Northern Israel has lots of places to see! During August, which is the main vacation (חופש) time for Israelis, you can go up North to see all the sights. The weather is nice, just cooling down a bit and the roads are clear of everyday school traffic (תנועה). If you take Route 6, which is the new toll-road, you can get from Jerusalem to Haifa in about an hour and a half. If you take Route 2, you run into the business traffic through Tel Aviv, and Route 4 has traffic lights (רמזורים) when it goes through local towns such as Hadera and Raanna, so it will take you longer.
What to see up North!
There are many places to see in Northern Israel. One place to be sure to go to is the Golan Heights. ( רמת הגולן) This is the highest place in Israel. In the winter there is even snow on Mount Hermon! When the ski resort is open, it is announced on the National Israel Radio during the news!
Golan Heights Winery
Another place is the Golan Heights Winery. You can go on a tour of the winery see how they process the grapes. Tours are in many different languages and start throughout the day. It is best to call before to make sure though. At the end of the tour, there is a wine tasting session in which you get to taste all the different kinds of wine that are made in the Winery. Of course all the wines are Kosher for Passover (כשר לפסח)! There is a shop at the end of the tour where you can buy the wines that you just tasted!
Golan Olive Oil Mill
In Katzrin, you can also go on a tour of the Golan Olive Oil Mill, which is not too far from the winery. At the Olive Oil Mill, you can see both old and new ways of making olive oil.(שמן זית) there is a tour, of the oil making process and a shop where you can buy unusual products made from olives and olive oil.
A favorite vacation spot in the North is Tiberius, or Tiveria (טבריה) in Hebrew. This town is considered one of the oldest cities of Israel. Built along the shores of the Kinnert, (הכנרת) also called the Sea of Galilee, there are many things to do. The promenade, has many shops and restaurants overlooking the water. There are many hotels and spas, and boat trips on the lake. The beaches are beautiful and you can even put your deck chair (כסא נוח) in the warm water and relax in style! Tiberius is also the final resting place of Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, The Rambam, a major pilgrim site.
No trip up North would be complete without going to Tsfat,(צפת) one of the Holy Cities of Israel. Every summer during August the Tsfat Klezmer Festival is held. This year it is a two day event starting on August 20th until August 22. Many performances are free, but the big ones you have to get tickets. You can hear Klezmer music, as well as other kinds of Jewish soul music.
Tsfat is also the final resting place of many famous Rabbis and many people go to Tsfat to pray at their gravesites.(קברים) These include Rabbi Yonaton Ben Uziel, Rabbi Yosef Caro, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, and Rabbi Chaim Vital.
Tsfat also has an artists’s colony which was established in the 1960’s. Even now you can visit the workshops (סדנאות) of many artists and buy beautiful art.
Haifa is Israel’s modern city on the coast of the Mediterranean. It is the largest city in Northern Israel. Haifa Bay is a business and commercial center. The Port (נמל) of Haifa is very important in Israel’s economy.(כלכלה) There is a huge shopping mall, the biggest in Northern Israel. One of the must see, tourist sites is the Bahai Gardens, located on the side of the mountain. Call to get the current visiting hours.
Take some learn Hebrew by Skype with an Israeli teacher and brush up your Hebrew before your trip!