The Golan is a very different place when compared to some parts of Israel – some very imposing landscape when viewed from the Kinneret; lush and verdant from the very northern parts of the Kinneret, yet on top a fairly flat plain (with some deep wadis and valleys). There is a feeling of much more space up here – more room and more air.
The views across the top of the Golan, towards Mount Hermon, over the Galilee and Syria are quite spectacular. The Sites are a mix of the rural and the historical (because of its importance in the 1967 and 1973 wars). The Golan has on-going strategic importance, so you are about equally likely to see cows pasturing or tanks on manoeuvres.
Here are some of our favourites:
Gamla– watch the vultures, enjoy the waterfall, and learn about the dramatic history.
Wine and Water in the Golan
Bottled at Source 1 & 2 – See where Mei Eden mineral water comes from. Visit the Golan Winery. Take advantage of the winery shop and then stock up on stuff you need in Kazrin – the capital of the Golan.
Odem Deer Reserve
My Deer – The deer reserve at Odem is outstanding, the guides are incredible, and the animals are animals. It can be hard to find, perhaps that’s why there is overnight camping. Just off road 978 south of Masade.
Near the Banias and on road 99 and 978 towards Masade you can enjoy a Golan shopping experience. The local Druze sell their produce (seasonal), but the apples and the cherries are just moreish. The olive oil is also a must have. But, don’t just go shopping – visit The Banias
Tel Dan – the prettiest way to end the afternoon is a walk along the river. Then off to one of the restaurants for a fresh fish dinner.
Water on the Golan
Get wet & wetter – Go rafting on the Jordan or wade through the Madrasse Go swimming in the Kinneret – there are many beaches along the Golan shore – some of them, with full water park facilities, require admission fees, while others, mainly in the south are free. Just pull your car off the road. Not to be missed at sunset.
Wind power – See these new-age Golan windmills generating electricity – Road 98 north of Alonei HaBashan.
Hot Water & Crocodiles– Visit the hot springs of Hamat HaGeder (where Syria, Jordan and Israel meet.) Check out the ruins, the spa and the crocodiles. The views of the rock faces are interesting, and there is some challenging driving involved. Road 98 south east of the Kinneret. See Hamat HaGader
Scenic Golan Drive
To really get to know the Golan go for a drive. It is very pleasant, and traffic is light. Our recommended route (from the south) road 98 – 808 – 87 – 98 – 989. This takes in most of the views, gives an idea of the strategic importance of the Golan, and takes you through some of the battlefields, lovely orchards, and some of the Druze towns in the North. Look out for tanks and stop frequently to enjoy the air.
Sunset over the Kinneret
Bring some cold beer or wine, find an observation point on road 869 or 789, relax and watch the sun go down.
Compensate the driver (and their friends) with cold water melon and/or a barbecue. Some parts of road 92 (higher parts at the more northern end) also offer excellent views.