Showing posts with label Galilee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Galilee. Show all posts

Sea of Galilee - The Kineret Lake

All winter long, the most important part of the news report for Israelis is not the dollar-shekel exchange rate or the level of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange index, but rather the water level in Lake Kineret, which often reflects the national spirit. The Kineret is Israel’s largest fresh water reservoir, and is also the country’s largest and most important source and reservoir of drinking water. For this and other reasons, the Kineret has become an important national symbol and is also a first class tourism center.

The beaches that surround the entire lake are similar but different. The width of the beaches varies in keeping with the local geography, creating different landscapes in every location. Above the eastern and western shores, for example, rise the Galilee mountains and the foothills of the Golan, while to the north there is the Beit Tsida valley, a wide area with plentiful water that drains from the Jordan River and the Golan streams, and to the south is the Jordan estuary, which flows south toward the desert regions.

For this reason, some of the Kineret’s beaches have soft sand, while others are rocky; some beaches are narrow while others are very wide. Either way, the beaches are fun and offer many tourist attractions for every age group. Most of the beaches allow nature-loving visitors to sleep in camping areas on the sand, and there are also hostels, guest houses and beachfront hotels. Most of the beaches also offer various types of water sports and water activities, such as boating in inflatable rubber dinghies, canoes, etc.; children can enjoy the giant slides at the water parks (Luna Gal, Tsemakh or Gai Beach). There are plenty of restaurants and grocery stores along the way, and most of all one can enjoy the calm and tranquility.

The beaches surrounding the Kineret are also a perfect starting point for wonderful nature tours of the area. Some of the most popular and beautiful nature sites are the Jordan Park, the Beit Tsida Nature Reserve, Khamat Gader, Naharayim. There is also the lower Golan Heights region, which borders on the Kineret and is full of swift flowing streams, historic sites and nature reserves.

The Kineret played an important role in the early years of Christianity and has now become a pilgrimage site for many Christians. According to Christian tradition, Jesus lived, preached and performed miracles in the Kineret and the surrounding region. It was here that he walked on the water and the miracle of the loaves and the fishes happened in nearby Kfar Nakhum (Capernaum). There are many Christian holy sites around the Kineret, including the Mount of Beatitudes, the Church of the Loaves and the Fishes, Kfar Nakhum, Kursi, and the wooden boat discovered in the lake and now on display at Kibbutz Ginosar. Other nearby historic sites include Migdal, Tel Hadar, Ubeidiya (Israel’s most important prehistoric site), Beit Tsida, Kibbutz Dganya Alef, Moshavat Kineret and the city of Tiberias.

The Galilee

Ranges of hills with high peaks, one river, many streams, dozens of brooks, primal landscapes, evergreen forests, dense natural groves, valleys, lakes, few residents and many hikers and tourists are what make the Galilee so special.

The Galilee is a mountainous region in Israel’s north, and is divided into two main parts - the Upper Galilee to the north and the Lower Galilee to the south. The highest peak in the Upper Galilee is Mt. Meron, which rises 1,208 meters above sea level, while the highest point in the Lower Galilee is the summit of Mt. Kamon, at 602 meters above sea level.

Thanks to the abundant water and the fertile soil in the Galilee’s valleys, this region has been relatively densely populated since ancient times and today has the largest variety of ethnic communities in Israel. 

There are Druze villages (Beit Jan, Peki’in) and Circassian (Reikhaniya, Kfar Kama) who preserve their ancient traditions; there are Arab villages with Muslim majorities (Kafr Yasif) or Christian majorities (Fasuta), or some with an equal balance (Ma’alot Tarkhisha). 

The Galilee is one of Israel’s main tourism centers, with dozens of different types of sites. For example, there are national antiquities parks (including Bar’am, Tsipori, Beit She’arim, Monfort and Kohav Hayarden); moshava farming communities from the early days of the modern settlement of Israel, which tell the story of Zionism (Metula, Yesud Ha-Ma’ala, Rosh Pina); beautiful nature reserves (Hula Lake, Mt. Meron, Bar’am Forest, Nahal Kziv and many more); Jewish holy sites, such as the graves of the sages and ancient synagogues (in Safed (Tsfat) and Tiberias); and Christian holy sites that are visited by many pilgrims during their tour of the Holy Land (Nazareth, Kfar Nahum (Capernaum), the Jordan River and Lake Kineret).

The large concentration of sites, the natural beauty and the breathtaking landscapes are what make the Galilee so unique. It has even been nicknamed the Israeli Tuscany or Provence. Either way, the Galilee is a fascinating area that offers dozens of touring and entertainment options.

The Beaches of Western Galilee

Rosh Hanikra
The Achziv Beach, the strip of Israel’s coastline extending north of the resort city of Nahariya to the region’s prime tourist attraction of Rosh Hanikra, offers fun in the sun, swimming, cycling, hiking, fishing, and coves and lagoons to explore.
You’ll discover the inlets of the sandstone ridges east of the beach are not only romantic, they are home to special plants and animals that thrive against all odds in the salty air and spray.

The Achziv coast offers a number of swimming options.

The Betzet Beach is free and has few frills; other beaches with entrance fees offer more services. 
In addition to spying star-fish and small octopi, lucky beach-combers sometimes see dolphins cavorting off the coast. In early spring, the coves become a carpet of wildflowers, which makes a walk along the beach even more pleasurable, and the blooming sea daffodil perfumes August evenings.
Old Acre
From Achziv National Park with its lawns, beach, and antiquities, a promenade has become a favorite with cyclists and walkers, stretching north to the gleaming 120-foot high cliffs of Rosh Hanikra. (You can enter  Rosh Hanikra from the Achziv Promenade during July and August, and year-round on Saturdays). At Rosh Hanikra, visitors take a cable car down to walk through tunnels in the cliff, where they marvel at the play of light, shadow and water in beautiful wave-formed caves. Overnight accommodations in the area, including bed-and-breakfasts, holiday villages and campgrounds makes a whole day at the beach easy to weave into your Israel itinerary as an interlude between your Jerusalem and Galilee stays.   
The Beach