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Upper Galilee

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Lower and Upper Galilee regions

The Upper Galilee (Hebrew: הגליל העליון HaGalil HaElyon, Arabic: الجليل al-Jalīl) is a northern region of Israel.

Cities and villages[edit]

  • Safed – this fascinating city is filled with artists and mystics. Since the 16th century it has been a main center of Kabbalah study.
  • Maalot-Tarshiha – a small quiet city known primarily for the successful merger between Jewish and Arab communities
  • Rosh Pina – a stylish tourist town with multiple restaurants and a 19th Century reconstruction site

Understand[edit]

The Galilee, apart from the Western Galilee, the Galilee Panhandle and the Sea of Galilee region, can be separated into the Upper Galilee and the Lower Galilee. It is generally a forested highland area with relatively sparse population. Its landscape and historical associations make it a great draw for the traveller.

The Upper Galilee consists of rugged forested hills, of which the highest of Mount Meron, with an elevation of 1208 meters. From Mount Meron, the landscape gradually slopes down on the east and west towards the Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Galilee. To the north, the Upper Galilee continues (geographically speaking) into Lebanon. To the south, there is a sudden descent to the Lower Galilee, where the highest peaks are around 500 meters. Route 85, the east-west road running at the foot of this descent, is generally considered the practical boundary between Upper and Lower Galilee.

Get in[edit]

A train extension from Haifa to Karmiel, in the central Galilee, is scheduled to open in 2017. Currently the train only runs until Nahariyya.

Many bus routes cross and serve the Galilee, e.g. between Tiberias and Haifa, Akko or Nahariyya.

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

There is frequent bus service between each of the 10 or so significant cities in the Galilee. However, if you want to go to a village, kibbutz, or out-of-the-way natural or historic site, bus service can be quite sparse and inconvenient.

By car[edit]

The Galilee has a good road system. But expect traffic even in rural areas, particularly on weekends and holidays when many people from central Israel drive here for a quick vacation.

By thumb[edit]

Hitch-hiking is definitely an option and easy along the non-highway roads, also where buses are sparse. Due to high concentration of Arab and Druze villages, it is also more likely to get picked up. Jewish Israelis are more wary nowadays, which in other parts of the country can be an issue when hitch-hiking.

See[edit]

The Montfort crusader castle
  • A number of Druze villages have an interesting culture.
  • 1 Baram synagogue. Remains of a large synagogue from about the 3rd century. The two-story monumental carved facade is well preserved. Located 20 km (driving distance) northwest of Safed.
  • 2 Buqe'a (Pekiin). An old mixed village with Druze, Christian and Jewish sites.
  • 3 Jish (Gush Halav). The only surviving Maronite village in Israel, with Roman and Talmudic remains.
  • 4 Meron. A village near Safed, the traditional burial place of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Once a year on "Lag beOmer" (around May), hundreds of thousands of Israelis gather to Meron to celebrate the rabbi and his legacy of kabbalistic learning. Meron, Israel on Wikipedia Meron, Israel (Q600912) on Wikidata
  • 5 Mount Meron. Israel's highest mountain, if excluding the Golan Heights, at 1208 meters above sea level with several hiking trails. It has hiking trails and a great view. The Jewish village of Meron and the Druze villages of Beit Jan and Hurfeish are in its foothills. Admission free. Mount Meron on Wikipedia Mount Meron (Q540520) on Wikidata
  • 6 Montfort Castle. A fortress built by the Crusaders during the times of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem in Israel. The fortress is built on a narrow and steep cliff above the southern bank of Keziv stream in the upper Galilee region. Montfort Castle on Wikipedia Montfort Castle (Q14201945) on Wikidata
A gate at Tel Hatzor attributed to King Solomon
  • 7 Tefen Open Museum. Sun-Thu 9:00-17:00, Sat 10:00–17:00. Includes the Old Car Collection, Art Gallery, the German-Speaking Jewry Heritage Museum, the Sculpture Garden and the Art of Industry Museum. ₪22.
  • 8 Tel Hazor National Park (Route 90 to the Ayelet HaShachar interchange, then 2 km south to the site), +972 4-6937290. winter 8-16:00, summer 8-17:00, closing one hour earlier on Fridays and eve of holidays. The largest ancient ruin in modern Israel and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. When the Israelites first entered the Holy Land, this was the largest city in the land, and the book of Joshua describes them conquering it. Later on, King Solomon fortified Hatzor, and still later a sophisticated underground water supply system was built. You can see all these ruins, including the water system which you can climb down into. At the entrance of Kibbutz Ayelet HaShachar (just across the street from Tel Hatzor), there is a museum which holds some artifacts from the site, although the most important artifacts are kept in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. ₪22/9 adult/child. Tel Hazor on Wikipedia Tel Hazor (Q740138) on Wikidata
  • 9 Yehiam Fortress National Park, +972 4-827660. winter 8-16:00, summer 8-17:00, closing one hour earlier on Fridays and eve of holidays. Ruins of an impressive fortress, both from the Crusader and Ottoman periods. They also have camp sites available (₪42/32/25 adult/child/student, +972 4-827660). ₪14/12/7 adult/student/child. Yehi'am Fortress National Park on Wikipedia Yehi'am Fortress National Park (Q13218461) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

Hiking[edit]

The picturesque Galilee landscapes are covered by a dense network of hiking trails. See Hiking and backpacking in Israel for more details.

Other things to do[edit]

  • Mini-golf Farod, Kibbutz Farod, +972 4-6849137. A tourist center with numerous activities: mini-golf course for all ages, a swimming pool filled with local spring water, and paintball. Also ice cream parlor serving various desserts and Belgium waffles.

Eat[edit]

  • The village of Amirim is vegetarian, and contains several vegetarian/vegan restaurants.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Many visitors to the Upper Galilee sleep in a tzimmer - a kind of bed-and-breakfast place run out of a private house. Pretty much every town and village in the Galilee has a few of these.

Budget[edit]

Mid-range and splurge[edit]

  • Mizpe Ha Yamim, P.O.B. 27 Rosh Pina 12000 (north of the Sea of Galilee, midway between the artist colony of Rosh Pina and the city of Sefat.), +972 4-6994555. In Eastern Galilee close to Hermon Mountains, Golan Heights, Sea of Kinneret and between the artist village Rosh Pina and the city of Sefad.
  • Naftaly Estate, Moshav Ramot Naftaly, Upper Galilee. Naftaly Estate is an all wood-structured, boutique hotel built in 2000 on the Ramot Naftaly Moshav in the upper Galilee.
  • Campbell Guesthouse, Amirim, +972 4 6989045, e-mail: . Owner Phillip Campbell is a warm and friendly man from London, UK. An old-timer in Amirim, he has his own guestrooms and if full etc he is always willing to help visitors find suitable accommodation within Amirim.

Go next[edit]


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