Sukkot activities: Hiking and family fun
Tishrei is one of the most family-oriented months in the Jewish calendar, with ample time to get out into nature. It’s also a great time for self-reflection, and there’s nowhere better to do this than in one of Israel’s nature parks or national heritage sites.
Even in a non-pandemic year, Hol Hamoed Sukkot is a popular time to go on outings with friends and family. Now that flying overseas for the holidays is largely out, sites and national parks will be even more crowded than usual. Below I’ve picked a few places that are great for Hol Hamoed outings, since they might not be as crowded as more popular places. They are all open-air sites, making them safer and healthier places to spend time with friends and family.
1. MOUNT HERMON
Standing at 2,040 meters above sea level, Mount Hermon offers guided nature tours, with opportunities to learn all about the region’s intricacies and geopolitics. Kids and adults alike are welcome to join a variety of activities, including “skiing” down the mountain on inner tubes, extreme sledding and riding on the special Sky Rider. In addition, a new self-driving track has been erected for non-motorized three-wheel vehicles.
Dates: Fridays and Saturdays during the holiday. Exact dates to published at www.skihermon.co.il
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: Entrance to site and tours: free. Ski lift NIS 54; sleds and other rides NIS 40
2. ROSH HANIKRA
This Hol Hamoed, visitors are invited to interact with David and Goliath, who will be found acting out their dramatic confrontation down near the grottos. There will be special guided tours during the Sukkot holiday, including nighttime lantern tours and an audiovisual show.
Dates: Guided tours will take place during the entire week of Sukkot (September 21-29) on the hour from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. Lantern tours will take place September 22, 23 & 26.
Price: Adults NIS 48; Children (3-18) NIS 38
Lantern tour: Adults NIS 54; Children (3-18) NIS 48
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (Erev Shabbat and Erev Chag until 4 p.m.)
3. 12TH ANNUAL PAPRIKA FESTIVAL
Derech Hatavlinim Farm invites the public to join in the festivities outside in the paprika fields. These family-friendly activities include arts-and-crafts workshops, tractor rides, paprika self-harvesting, challenging riddles and a water and soap game.
Location: Bethlehem of Galilee
Dates: September 21-28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Erev Shabbat and Erev Chag until 4 p.m.)
Price: Tractor rides NIS 30. Workshops NIS 20 each. Free activities include the paprika pool, a water and soap game, a walking tour of paprika fields and riddles.
Details: (04) 953-3405
4. MEROTZRIF – JOURNEY IN SEARCH OF BEN-GURION
The Ben-Gurion House, in cooperation with Yesh Le’an, which creates mobile navigation and mission games, is inviting the public to join a navigation game on David Ben-Gurion’s vision for the Negev. Using a smartphone app, visitors will solve puzzles and carry out tasks to decide whether you believe that Israel’s first prime minister’s vision has come to fruition. Everyone who successfully completes all tasks will receive a picture of themselves participating in the game. The two-hour game begins at Ben-Gurion’s house in Kibbutz Sde Boker, and then continues at Mitzpe Ramon, Mitzpe Ravivim and Pitchat Nitzana.
Location: Ben-Gurion house in Kibbutz Sde Boker
Dates: September 21 to 28, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: Adults NIS 20; Children (5-18) NIS 15
Navigation kit: NIS 60.
Guided tours at 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. during Sukkot (for a fee).
Details: (08) 656-0469
5. PITCHAT NIZANA OPEN DOOR FESTIVAL
This is the third year the Open Door Festival will take place in Pitchat Nitzana. Tours and agricultural activities offered all throughout the week of Sukkot on the various farms at low prices. Activities include entrance to all the farms in Pitchat Nitzana, tasting of locally grown produce and discussions with local growers and farmers. Visitors can also join ancient crafts workshops, discover the hidden secrets of the desert and join a lantern tour to learn about the scorpions and reptiles that live there.
Dates: September 22 to 24
6. KFAR HANOKDIM
At Kfar Hanokdim, located in Bika’at Hakana’im in the Judean Hills, visitors will find a plethora of activities, such as guided tours, a ninja gym for kids, a food court, a water sports arena and a waterfall. There will also be camel feeding, arts and crafts projects, a petting zoo, a juggling workshop and a desert cinema complex.
Details: (08) 995-0097, www.kfarhanokdim.co.il
Mamshit, the ancient Nabatean city in the Negev, will be coming to life this Sukkot. The restored city is a fascinating place to experience its vibrant culture. As you wander through the remains of the streets and homes of Mamshit, become intimately acquainted with the Nabateans, who were known as the kings of the desert. It’s not hard to imagine the magnificent architecture that defined the courtyards and the areas where caravans traveling along the Silk Road would tie up their camels or horses. The tour is partially wheelchair accessible.
Location: Mamshit National Park
Dates of two-hour tour: September 21 to 29, 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Price: Included in cost of entry ticket. Free for matmon holders.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.