Israel's diverse landscapes and unusual natural phenomena provide opportunities for interesting outdoor pursuits, many of which you might never have thought of in connection with a trip here.
- Digging for a Day: Joining an archaeological dig as a volunteer requires a definite commitment of time, money, and backbreaking labor. However, you can often arrange to dig for a day and get a close-up look at the hard work and thrills involved in bringing so much of Israel's history to light. Contact the Tourist Information Office in Jerusalem for current options. The digging season is during the dry summer months.
- Hiking to Gamla: A beautiful trail throughout the year, in late winter this 1- to 2-hour hike in the Golan takes you past wildflowers, streams, and waterfalls. The reward at the end of the trail is the dramatic ruined city of Gamla. The countryside is also dotted with prehistoric dolmens and Stone Age tombs. This walk brings you into contact with nature, archaeology, and a very moving piece of Israeli history. Plan additional time for the return walk, although a shorter trail is also available.
- Camel Trekking in the Ramon Crater (Negev): In the Negev Highlands, near Mitzpe Ramon, this geological encyclopedia can be visited on a speedy, bone-dismantling jeep tour or on a rather arduous hike. Or you can experience the mysterious quiet of the desert as you explore the crater accompanied by a guide, with a camel to carry your water and equipment. This traditional approach to trekking can be arranged for a variety of itineraries as well as for overnight camping and Bedouin-style cookouts. Travel agencies in Mitzpe Ramon can set it up for you at reasonable prices.
- Diving and Snorkeling the Reefs of Eilat: The Red Sea coral reefs are among the most interesting and easily accessible in the world; anyone who can swim even moderately well can snorkel and enjoy the underwater scene. Eilat is home to a number of diving schools offering short- and long-term programs, plus classes in underwater photography. Once you've seen the coral reef just off the shores of southern Eilat, you can graduate to a dive cruise of the more extensive reefs of the Coral Island.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.