For most Americans, Israel doesn’t rank high on their “must-visit” destinations for travel. But, it should. In addition to a burgeoning craft beer scene and stunning beaches, the country is also home to a surprising number of adrenaline-fueled outdoor opportunities. Here are just four of our favorites Israel adventure travels.
Skydiving Over the Mediterranean Sea
Aptly named Israel Extreme is the go-to provider for all manner of extreme sport throughout the country. Whether it’s caving, bungee-jumping, rafting, or paragliding, they’ll hook you up. But it’s the tandem skydiving that draws most travelers. Jumps into the AchZiv Drop Zone offer views to some of the country’s most stunning scenery. Launching from the western Galilee over the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, divers have glimpses of Haifa, Tzfat, Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee, and Hermon Mountain (Israel’s highest peak). On a good day (which is most days here), it’s possible to see Lebanon and Syria.
Stand-up Paddleboarding the Dead Sea
If you’re a record destination seeker — that is, traveling to find the biggest, fastest, and tallest — the Dead Sea is likely already on your bucket list. At an “elevation” of 1,410.8 feet below sea level, it’s the lowest dry land point on earth. It’s most famous for the healing properties of the traditional Dead Sea soak, which includes wading in its hyper-salinated water and painting one’s skin with the mineral-rich black mud from its seabed. However, exploring on its waters is every bit as fun as diving in them. Situated on Tel Aviv’s beautiful Dolfinarium Beach, Israel Surf Club facilitates rentals of surfboards and SUPs, plus lessons for first-timers.
Sand-surfing the Negev Dunes
With more than 124 miles of beaches, there’s no shortage of surfing options. If traditional surfing isn’t disco enough for you, head inland to the Negev Dunes. Dror BaMidbar takes visitors via Jeep into the desert before outfitting them with unique sandboards. From the top of the dunes, you decide how you want to get down — sitting, Superman-style (on your stomach), standing, in tandem, or backward. No experience is necessary, but be prepared for a few scrapes if it’s your first time. The company’s tours conclude with a desert picnic with fire-roasted pita bread and tea.
Droping Off at Ramon Crater
While in the Negev Dunes, tack on a visit to Ramon Crater, the world’s largest erosion crater, or makhtesh. The unique, heart-shaped formation is more than 220 million years old and forms Israel’s largest national park. In addition to simple hikes around the crater, it’s home to myriad outdoor adventures. The views from the top of the crater are breathtaking. However, it’s abseiling down the cliffs of Mitzpe Ramon that most visitors come for. As an added nighttime bonus, the folks at Deep Desert Israel provide a stargazing experience at their private observatory, along with a professional, planetarium-like guided “tour” of the night sky. If you have time, overnight at Be’erot campground, the only campground inside the crater where visitors can sleep in traditional Bedouin tents or under the stars.
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