National Parks and Nature Reserves guide includes a complete list, top ten, map, tickets (Israel Pass, Matmon, combo), and campsites.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Map of National Parks in Israel
- 2 List of National Parks and Nature Reserves in Israel
- 3 Best National Parks and Nature Reserves
- 4 Ticket Types
- 5 Regular Tickets
- 6 Combo Tickets
- 7 Matmon Card – Annual Subscription
- 8 Israel Pass
- 9 Dog-Friendly National Parks
- 10 Which National Parks Have Campsites?
- 11 Questions And Answers
Map of National Parks in Israel
Israeli Nature and Parks Authority provided the maps that appear in this post.
Here are the Hebrew and English maps:
Note: you can click on the maps to enlarge them.
The total number is 69 (I saw several versions of these maps, with 63, 66, and 69 sites, but I guess the bigger the number, the newer the plan). The map shows that most of the national parks and nature reserves are in northern Israel, and there are also many in Jerusalem and its surroundings.
You can find an interactive map on the Israel Nature and Parks Authority site.
Furthermore, you can use this map with the 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 is and how much time most people spend there. But remember that these are rough average estimates, and you can either do a one-hour highlights tour or dedicate a whole 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 mixture 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 indicates that the duration of your visit depends on the selected routes, places you decide to visit, and activities you attend.
|1||Nimrod Fortress National Park is the most significant Crusade-era castle in Israel. The entire fortress complex is 420 meters long and 150 meters wide.||Medium|
|2||Banias Nature Reserve, also known as Hermon Stream, is one of the most famous Nature Reserves in Israel, and it is located in Golan Heights.||Medium – Large (*)|
|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.||Medium|
|4||Snir Stream Nature Reserve (Hasbani) is located in Upper Galilee, and it offers a variety of nature hikes, including water trails. Thus, it is the perfect place for hot summer days.||Medium (*)|
|5||Horshat Tal National Park is near Kibbutz HaGoshrim, and it is both a resort (with camping and pool) and a nature reserve (oak tree grove and Mesopotamian fallow deer).||Small – Large (*)|
|6||Ayun Stream Nature Reserve offers an excellent trail with plenty of water, four waterfalls, and nature.||Medium|
|7||At Hula Nature Reserve, an accessible trail leads you through nature. Using the path and floating bridge, you will see the lake, birds, and other animals. But if you are there, you should know there are two places.|
Agamon Hula and Hula Nature Reserve are located in Hula valley, with only several kilometers separating them. Сheck out Agamon Hula versus Hula Nature Reserve – Which one is Better? to compare the two places.
|Small – Medium (*)|
|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.||Medium|
|9||Achziv National Park and Rosh HaNikra Grottoes are located north of Nahariya, next to the border with Lebanon. Rosh HaNikra Grottoes is a white chalk cliff face that opens into spectacular grottoes. And nearby Achziv Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel.||Small – Medium|
|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.||Small – Medium|
|11||Baram National Park||Small|
|12||Amud Stream Nature Reserve in Northern Israel is a beloved nature reserved by families with kids. Read on to find out why.||Medium – Large (*)|
|13||Korazim National Park is located several kilometers north of the Sea of Galilee and about 300 meters above the lake’s level.||Small|
|14||Capernaum is also called The Town Of Jesus, and the word itself stands for two words: “Kfar Nahum”, which means “Nahum’s Village”.||Small|
|15||Betiha Nature Reserve – The Majrase offers a short and enjoyable trail next to the Sea of Galilee that suits perfectly for hot days.||Small – Medium (*)|
|16||Yehudia Nature Reserve – Meshushim Stream||Medium – Large (*)|
|17||Gamla Nature Reserve is located in 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 combines nature, landscape, and historical remains.||Medium – Large (*)|
|18||Kursi National Park contains the impressive remains of a monastery and church from the Byzantine period. According to Christian tradition, it is the site of the Miracle of the Swine mentioned in the New Testament.||Small|
|19||Hamat Tiberias National Park displays hot springs and rich history, including a stunning zodiac mosaic in the ancient synagogue.||Small|
|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.||Medium (*)|
|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.||Small – Medium|
|22||Tzipori National Park is located in Lower Galilee, west of Nazareth. This National Park has many remains of the ancient city of Tzipori, including many beautiful mosaics and an old water system.||Medium|
|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.||Small – Medium|
|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.||Medium (*)|
|25||Beit Shearim National Park is located near Kiryat Tiv’on (about 20km from Haifa). And it is an archaeological site of an ancient Jewish town and a world-famous Jewish cemetery of the Mishnaic era.||Medium (*)|
|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.||Small – Medium (*)|
|27||Dor HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve||Small – Medium (*)|
