Israel National Parks And Nature Reserves – Best, Map, Matmon


National Parks and Nature Reserves guide includes full list, Top 10, map, tickets (Israel Pass, Matmon card, combo), and campsites. Let’s begin!

Map Of National Parks In Israel

Israeli Nature and Parks Authority provided the maps that appear in this post.
You can find Hebrew Map above, and this is the English Map:

Map of National Parks in Israel
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 northern 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.

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

List of National Parks And Nature Reserves in Israel

Here are three lists divided by region. Also, I added the “Size” column. The size denotes how big the national park or the nature reserve and how much time most people spend there. But, keep in mind that these are rough average estimates and you can either do a one-hour highlights tour or dedicate a full day to cover the same site. So here is the division:

  • Small – most people spend 1 – 2 hours there.
  • Medium – people typically spend 2 -4 hours there.
  • Large – anywhere from 3 hours to a full day.

In some places, I also wrote combinations of those categories. A combination is a union of the range – for example, Small – Medium means 1 – 4 hours. Also, in some places, you will see an asterisk (*). The asterisk means that the duration of your visit depends on the selected routes, places you decide to visit, and activities you attend.

Northern Region

#DescriptionSize
1Nimrod 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.Medium
2Banias 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.Medium – Large (*)
3Tel 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.Medium
4Snir Stream Nature ReserveSmall (*)
5Hurshat Tal National ParkSmall – Large (*)
6Ayun Stream Nature Reserve offers an excellent trail with plenty of water, four waterfalls, and nature.Medium
7Hula 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 many 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 and here is my combined post about Agamon Hula.Small – Medium (*)
8Tel Hazor National Park is located next to Kibbutz Ayelet HaShahar, between Rosh Pina and Metula. And it is the Largest Tel in Israel.Medium
9Achziv 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 that opens up into spectacular grottoes. And nearby Achziv Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel.Small – Medium
10At 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.Small – Medium
11Baram National ParkSmall
12Amud Stream Nature Reserve in Northern Israel is a beloved nature reserved by families with kids. Read on to find out why.Medium – Large (*)
13Korazim National Park is located several kilometers north of the Sea of Galilee, and about 300 meters above the level of the lake.Small
14Capernaum is also called as The Town Of Jesus, and the word itself stands for two words: “Kfar Nahum” which means “Nahum’s Village”.Small
15Betiha Nature Reserve – The Majrase offers a short and enjoyable trail next to the Sea of Galilee that suits perfectly for the hot days.Small – Medium (*)
16Yehudia Nature Reserve – Meshushim StreamMedium – Large (*)
17Gamla 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.Medium – Large (*)
18Kursi National Park contains the impressive remains of a monastery and church from the Byzantine period. According to Christian tradition, this is the site of the Miracle of the Swine mentioned in the New Testament.Small
19Hamat Tiberias National Park displays not only hot springs but a rich history including a stunning zodiac mosaic in the ancient synagogue.Small
20Arbel Nature Reserve And National Park is located on Mount Arbel near Tiberias. And it offers both stunning views and a glimpse of history.Medium (*)
21Ein 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.Small -Medium
22Tzipori 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.Medium
23Hai 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.Small -Medium
24Mount Carmel National Park has many different trails to offer. And “The Spring is here or Hiking the Carmel Mountains” is one of them.Medium (*)
25Beit 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.Medium (*)
26Nahal 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.Small -Medium (*)
27Dor HaBonim Beach Nature ReserveSmall – Medium (*)
28You 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.Small – Medium
29Jordan Star National Park (Kokhav HaYarden) has Belvoir Fortress, an almost complete Crusader castle.Small – Medium
30Ma’ayan Harod National ParkSmall
31Bet Alfa Synagogue National Park is located at kibbutz with the same name not far from Bet Shean. And it has one of the best-preserved and most beautiful mosaics in Israel.Small
32Gan HaShlosha (Sachne) National ParkSmall – Large (*)
33Beit Shean National Park has probably the best-preserved ancient Roman city in Israel.Medium (*)
34Taninim Stream Nature Reserve presents one of the Roman dams and aqueducts that supplied Caesarea with water. Moreover, there is plenty of wildlife and other POI.Small

