How many national parks and nature reserves does Israel have? Is it worth buying a subscription or a combo ticket? These are the central questions we are going to answer today.

Map Of National Parks In Israel

The maps in this post provided by Israeli Nature and Parks Authority.
You can find Hebrew Map above, and this is the English Map:
Map of National Parks in Israel

The total number is 69 (actually I saw several versions of these maps, with 63, 66 and 69 sites, but I guess the more significant the number, the newer the plan). From looking at the map, you can see that most of the national parks and nature reserves are in the north of Israel and there are also many in Jerusalem and its surroundings.

On the site of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, you can find an interactive map.

List of National Parks And Nature Reserves in Israel

North

  1. Nimrod Fortress National Park is the most significant Crusade-era castle in Israel. The entire fortress complex is 420 meters in length and 150 meters in width.
  2. Banias Nature Reserve, also known as Hermon Stream is one of the most popular Nature Reserves in Israel, and it is located at the Golan Heights.
  3. Tel Dan Nature Reserve is located in Northern Israel, not far from Kiryat Shmona. This nature reserve has different things to offer. There is water, greenery, and archaeological findings.
  4. Snir Stream Nature Reserve
  5. Hurshat Tal National Park
  6. Iyon Stream Nature Reserve
  7. Hula Valley has two Nature Reserves. Hula Nature Reserve is the smaller one with bridges and hiding spots to see birds. I visited it once but never wrote about it. During our visit, we almost did not see any birds, but I liked the fact there are trails for wheelchairs and kid’s trolleys throughout the whole reserve. The second Nature Reserve is Agamon ha Hula. Agamon is larger with a variety of tours and more birds (one of the reasons for that is the crane feeding that takes place at Agamon daily during the migration season). I visited Agamon many times is here is my post about Agamon ha Hula Sunrise Tour.
  8. Tel Hazor National Park is located next to Kibbutz Ayelet HaShahar, between Rosh Pina and Metula. And it is the Largest Tel in Israel.
  9. Akhziv National Park and Rosh HaNikra Grottoes are located north to Nahariya, next to the border with Lebanon. Rosh HaNikra Grottoes a is white chalk cliff face which opens up into spectacular grottoes. And nearby Achziv Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel.
  10. At Yehiam Fortress National Park you can find ruins of a massive and mighty fortress, combining buildings from the Crusader and Ottoman periods. The fort also tells the heroic story of the defenders of Yehi’am during the War of Independence.
  11. Baram National Park
  12. Amud Stream Nature Reserve
  13. Korazim National Park is located several kilometers north of the sea of Galilee, and about 300 meters above the level of the lake.
  14. We visited Capernaum National Park, which stands for two words: “Kfar Nahum” which means “Nahum’s Village,” during our one day tour at Tourist Attractions In The Kinneret Area.
  15. Betiha Nature Reserve – The Majrase offers a short and enjoyable trail next to the Sea of Galilee that suits perfectly for the hot days.
  16. Yehudia Nature Reserve – Meshushim Stream
  17. Gamla Nature Reserve is located in the central Golan Heights, and despite its distance from any major cities, it is a popular site. I guess this is because Gamla can fit the interests of many people. Gamla Nature Reserve is a combination of nature, landscape, and historical remains.
  18. Kursi National Park
  19. Hamat Tiberias National Park
  20. Arbel Nature Reserve And National Park is located on Mount Arbel near Tiberias. And it offers both stunning views and a glimpse of history.
  21. Ein Afek Nature Reserve is located east of Kiryat Bialik, and it is a popular site among locals. We also attended Bird Ringing at Ein Afek Nature Reserve.
  22. Tzipori National Park is located in Lower Galilee, west of Nazareth. This National Park has many remains of the ancient city Tzipori, including many beautiful mosaics and an old water system.
  23. Hai Bar Carmel National Park is located on top of Carmel mountain inside Carmel nature reserve. Israel Nature and Parks Authority always advertised it as the place to see eagles and deer.
  24. Mount Carmel National Park has many different trails to offer. And “The Spring is here or Hiking the Carmel Mountains” is one of them.
  25. Beit She’arim National Park is located near Kiryat Tiv’on (about 20km from Haifa). And it is an archaeological site of an ancient Jewish town, which is a world-famous Jewish cemetery of the Mishnaic era.
  26. Nahal Mearot Nature Reserve is located at Hof Hacarmel not far from Haifa. It is a world heritage site due to the importance of its archeological findings.
  27. Dor HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve
  28. You probably heard the word “Armageddon.” Ancient people said that the battle of the End of Days would be Megiddo? Due to its importance, Megiddo was conquered 25 times! And in this post, you can find additional info on my last visit to Tel Megiddo National Park.
  29. Kokhav HaYarden National Park (Belvoir)
  30. Ma’ayan Harod National Park
  31. Bet Alfa Synagogue National Park is located at kibbutz with the same name not far from Bet Shean. And it has one of most preserved and beautiful mosaics in Israel.
  32. Gan HaShlosha (Sachne) National Park
  33. Beit Shean National Park has probably the best preserved ancient Roman city in Israel.
  34. Taninim Stream Nature Reserve

