Montfort Castle

North Coast

Originally built by the noble De Milly family, what remains of Montfort Castle is a striking ruin, reached by a pleasant hike. The castle’s name was changed from Montfort ('strong mountain’ in French) to Starkenberg ('strong mountain’ in German) when the De Millys sold it to the Teutonic knights. In 1271 the Muslims, led by the Mamluk sultan Beybars, took the castle after a previous attempt, five years earlier, had failed. The Crusaders surrendered and retreated to Akko.

Dilapidated Montfort isn’t quite as impressive as other Crusader castles in Israel (Nimrod’s Castle is better preserved and has a more spectacular setting). To the right of the entrance is the governor’s residence, with the tower straight ahead. The two vaulted chambers to the right are the basement of the knights’ hall; next to them is the chapel.

Trails to Montfort can be picked up about 18km northeast of Nahariya from Goren Park, 9km east of the town of Shlomi (along Rte 899). A picnic area here, with benches, drinking water and plenty of shade, looks towards the castle. The hike to the castle from the trailhead takes about 45 minutes to one hour.

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