Central Israel

#DescriptionSize
35Caesarea 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.Medium
36Beit 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.Small – Medium (*)
37Sebastia National ParkSmall
38Apollonia National Park, also known as Arsuf, is located North to Herzliya on the shore. It was an ancient city and fortress.Small
39Yarkon National Park is not only the source of the Yarkon River that flows west through Gush Dan and Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park into the Mediterranean Sea. But it is also home of Tel Afek with the Roman city Antipatris.Small – Medium (*)
40En Prat Nature ReserveSmall – Medium (*)
41Martyrius MonasterySmall
42Euthymius MonasterySmall
43The Inn of the Good Samaritan Jerusalem WallsSmall
44Castel National Heritage Site is a memorial site that is located on a hill 8 km west of Jerusalem.Small – Medium (*)
45Ein 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.Small – Medium (*)
46Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve, A.K.A. Soreq Cave or Stalactites Cave, is a 5,000 square meters cave not far from Beit Shemesh.Small

Southern Region

#DescriptionSize
47Ashkelon 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.Small – Medium (*)
48Beit Guvrin National Park is found not far from Kiryat Gat, and it belongs to UNESCO world heritage sites.Medium – Large (*)
49Qumran ParkSmall – Medium
50Enot Tsukim Nature ReserveSmall – Medium
51Herodium (Herodion) National Park is a truncated cone-shaped hill, located 12 kilometers south of Jerusalem.Small – Medium
52Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is the largest Oasis in Israel. Thus it attracts people starting from ancient times. Moreover, it draws wildlife as well. Therefore, the combination of history, archeology, wildlife, and nature makes Gedi Nature Reserve Park one of the most popular attractions in the Dead Sea area.Medium – Large (*)
53Ein Gedi Antiquities National Park shows an ancient synagogue with beautiful mosaics.Small
54Masada National Park is one of the most significant sites in Israel. It offers great views, significant archeological remains and a great story.Medium – Large (*)
55Tel Arad National Park is located in South of Israel northwest of the modern city of Arad.Small – Medium
56Tel Beer Sheva National ParkSmall – Medium
57Eshkol National Park also called HaBsor National Park at Northern Negev is one of the leading attractions during Darom Adom festival.Small – Medium (*)
58Mamshit National Park is a world heritage site by UNESCO, and it presents remains of Nabatean city not far from Dimona.Small – Medium (*)
59Shivta National ParkSmall
60Ben-Gurion’s Tomb National Park is located in a garden at the Negev overlooking Tsin Canyon and Ein Avdat. Thus, I wrote about it at Ein Avdat post.Small
61Ein Avdat National Park located to the south of Sde Boker. In Hebrew, Ein means spring and offers a stunning hike in the Negev desert.Small – Medium (*)
62Avdat National Park has quite impressive remains of a Nabatean settlement. And it also was station number 62 on the Incense route.Small – Medium
63Makhtesh 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.Small – Medium
64Hai 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.Medium
65Eilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve is a nature’s wonder. One of the best ways to see it is by visiting the Underwater Observatory Marine Park.Medium – Large (*)

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).

Best National Parks And Nature Reserves

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 whether something appears either at the beginning or at the end, it does not matter.

My Favorites

  • Nimrod Fortress National Park is the most significant and most impressive Middle Ages castle in Israel. Moreover, if you have an opportunity, join the lanterns tour.
Nimrod Fortress National Park
Nimrod Fortress National Park

Banias Nature Reserve is one of the most popular Nature Reserves. It offers four different trails of varying lengths and suitable for people that love nature, especially water, and archeology.

Banias Nature Reserve (Hermon Stream)
Banias Nature Reserve

If you are looking for a place to visit during the 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.

Agamon ha Hula
Agamon ha Hula

Masada National Park offers an interesting glimpse into the history and the revolt. While visiting it, more profound questions will also arise. What would you prefer to be a slave or not to be? And as reconstruction work continues, there are more things to see on site.

