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Odem U-Pick in the Golan Heights. Photo: courtesy ISRAEL21c

Odem U-Pick in the Golan Heights. Photo: courtesy ISRAEL21c

Do-it-yourself day trips in the land of milk and honey that will capture your heart and also satisfy your stomach.

By Jessica Halfin

Israel is blessed with endless options for interesting day trips. North, south or center, there is always a new hike, nature reserve or historical site to discover, and nothing is ever too far away. But as stomachs start to grumble, you have to consider what you’re going to eat and drink after the main event.

In our opinion, an artisan food-related item is always in order, especially after a difficult hike or long haul. So have fun, support local producers and create your own DIY day trips filled with sights, hikes and gourmet items that will entice you everywhere you roam.

Here are 10 paired suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.

  1. Yechiam Fortress National Park and Buza Ice CreamUpper Galilee
Yechiam Fortress photo by Jessica Halfin

Yechiam Fortress photo by Jessica Halfin

Spend time at this preserved Crusader castle and fortress passed down through a series of Holy Land conquerors and used as a strategic battleground by Kibbutz Yechiam members in the 1948 war for Israel’s independence (bullet holes still remain in the stone walls). Watch the movie, wander around the site and take in the incredible 360-degree view overlooking the Upper Galilee coastal plain, more distant Acre and the Carmel Mountains.

Buza ice cream after an Upper Galilee hike. Photo by Jessica Halfin

Buza ice cream after an Upper Galilee hike. Photo by Jessica Halfin

What could be better after sightseeing than a mid-afternoon cone? Even better if it is a handmade cardamom or chocolate gelato treat from Buza’s famous original location in neighboring Maalot-Tarshiha (Buza is on the Tarshiha side). Buza (Arabic for “ice cream”) is a partnership between Jewish ice-cream fanatic Adam Ziv from Kibbutz Sasa and Arab restauranteur Alaa Sweetat of Tarshiha. It won a 2017 United Nations Flourish Prize for promoting coexistence in Israel.

2. Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve and Katlav Winery,Judean Hills

Soreq Stalactite Cave. Photo by Jessica Halfin

Soreq Stalactite Cave. Photo by Jessica Halfin

The 5,000-meter Soreq Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve was discovered in the 1960s purely by accident. A routine quarry explosion exposed the rare cave developing for millennia deep within the mountainous hillside. Soft limestone and rainwater mixed to create stunning geological formations beneath the bedrock. Today it is the only cave of its kind in Israel that can be visited, and it is quite an otherworldly site. The visitors’ center features an explanatory film. A guided tour, from which you are free to deviate, takes you along a planked path with railings. Colorful lights illuminate the natural structures.

Katlav Winery in Nes Harim. Photo: courtesy ISRAEL21c

Katlav Winery in Nes Harim. Photo: courtesy ISRAEL21c

A mere 10 minutes’ drive down the road will find you in idyllic Nes Harim at the doorstep of Katlav Winery. The venture was started by Yossef Yitach, who left his own prestigious architectural firm to become a boutique kosher winemaker. The winery was built on biblical-era soil overlooking the Judean hills and Jerusalem in the distance. Yitach has even dug five wine caves to let his wines develop and age with grace. Tasting the different varietals, while admiring the view, is the perfect way to honor the unique land on which the winery was built.

3. Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and Kfar Hanokdim Bedouin Hospitality, Dead Sea/Arad

A hike at Ein Gedi Nature Reserve in the Dead Sea area is always a good choice because it is easy enough for the entire family to enjoy, yet close enough to nature that you could find yourself a finger’s length away from an ibex. But don’t be tempted to pet any of the wildlife. Instead, immerse yourself in nature by stopping to dip in the desert waterfalls and springs that line the trail.

Kfar HaNokdim photo by Jessica Halfin

Kfar HaNokdim photo by Jessica Halfin

Following your hike, head west toward the desert city of Arad and continue down the mountainous road past the shores of the Dead Sea, up through the Judean Hills to Kfar HaNokdim. There you can experience the desert in the comfort of a custom-built village that makes the famous hospitality of Bedouin desert-dwellers accessible to the general population. The camp provides various levels of comfortable accommodation, authentic Bedouin-style meals, camel and donkey rides, desert bike and jeep rides, and guided hikes in the surrounding canyons.

