Travel to Tirat Hacarmel this summer

Tirat Hacarmel at the foot of the Carmel Forest, is one of the least-known cities in Israel, but should be your vacation destination this summer.

THE KEDEM Hotel: Putting Tirat Hacarmel on the map. (photo credit: SIMPLEX HOTEL MARKETING)
THE KEDEM Hotel: Putting Tirat Hacarmel on the map.
(photo credit: SIMPLEX HOTEL MARKETING)
How many times have you vacationed in Tirat Hacarmel? If the answer is “never,” you are not alone. Well, we are here this week to change that and to get you out of your usual surroundings and introduce you to the quaint little town that sits alongside the old Haifa-Tel Aviv highway. 
Tirat Hacarmel, located in one of the most magical areas of the country, at the foot of the Carmel Forest, is one of the least-known cities in Israel. Other than being the butt of a joke following a 1980s TV series, the sleepy town hasn’t drawn much attention to itself over the years. This began to change, however, in 2019, when the Kedem Hotel was built on a hilltop overlooking the gorgeous Carmel Mountain range.
The Kedem Hotel has done for Tirat Hacarmel what the Carmel Spa did for the entire region: It put Tirat Hacarmel on the map and attracted tourists who normally don’t visit this area. And even if people did come here for a hike or to visit for a few hours, they would leave at the end of the day. 
The people behind the creation of this new hotel are Shalom and Oranit Shetreet, who surprised many people when they announced that they were going to build a new hotel on this site. Since then, however, they’ve succeeded in constructing a fabulous boutique hotel that offers high-quality spa and wellness treatments. 
The hotel is spread out over 4,000 square meters and boasts 61 guest rooms, a dining hall, lobby, well-stocked bar, a medium-sized pool overlooking the pastoral countryside, spa and treatment rooms and a gym. The hotel is currently open to guests from age 12 and up, which means you won’t hear or see any young children running around any of the common spaces. This, of course, will make your stay at Kedem Hotel much more relaxing and really lets you disconnect from your daily life and unwind. 
In all of the common spaces at Kedem Hotel, you will notice that nature designs have been incorporated. Whether you are lounging at the pool or enjoying a treatment in the spa, you will feel connected the area’s natural surroundings. 
There are so many wonderful things to do at the hotel in addition to sunbathing in the pool area, such as taking advantage of the world-class spa, which offers wellness packages open to the public, as well as for hotel guests. You can enjoy a massage or other treatment, and then relax in the dry sauna, Turkish hamam or relaxation room. Once you’ve had enough relaxation, it’s time to go out for a short hike in the area’s beautiful environs. Just make sure to be back in time for the sunset yoga class. 
Like other hotels located in remote settings, Kedem puts a strong emphasis on offering guests excellent food. For a small boutique hotel, the dining room is quite expansive, and the variety of dishes offered is impressive. If you’re in the mood for a burger, fries and a beer on tap, you might opt for eating in the hotel’s burger joint, which has a nice view of the forest. 
Prices begin at NIS 1,093 per couple, including breakfast. 
Once you’ve enjoyed all the activities the hotel has to offer, it’s time to get out and take advantage of the surrounding attractions. 

EIN KEDEM

The Carmel area is home to a number of hiking trails and beautiful spots with views of the mountains and valley below. One such place is Ein Kedem, which can be found at Nahal Nadar. Ein Kedem is just one of three springs that you’ll come upon as you walk alongside the banks of Nahal Nadar, but it is the only spring that is full of water all year round, making it a great hike for a hot summer day. As you walk along the path, you’ll pass by the remains of an ancient aqueduct. There are two entrances to the spring, and if you have a flashlight, you can go inside. The easy walking trail that leads to the spring is linear, so you’ll retrace your steps when you’re done enjoying your time at the spring. 
Ein Kedem (Credit: SPNI)Ein Kedem (Credit: SPNI)
One of the highlights of visiting Ein Kedem is walking through the water tunnels. If you’re not so excited about the idea of being inside the darkened tunnel, I recommend going inside the tunnel on your right. In this tunnel, the water usually reaches up to your knees, but in certain spots can come up to your hips. You’ll still need to keep your flashlight on in this tunnel, since it’s 15 meters long. At the end of the tunnel, you will reach the spot from which the water flows. 
Directions: The trail begins at the end of HeCharuv in Tirat Hacarmel. Follow the blue trail markers. After about 1 kilometer, you will switch to the trail with the black trail markers, which will lead you to the spring. 

ORANIT CAVES

Once you’ve cooled off in the water at the spring, I recommend visiting the Oranit Caves. The area is full of caves, some of which are accessible and others that are not, and in my opinion, the Oranit Caves are some of the most amazing caves in the whole country. The one-kilometer walk to reach them is pretty easy to walk along, though it does have a few slightly steep inclines along the way. 
You’ll be treated to a number of beautiful views as you walk along the trail that leads to the caves. At one spot, you’ll even have a view of the Mediterranean Sea. Here, the trail is also linear, so if you come with just one car, you’ll need to double back on the same trail to get back to your car. 
Oranit caves (credit: JACOB SHKOLNIK)Oranit caves (credit: JACOB SHKOLNIK)
To reach the caves, follow the red trail markers. The beginning of the trail includes a slight incline, so take a deep breath and jump right in. Soon enough, you’ll reach Sheikh Suleiman Hill, from which you’ll have a great view of the region. Next, you’ll pass by a magnificent carob tree, and then not long after you’ll reach the cliff. After the path turns to the left, you will come upon the Oranit Caves, which is actually one large two-story cave with a few different rooms inside of it, and two entrances. 
You can go out onto the balcony on its north side, from which you will have a view of the sea. There is a low stone arch that divides the balcony into two sections. Inside the cave, you will find a few rooms and a large dark hall. From here, you will need to crawl inside a low, narrow tunnel to exit the cave from another opening. 
Just outside the cave here, you’ll see red trail markers. If you want, you can follow this path down a steep downhill descent, which will take you to Nahal Oranit and Nahal Sfunim. Otherwise, you can retrace your steps back to your car. 
Directions: Park your car near the sign with the red trail marker located at the end of Ezra Laniado Street in Tirat Hacarmel.  
Translated by Hannah Hochner.