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Galilee's Got It All, Israel

Most Israeli tourist attractions are geared to the fact that Israelis hardly go anywhere without their children.​

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kayaking, in the Jordan River photo by Tal Glick

Most Israeli tourist attractions are geared to the fact that Israelis hardly go anywhere without their children. Many have special kids’ activities, particularly during Passover and Sukkoth, and many of the best kid-oriented sites are in Galilee. This itinerary suggests only a few sites a day, and assumes a departure time of around 9 A.M.; time goes by quickly on tour, and national park sites close at 5 P.M. in the summer, 4 P.M. in the winter, and even earlier on Friday and holiday eves.


Day 1: Lower Galilee

Your first stop can be the biblical tel of Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley, less than two hours from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Learning becomes fun at this mound with 25 buried cities, especially at Megiddo’s 9th-century BCE water tunnel. Next, head for the Beit Alfa synagogue mosaic in the eastern Jezreel. The ancients made the floor a series of pictures in stone that everyone, then and now, can relate to. A short imaginative film depicts the artists who created the floor and the elders who commissioned it. Water fun awaits you at the springs of Gan Hashlosha (Sakhne). You can then hop over to Tiberias for a fish dinner on the Kinneret Lakeside promenade. Or, if you’re planning to eat meals at your accommodations, stop at the supermarket to pick up the fixings.

Day 2: Upper Galilee


Nature lovers, especially those who go for birds, should start out at the Hula Nature Reserve to enjoy the stroller and wheelchair-friendly trails and the visitor center’s multi-sensory presentations “Uforia”. The reserve is a world-class ornithology attraction during migration season (for updates, go to Your next stop can be Banias, with hiking trails, a waterfall and remains of Herodian structures. The cashier will give you the English-language brochure and map and help you decide what traile to take. Then drive to the foothills of Mount Hermon and the medieval Nimrod’s Castle where lots of nooks and crannies are waiting to be explored, along with a breathtaking view from the stronghold tower.

For a less archeology and more action, spend the afternoon kayaking the Jordan River in season, or at the Manara Cliff, with its cable-car, zip line, rock-climbing wall, rappelling and mountain-slide coaster cars.

Day 3: Western Galilee

Those who want a romantic stroll can begin the day with a visit to charming Rosh Pina, with galleries and a gift shop selling honey, spices and other regional products along the restored 19th-century street. For the younger set, the visitors’ center ahs an excellent audio-visual presentation and reconstructed home. A beautiful drive will bring you to Safed, the center of Kabala, for a fascinating round of synagogue and gallery visits. The Hameiri House brings alive the story of Safed over the past 200 years with real items of daily life on display. A fun afternoon is on the agenda at nearby Bat Ya’ar, which caters to kids with pony rides, a rope-park, bowling in the nature with wooden pins and balls, and archery. The Bat Ya’ar restaurant is a great place for dinner. Then, time to turn in for your last Galilee night.

Day 4: Out to the Coast

Today you can explore the Mediterranean Coast. Start out at Rosh Haniqra, where an exciting cable car ride takes you down to caves carved by the sea. Down the coast, you can stop at the Achziv beach, also known as “Banana Beach” (with an entrance fee and more services) or the more basic, but free, Betzet Beach. Acre is another highlight further south. You can walk on the ancient ramparts and through the market, and the kids will love the mystery of the underground Crusader-era Knights Halls. At the old prison the family can hear about the heroes of the underground that helped bring the State of Israel into being. A shorter visit to Acre or forgoing the swim will give you time for Beit She’arim and the burial caves of ancient Jewish leaders. An early dinner and walk down the restored main street of 19th-century Zichron Ya’akov is a great way to end the day.


Tips for family travel:

*Family planning conferences based on the Web and/or a good guidebook gives everyone a voice.

*For relaxed mealtimes, refer to your guidebooks or ask Israeli friends and relatives for their favorite restaurant. One possibility is fast food at an air-conditioned mall, a crowd-pleaser that’s also economical and saves valuable touring time.

*Most hotels have supervised on-site children’s activities; and any but the most upscale restaurant will have a children’s menu.

*Israel’s English-language newspapers, Ha’aretz and The
Jerusalem Post, list activities for children in their weekend guides.


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