Chat with us, powered by LiveChat May 2020 | Gold Carpet Tours - Israel

Hiking tracks in Israel

For those who prefer hiking off the beaten track here are some of the amazing options available in Israel.

We’ll begin in the north at the Arbel Cliff overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Created by the Jordan Valley Rift, its soars to a height of 181 meters above sea level (over 380 meters above the Sea of Galilee, which sits at over 200 meters below sea level). A hike on this mountain offers amazing views as well as archaeological findings, such as an ancient synagogue and dwelling caves. Depending on how fit you are, there is a longer, more difficult climb, as well as an easier circular route accessible by car, making it a destination suitable for all the family.

The Arbel Cliff about the Sea of the Galilee

The Arbel Cliff about the Sea of the Galilee”

Next we will take a hike through the Jerusalem Hills to the Ein Sataf spring. There are no less than 5 different trails you can choose from, so you are certain to find one that suits your mood. Winding through the terraced hills, filled with olive groves and almond trees, once you reach the spring you can drink from its fresh waters are dabble in the pool to cool off on a hot day. The views are breathtaking, and once you have concluded you hike, you can stop off at the nearby village of Ein Karem for a meal at one of its many restaurants.

Ein Sataf - Jerusalem Hills

Ein Sataf – Jerusalem Hills”

Down south there are two amazing mountains to be climbed – Mt. Ardon in the Ramon Crater, and Mt. Karkom in the southwest Negev.
In the Ramon Crater climbing the Mt. Ardon is an amazing experience. A climb suitable only for the very fit, as you ascend you will see the amazing geological formations and colored sands of the Ramon Crater unfolding before you. The climb itself takes about 5 hours, so it is best to begin as early as possible to avoid the heat of midday, and therefore spending a night camping at the nearby Beerot campsite, which will add to the fun. A road less traveled, you will not be likely to meet many other hikers, which will add the awesome desert experience.

The Beerot campsite near Mt. Ardon

The Beerot campsite near Mt. Ardon”

Mount Karkom, situated in the Negev desert, is accessible by safari vehicle or jeep only. Covered with many rock engravings and surrounded by the remnants of ancient altars and temples, dating back to over 2000 years BC, many scholars argue that it is the actual Mount Sinai mentioned in the bible. Whether it is or not, no doubt a trek up its slopes, and seeing these engravings, will provide an experience that is second to none. Due to weather conditions, it is recommended as a destination more suitable for the late autumn, winter and early spring times of the year, although if you are here during the summer, start early and take along sufficient water and protection, and you will not have to forgo this amazing and thought evoking destination.

Halfway up to Mt. Karkom

Halfway up to Mt. Karkom”

So all you hikers and trail lovers, give us a call and we will make sure you have an experience you will never forget.

Artist Colonies in Israel

A wonderful way of seeing Israel is through its art and artists. Throughout the ages, the country has been the subject of countless artistic impressions and home to many artists and artisans.

Modern day Israel boasts several artist enclaves – the most renowned of which are the Safed artists’ quarter, the Jaffa artists’ colony, the Jerusalem Hutzot Hayotzer artists center and the Ein Hod artists village, each unique in structure, location and character.

Safed is one of the oldest towns in Israel, dating back even to biblical times. Its picturesque ancient alleyways, high altitude and breathtaking views, as well as its mystical ambiance as the Kabbalah city, make it an interesting and unique destination. The artists’ quarter is located in the old city, which also houses many ancient synagogues, and the many art and craft works on display and for sale, contribute to making it a one of a kind destination in the Upper Galilee.


The artists' quarter of Safed

The artists’ quarter of Safed”


The Jaffa artist’s colony is housed in the renovated ancient city, adjacent to the Jaffa port. Jaffa also dates back to biblical times, and was once the main port of entry to Israel. Meandering through its winding alleyways that overlook the Mediterranean Sea, you pass by countless galleries, works of art, restaurants and shops, giving a sense of old and new living together in harmony.


Jaffa - The old port

Jaffa – The old port


Hutzot Hayotzer artists’ center in Jerusalem is housed in renovated buildings that were left derelict in the no-mans-land region near the Old City of Jerusalem, from1948 to 1967. Designated as studios and workshops for artists and artisans, there is an annual arts and crafts festival held there for 2 weeks during the summer. The festival, which has gained renown and momentum over the years, hosts hundreds of artists, including some from abroad.


The Artists Center in Hutzot Hayotzer

The Artists Center in Hutzot Hayotzer


The Ein Hod artists’ village is unique in that all of the residents are artists from all fields of art – painting, sculpting, pottery, glass, dance, music and more.

Ein Hod - Art on the street

Ein Hod – Art on the street

Situated on the Carmel Mountain range, near to the town of Atlit, is has been a small settlement since Crusader times, and there is even evidence of prehistoric dwellings in the region. Today’s village occupies the site of the Arab settlement that was evacuated during the War of Independence, and it is home to the famous Janco Dada art museum. Almost all the artists have studios and galleries open to the public, offering tours and workshops for whoever is interested.