Center

  1. Caesarea National Park is located next to a city under the name. The name comes from the word “Caesar,” and it was initially built by Herod the Great about 25-13 BCE.
  2. Beit Yanai Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel. I like it because it is a versatile beach. There are different things you can see and photograph.
  3. Sebastia National Park
  4. Apollonia National Park, also known as Arsuf, is located North to Herzliya on the shore. It was an ancient city and fortress.
  5. The source of the Yarkon River is at Yarkon Springs, not far from Petah Tikva. It flows west through Gush Dan and Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park into the Mediterranean Sea.
  6. En Prat Nature Reserve
  7. Martyrius Monastery
  8. Euthymius Monastery
  9. The Inn of the Good Samaritan Jerusalem Walls
  10. Castel National Heritage Site is a memorial site that is located on a hill 8 km west of Jerusalem.
  11. Ein Hemed National Park lies in the Nahal Kesalon riverbed. There are springs in the park, as well as remains of a 12th century Crusader castle. Its Latin name is Aqua Bella.
  12. Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve, A.K.A. Soreq Cave or Stalactites Cave, is a 5,000 square meters cave not far from Beit Shemesh.

South

    1. Ashkelon National Park offers various excellent activities. You can go to the beach, have a picnic, visit the archeological parts. Or even build a tent and stay for a night. For all these reasons it is one of the most popular national parks in Israel.
    2. Bet Guvrin – Maresha National Park is found not far from Kiryat Gat, and it belongs to UNESCO world heritage sites.
    3. Qumran Park
    4. Enot Tsukim Nature Reserve
    5. Herodium (Herodion) National Park is a truncated cone-shaped hill, located 12 kilometers south of Jerusalem.
    6. En Gedi Nature Reserve
    7. En Gedi Antiquities National Park
    8. Masada National Park
    9. Tel Arad National Park is located in South of Israel northwest of the modern city of Arad.
    10. Tel Beer Sheva National Park
    11. Eshkol National Park also called HaBsor National Park at Northern Negev is one of the leading attractions during Darom Adom festival.
    12. Mamshit National Park is a world heritage site by UNESCO, and it presents remains of Nabatean city not far from Dimona.
    13. Shivta National Park
    14. Ben-Gurion’s Tomb National Park
    15. Ein Avdat National Park located to the south of Sde Boker. In Hebrew Ein means spring, and it is positioned near Nabatean city Avdat.
    16. Avdat National Park has quite impressive remains of a Nabatean settlement. And it also was station number 62 on the Incense route.
    17. Makhtesh Ramon Visitors Center and Bio Ramon are found at Mitzpe Ramon settlement. And they are mostly dedicated to Ramon Crater, a fascinating geological feature in the Negev desert.
    18. Hai Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve at southern Arava Valley was established to foster the breeding of animals mentioned in the Bible and other endangered desert animals.
    19. Eilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve is a nature’s wonder. One of the best ways to see it is by visiting the Coral World Underwater Observatory. You can find out more at Visiting Eilat During The Winter.

Note: parks that have a short description are the ones I visited and covered in this blog. Parks and reserves that do not have a brief description next to them are the ones that I have not visited in recent years. Thus have not yet written about them (and the link points to the official site). For example, I toured the Dead Sea area and all the nearby parks almost a decade ago. Back then I was not into photography, and digital cameras were in their beginning. Therefore, I prefer not to post poor quality and probably not up to date content.

My Favorites

Before I get on to the list, I should mention several points. First of all, this is a subjective list. It is based mostly on my preferences and those of people I traveled with. I asked myself: “if I had a limited amount of time, which ones would I visit?”. Secondly, though I have visited most of the 65 parks and reserves (around 60 out of 65), I have not been to several. And lastly, this is an unordered list, thus the whether something appears at the beginning or the end, it is not mattering.