Masada National Park
Masada National Park

Gamla Nature Reserve can fit the interests of many people. This Nature Reserve is a combination of nature (including bird lovers), landscape, and historical remains.

Gamla Nature Reserve
Gamla Nature Reserve

Beit Shean National Park has probably the best preserved ancient Roman city in Israel. And it is impressive.

Beit Shean National Park
Beit Shean National Park

Caesarea National Park is located in central Israel. If Beit Shean is too far for you, then at least visit Caesaria.

Caesarea National Park
Caesarea National Park

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.

Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve
Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve

Beit Guvrin 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.

At Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park, Israel
Beit Guvrin National Park

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.

Mamshit National Park
At Mamshit National Park, Israel

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.

Ein Avdat National Park
Ein Avdat National Park

In Israel Trip Planner, I listed the Most Popular Israeli Attractions. Check it out as well.

If the top 10 (well actually 11) was not enough there here are several bonus places. Additionally, let us know what your favorites in the comments below.

Bonus Places

  • 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 Shearim 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 is the largest oasis in Israel. And it offers a variety of hikes, wildlife, and antiquities.
  • 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.

Ticket Types

There are several ticket types, ranging from regular tickets to annual pass. And now we are going to go through all kinds.

Regular Tickets

If you will be visiting 1 – 2 national parks then the regular paper tickets will probably suit you the best. You can purchase them at the entrance to every site and no preliminary action required. But if you will be visiting more then a couple of parks then combo ticket, Israel Pass, or even Matmon card may be a better fit.

Combo Tickets

Israel Nature and Parks Authority have combo tickets. For example, the Blue Card that costs 78 NIS and allows you to visit three sites. Or the Green Card with six entries at the price of 110 NIS. And the price of Orange Card is 150 NIS and you have unlimited site visits. All these cards are valid for two weeks from the first visit and intended only for tourists.

Thus, if you are planning to visit more than one national park, it is worth considering purchasing a combo ticket. You can find additional information here.

Note: combo tickets offer access only to sites listed on the front of the card, and not all national parks and nature reserves. Moreover, you can purchase them only at selected parks (see the link above).

Matmon Card – Annual Subscription

Israeli Nature and Parks Authority has yearly subscription tickets. They are called Matmon Card. These tickets include free entrance to National Parks and Nature Reserves during the year (there is no limit for the number of entries). Furthermore, you will get discounts on their 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).

You can purchase the Matmon Card at the official site over here.

When is it worth buying the Matmon Card?

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 adults plus an annual child pass, which currently costs 340 NIS. How do regular entrance costs stack up? It depends on the park. For adults, I have seen prices ranging from 14 NIS to 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) costs 75 NIS.

Thus, in this case, if you are visiting national parks five or more times per year, Matmon becomes cheaper then regular tickets.

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).

Notes:

  • full price list of different subscriptions is listed here.
  • all prices were updated in June 2019.

Israel Pass

During 2019 the Israel Pass was introduced. This combination suits both transportation (Rav-Kav) and national parks. Here is a quote from the official site:

The ISRAEL PASS enables entry to up to six leading national parks and nature reserves (for example, Masada, En Gedi, Caesarea, Qumran, and many others), as well as (when loaded) travel on public transportation throughout Israel, enjoying RAV KAV ride card benefits.

The ISRAEL PASS is a joint product of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety and the Ministry of Tourism.

There are two types of Israel Passes. Israel Pass – 3 which includes three parks entrances and costs 83 NIS. And Israel Pass – 6 which allows visiting six national parks for the price of 115 NIS. Keep in mind that the Rav Kav, ride card, is unloaded, and you have to charge it before you use public transport.

Israel Pass cards can be purchased at the Ministry of Transport booth in the arrivals hall, ground floor, Terminal 3, Ben-Gurion Airport.

Note: Israel Pass is valid for two weeks from the first entry. Ride card (Rav Kav) can be reloaded.

Dog-Friendly National Parks

Dog-friendly national parks theme can be divided into two sections. Let’s overview them.