4. Lake Ram (Birkat Ram) and The Witches Cauldron and the Milkman restaurant, Golan Heights

Follow the witch-shaped signs along the route leading up to the Druze village of Majd El Shams at the southern base of Mount Hermon and eventually you will reach this restaurant in neighboring Nimrod. Even more intriguing than the view and the romantic wood-burning stove in the wintertime is the gaggle of witch dolls and decorations hanging from the ceiling as you dine on fine yet hearty dishes served in sizzling cast-iron skillets. The restaurant celebrates local specialties such as Golan-raised steaks, artisan cheeses, locally pickled olives and area boutique wines.

The Witches Cauldron and the Milkman restaurant near Lake Ram. Photo: courtesy

The Witches Cauldron and the Milkman restaurant near Lake Ram. Photo: courtesy

Following your meal, drive down toward Lake Ram. Park in the lot and follow the Golan Trail to the water’s edge. Continue on the green trail to circle the lake, which according to Talmudic legend is a remnant from the biblical flood and is the product of an ancient volcanic eruption that caused a 10-meter-deep hole filled with rain and groundwater. Although swimming is not recommended, the lake makes a worthy backdrop for a lovely walk among the fruit trees that dot the area.

5. Snorkeling at Eilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve and Eilat Wines

This reserve along Israel’s Red Sea Gulf allows people of all ages and abilities to enjoy and help sustain the world’s most northern coral reef. Wading pools allow children to get close to the reef without entering the deeper waters, as do observation bridges, where one can admire the fish while remaining dry. Adventurous souls can rent snorkeling or diving gear on the beach.

Following a refreshing dip, Eilat Wines — the official southern outpost of the Golan Heights and Galil Mountain Wineries — is a must visit. Located in an industrial zone in the northern section of the city, it is a gourmet hotspot for wine and cheese lovers. Wines from all over the world are stocked here. On “free Fridays,” four wine tastings and accompanying gourmet snacks are offered. Any time you come, your purchases are tax-free due to Eilat’s special zoning status.

6. Shivta National Park  and “Path of Knowledge” at Ramat HaNegev Agricultural Research and Development Tour, Negev Highlands

Negev Center for Agricultural Research and Development. Photo by Jessica Halfin

Negev Center for Agricultural Research and Development. Photo by Jessica Halfin

Located 20 minutes northwest of Sde Boker, in the middle of the Negev Desert, is the Ramat HaNegev Center for Agricultural Research and Development. Call ahead to book a tour of the greenhouses to learn how the center has realized first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s promise to make the desert bloom. During the tour you will pick fruits and veggies fresh from the vine to sample and even receive a whole container to take with!

Also visit the attached memorial to a group of French soldiers who served in the Negev Brigade during Israel’s War of Independence. The hill on which the memorial sits gives a vantage point over the Megalim experimental solar power project across the street.

Shivta National Park photo by Jessica Halfin

Shivta National Park photo by Jessica Halfin

From New Age to ancient, off the road heading further west toward Nitzana, near Israel’s Gaza border, is the ancient Nabatean city of Shivta. Now a national park filled with spectacularly preserved ruins, it was once a largely populated town along the famous Nabatean spice trading route. Taken over by Byzantines and later by Muslim Crusaders, the site also features ancient churches and a mosque, and was a functional town all the way up until the mid-seventh century.

7. Amud Stream Nature Reserve and Ein Camonim dairy, Upper Galilee

If there ever was an Israeli hike meant to connect you to the ancient history and nature of the land, Nahal Amud (Pillar River), between Mount Meron and the Sea of Galilee, is it. In this one site you will find antique flour mills, the famous pillar for which the river is named, a blossoming orchard filled with the famous biblical fruit species, caves and freshwater pools and springs. The 4-kilometer trail takes three to four hours, and includes a steep incline or decline, as well as dipping pools, depending on which route you choose.

Fresh cheese at Ein Carmonim dairy. Photo by Jessica Halfin

Fresh cheese at Ein Carmonim dairy. Photo by Jessica Halfin

Found among the breathtaking hills of the Upper Galilee close by, the Ein Camonim goat farm and dairy is a tranquil outpost that produces and sells more than 30 varieties of cheese from the milk of its grass-fed, free-range herd. Step inside the shop to taste more than a few cheeses free of charge, as well as Ein Camonim signature wine produced for the farm by Haifa’s boutique Vortman Winery. Other specialty products include homemade fig and walnut jam, and single serving sorbets. For a more elaborate experience, dine in the outdoor restaurant next to the goats and treat yourself to an all-you-can-eat cheese platter accompanied by gourmet salads.

