The Shomron has seen many battles throughout its long history, but also lots of mysteriousness, too.

 TAKE IN a panoramic view of the Shomron region (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
TAKE IN a panoramic view of the Shomron region
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Antiquities, gardens, springs, breathtaking views, award-winning wineries and great hiking trails are just a few things the Samaria (Shomron) region has to offer visitors. The Shomron has seen many battles throughout its long history, but also lots of mysteriousness, too. The Children of Israel lived in this area, and Mount Gerizim, which is located in the region, is considered holy to Samaritans, who claim descent from the tribes of Efraim and Menashe. The Samaritans hold most of their festivals on Mount Gerizim.
The first place I recommend going to see when you arrive in the Shomron area is State’s Lookout, from which you’ll have an incredible panoramic view of the region.
State’s Lookout is located in Peduel, a religious community that sits 406 meters above sea level. The combination of its high altitude and location in the western Shomron means that visitors can enjoy a view of the huge expanse below.
The name of the outlook was formulated by Ariel Sharon, who often would bring Israeli and foreign visitors to this spot to help them visualize Israel’s precarious security situation. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Ashkelon, Modi’in, the Azrieli towers in Tel Aviv, Hadera, and sometimes even the Carmel Mountains. There’s a lovely porch swing there, too, which is often occupied by young couples on weekends and evenings.
Next, a short walk from the outlook, you’ll find Deir Kalaa, a Byzantine monastery. After completing the short 300-meter walk up to the monastery, you’ll find the remains of the ancient monastery, agricultural tools, an advanced aqueduct and a rock quarry. If you’re up for a hike, I recommend continuing on from there to Deir Samaan (aka the Shimon Monastery) where you’ll find a sundial etched into a stone floor and an underwater pool.
Season: All year, but preferably not on extremely hot days State’s Lookout is open Sunday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Alternatively, you could continue on to Rehalim, a religious community located in the northern West Bank, where you’ll find a the Eyal Spring, perfect for kids to splash around in.
Named after Eyal Yifrach, the spring was built by local residents, including Yifrach’s uncle. It was built in the shape of a deer (Eyal in English) and there are plenty of sun shades and benches at the site to relax upon. Entrance is free, so the spot gets pretty crowded on vacation days.
Another fun spot inside Rehalim is Tura Winery, a family business that is run by Erev and Vered Sa’adon. They grow their grapes in Bracha, which sits at 850 meters above sea level and is exposed to westerly winds. Tura was established in 2003 and they succeeded in producing over 1,000 bottles their first year.
Today, Tura produces 100,000 bottles a year, and they believe their success lies in the outstanding quality of their grapes.
Guests can sign up for wine tastings (NIS 15), and families with children will enjoy a film that was prepared especially for them. In addition, guests are invited to make reservations for a scrumptious dairy meal on site.
Tura Winery: 052-796-6613 Pre-registration required.
Address: Rehalim, Efraim 4482700 NAHAL KANEH One of the best places to hike in the Shomron is Nahal Kaneh, one of the main rivers that feed into the Yarkon River.
Nahal Kaneh starts near Itamar, and joins the Yarkon near Hod Hasharon. This family-friendly five-kilometer path is of medium-high difficulty, and along the way you can see lots of greenery and natural pools. In ancient times, this stream played an important role for people who were members of the Efraim and Menashe tribes.
If you’re traveling in a car, drive on Road 5066 and turn off toward the stream between Yakir and Emanuel. From there, drive along a dirt road that is a bit rough, but passable in any standard car. On your left you will see palm trees, which will tell you you’ve reached the parking area. If you carry on a few meters, you’ll reach an absolutely incredible pool. If you’d like to walk the entire path by foot, you can leave your car in the parking area next to the Karnei Shomron cemetery.
Follow blue and white trail markers that will take you down a dirt path toward the stream. This is a linear trail, so after you’ve finished wading in the stream, you can retrace your steps up to the parking area. There’s still plenty of water in the pools, but they’re not always so clean. If you come upon a pool that isn’t up to par, you can just keep walking until you find a cleaner one.
Directions: Enter Karnei Shomron and turn right at the first road and then take a left. At the roundabout, turn left and then a right. Continue until you reach the cemetery.
EIN MACHNEH Of course, one of the most wellknown sites in the Shomron is Mount Gerizim, the tallest mountain in the entire region. There are a number of springs at the foot of the mountain, one of which is Ein Machneh (aka Amsha Spring). Water from the spring flows into two pools, which were built in the shape of leaves. Since many of the visitors are religious, one pool is for women and the other for men. They are both shallow, and so kids can play in both of them, and they are both relatively shaded, too.
Directions: The pools can be reached by following a dirt path that starts at the road to Bracha.
Directions to the Shomron: To reach the western Shomron, drive along the Shomron Highway. Pass through the road block near Elkana and turn at the Bruchin Intersection toward Peduel.
Continue until you reach the roundabout at the entrance of the community and turn in the direction of Peduel.
Drive straight until you see a sign for the site. On Shabbat, you must park your car outside the gate and walk in by foot. 
Translated by Hannah Hochner.