Entry With a Service Animal

Here is the relevant quote from the Israel Nature And Parks Authority site:

Entry with a service animal – A person with a disability with a service animal (usually a guide dog) may bring the animal to all sites, including those where entry to pets is banned, on the following conditions:

* The owner of the animal is the person with the disability whom the animal serves, and can show the appropriate documentation.
* The animal is leashed during the entire visit.
* Service dogs are not allowed in the En Avdat Nature Reserve or the En Gedi Nature Reserve due to fear of harm to wildlife in these reserves. At both sites, animals can be left at the entrance during the visit.

Entry With Pet Dogs

As you saw from the previous section, the entry with dogs to Nature Reserves and National Parks, where you can find an abundance of wildlife, is forbidden. Thus, for example, at the entrance to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, there are cages where you can leave your dog.

How to find out if a National Park is dog-friendly?

If you are planning on visiting a National Park, then check out the official site. In many cases, they have a dog sign on the page. If there is no sign, then look for a brochure in the “Useful Files” section. Usually, the booklet mentions the dog-related policy. And if you can not find it, then either write an email or call them.

And here, for your convenience, are the top national parks with their policies (the following table was updated in May 2020).

NameDog Policy
Nimrod Fortress National ParkDogs are allowed in the park only when leashed and muzzled at all times.
Banias Nature ReserveThe entry of dogs into the nature reserve is forbidden!
Dogs may be left in cages at the entrance to the site in the region of the Banyas springs or at the waterfall – the Hanging Trail.
Masada National ParkEntrance For Dogs is Forbidden.
Gamla Nature ReserveDo not bring dogs or other pets into the reserve. They leave traces that disturb the ecosystem and wild animals that live here. Pets can be left in spacious enclosures near the office.
Beit Shean National ParkDogs may not be brought into the park.
Caesarea National ParkEntrance For Dogs is Forbidden.
Avshalom Cave Nature ReserveDogs are forbidden to enter the cave.
Beit Guvrin National ParkEntrance with dogs is permitted except for the caves – tied in a leash and muzzled.
Mamshit National ParkDogs are allowed in the park only when leashed and muzzled at all times.
Ein Avdat National ParkEntrance for dogs and service animals is forbidden.

To conclude this section, I want to mention this post (in Hebrew). It contains a table with a dog-related policy of more than sixty national parks. Note that the table is not always consistent with what is written on the individual pages. In the case of contradicting data, I would suggest contacting the relevant national park.

Which National Parks Have Campsites?

If you like camping, then you can stay for the night at one of the national parks with the appropriate facilities. Moreover, in many of them, you can rent rooms as well. Here is the list of National Parks with campsites divided to geographic areas.

Notes:

  • Depending on the site, there are different camping options. Some offer public tents, and you can set up a private tent. And others, in addition to these options, offer staff rooms as well.
  • When I tried to make a booking, I noticed that the booking widget appeared only on the Hebrew version of the page. Thus, you can either book it in Hebrew (if you know the language or trust Google translate), or send an email. Each campsite has a dedicated email.

Northern Campsites

  1. Horshat Tal
  2. Yehudia Forest
  3. Amud Stream Nature Reserve
  4. Yehiam Fortress National Park
  5. Akhziv
  6. Mishmar HaCarmel
  7. Carmel National Park
  8. Kokhav HaYarden
  9. Gan HaShlosha (Sahne)
  10. Harod Spring

Campsites In Central Israel

  1. Beit Yanai Beach
  2. Ein Hemed National Park
  3. Castel National Heritage Site
  4. Yarkon

Southern Campsites

  1. Ashkelon National Park
  2. Masada West
  3. Eshkol National Park
  4. Tel Arad National Park
  5. Mamshit National Park
  6. Khan Be’erot
  7. Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve

Questions And Answers

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.

Note: on my blog, you can find all the national parks under the 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!

   

Additional Resources

Here are several resources that I created to help travelers: And if you have any questions then check out Useful Information For Tourists To Israel.  
Did not find what you were looking for? Email me at [email protected], and I will do my best to answer your questions.

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