8. Hula Nature Reserve and Habayit Bektze HaNofUpper Galilee

Walking in the Hula Nature Reserve. Photo by Jessica Halfin

Walking in the Hula Nature Reserve. Photo by Jessica Halfin

Located in the Hula Valley in the Upper Galilee, Hula Lake serves as a natural rest stop for birds migrating to and from Europe, Asia and Africa. But the reserve is much more than just a world-class bird observatory site. A visitors’ center with a movie and museum explains the area’s remarkable ecosystem, and from the wooden plank trail around the lake and the covered wooden bridge you can observe the active wildlife in the water (gigantic catfish, freshwater turtles, frogs and beaver-like rodents) and surrounding wetlands.

Overlooking the Hula Valley, Habayit Bektze HaNof, or House on the Edge of the Landscape, is a rural restaurant at the edge of the Birya Forest. Floor-to-ceiling windows, observation points and a deck make it a prime spot for nestling in and chowing down, while appreciating an unobstructed view. A prime spot for anything from a quick bite to a wedding party, the light and fresh Galilean café fare make it ideal as a lunch stop for day trippers.

9. Mount Tabor Nature Reserve and National Park, Shaked Tavor Visitor’s Center and Tabor Winery, Kfar Tavor, Lower Galilee

Mount Tavor in the Lower Galilee. Photo by Tamir Peled

Mount Tavor in the Lower Galilee. Photo by Tamir Peled

Drive past the agricultural fields of the Jezreel Valley in the Lower Galilee, and you will notice Mount Tabor (Tavor) peeking out of the horizon. The perfectly round mountain is filled with green trees year-round, and can be climbed by foot or vehicle. Whatever path you choose, you will find more than just a beautiful view. The mountain is the location of several significant battles and events from biblical time and so is home to churches including the Church of the Transfiguration Franciscan monastery (open to visitors) and the Church of the Prophet Elijah.

In neighboring Kfar Tavor, you will find the culinary treats and surprises that make up the area’s livelihood — the valley’s much sought-after almonds and wines.

What was once referred to as the Marzipan Museum has since transformed into Shaked Tavor Visitors Center, a store selling the neighboring factory’s flavored marzipan and almond specialty products. The name “shaked” (pronounced shah-ked) is drawn from the almond trees that blossom with delicate pink and white flowers each spring at the mountain’s base. In the same complex, Tabor Winery welcomes visitors for a tasting, tour and other events such as Family Harvest Day each summer.

10. The Big Juba walk and Odem U-Pick fruit picking, Golan Heights

The Big Juba. Photo by Jessica Halfin

The Big Juba. Photo by Jessica Halfin

Drive through the Golan Heights and you may wonder how it came to be a raised platform, and the story behind the many volcanic rocks strewn about. Take an easy walk on the paved pathway through the Odem Forest at the Big Juba, and you will learn about some of the geological oddities of this unique forest habitat. For those looking for more than just a view of the crater, you can venture down into the hole. Expect a run-in with a grazing Golan cow or two, and know that the path is not officially marked.

Odem U-Pick in the Golan Heights. Photo: courtesy

Odem U-Pick in the Golan Heights. Photo: courtesy

Continuing down the road into Moshav Odem, you will find a quaint family-run fruit orchard that allows you to pick your own in the summer months. In June it is a prime spot for cherry picking. July ushers in the season of the more rare raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries. Grab a cup of coffee, and buy jams, jellies, locally sourced olive oil and honey in the shop. With other jewels of the moshav such as the Odem Mountain Winery and the Deer Forest Petting Zoo and camping ground, there’s plenty to keep you busy in this historically significant Golan settlement in the off season as well.

 

    10 Perfect Days Out in Israel

    The approach to the King David Hotel. Photo by Noam Chen for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, courtesy Creative Commons

    Jerusalem’s venerable King David Hotel, which opened in 1930, reflects several decades of the city’s complicated past. To stay here is to experience a chunk of history. The hotel played an important role in Israel’s struggle for statehood, through the War of Independence, the division of Jerusalem and the reunification, and onward.

    The mot juste for the King David Hotel is grand.

    The King David has hosted many a royal guest and head of state, from King Abdullah of Jordan to Barack Obama. (The hotel’s website boasts that past visitors to the hotel include “248 Prime Ministers, 53 Kings, and 102 Presidents”—and that royal head count doesn’t count the Queen of Pop, Madonna, who has stayed here multiple times.) One section of the King David served as military headquarters during the British Mandate, and its south wing was bombed by the Zionist extremist Irgun faction in 1946. The hotel’s TV channel plays a looped documentary about its remarkable history.

