Looking for an amazing day trip to Northern Israel? Israel is such a diverse and beautiful country. Northern Israel, in particular has so many amazing gems to offer. We have compiled a couple of our favorites into an incredible day trip.
Israel announced another month of lockdown. At least one whole month of not seeing any friends, not going on any trips, and not being allowed to go anywhere. We only had a few days to prepare before the limitations began. And so what did we decide to do on our last day of freedom, before the official lockdown started at 2:00PM? Of course we planned one last day trip filled with as many fun things as possible!
Sadly I’m sure some of you are, or will be, experiencing the “second lockdown” in your home country and, like us, you’ll want that one last taste of freedom before the lockdown begins. But even without lockdown, here is a little inspiration for your next trip and possible travels within Israel!
First Stop: Little Switzerland
Leaving early in the morning, we arrived around 8:00 AM to our first location. It’s called “Little Switzerland”, a short, shaded hike located the heart of the Carmel Mountains. This area is known as Little Switzerland because its the closest thing Israel has that looks like the lush, green Switzerland.
Walking thought this Mediterranean forest, you will see amazing views of rocky cliffs, a beautiful mountainous landscape, and a stunning lookout where you’ll even have a peak at the Mediterranean Sea! The Carmel Mountains are known to be green all year round, a rarity in the hot, almost desert climate of Israel. It makes this the perfect hike for all seasons!
There are a few options of hiking trails here; a long hike (1.5-2 hours round trip) and a short hike (about 45 minutes round trip). We chose the short hike as we had to be home earlier than normal because of the upcoming lockdown. For more details about the actual hike, this is a great source. Although it’s mostly in Hebrew, Google Translate will pretty accurately translate the page and all the details.
The highlight of the hike is definitely the unique pipe-like rock formations that are millions of years old. They were created by the water pressure pressing the rocks into a tube like formation. In Hebrew we call this phenomena a “tznir” from the root work tzinor – which means pipe/hose.
Extra tip: If you are planning on visiting in the spring, consider waiting until May. Wild white lilies blossom in this area in May; which is both incredibly rare and incredibly beautiful sight.
Second Stop: Looking for Flamingos in Atlit
Our second stop was to the the salt ponds in Atlit. Atlit is a coastal town south of Haifa city, mostly known for the Atlit Detainee Camp Museum. The museum sheds a light into Israel’s past to the time of the British mandate. But what most people don’t know, is that there are amazing salt ponds right in the area.
These salt ponds are frequently visited by many migrating birds and one type that particularly loves the salty waters is the flamingo! And so began our search for the flamingos!
Two years ago we were lucky enough to find flamingos in this spot but this year we were less successful. Honestly it’s hit or miss to see the flamingos and there is no guarantee so I don’t have any tips for timing. But don’t worry, even if you miss the flamingos there are still sooo many other birds to see and the salty landscape is beautiful.
Israel is known as the the “bridge between continents” for millions of migrating birds each year. The birds traveling from Europe need this last stop to make it to their final destination before they cross the Sahara desert – a 5 day journey with no food or water. And the same for the birds traveling back to Europe…they need a resting place for after their long journey. That being said, Atlit, along with the Hula Valley, and other water sources in Israel are a hot spot for these migrating birds.
Third Stop: Coffee at Cafe Zahara
No day trip is complete without a lunch break! We stopped along the way at this cute and quaint little café to grab a little sustenance for our journey. Cafe Zahara is vegan friendly with an awesome vibe. Grab a kombucha or an iced coffee for the perfect intermission to your day.
The vibe of the café is really adorable and it’s only about a 10 minute drive from Atlit. As you drive into the parking you’ll see a field of unique sculptures. The café is nestled in a small little artist colony and you can find ceramics shops, boutique jewelry, and many other artistic treasures.
Fourth Stop: Dor Beach (Hof Dor)
Our last stop for the day was the absolutely stunning Hof Dor. This archeological beauty is located right on the Mediterranean. We’ve visited here so many times as it’s such an underrated little oasis. Not only is the history behind this port city amazing, but also the views are breathtaking.
Tel Dor has the remains of an ancient city and an ancient harbor, built in this location because of the natural inlets of the shoreline. The mound rises up above the waterline, providing breathtaking views, and containing fascinating and exciting finds within. The Dor port city was founded in Canaanite times (some 3500 years ago).National Parks and and Nature Reserves of Israel
The beautiful little pools of water were created from the ruins of the ancient city that was once here. It really makes you feel like you are on your private island. There is a main beach (Hof Dor), but the best spots are 5-10 minute walk from there.
For more information about Hof Dor check out our post: THE MOST AMAZING BEACH IN ISRAEL: DOR HABONIM BEACH.
How to There
So for this trip you will definitely need a car. We went first to Little Switzerland, then the Atlit, stopped for coffee, and then the rest of the day was spent at the beach. I would recommend starting out early so that you can fit everything in.
Tips for Visiting
- WATERPROOF SHOES. – There is the main beach at Hof Dor but in order to get to the most beautiful spots, you’ll have to cross some rocky ground. When you enter the water it will be much easier to explore if you bring water shoes or even just a pair of waterproof sandals.
- WATER. Bring at least 3 liters per person as it will be a long day and the sun is very hot in Israel. Make sure you’re drinking throughout the day and maybe even bring some coconut water for extra hydration!
- SNACKS. Of course we had a lunch break in the middle of the day, but I personally won’t survive without snacks. The is a pretty full day trip so be sure to bring a few things to much on during the trip!
- HAT. You’re going to be in the sun for a good portion of the day so be sure to cover your head. No heat exhaustion for us!
Have you been to any of these locations before? Hopefully we’ve provided some inspiration for your future adventures. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
If you’re looking for more amazing things to do in the area check out some more INCREDIBLE places in Northern Israel.
Looking for fun things to do around the country? Check out this post: 25 IDEAS FOR AMAZING DAY TRIPS FROM TEL AVIV | ESCAPE THE CITY
Lots of Love and Safe Travels,
Brooke and Danielle, Colorful Sisters