The Central Gallery in Ein Hod

The Central Gallery in Ein Hod


Whether you are an avid art lover or not, seeing Israel through the eyes of its artists is an amazing way to visit the country. We will be happy to take you on this fabulous journey.

The Jezreel Valley

Lying between the Carmel mountain range to the west, the Jordan Valley to the east, and bordered by the Lower Galilee Mountains to the north and Samarian Mountains to the south, the Jezreel Valley is the largest fertile region in Israel.

In ancient times it was part of the Via Maris (Sea Route) which travelled from Egypt in the south to Syria in the north, with archaeological signs of settlements having been found tracing as far back as the Bronze Age and earlier.


Flying over the Jezreel valley

Flying over the Jezreel valley


During the reign of the Roman Empire it became less travelled when the Romans paved the Shore Route, which ran from Egypt in the south and along the coastal plain, via Ashkelon, Caesarea and Acre to Lebanon and Syria in the north, replacing the Via Maris. The lack of habitation turned the valley into marshland and swamps.

Reclamation of the valley commenced in the 19th century, first by the Templers, who established the villages of Alonei Abba and Bethlehem of the Galilee, and then by the first Jewish pioneers returning to Palestine, who bought lands and founded villages.

A fitting beginning to a tour of this fabulous region is from the Carmelite monastery on Mt. Carmel, from which there are magnificent views of the Jezreel Valley reaching as far as the eye can see.


View from the Carmel

View from the Carmel


Continue with a visit to Megiddo overlooking the Plain of Armageddon (also in the Jezreel Valley), whose archeological excavations have unearthed 26 layers of settlements dating as far back as the Chalcolithic era.

Dotted with agricultural settlements as well as a main city, Afula, there are many places of interest to visit as you cross the valley from east to west, such as the magnificent mosaic from an ancient synagogue found at Kibbutz Beit Alpha, or a museum that tells the story of the first settlers and the War of Independence at Kibbutz Merhavia, as well as the Park of Springs and Mt. Gilboa (see our Facebook post), which also provides magnificent views of the valley from the south east.


The Jezreel Valley from Mt. Gilboa

The Jezreel Valley from Mt. Gilboa


On the way back you can make your way to Mt. Tabor, which is part of the Lower Galilee mountain range, bordering the valley from the northeast, and the biblical site of the battle between the Israelites and the Canaanite King of Hazor, and site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. In addition to its historical and religious significance, Mt. Tabor provides yet another magnificent view of the valley.


View from Mt.Tabor

View from Mt.Tabor


A visit to this region, rich in vegetation and history, where old and new live together side by side, is an unforgettable experience. Contact us and we will be happy to make it a reality.

The ANZAC Trail

In conjunction with the Annual ANZAC Memorial day, traditionally held on April 25th, to commemorate the brave men that fought in WWI, we would like to show the role of the Middle East, and particularly that of the land of Israel, in the outcome of that war.

Over a century ago the first victory by Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) troops, part of the British Empire’s army, was attained over the Turkish forces in then Palestine, which marked a turn in the outcome of WWI. The memory of those times are evident everywhere along what is today known as the ANZAC trail, which enables visitors today to relive those times.


Anzac memorial

Anzac memorial


The fighting took place in the Beer Sheba and Negev region of the country. The armies at that time were comprised principally of cavalry, brandishing rifles and bayonets, and flanked by artillery, and camps had to provide barracks or tents for soldiers, and of course corrals for the horses.
During WWI horses played a major role, not only in cavalry charges, but for pulling supply carts and ambulances as well as for reconnaissance missions. The bonds formed between horses and soldiers were very strong, and the loss of horses in the war to artillery and machine gun fire, as well as disease and injury, was critical to the troops. Ultimately the inability of the German forces to replenish their horses was a major factor in their defeat. (A wonderful depiction of this can be seen in the 2011 film “War Horse” by Steven Spielberg)


Map of the trail

Map of the trail


Today one can retrace the ANZAC trail by beginning in the lowlands region of the country, at Kibbutz Beeri, where a monument has been erected to commemorate the troops and their victory. As the drive continues, a stop can be at the Eshkol Park, to visit the restored portion of the railway line that was built by the Ottomans and later extended by the British following their victory.


The Anzac railway

The Anzac railway


The trail continues further to Beer Sheba, to the park of the Australian Soldier, which is a memorial and recreational park, with a statue commemorating the Light Brigade, and picnic areas, where people can come a spend time.
Beer Sheba is also home to the British Cemetery where most of the ANZAC soldiers that lost their lives here are buried, as well as to the ANZAC museum, which recreates some of the battles and tells the story.


The British Cemetery

The British Cemetery


The southernmost point of the trail is in the Negev, passing Khalassa, Bir Asluj and Bir Mashash. At Bir Asluj there is a small museum, with photographs and written documents from soldiers that participated in the war, which is very moving to visit.


Australian park

Australian museum


We will be happy to take you ion this moving and historically interesting journey to a beautiful region of the country on your next visit to Israel.