The Israel National Trail runs 950 kilometers from Kibbutz Dan, near the border with Lebanon in the Upper Galilee in the far north of Israel, to Eilat in the far south of the country. Split into manageable daily stages, there are places to stop and stay along the way. The National Trail is designed primarilly for walkers and hikers although parts are suitable for off-road vehicles, as well as bikes- the Israel National Bike Trail is currently under construction.
How you approach the trail is totally up to you. You could do just one stage or a part of a stage, or the whole thing which will take at least three weeks to complete.
For a keen hiker, there really is no better way to combine your hobby and seeing Israel. You could take days off and see other sites. But the panoramas that you will get solely from the hikes are perhaps just as spectacular, in their own ways.
In the north of Israel the trail traverses the hills of the Galilee that Biblical characters crossed thousands of years ago. Peace will be broken with the noise of water as you reach a small stream and the sounds of humanity as you reach rural agricultural communities.
As you reach the center of the country, the greater density of population becomes clear, but the contrast between that and some of the beauty spots you walk through will seem so stark. So close to the hustle and bustle you will often be walking through trails that not even many locals know. You will be experiencing Israel’s stunning nature and beauty.
Soon, moving southwards, population will peter out again, and another contrast will become clear. The green hills of the north, which made way for the flat fertile coastal plain of the center, will contrast with the barren desert landscape of the south. A fairly harsh environment, water and supplies need to be carefully planned. Beauty, however, doesn’t contrast, and the Negev landscape is just as stunning. It really is, beyond words.
You can do the trail in either direction, although North to South means you finish in Eilat, ready for a rest in luxury. There are loads of practicalities to be taken into account before hiking the trail, and a great website which talks about these, as well as giving more information on the Trail, is www.israelnationaltrail.com.