The best part about Israel… its amazing views. And from sand and oceans to beaches and deserts, I saw it all on my 10-day journey around Israel.
When registering for Birthright through the Shorashim trip organizer program, they planned out our complete itinerary of housing, transportation and excursions for the whole time!!
Prior to my departure the specific itinerary for Bus 13 was posted to our profile online, so I knew we would be doing a lot of sightseeing, swimming and walking. Also the packing list suggested items like comfortable sneakers, a hat, sunglasses and a water bottle – so I was able to predict 1 thing : hiking.
All in all my travel itinerary with Shorashim included 3 amazing adventures of hiking through Israel, and each one greatly varied from one another by its geographical location and terrain.
In my experiences and my opinion, here are the 3 best hikes through Israel!
Masada is an ancient fortress in Southern Israel’s Judean desert. It is tradition for the Birthright program to schedule its participants to take part on the venture at sunrise, and it is safe to say it was one of the most breaktaking views I’ve seen and definitely worth the crazy 4am wake up call! So, just before sunrise our group hiked up Masada – just like our ancestors did 2 thousand years ago. It took approximately 40 minutes until we reached the highest looking point and was probably the most difficult hike we completed since we were so tired from the lack of sleep, but the unbelievable sight looking over Israel was so worth it. At the top, Adi told us more about the history of Masada and we walked around to the ancient Roman baths. Even some of our Israeli soldiers told me it was their 1st time up there, so it was sentimental and amazing to all spend time together, take pictures and strongly immerse ourselves in the historical tales of our ancestors.
My first major hike in Israel was in the Golan Heights, and we headed out not knowing what was in store for us. After a half hour driving through fields infested with mines and bunkers and learning about the historical conflict between Syria and Israel, we began our hike descending down the mountain. The trail was dusty and covered with rocks often steeply twisting and turning, but also surprising when every once in a while we would have to climb rocks over a stream, so I was not sure what to expect at the bottom. After 2 hours of walking, it was a great surprise to find a beautiful waterfall in the middle of the mountain on the hot and sunny 90 degree day. The water was rewarding after our hike down, and refreshing as we had to begin the descent back up after a little break! I’ll admit I was not in the best physical shape for the excruciating vertical hike up, but my friends and I were there to motivate each other [and the beautiful views weren’t bad either!]
3. Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat is a canyon in the Negev Desert of Israel, south of the Kibbutz Sde Boker. Once again the day was hot and sunny, above 90 degrees and we were averaging about 6 hours of sleep a night. I was exhausted to say the least but excited for another day to explore. After a 1 hour drive our bus pulled up to what looked like a large mountain of desert, and without any explanation we started walking. As we trekked through the rocks and sand, little puddles started appearing which seemed surprising for the dry climate, but no one questioned it until we saw the best surprise – a huge spring at the southern opening of the canyon that emptied into a deep pool and smaller waterfalls. Now, Adi explained to us the magical history of the water transpiring and floating through Eid Avdat over and over. I remember starting our journey from the bottom, and begging Adi for a break when we saw a random patch of trees for shade and water on the way up. It was nice though we took a group picture to remember the experience and then continued the trek to the top.
Bus 13 forever!!