|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.||Small – Medium|
|29||Jordan Star National Park (Kokhav HaYarden) has Belvoir Fortress, an almost complete Crusader castle.||Small – Medium|
|30||Ma’ayan Harod National Park||Small|
|31||Bet Alfa Synagogue National Park is located at a 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|
|32||Gan HaShlosha (Sachne) National Park||Small – Large (*)|
|33||Beit Shean National Park has probably the best-preserved ancient Roman city in Israel.||Medium (*)|
|34||Taninim Stream Nature Reserve presents the Roman dams and aqueducts that watered Caesarea. Moreover, there is plenty of wildlife and other points of interest.||Small|
|35||Caesarea National Park is located next to a city under the name. The name comes from the word “Caesar.” It was built by Herod the Great about 25-13 BCE.||Medium|
|36||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.||Small – Medium (*)|
|37||Sebastia National Park||Small|
|38||Apollonia National Park, also known as Arsuf, is located North of Herzliya on the seashore. It was an ancient city and fortress.||Small|
|39||Yarkon National Park is 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 to Tel Afek with the Roman city Antipatris.||Small – Medium (*)|
|40||You can find a fortress, trails, and many other things at Migdal Tsedek (Migdal Afek) national park by Rosh Haayin. In 2021, after restoration, Migdal Tsedek was reopened.|
|41||En Prat Nature Reserve||Small – Medium (*)|
|44||The Inn of the Good Samaritan Jerusalem Walls||Small|
|45||Castel National Heritage Site is a memorial located 8 km west of Jerusalem on a hill.||Small – Medium (*)|
|46||Ein Hemed National Park lies in the Nahal Kesalon riverbed. There are springs in the park, and a 12th-century Crusader castle remains. And its Latin name is Aqua Bella.||Small – Medium (*)|
|47||Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve, also known as Soreq Cave or Stalactites Cave, is a 5,000-square meters cave not far from Beit Shemesh.||Small|
|48||Ashkelon National Park offers various excellent activities. You can go to the beach, picnic, and visit the archeological parts. Or even build a tent and stay for a night. It is one of Israel’s most popular national parks for all these reasons.||Small – Medium (*)|
|49||Beit Guvrin National Park is not far from Kiryat Gat and belongs to UNESCO world heritage sites.||Medium – Large (*)|
|50||Qumran Park||Small – Medium|
|51||Enot Tsukim Nature Reserve||Small – Medium|
|52||Herodium (Herodion) National Park is a truncated cone-shaped hill 12 kilometers south of Jerusalem.||Small – Medium|
|53||Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is the largest Oasis in Israel. Thus it has attracted 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 (*)|
|54||Ein Gedi Antiquities National Park shows an ancient synagogue with beautiful mosaics.||Small|
|55||Masada National Park is one of the most significant sites in Israel. It offers excellent views, important archeological remains, and a great story.||Medium – Large (*)|
|56||Tel Arad National Park is located in the South of Israel, northwest of the modern city of Arad.||Small – Medium|
|57||Tel Beer Sheva is Biblical tel, and alongside Megiddo and Hazor, they were declared by UNESCO as world heritage sites.||Small – Medium|
|58||HaBsor National Park (Eshkol Park) in Western Negev is situated near Besor Stream and is a good place for recreational activities.||Small – Medium (*)|
|59||Mamshit National Park is a world heritage site by UNESCO, and it presents the remains of Nabatean city not far from Dimona.||Small – Medium (*)|
|60||In Shivta National Park, you can see the remains of an ancient Nabatean city. Amazingly, this Byzantine city existed in the Negev desert without any natural water source.||Small|
|61||Ben-Gurion’s Tomb National Park is a small national park with gardens in the Negev desert overlooking Tsin Canyon and Ein Avdat.||Small|
|62||Ein Avdat National Park is located to the south of Sde Boker. In Hebrew, Ein means spring and offers a stunning hike in the Negev desert.||Small – Medium (*)|
|63||Avdat National Park has quite impressive remains of a Nabatean settlement. And it also was station number 62 on the Incense Route.||Small – Medium|
|64||Makhtesh Ramon Visitors Center and Bio Ramon are found at the Mitzpe Ramon settlement. And they are mainly dedicated to Ramon Crater, a fascinating geological feature in the Negev desert.||Small – Medium|
|65||Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve in southern Arava Valley was established to foster the breeding of animals mentioned in the Bible and other endangered desert animals.||Medium|
|66||Eilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve is a natural wonder. One of the best ways to see it is by visiting the Underwater Observatory Marine Park.||Medium – Large (*)|
Note: parks with 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 mainly on my preferences and those I traveled with. I asked myself: “if I had a limited amount of time, which ones would I visit?”. Secondly, I have visited most of the 66 parks and reserves (around 60 out of 66), and I have not been to several. And lastly, this is an unordered list. Thus it does not matter whether something appears at the beginning or the end.
- Nimrod Fortress National Park is Israel’s most significant and impressive Middle Ages castle. Moreover, if you have an opportunity, join the lanterns tour.
