Lowest to highest in the Galilee

This spring, point your car toward the North and take an interesting journey going up the two kilometers from Ginossar Valley to the Hermon.

Mount Arbel (photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
Mount Arbel
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
 In tiny Israel, you don’t need to drive eight hours just to see a mountain. In a one-hour drive you can get from the lowest point in the Galilee, Lake Kinneret (210 meters below sea level), to the highest point in Israel – Mount Hermon (2,800 meters above sea level).
This spring, point your car toward the North and take an interesting journey going up the two kilometers from Ginossar Valley to the Hermon.
Set your base in Kibbutz Ginossar. There, on the shore of the Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), serenity rules. Once there, you will find several appealing hiking options. One is the lovely trail of Nahal Amud with its unique rock pillar. The trail starts from a spot along Route 8077. Hiking is in a canyon filled with prehistoric caves.
An additional option is a trail on Mount Arbel.
This distinctive mountain ends with an impressive cliff on its north side. From the cliff there is a wonderful view overlooking the Kinneret. On the western cliff of Mount Arbel there are many caves that offer evidence of prehistoric living spaces.
These dwellings later became part of a large fort with secret passages that connect some of the caves. There is a vertical trail of steps for anyone who dares to become a cave dweller.
On the lakeshore, there is a unique place that is relatively new for visiting. In front of the town of Migdal, the old town of Magdala can be found.
This archeological site is still under excavation.
The site, holy for Christians and Jews, includes the ruins of an old synagogue with mosaic remnants, a mikve and public areas. A Christian prayer center has been erected at the waterfront, with its centerpiece – a boat sculpture – reminiscent of the ancient boats that would ply the lake.
If you want a glimpse at a real ancient boat that used to sail on the Kinneret more than 2,000 years ago, drive to Kibbutz Ginossar and visit the Yigal Allon Museum – Beit Yigal Allon. There is an interesting display that describes the story behind the discovery of the boat and its recovery in one piece from the mud.
After a busy day, just a few steps from the ancient boat you can spend a night or two in Nof Ginossar, where you can find a range of rooms and rates to meet the needs of individuals, couples or a family of five. These are friendly accommodations in serene surroundings on the lake.
For more adventure, drive 12 km. north to Vered Hagalil for an enjoyable horseback-riding tour.
Several kinds of rides are offered, but you do have to plan ahead and call first. The horses are cooperative and calm. The guides are very helpful and the trail is wonderful. Most of the route is on the slopes overlooking the Kinneret.
In winter and early spring while it is still cool enough, we arrive at our last destination by climbing vertically 1.5 kilometers to the site of the Hermon.
This is the only place in Israel where you can ski.
When the conditions are right and the mountain is covered with snow, the ski experience is enchanting.
No long-term planning is required, just get in your car and head to the mountain for an in-country ski trip on the beautiful Mount Hermon.
Don’t miss a ski lesson to introduce you and your family to the world of skiing.
Even when there is no snow, exploring the Hermon offers a breathtaking experience that includes views from the almost 2 km. altitude, as you sit high up on a chairlift, of rare plants and flowers and wildlife on the alpine slopes.
Here on the northeast tip of Israel, as you breathe in the cool air, you realize how cool our tiny land is.