5 Beautiful National Parks to Visit in the Galilee and Jezreel Valley

July 30th 2018

The Galilee and Jezreel Valley comprises the green northern region of Israel. It includes a large fertile plain and inland valley which is home to some of the most beautiful national parks in the country. In and around these parks and forests are numerous places of interest, many of which were the locations for some of the most significant events in Israeli history, both ancient and modern.

When touring the northern regions of Israel, it’s worth visiting some of these stunning natural parks. Each one provides insights into the nation, its past, and the diverse flora and fauna to be found in this beautiful country.

Here are 5 of our favorite national parks in the Galilee & Jezreel Valley:

Megiddo National Park

The Megiddo National Park is a must-see for anyone with a love of history and natural beauty. Located in the Lower Galilee at the western entrance to the Jezreel Valley, the park features the remains of the ancient hilltop fortress town of Megiddo. The town was first inhabited during the Neolithic Period (7000 BC).

For thousands of years the town was a strategic military stronghold and center of commerce for various civilizations. A museum within the grounds of this UNESCO World Heritage Site details the long history of Megiddo and showcases some of the finds discovered in the twenty-six layers of settlements.

Monfort National Park

Located a few miles south of the Lebanese border, the Monfort National Park is one of the most beautiful mountainous and forest-filled regions of Israel. At the center of the park is a 13th century Crusader fortress, sitting on a ridge and peeking out from among the forest canopy.

There are a number of trails which you can take to reach the fortress known as Monfort Castle. The main trail involves a 45-minute hike. From the fortress and other vantage points, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful views across the valley, hills, and even to the Mediterranean Sea.

Arbel National Park

If you’re looking for breathtaking views across the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), the Golan Heights, and Mount Hermon, then the Arbel National Park is for you. The main feature of the park, which is situated in the eastern portion of the lower Galilee, is the 1300 feet high Mount Arbel. From its summit you can see for many miles across the entire region, from every direction.

The national park contains a number of walking trails, with different levels of difficulty. There are also many streams, caves, diverse species of plants and animals, and historical points of interest, including the ruins of the Talmudic-era Arbel village and its synagogue.

Beit She’arim National Park

The Beit She’arim National Park is most famous for its necropolis of rock-cut burial catacombs. The most well-known tomb being that of Rabbi Judah HaNasi, the compiler of the Mishnah. Many of the burial chambers are richly decorated with Jewish symbols and motifs, as well as those of Greek and Aramaic influences.

Situated approximately 12 miles east of Haifa, the park is also the location of the ancient city of Beit She’arim, dating from the time of Herod in the 1st Century. Some of the ruins are well-preserved and provide a fascinating insight into the history of the city and its former inhabitants.

Yechiam Fortress National Park

The main attraction of the Yechiam Fortress National Park are the ruins of a Crusader-era hilltop fortress. The castle dates back to the 12th Century but was destroyed during wars and rebuilt a few times over the centuries. In 1946, a Jewish Kibbutz was built on the site and became the venue of a significant battle during the War of Independence in 1948.

The park is located a short drive away from the city of Nahariya. Visitors will discover more about the history of the fortress and the events of the Independence struggle. You can look out across the Upper Galilee from a watch tower and explore the still intact rooms and halls of the castle.