Top 10 National Parks And Nature Reserves

  • Nimrod Fortress National Park is the most significant and most impressive Crusade-era castle in Israel. If you have an opportunity, join the lanterns tour.
  • Banias Nature Reserve is one of the most popular Nature Reserves. It offers four different trails of varying length and suitable for people that love nature, especially water, and archeology.
  • If you are looking for a place to visit during bird migration period, then I would recommend Agamon ha Hula. And if you want to get closer to the birds, then take the wagon tour or even better, join Agamon ha Hula Sunrise Tour.
  • Gamla Nature Reserve can fit the interests of many people. Gamla Nature Reserve is a combination of nature (including bird lovers), landscape, and historical remains.
  • Beit Shean National Park has probably the best preserved ancient Roman city in Israel. And it is impressive.
  • Caesarea National Park is located in central Israel. If Beit Shean is too far for you, then at least visit Caesaria.
  • Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve AKA Soreq Cave or Stalactites Cave is a natural wonder near Beit Shemesh. This visit will not take much time, but it will leave an impact.
  • Bet Guvrin – Maresha National Park is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Israel. The caves and on ground constructions are impressive, especially taking into consideration, they were made with essential tools.
  • Mamshit National Park is a Nabatean city in the northern Negev. During Shavuot, there is a Nabatean market on site, so this is the best time to visit this site.
  • Ein Avdat National Park located in the Negev. It offers a stunning route inside Zin canyon and along Zin stream. It is hard to imagine that such beauty can be found in the desert. No wonder Ben Gurion chose it as his burial place.

Not all of you will agree with my picks, and it is ok. I guess the most common question will be: “where is Masada?” Masada has a great story, but when you are on site, it is not very impressive. Most photographers are struggling to get a good photo from there (and the best ones are taken from a drone). In other words, it has excellent marketing, but not the best content.

If the top 10 was not enough there here are bonus places. Additionally, let us know what your favorites in the comments below.

Bonus

  • Rosh HaNikra Grottoes and Akhziv National Park offer beautiful nature in Northern Israel and suitable for a half day visit.
  • If you love water trails, then visit Betiha Nature Reserve – The Majrase. It offers a short and enjoyable path that suits perfectly for the hot days.
  • Tzipori National Park showcases many remains of the ancient city Tzipori, including many beautiful mosaics and you can even crawl inside an old water system.
  • Beit She’arim National Park is an archaeological site of an ancient Jewish town. And you can visit a world-famous Jewish underground cemetery.
  • You probably heard the word “Armageddon.” Ancient people said that the battle of the End of Days would be Megiddo? Due to its importance, Megiddo was conquered 25 times! And in this post, you can find additional info on my last visit to Tel Megiddo National Park.
  • Beit Yanai Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel. Moreover, there are many kite surfers and birds in the nearby Alexander stream. As a result, there are many things to photograph 😉
  • Herodium (Herodion) National Park is a truncated cone-shaped hill, located not far from Jerusalem. As everything that Herod build, it was impressive. Unfortunately, not much remained, but archeological work never stops.
  • En Gedi Nature Reserve
  • Masada National Park
  • Avdat National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And it was the most important city on the Incense Route after Petra.
  • Makhtesh Ramon Visitors Center is mostly dedicated to Ramon Crater, a fascinating geological feature in the Negev desert.
  • Snorkeling in Eilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve is a lot of fun. Sadly, as the years go by, fewer corals remain.

Subscription and Combo Tickets

Annual Subscription

For Israeli residents, Israeli Nature and Parks Authority created yearly subscription tickets. These tickets include free entrance to National Parks and Nature Reserves during the year (there is no limit for the number of entries). Also, you will get discounts on varies tours. Moreover, when you sign up for an annual subscription, you will receive Israeli Nature and Parks Authority’s monthly magazine (either by mail or by post).

When is it worth buying the annual subscription?

The answer depends on the subscription type. Let’s take for example a family with two children, one at the age of 6 and the other 2. Why did I mention the ages? Children under the age of 5 years old enter free with subscription. Such a family would need a pair of adult plus an annual child pass, which currently costs 340 NIS. How does regular entrance costs stack up? It depends on the park. For adults, I have seen prices ranging from 14 NIS till 39 NIS, and for children, the prices vary from 14 NIS and up to 24 NIS. If we assume that average adult tickets cost 30 NIS and average child ticket costs 15 NIS, then one family entrance (2 adults + 1 child) cost 75 NIS. Thus, if you are visiting national parks five or more times per year, it is worth buying the annual subscription.

Also, keep in mind that when renewing the subscription, it is cheaper than buying for the first time (in the chosen case it is 306 NIS instead of 340 NIS, or 578 NIS per two years).

Note: full price list of different subscriptions is listed here.

Combo Tickets

What about tourists? Israel Nature and Parks Authority have combo tickets. For example, the blue card that costs 78 NIS and allows to visit three sites. Or the green card with six entries at the price of 110 NIS. Thus, if you are planning to visit more than one national park, it is worth checking out the combo tickets. You can find the whole variety of available tickets here.

Note: I updated all prices in November 2017.

Furthermore, you can use this map with locations of all posts.

Q&A

Q: Can I show up at any National Parks and visit it? Or do I need some booking or pre-arrangement in advance?

A: As long as you come during the opening hours, there is no need for any preparations. But, if you want to join one of the tours, for example, there are lantern tours at several parks, then you need to make a reservation.

 

On my blog, you can find all the national parks under Israeli National Parks category.

What is your favorite National Park? Let us know in the comments below.

That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!

Stay Tuned!

Did not find what you were looking for? Hit me up at hi@israel-in-photos.com, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

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