The hillside Arab town of Abu Ghosh, 13km west of Jerusalem off the main highway to Tel Aviv, makes for a pleasant half-day trip from Jerusalem. It’s known in the Bible as Kiryat Ya’arim (Town of Forests), where the Ark of the Covenant was said to have been located for 20 years until David moved it to Jerusalem (I Chronicles 13:5-8).
Beit Guvrin & Tel Maresha
Added to Unesco's World Heritage list in 2014, the Caves of Maresha and Beit-Guvrin is an archaeological site, natural wonder and feat of human ingenuity all rolled into one. The site contains approximately 3500 underground chambers carved into the soft chalk of Lower Judea under the former towns of Maresha and Beit Guvrin.
One of Israel’s most spectacular natural wonders, the Soreq Cave was only found by accident in 1967 when a local quarry crew blasted away some rock to reveal this underground cavern. Also known as Avshalom (Absalom’s) Cave, it contains stalactites, stalagmites and rock pillars in every form and shape.