Jezreel & Beit She’an Valleys
Stretching for about 45km from a bit west of Nazareth southeast to the Jordan River, the largely agricultural Jezreel Valley (also known as the Plain of Esdraelon) and the Beit She’an Valley, part of the Great Rift Valley, are bounded on the south by Mt Gilboa.
Beit Alpha Synagogue
No one was more surprised than the members of Kibbutz Heftzibah when they went out to dig an irrigation channel in 1928 and uncovered a stunning, Byzantine-era (6th-century) mosaic floor. Further excavation revealed the rest of the Beit Alpha Synagogue, whose extraordinarily mosaics are among the most evocative of ages past ever found in Israel.
You don’t have to be a Christian pilgrim to enjoy the beauty of Mt Tabor, the biblical site of the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1–9, Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28–36), in which ‘his face became as dazzling as the sun; his clothes as radiant as light’ and he spoke with the prophets Moses and Elijah.
Surrounded by open fields where gazelles are a common sight, this moshav (cooperative settlement), 6km southeast of Kfar Tavor, is on both the Israel National Trail and a spur of the Jesus Trail. Getting There & Away Kavim bus 42 links Kfar Kisch with Afula (16.80NIS, 35 minutes, five or six daily Sunday to Friday).
Lower Galilee & Sea of Galilee
Blessed with rugged hills cloaked in wildflowers in spring, ancient stone synagogues and archaeological sites from the early centuries of Christianity, the Lower Galilee – the part of northern Israel south of Rte 85 (linking Akko with the Sea of Galilee) – is hugely popular with hikers, cyclists, Jewish- and Arab-Israeli families on holiday, Tel Aviv epicureans and, of course.