Top Sites to Visit in the Jerusalem Hills

April 2nd 2013

Golan Heights Jeeping - January 2013With its signature beautiful, terraced contours, the picturesque Jerusalem Hills have much to offer tourists to Israel. From history to outdoor recreation to themed attractions to culinary delights, it’s all here.

 The area of the Jerusalem Hills is drenched in history. When the Temple stood on Mount Moriah, pilgrims from near and far would wind their way up to the Holy City thrice annually. In the time of Bar Kochba (132 CE), Jewish rebels hid from the Roman occupiers here. Crusaders marched through the area at the end of the 11th century on their way to attack Jerusalem. More recently, the hills of Jerusalem witnessed intense battles waged in the fight for Israel’s Independence in 1948.

Jeep Tour

Whether you choose an open or a closed vehicle, jeeping is a great way to see the Jerusalem Hills up close. Go with a guide who can explain the history of the area. Since jeeps seat up to 7 people, it’s a great family activity. Many offer seatbelts for car seats, but jeep rides can be bumpy and are not ideal for babies.

Castel Fortress and National Park

The Castel Fortress, located 10 Km west of Jerusalem in Mevaseret Tzion, has been prized for its strategic location overlooking the main road to Jerusalem since Crusader times. Castel played a critically important role in 1948 during the siege on Jerusalem when the city was running out of food and water. The famous Burma Road was a makeshift road built by Israeli forces to pass supplies to Jerusalem during the siege. Tours of the park last about three hours and can be enjoyed year round.


The Jerusalem Hills are home to a number of wineries. While you’re in the area, consider a visiting Ella Valley Vineyards, Tzora Vineyards and Domaine du Castel.

Mini Israel

The Mini-Israel site, located at Latrun, is a huge park with 385 carefully crafted replicas of important buildings, landscapes and landmark historical sites from throughout Israel. The Mini Israel theme park also features a 3D movie of Israeli landscapes shot from an aerial view, a restaurant, a special multimedia playground for young children and an Ahava factory store.

Abu Ghosh

A scenic Christian-Arab village, Abu Ghosh is home to the Benedictine Monastery from the Crusader Period, the biennial vocal music festival and is considered the hummus capital of Israel.