Israel has the best nature parks and reserves thanks to a variety of different landscapes, from rocky and sandy deserts to forested woods, sandy beaches to rivers, and lots of nature all around. In addition, it is also home to numerous marvelous species of plants and animals, many of which can be found in the various national parks and reserves across the country.
Israel’s national parks are special for their history, biodiversity, and unique landscapes. It’s worth it to visit Israel national park, and to repeat the trip–there’s always something new to discover in these special places.
You ought to meet some of these amazing creatures on your next tour to Israel, so let’s take a look at some of the places where you can do so.
How many national parks are in Israel?
There are over 40 national parks in Israel. Each is a whole universe in itself, from ruins to springs to swim in, to animals native to the region. Some of the most famous are Masada, Mount Carmel, and Gan Hashlosha.
Does Israel have wilderness?
While Israel is constantly growing with urban development, it does have its fair share of wilderness. It’s possible to see mountains, desert, forests, and beaches all within one day in this tiny country. The best ways to explore Israeli wilderness are in nature and national parks.
Want to see the sky from the Desert wilderness? We’ve gathered some of the best locations in Israel for stargazing.
Are there any forests in Israel?
Israel has beautiful forests throughout the country. Over 200 million trees cover 300,000 acres of forest. There are concerted efforts to maintain the forested areas in Israel, and it has paid off both for wildlife and the population of the country. Recently, these places have become popular locations for outdoor activities like mountain biking and hiking.
Here are the best nature reserves and parks in Israel
1. Banias Stream
Located in the Upper Galilee, at the base of Mount Hermon, the Israeli National Park Banias is an ancient site established around a spring formerly associated with the Greek god Pan and one of the most beautiful parks in Israel. This spring leads to the largest waterfall in the country. The surrounding Banias Nature Reserve is a place of long history, natural beauty, and tranquility. Visitors can hike through woodlands, explore the Banias Cave built for god Pan and the nearby ruins of the Roman temple built by King Herod as a tribute to Augustus Caesar, or just have a lovely picnic.
2. Agamon HaHula
There is a major stop on one the most important bird migration routes in the world in the Upper Galilee’ Hula Valley, called Agamon HaHula. The National Park in Israel is located in the Jordan Rift Valley, with over 500 million birds flying over it every fall and spring. In fact, thousands of them stay in Agamon HaHula during winter and summer. Visitors can take a tour of the park by foot, bicycle, golf cart, or a safari car. Night safari tours are also available where you can see bats, owls, and jungle cats.
3. Gan HaShlosha and Bait Shean
Gan HaShlosha (literally ‘Park of the Three’), also known by its Arabic name ‘Sakhne’, is a national park in Israel near the foot of Mount Gilboa, named by Time Magazine as one of the best natural parks in the world. One ought to visit the Sakhne thermal springs and enjoy the waters that always stay warm, at a comfortable 28°C. At this Israel national park, you can have a nice lunch at a picnic table, enjoy the springs, and explore the archaeological museum that houses ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Persian artifacts. This is one of the most interesting parks in Israel.
4. Gan Garoo Australian Park
Gan Garoo, an Israeli national park located near Gan HaShlosha, houses wildlife and vegetation brought from Australia. You can see cute mini-goats, koalas, cassowaries, emus, flying foxes, reptiles, and many more wonderful animals. Kangaroos roam free there, and visitors can pet and hand-feed them, and feed the beautiful birds at the parrot sanctuary too. There, you can learn more about kangaroos, their daily lives, how they are born and raised, all the while listening to the beautiful songs of Australian birds.
5. Ein Gedi
West of the Dead Sea lies a place truly worth your visit – Ein Gedi. It is one of Israel’s most beautiful places and most popular hiking sites. Its two springs are surrounded by an abundance of gorgeous and diverse flora. While hiking or taking a walk, you can spot herds of ibex and even spotted leopards in the desert. Ein Gedi has a long history as well. First settled over 5000 years ago, it was known for its dates and perfumes, and you can still explore the remains from its various time periods.
6. Ein Bokek
Opposite the hotel area rests one of the most beautiful places in Israel. It is an Israeli National Park desert oasis with a spring that gave Ein Bokek its name, situated in the dry river bed of Nahal or Wadi Bokek. The valley is home to wonderful desert flora and fauna, and small pools. Visitors can have a picnic there, take a relaxing walk or go hiking, and enjoy awe-inspiring views of the Dead Sea at sunrise. And it’s all free! Visitors can also take jeep tours, go mountain biking and rappelling, or opt for desert barbecues, a Bedouin feast, and a camel ride.
7. Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve
Found in the Southern Arava near Kibbutz Yotvata, 35 kilometers north of Eilat, the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve was established to breed the animals mentioned in the Bible, locally extinct animals, and other endangered desert species, for possible reintroduction to the Negev desert It is one of the most beautiful places in Israel. As a matter of fact, the Asian wild ass has already been reintroduced to the wilderness of the Makhtesh Ramon. Here, many kinds of amazing creatures roam free, and people can ride a vehicle to observe the animals doing their everyday activities. You can see many types of foxes, wolves, cheetahs, leopards, addax, gazelles, etc., but also the fauna, the lineage of which is biblical.
8. Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve
Amazing work is also being done in the Israeli national park Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve, which is a breeding and reintroduction center, situated in the Carmel Mountains in north-western Israel, within the larger Mount Carmel National Park. It is the Mediterranean climate equivalent of the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve mentioned above. Here too, endangered and extinct animals, which represent an immensely important link in the ecosystem, are bred for possible reintroduction to the Mediterranean forest of northern Israel. Some of the animals bred here are wild sheep, wild goats, fallow deer, roe deer, Griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, and Bonelli’s eagle.
The nature and parks of Israel are otherworldly, special places to visit on a trip to the Holy Land. Make sure to book a trip into the wild on your next trip to Israel.