Make your getaway to the countryside

The Jezreel Valley offers wine tasting, off-road tours, spring-side picnics, a spa, an Italian restaurant and handmade ice cream.

Sadot Winery (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Sadot Winery
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Northern Israel is always a great place for couples looking to get away for a quick holiday weekend. When it’s hot and humid in the city, enjoying the open space in the countryside and boutique hotels and restaurants can do miracles for your soul.
This week, I’d like to focus on romantic getaways for couples in the Jezreel Valley, featuring tasty meals and gorgeous views.
Location: Jezreel Valley
Type: For couples and families, option for all-terrain driving Level of difficulty:
Easy Length: All day, option for overnight stay at campsite or hotel
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Sadot Winery
Although the Jezreel Valley is one of the most popular tourism areas in the country, not many people associate it with wine. So, to become acquainted with wineries in the region, start your journey at the wonderful boutique Sadot Winery, located in Sde Ya’acov.
The winery was founded by a family from Tel Aviv that relocated to Sde Ya’acov in the 1980s. It planted the first grapevines in 2009, and the first harvest took place in 2012.
Production capacity is currently 8,500 bottles a year, and the winery’s Shiraz, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo and Muscat Canelli wines are produced solely from locally grown grapes. Last summer, the family planted another vineyard of Gewurztraminer and garnet grapes at a higher altitude, which they hope will boost production up to 20,000 bottles a year. Currently, almost 50% of the winery’s sales are for overseas export.
Sadot Winery opens its visitors’ center to guests every Friday, beginning with a celebratory tapas bar/ restaurant. The menu features eight dishes, including a cheese platter, Caprese salad, matjes herring and other dishes that complement the wines perfectly. The restaurant also serves Israeli boutique beers and coffee.
Menu prices range between NIS 28 and NIS 48 per dish.
Wine prices: glass, NIS 24-NIS 32; bottle, NIS 55-NIS 109.
Open Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservation recommended: 052-844-6228.
Guided tours of winery take place Sunday-Thursday, with prior reservation.
Price of tour plus wine tasting: NIS 35 per person.
Rave Etgarim – Beit Lehem Haglilit
After spending time in the winery, you’ll be ready to get outdoors and move around. One of the best ways to stay cool in the Jezreel Valley on a hot summer day is to go for a ride in an off-road utility vehicle. One company that rents out such vehicles is Rave Etgarim, located in Beit Lehem Haglilit. There are lots of trails you can follow, but the best one to take this time of year starts in the parking area and goes through the green fields toward Alon Hagalil.
Once you reach Alon Hagalil, you turn down toward Nahal Tzipori, and from there continue to Ma’ayan Hasusim. This spring is the perfect place to stop for a picnic and a dip in the pool. The water is incredibly clean, and there’s no reason to be concerned about the plants growing in the water. Cooling off in the pool is fabulously refreshing and will revitalize you for the next part of your journey. The Rave Etgarim guides tend to stop here for a water and watermelon break.
When you’re all rested up, get back in the vehicle and continue your trip toward Ka’abiya and then back to Beit Lehem Haglilit.
Length of trip: 90 minutes.
Price per car: NIS 300-NIS 500.
Details: 077-708-0299.
Kesem Hamaga – Beit Lehem Haglilit
The next stop on our itinerary is Kesem Hamaga, also located in Beit Lehem Haglilit. This is the perfect place to relax after an adrenalin-filled ride through nature.
Nehama and Yoram Madan established Kesem Hamaga in 2002 with the goal of helping their guests through treatments and touch.
Yoram, who used to be a farmer who worked the land, decided to carry out a midlife career change and now deals in medical tourism. Nehama is a therapist.
The couple’s spa is surrounded by pastoral greenery.
The Madans have a fascinating story, which they love to share with visitors. They fell in love when they were just teenagers, and their son was born when Yoram was only 20 years old. Two years later, they were already experiencing marital distress, and they turned to professionals for help.
After many years of working on their relationship, they realized they wanted to teach others all the wonderful things they’d learned. Nehama studied couples counseling and social work, and Yoram focused on body and tantric psychotherapy.
Details: (04) 953-1159.
Bella Restaurant, Beit She’arim
One of the most romantic Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to is Bella in Beit She’arim, which opened in 2011 and is under the direction of chef Idan Lifshitz and managed by his good friend Lior Golan.
The Mediterranean cuisine has clear Italian influences and includes dishes such as focaccia, artichoke with sour cream and roasted almonds, Caesar salad, and sea bream in butter chestnut sauce. The service is incredibly warm, and even when the restaurant is full on the weekends, guests still are not made to feel that they need to hurry.
2142 Ha’etz Hagadol Street, Beit She’arim.
Reservations: (04) 983-0730.
Plug In – Ramat Yishai
Even though there are so many fun attractions to engage in during the day in the Jezreel Valley, the most popular places seem to cater to nighttime activities.
The newest attraction is karaoke at Plug In, which has 16 private rooms, each with its own unique design.
Each room is equipped with surround sound, multimedia, lighting and a karaoke library with thousands of songs. Have fun.
3 Eucalyptus Street, Ramat Yishai.
Reservations: *8172.
The sweetest way to end any trip is with ice cream.
Haglideria in Ramat Yishai has been operating for eight years now under the management of owners Avi Cohen and Boris Schwartz and slowly has become one of the most popular stops in the area. They make all their ice cream by hand on location from ingredients imported from Italy. There is always a minimum of 30 flavors, which change every day, as well as a variety of sugar-free yogurt made from goat’s milk. There are even a few vegan options.
Ramat Yishai Industrial Zone.
Details: (04) 871-7179.