With the Omicron variant of coronavirus spreading rapidly across the world, it seems that most Israelis will have to spend their upcoming vacation in the country.
So, as international travel is becoming more and more difficult, the longing for the unique scenery of overseas will become stronger for some.
But don't fret! Ynet has compiled for you a list amazing tourist attractions right under your nose, without having to stand in long airport lines, undergo countless COVID tests, and make it through tedious flight hours.
Mar Saba Monastery
One of the most outstanding places on the list is the monastery in the Judaean Desert. It stands out with its beautiful and magical atmosphere reminiscent of faraway places. The Greek Orthodox monastery is located some 30 kilometers (18.5 miles) from Jerusalem and is surrounded by a tall wall. You can see it from a vantage point at the Kidron Valley cliff. In order to enter the monastery itself, walk across the Kidron River and climb the stairs leading to it, which is quite a difficult task because of the challenging route, however, the entry is allowed for men only.
Kibbutz Nir David - Nahal Amal (Amal River)
The Amal River, also known as Nahal Hasi, goes through Kibbutz Nir David in the valley of Beit Shean, and there are four bridges connecting the two banks of the river. Around the kibbutz, you can find a wide range of attractions for families with children and for couples who are looking for a quiet spot for a romantic picnic.
But not less important, the view you can witness with both the naked eye and through the camera lens (especially if you own a drone), which makes you feel that you are in a distant land full of rich nature all year round.
A flower field in the town of Gan Yavne
This field, which is far from the eye and the main road, is in the southern part of the town Gan Yavne in central Israel. However, as it is private property, it can only be seen from the outside.
The field is full of Ranunculus flowers, which bloom between March and May, so if you come by at this time of the year, you can witness a field full of flowers of various colors, shapes and sizes.
Pagoda pavilion at Ben Shemen Forest
The Pagoda pavilion was given as a gift to Israel from Thailand to commemorate the ties between the two countries when the Jewish state celebrated its 50th independence and Thailand marked 50 years since the rise of its king at the time, Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The location is only available for entry if you book reservations in advance. Out of fear the compound will be damaged, there is a fence that surrounds it to keep it safe. Although, it is worth passing through to get a glance from the distance, and if you're lucky, the gate might be open and you could sneak a peak from up close.
Russian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem's Ein Karem
The Church of Princess Elizabeth is located in the Ein Karem neighborhood of Jerusalem. The fact that it sits between mountain ridges only adds to the special feeling that comes upon arrival.
The Russian church, also known as "Moskovia", has several golden shining domes, it is built next to a few uniquely-shaped houses, and a variety of colorful businesses.
Caesarea Maritima Promontory Palace of Herod the Great
A seaside palace west of the amphitheater in the affluent city of Caesarea was built by Herod the Great, and it is located on a rock reef almost as an island in the sea. Although the sea waves swept a large part of the building over the years, they created an amazing swimming pool which is also known as Cleopatra's Pool in Armon Hashoonit (Hashoonit palace).
The Alexander Stream National Park
In the Alexander Stream National Park, you can find one of the most charming routes that runs all the way until the point where the stream connects to the sea.
Along the route, you will meet the turtles that live in the river, Hurvat Samra (Samara Ruines) from which you will have an amazing view, pastoral river vegetation, and beautiful nature that blooms in season. Definitely a must-do for any family getaway.
Tel Gador Nature Reserve
Tel Gador Nature Reserve is located between Moshav Mikhmoret and Givat Olga Beach, and some say it is the most beautiful beach in Israel. Also, above it, there is an amazing vantage point worth visiting all year round.
The coastal ridge and coastal coves have been preserved in their natural state, and with the sandy strip of the beach, there is a rich world of vegetation and animals unique to this habitat.
Dor HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve
Dor HaBonim Beach in Zichron Ya'akov has a hiking route that is suitable for a family trip that would allow you to enjoy the amazing scenery. But one of its highlights is the abandoned boat washed right on the beach.
It is located inside the reserve, and it is recommended to arrive at sunset, however, you are required to pay for entry.