    The mot juste for the King David Hotel is grand: from the massive lobby spaces with tiled floors, leather and gilt furnishings, and high ceilings painted in colorful Levantine patterns to its lavish sixth-floor rooms overlooking the walls of the Old City, it speaks of opulence and longstanding glories. Any visitor to Jerusalem should at least walk that august red carpet, in the footsteps of fifty-three kings (and one Queen of Pop).

     King David Hotel >

     

    Jerusalem’s Magnificent King David Hotel

    Uri Jermeias' Efendi Hotel. Photo by Max Nathans, courtesy Creative Commons 

    Uri Jeremias, chef of the restaurant Uri Buri, has taken advantage of Akko’s epic history with his hotel. Built of two merged Ottoman villas overlooking the Mediterranean, the Efendi Hotel has all the luxe, calme et volupté of a Turkish pasha’s sumptuous receiving room.

    Efendi’s rooms are filled with sunlight and bright flowers.

    After years of thinking about moving into the hotel business, Uri rejoiced at his luck finding what he calls “two of the most beautiful buildings in Israel” next door to one another. Under his eye, frescoed cornices were painstakingly repainted, and marble floors were ground down and repolished to a high luster. Conservators were brought in from Italy to get the colors and designs as close as possible to the originals.

    Efendi retains many well-preserved remnants of its long history. In the lobby is a deep well that dates back to Roman times. The wine cellar was built around the remains of a Byzantine vault: here, hundreds of bottles of Israeli wines line walls made with stones from the Byzantine, Crusader, and Ottoman periods. The small spa on the hotel’s ground floor is a preserved four-hundred-year-old Turkish hamam. A particularly intriguing feature is the restored nineteenth-century mural in the high-ceilinged reception room, depicting Istanbul, the Bosporus, and the Orient Express. (The painter had apparently never seen an actual railroad: the train resembles a string of covered wagons with smoke billowing overhead.) The hotel’s dozen rooms—many featuring extravagant balconies looking over Akko’s port and the Mediterranean—follow a pale chromatic scheme and are filled with sunlight and bright flowers, with gauzy white curtains that give these spaces the dreamlike air of an ancient fable.

    Uri has a theory about the food he cooks at his restaurant: “One: you need good raw materials. And two: don’t ruin what you already have.” Obviously, the same rules apply at the Efendi Hotel.

    Efendi Hotel >  

    Akko’s Efendi Hotel: Luxe, Calme, et Volupté

    Akkotel Hotel in Akko

    Akkotel hotel has a unique place in the city. The hotel is located next to, and in fact partially inside, the thick, ancient fortress wall that surrounds the Old City of Akko. The hotel’s discreet entrance on Salah ad-Din Street leads to a high-ceilinged, much-ornamented lobby where guests are likely to be greeted warmly by owner Ilya Morani, or a member of his family. The hotel, part of which once served as a customs house, has sixteen rooms; each is outfitted simply and uniquely, with wooden furnishings carved by Morani himself. All the rooms have thick exposed-stone walls in which deeply set windows look out onto Akko’s street life. You might hear the call of a fruit seller in the morning before heading down to the Akkotel’s lovely and ample breakfast buffet and then out to explore.

    From the Akkotel rooftop, the sky is an intense azure that competes with the darker blue of the Mediterranean, and the bleached stone cityscape seems near enough to touch with your fingers.

     Guests can reach the Akkotel rooftop (with a key provided by the Moranis) via a hidden set of stairs from the hotel’s top floor. Here, the sky is an intense azure that competes with the darker blue of the Mediterranean, and the bleached stone cityscape seems near enough to touch with your fingers. At its center is the minaret of the Jezzar-Pasha Mosque, from which the muezzin calls Muslims to prayer with a drone that rings through the streets five times a day. From where you stand, the old wall of the city rolls away in both directions. (Akko is labyrinthine at street level, filled with small alleyways and sharp turns, but if you can find the wall, you can find your way anywhere—or at least from the Akkotel to the Uri Buri restaurant.) At night, seen from this rooftop, the moon completes a picture-perfect dream of what European Romantic painters might have termed “the Orient”: a bright, starry sky above and shadowed archways below, timeless stones, a silhouetted mosque.