Banias Nature Reserve is one of the most famous Nature Reserves. It offers four different trails of varying lengths and is suitable for people that love nature, especially water and archeology.
If you are looking for a place to visit during the bird migration period, I recommend Agamon Hula. And if you want to get closer to the birds, take the wagon tour, or even better, join the sunrise tour at Agamon Hula.
Masada National Park offers an exciting glimpse into the history and the revolt. While visiting it, more profound questions will also arise. What would you prefer to be enslaved or not to be? And as reconstruction work continues, there are more things to see on site.
Gamla Nature Reserve can fit the interests of many people. This Nature Reserve combines 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, visit Caesaria.
Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve, also known as 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.
Beit Guvrin National Park is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Israel. The caves and on-ground constructions are impressive, especially considering they were made with essential tools.
Mamshit National Park is a Nabatean city in northern Negev. During Shavuot, a Nabatean market is on-site, so this is the best time to visit this site.
Ein Avdat National Park is located in Negev. It offers a stunning route inside the Zin canyon and along the 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.
In Israel Trip Planner, I listed the Most Popular Israeli Attractions. Check it out as well.
If the top ten (well, actually 11) was not enough, then here are several bonus places. Additionally, let us know your favorites in the comments below.
- Rosh HaNikra Grottoes and Akhziv National Park offer beautiful nature in Northern Israel and are suitable for a half-day visit.
- If you love water trails, visit Betiha Nature Reserve – The Majrase. It offers a short and enjoyable path that suits perfectly the hot days.
- Tzipori National Park showcases many remains of the ancient city of 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, many kite surfers and birds are 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 with everything that Herod built, 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.
There are several ticket types, ranging from regular tickets to annual passes. And now we are going to go through all kinds.
If you visit 1 – 2 national parks, the regular paper tickets will probably suit you the best. You can purchase them at the entrance to every site, and no preliminary action is required. But if you visit more than a few parks, then a combo ticket, Israel Pass, or even a Matmon card may be a better fit.
Israel Nature and Parks Authority have combo tickets. For example, the Blue Card 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 the Orange Card is 150 NIS, and you have unlimited site visits. These cards are valid for two weeks from the first visit and are intended only for tourists.
Thus, purchasing a combo ticket is worth considering if you visit more than one national park. 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. It is called Matmon Card. These tickets include free entrance to National Parks and Nature Reserves during the year (there is no limit to the number of entries). Furthermore, you will get discounts on their tours.
Moreover, when you sign up for an annual subscription, you will receive the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority’s monthly magazine (either by mail or 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 6 and the other 2. Why did I mention the ages? Children under the age of 5 years old enter free with a 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. I have seen prices for adults ranging from 14 NIS to 39 NIS, and for children, the prices vary from 14 NIS 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 than regular tickets.
Also, keep in mind that renewing the subscription 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).
- A full price list of different subscriptions is listed here.
- All prices were updated in June 2019.
In 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 includes three park 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. The 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, 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?
Check out the official site if you plan to visit a National Park. In many cases, they have a dog sign on the page. If there is no sign, look for a brochure in the “Useful Files” section. Usually, the booklet mentions the dog-related policy. And if you can not find it, 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).
|Nimrod Fortress National Park||Dogs are allowed in the park only when leashed and muzzled at all times.|
|Banias Nature Reserve||The 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 the waterfall – the Hanging Trail.
|Masada National Park||Entrance For Dogs is Forbidden.|
|Gamla Nature Reserve||Do 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 Park||Dogs may not be brought into the park.|
|Caesarea National Park||Entrance For Dogs is Forbidden.|
|Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve||Dogs are forbidden to enter the cave.|
|Beit Guvrin National Park||Entrance with dogs is permitted except for the caves – tied in a leash and muzzled.|
|Mamshit National Park||Dogs are allowed in the park only when leashed and muzzled at all times.|
|Ein Avdat National Park||Entrance for dogs and service animals is forbidden.|
In conclusion, I want to mention this post (in Hebrew). It contains a table with a dog-related policy for 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 suggest contacting the relevant national park.
Which National Parks Have Campsites?
If you like camping, 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 into geographic areas.
- 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.
- Horshat Tal
- Yehudia Forest
- Amud Stream Nature Reserve
- Yehiam Fortress National Park
- Mishmar HaCarmel
- Carmel National Park
- Kokhav HaYarden
- Gan HaShlosha (Sahne)
- Harod Spring
Campsites In Central Israel
- Ashkelon National Park
- Masada West
- Eshkol National Park
- Tel Arad National Park
- Mamshit National Park
- Khan Be’erot
- Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve
Questions And Answers
Q: Can I show up at any National Parks and visit them? Or do I need some booking or pre-arrangement in advance?
A: Making reservations is always recommended, especially if you want to join one of the tours.
Note: You can find all the national parks under the Israeli National Parks category on my blog.
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!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.