Cooling off and relaxing in the Galilee Panhandle
This summer has felt like the hottest in a decade. Even so, as we look to slight autumn relief , one can find ways to keep cool in the Galilee Panhandle – whether in one of the rivers, high in the mountains, or in an air-conditioned space.
The Village – Jordan Riverside TravelHotel
The Jordan Riverside TravelHotel village is located in Sde Nehemia on the west bank of the Jordan River. Besides affording direct access to the river, the village itself is very serene.
The entrance to it is through a field of sunflowers, and features 72 spacious and recently renovated cabins, a swimming pool, playground and a barbecue area. A stay here also includes breakfast.
While on its own the village is a great place for a vacation, by far its biggest advantage is its access to the river. We crossed the river via a bridge on the south side of the village and walked to the beautiful nearby Jordan promenade, which is a lovely place for an evening stroll. The promenade leads to Kfar Blum, where there are kayak rentals and other attractions.
Kfar Blum Kayaks
The ultimate summer activity in this area is kayaking. Although it may not be real white water rafting, Kfar Blum’s “challenging route” is still quite jumpy and exciting.
In addition to kayaking, Kfar Blum offers a zip wire straight into the water, a rope bridge activity and a 3D movie theater.
Tickets can also be purchased here to many local attractions, such as the nearby Manara Cliff, which features a cable car, mountain slide, rappelling, bungee trampoline and more.
Dagei Dafna (Dafna’s Fish)
Beneath the trees and adjacent to the Dan River, is a wonderful fish eatery. In addition to fantastic fish offerings, there are also a variety of salads. I enjoyed an excellent Trout fillet with herbs and crunchy, coarse salt. There are also beef, chicken and kid meals. The fish are raised on the premises, and there is also an affiliated fish store near the restaurant.
Although it was an extremely hot day, it was still very pleasant to sit here. The children were running and playing in the water. If you prefer, there is also an air-conditioned area inside, but in terms of ambiance, it doesn’t come close to sitting outside in the fresh Galilee air.
Dagei Dafna: (04) 694-1154
Mount Hermon offers a number of attractions at an elevation of 1600 meters and beyond, where it is a little cooler than in the valley. The chair lift will take you as high as 2400 meters.
Free daily tours leave from the upper station, and the views of Syria and the Golan Heights are fantastic! The tour includes explanations about the strategic importance of Mount Hermon, battles in the area, topography and familiarity with the local flora.
Even on hot days the air here is much cooler. At the lower station, there are various children’s attractions, including summer tubing, carting and mountain slides.
Adir Winery, Dairy and Cooking School
Adir Winery celebrated its 10th year this summer. Situated on the Ramat Dalton Industrial Estate in Upper Galilee, the winery produces kosher wine from local vineyards.
The elegant visitor center is divided in two: the winery tasting room and the dairy shop. It is therefore possible to do both wine and cheese tastings. The winery also shows a short film about its history, and serves light meals in a beautiful garden.
An on-site cooking school, “Dorina,” also offers cooking classes for the entire family, including bread, pasta, cheese and chocolate-making workshops.
Nehemia Mall in Kiryat Shmona
Nehemia Mall in Kiryat Shmona (on Road 90) is the place to stop, freshen up, have a good kosher meal and take in a bit of shopping while the kids bowl.
The mall is small but hosts a number of well-known Israeli eateries, including Landwer Café, “Shipudei Hatikva” meat restaurant, and various fast-food offerings. There is also a bowling alley on the lower level.
LEARNING THE ropes at the Adir Winery (above) and rafting at Kfar Blum.