    Akkotel > 

    Akkotel: An Inn Built into Akko’s Foundations

    Photo courtesy Mount Zion Hotel

    The Mount Zion Hotel, located on the outskirts of Jerusalem’s Old City, offers sumptuousness in a different flavor and an equally intriguing history. Erected by a British charitable organization in the 1880s, the building, which faces Mount Zion and looks over the sweeping Hinnom Valley, originally served as a hospital for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. It was taken over by the Turkish army during World War I and suffered severe damage in the 1920 earthquake. During Israel’s War of Independence, contact with Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter was possible only by means of a cable car running from a point on Mount Zion to a room in this hospital building. The cable car was used at night, carrying medicine and arms up to Mount Zion and the wounded back down to the hospital; by day, the cable was lowered to the ground so as not to be seen by the enemy. As with so many sites in Israel, the past is embedded deeply in every stone here.

    As with so many sites in Israel, the past is embedded deeply in every stone here.

    Today, the Mount Zion Hotel retains much of its Turkish flavor: there is a clear Ottoman-Moroccan aesthetic sensibility in the wildly patterned ceramic floors, stone walls and archways, colorful curtains and bedclothes, and the brightly tiled hamam, now a functioning Turkish bath and part of the hotel’s spa. And the Mount Zion serves one of the loveliest breakfasts in Israel: a groaning board of fruits, cheeses, vegetables, olives, baked goods, fish, omelets, breads, fresh juices. On this account alone, many guests wish they had more days here, in order to sample everything.

    Mount Zion Hotel >

    Photos courtesy Mount Zion Hotel

     

    Jerusalem’s Mount Zion Hotel: Ottoman-Style Luxury

    View onto a balcony at the Neve Tzedek Hotel, Tel Aviv–Yafo. Photo by and © Vision Studio

    The Neve Tzedek Hotel is a five-suite inn on Deganya Street that takes its name from what is now one of Tel Aviv’s most happening neighborhoods. The hotel, which feels like the beautiful home of an eccentric friend, is the creation of two brothers, Golan Dor and Tommy Ben-David, longtime residents of Neve Tzedek who revamped one of the area’s International-style historic townhouses to create this inn.

    Neve Tzedek Hotel has the feel of a sanctuary—it’s hard to believe you are in the middle of a busy quarter of the city.

    The suites at the Neve Tzedek Hotel are spacious and airy; each is like a little apartment. The floors and walls are immaculately white, but the rooms are brightly appointed with colorful rugs and sofas, original paintings on the walls, and vases overflowing with fresh flowers. The rooms on the lower floors of the hotel look out onto a peaceful stone garden in back (one of them includes access to an outdoor Jacuzzi), and the top-floor suite features a big, sunny balcony from which guests can look out onto the nearby rooftops and skyscrapers.

    The Neve Tzedek Hotel has the feel of a sanctuary—it’s hard to believe you are in the middle of a busy quarter of the city—with some unexpected creative touches: bright-green ivy growing up the walls of the downstairs Garden Suite bath; a wooden barrel repurposed as an elegant sink; a bottle of excellent wine provided in the kitchenette.

    Guests are essentially left to their own devices in these warm spaces. As you leave the peaceful Neve Tzedek Hotel and move into the throng of a Tel Aviv morning, it feels like stepping into the city from the private tranquility of your own home.        

    Neve Tzedek Hotel >

     

    Neve Tzedek Hotel: Hidden Sanctuary in Tel Aviv

    David Intercontinental Hotel, Tel Aviv. Photo by Chris Hoare, courtesy Creative Commons

    A great hotel will make guests feel welcome on the most personal, most individual level. This is where touches like chocolates on the pillow, say, or a bowl of fresh fruit in the room, or a call from the concierge to see if everything is in order can make all the difference.

    Tel Aviv abounds in excellent hotels; many of them are big and brassy, and wonderful in their way.

    Tel Aviv abounds in excellent hotels; many of them are big and brassy, and
    wonderful in their way: the Dan, the Hilton, the Carlton, the sleek and massive
    David Intercontinental—all of them grand places from which to explore the city,
    relax in style, or get work done (which is always nicer when your window looks out at the sea). Other establishments, often referred to nowadays as “boutique” hotels or inns, are smaller and quirkier, and may tell you something more about the character of the place where you find yourself. Among these are the Neve Tzedek Hotel, and the Hotel Montefiore, whose twelve splendid rooms each feature the work of a different contemporary Israeli artist; Gordon, a sleek, original Bauhaus-style building with rooms overlooking the water; and Alma, a lovely inn that boasts a superb restaurant of the same name.

