Nimrod's Castle, now a national park, is one of the biggest and best-preserved Crusader ruins in the area and has a spectacular view. You can visit by car, but in cooler weather the 1 1/2- to 2-hour hike from Banias is well worth the effort.

As you come under the wall of the castle (built in the 13th c. to stop invading Crusaders) you'll see the narrow vertical slits where archers were once stationed. Inside, see many deep water-filled cisterns, some 9m (30 ft.) deep.

As you can see from up here, whoever controlled Nimrod in bygone days controlled the traffic from Lebanon to Tiberias and the Jordan Valley. To the left is the zigzagging cleft of Banias rift. In a lush, green pocket farther on, you see Tel Dan kibbutz, then a series of carp ponds, Kiryat Shmona on the hills beyond, and the rectangles of brown and green of the Hula Valley extending southward for miles and miles. Behind the castle to the north sits Mount Hermon, rising to 1,950m (6,398 ft.).