June 1, 2018

The Old City of Jerusalem. The Dead Sea. Masada. The Sea of Galilee. We’d never suggest you skip any of Israel’s iconic tourist sites. But if you would like to include some off-the-beaten-path destinations, here are some suggestions.

Kayaking at Rosh Hanikra
If you’re 10 to 70 years old and visiting Israel between April and November, kayaking is a fun and different way to explore the famous grottos of Rosh Hanikra in the far northwest of the country.

To book a 90-minute tour of the grottos from the water, call 972-52-379-8610 for reservations. 

Underground Boat Ride
This unique boat ride takes you through a 500-square-meter, fish-filled reservoir within an eighth-century arched structure in Old Ramla called the Pool of the Arches or the Pool of the Goats. In olden times, residents would water their goats between the arches. Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and Saturday; Friday and holiday eves until 2 p.m.

Gottesman Etching Center
The etching workshop at Kibbutz Cabri, east of Nahariya in the picturesque Western Galilee, was founded in 1993 as a venue for artists from Israel and abroad, and as an experiential museum for those wishing to watch printmaking masters at work.

The workshop contains the largest press in Israel, plus a wide selection of papers, an extensive aquatint box, large etching baths and a hot table. A sculpture garden is next to the workshop of the late sculptor Yechiel Shemi, and the Cabri Gallery for Contemporary Art also is in the kibbutz. Details: 972-4-995-2713. info@cabriprints.com. 

Nisco Museum of Mechanical Music
Nisco is at the edge of Ein Hod, an artists’ colony in the Carmel Mountains south of Haifa. Owner Nisan Cohen, a New York transplant, gathered this awesome collection of antique music boxes, hurdy-gurdies, gramophones, player pianos and other mechanical musical instruments.  The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.  niscomuseum@bezeqint.net

Black Canyon and Hexagonal Pools
The Black Canyon and the Hexagonal Pools are among several spectacular pools and waterfalls within the Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve. 

The volcanic stone and water-filled Black Canyon between the upper and lower Zavitan is a challenge for experienced hikers who also know how to rappel and swim. The Hexagon Pool is at the bottom of another deep canyon.

Bel Ofri Farms
In the village of Kidmat Zvi, Tami and Babi Kabalo established an eco farm that has become a refuge for unadoptable, injured, abandoned animals including lambs, goats, peacocks, pigeons, rabbits, marmots, guinea pigs and tortoises.

Sculpture Road
Between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, along Route 44 off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway 1, lies the Sculpture Road, a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) route through the Presidents Forest. It’s lined with environmentally friendly artworks sculpted by immigrant artists from the former Soviet Union. 

Sidre-Lakiya Negev Weaving
Sidreh, a nonprofit organization established in 1998 in Lakiya to improve the socio-economic status of Arab Bedouin women in the Negev, incorporates the Lakiya Negev Weaving Project. 

The women spin thread from the wool of sheep from local Bedouin shepherds and create carpets, cushions and accessories. 

Ancient Wine Route
Nine Israeli vineyards established along the path of the old wine and spice routes in the Negev Desert highlands have brought back to life the grape-growing terraces from 2,000 years ago. Sample the wines at Carmey Avdat, Kadesh Barnea, Ashba, Rota, Sde Boker, Sdema, Rojum, Derech Eretz and the Wine Cellar at Boker Valley Vineyards Farm. n

A longer version of this story appeared on israel21c.org in 2015.

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