    Alma Hotel and Lounge >

    Dan Tel Aviv Hotel >

    David Intercontinental >

    Gordon Hotel and Lounge >

    Hilton >

    Hotel Montefiore >

     

     

    From Big and Brassy to Discreet Boutique: Tel Aviv Hotels

    A guestroom at the Pina Barosh inn, Rosh Pina. Photo © and courtesy Cookie West 

    The building that houses the Pina Barosh inn, perched on Rosh Pina’s HaKhalutzim Street, has been in the Friedman family since the 1870s; today, six generations along, the family continues here. Nili Friedman, who now owns and runs the inn, is a warm, effusive, and very welcoming hostess—she is, like many others in Rosh Pina, also an artist, and some of her paintings can be seen hanging on the walls of Pina Barosh’s seven charming guest rooms, most of which look out onto the broad green-and-gold Hula Valley. Some rooms have private outdoor hot tubs, in which guests can loll indulgently with a glass of wine and gaze out all the way across the valley to Mount Hermon.

    Mornings at Pina Barosh will likely find you sitting at the inn’s wide, stone-columned outdoor dining room, overlooking the Hula Valley.

    Mornings at Pina Barosh will likely find you sitting at the inn’s wide, stone-columned outdoor dining room—warmed in cooler months with a blazing fire in a central fireplace—and looking out at this astonishing view. Here are served magnificent, many-dish breakfasts, including homemade cheeses, fig jam, breads, tapenades, tahini, fresh eggs and yogurts, and the requisite Israeli salads—such a satisfying, nourishing, and gorgeous way to start the day. Nili’s daughter, Shiri, trained as a chef in France and New York, and runs the excellent Shiri Bistro here that also serves lunch and dinner, applying her refined culinary approach to the bounty of local produce and other ingredients.

    Pina Barosh >

    Reviving the Spirit at Pina Barosh Inn

    Interior of one of the cabins at Castles That Move in the Wind in the Golan. Photo by and © Vision Studio

    When traveling, you can sometimes let go of normalcy and embrace something dreamlike. Israel abounds with wonderful places to sleep and to dream, catering to all tastes and imaginations. There are the lush fairy houses of the Castles That Move in the Wind up in the Golan; Beresheet, a stone hotel that sits, as silent and monolithic as the city of Ur, on the edge of the Ramon crater in the Negev; and the sublime respite Mizpe Hayamim,  a spa/hotel/organic farm near Rosh Pina (more about these in film The New Cuisine of Israel/Mizpe Hayamim: A Retreat for Body and Soul), and many more.

    Israel abounds with wonderful places to sleep and to dream.

    We have not stayed in every hotel in Israel—not by a long shot—but we have touched down in nearly every corner of the country and have seen a wide gamut of lodging places, from mud huts on working farms in the desert to the most elegantly appointed hotel rooms overlooking vistas of green hills, borderlines, and history. What we have seen throughout our travels is that Israelis have a knack for combining elegance with a lack of pretention, a Mediterranean understanding of hedonism with a kibbutznik practicality. Each of the hotels, inns, and guesthouses mentioned we’ve visited combines those factors.

    Your feet are always on the ground in Israel; it is hard not to feel agreeably at home here in the most basic and the most high-toned places. That kind of comfort is the ultimate luxury.

    Beresheet Hotel >

    Castles That Move in the Wind >

    Mizpe Hayamim >

    The Many Flavors of Israeli Hotels

    Beresheet Hotel's savory Israeli breakfast. Photo by vera46, courtesy Creative Commons

    Many hotels in Israel offer magnificently extravagant breakfast buffets, where guests can assemble their own combination of elements and go back to sample more should they have room to do so. Consider for example the lavish spreads at Rosh Pina’s beautiful Pina Barosh inn and at Mizpe Hayamim, at the Beresheet Hotel, and at Tel Aviv’s Manta Ray (where diners at breakfast look out at the Mediterranean). For more, see the film The New Cuisine of Israel/Mizpe Hayamim: A Retreat for Body and Soul).

    Many hotels in Israel offer magnificently extravagant breakfast buffets.

    Coffee is essential to breakfast, and it’s excellent most everywhere in Israel. (This is one of the few countries where the Starbucks franchise did not succeed: all six Israeli Starbucks branches closed their doors in 2003.) Coffee is taken throughout the day, when anyone needs a pleasant jolt in the form of deliciously rich, dark, and potent caffeine, straight-up in the form of powerful espresso or softened with steamed milk and sweetened with raw sugar. 

    Shiri Bistro at Pina Barosh >

    Resources: Beresheet Hotel >

    Manta Ray >

    Mizpe Hayamim >