opposite come on, the sight is mesmerizing.
We spent the entire evening outside, enjoying the silence and abundance of wildlife in the area, rock hyraxes on the cliff, a family of wild boars on the slopes of the mountain going down to Ein Gav, birds, and the sounds of frogs and jackals.
Peace Vista Country Lodge, Kfar Haruv, mitzpe-hashalom.co.il (04) 676-1767
WHAT TO DO?
Right next to the cabins is a gate leading to the Peace Spring. It takes five minutes to get there, though 80 stairs have to be descended. The water is cool and clear, and there is a sitting area. Every morning I walk to it before breakfast. On the second day, I am alone there, and the spring is all mine!
One of the best summer activities is kayaking – it is a pleasure to spend an hour or two in the cool water of the Jordan River. The closest kayaks are at Abu Kayak, located in the Jordan Park Reserve, where one can continue the day with a picnic in the park. Abu Kayak is especially suitable for families with small children from age three and a half and over. The kayaking activity stretches from the heart of the Jordan Park to the inlets of the Sea of Galilee. The length of the route is about 4 km and it takes about an hour and a quarter, including briefing.
A new attraction by Abu Kayak is a guided self-drive Trek Club trip in an electric golf cart. The trip takes about an hour and a quarter. The route starts at the park, passes through the wheat fields and mango groves of Almagor, crosses the Zachi River, then on to the Bethsaida reserve, the Israeli savannah route, and back to the Jordan Park.
Abu Kayak offers services for groups including the aforementioned attractions and catering services of different types. There is a charming complex for groups here with a deck on the bank of the stream. The site has wardrobes, lockers, a kiosk, etc.
Abu Kayak, Jordan Park, abukayak.co.il (04) 692-1078, closed Saturdays
WHERE TO EAT?
Batzir 66 is an affordable kosher brasserie in the winery complex in Kfar-Tavor. In a stone country house surrounded by vegetation and vines, the dishes combine French and local Mediterranean cuisine, such as rumpsteak in pepper sauce, chimichurri asado, picanha steak fan, and more. The prices of the dishes are affordable – the starters range between NIS 39-41 and the main dishes between NIS 65-91.
The business lunch deal is particularly worthwhile, for the price of the main course you get a starter, a main course and a drink; and coffee and dessert are only NIS 20 extra. The potions are of a good size and very tasty. Along with the food, the brasserie serves fine wine from nearby Tabor Winery.
Batzir 66, Kfar Tavor, batzir66.co.il (04) 883-2665, kosher
Whenever we are in the area, we eat at the Marinado steakhouse. Marinado is a fine meat restaurant and the factory store for meat growers from the Golan Heights. The menu includes various starters such as beef filet Carpaccio, roasted eggplant salad, hummus, salads, etc. Mains have a selection of cuts such as fillet, entrecote, sirloin, and special cuts on the bone, which I highly recommend. There are also chicken dishes and hamburgers.
In addition to the excellent food, I can recommend Marinado’s house wine and their unique branded beer. The restaurant pricing is fair, with starters ranging from NIS 36-52 and most steaks costing between NIS 129-149. The service is fast and excellent.
Marinado Steakhouse, Ein Gev, marinado.co.il (04) 655-8555, not kosher
Aleta Sea Lounge
Aleta is a sea bar restaurant on the Sheldag beach located nearby the Kinneret settlement. It is the ideal restaurant for celebrating a romantic or family evening. There are seats in the interior air-conditioned space or at the bar, and there is a pleasant Greek-style courtyard. The restaurant overlooks the Sea of Galilee and serves a wide selection of wines by the glass and jazzy cocktails. Aleta’s specialty is primarily fish and seafood, but there are many meat and vegetable dishes so everyone can find a dish they like. Prices range from NIS 18-74 for starters and NIS 78-196 for main courses.
We especially liked the “bites” starters – the tuna bite on tapioca tuile and salmon sashimi bite on brioche; the seabass filet with potato gnocchi and confit tomatoes and asparagus in butter and white wine; and the salmon on conchiglie pasta with asparagus, peas, and herbs in lemon sauce and pecorino cheese. Desserts here are awesome as well – don’t miss them!
Aleta, Kinneret, en.aleta.org.il (04) 887-0040, not kosher
The author was a guest of the sites mentioned in the article.