“ Country: Israel / World Region: Middle East „
Admittedly I've not been to Upper Gallillee or Golan Heights but apart from that I journeyeed through the majority of Israel during my stay and my two favourite places would have to be Yodefat in Galillee and The Dead Sea.
The two have very contrary landscapes with Galilee being very green. Yodefat may be tricky for some people to visit as it didn't look as though there was anywhere to stay there. I found a host there through Couchsurfing.com and hitchhiked my way there from the coast. There was a bus stop at the bottom of the road and although I have no idea as to its regularity - I imagine that buses between Karmiel and Nazareth certainly come fairly close. The easiest method of getting around here though is undoubtedly either driving your own car or hitchhiking which is fairly common.
Yodefat consists of about 100 families, everyone knows everyone, there is a post office, a supermarket and a pub which is open on Thursdays - it has an almost campsite feel to its facilities. The houses are an intriguing mixture of well-built large houses and put together shacks, the locals adore making fires and have a real community atmosphere. Perched on a hill, there are great views of the coastline around Haifa and the valleys in between. Whilst the majority of the population is Jewish, there is also an intriguing mixture of bedouin arabs. The two populations get on with one another. Small paths meander through fruit tree filled gardens with hedges or trees often at the sides to create a sort of secret garden feel. There is also a shared garden between the residents of the village.
Yodefat has a long history, there is remnants of ruins below the current town dating back to the 3rd, 2nd and 1st centuries BC but the town is thought to have been a fortress as far back as 732 BC when it was captured by Tiglath Pileser III. A large battle also took place in 67 AD when Yodefat became under attack by the Romans, excavations have led to the finding of various weapons used at the time as well as stones with death depicted on them.
There are plenty of walking paths which are extremely pleasant to follow, during one of my walks with my host - we became encircled by wild boar, a large amount of them somewhere between 15 and 20, varying in sizes. I was told to remain still and did so, the funny looking critters just a couple of metres away from us, eyed us up one at a time before eventually shuffling clumsily away. There are a lot of wild boar in Israel because neither the Arabs or the Jews eat or hunt them.
If you have the chance, I recommend visiting Yodefat- the locals are relaxed, the countryside is gorgeous and it's well placed for visiting the nearby area and certainly better looking than the ugly town of Nazareth. Another way of staying there is volunteering at the local goat farm which is some 4km from the village and can be found by signing up to Wwoof.il or by asking locals where it is.
An ancient fortified Jewish village in the Galilee, northern Israel.