Hiking in Nature Without Leaving Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is an amazing modern metropolis and it offers travelers much to see and do, however, do to its urban landscape, it isn’t usually associated with nature hiking. To be sure, Tel Aviv doesn’t offer many nature trail options within the borders of the city itself, but what if we were to tell you that one of the best treks in Israel could end in a walking distance from your hotel room? Today we are going to talk about the Yarkon River, the essential hike of the Tel Aviv area. So what’s so special about the Yarkon River? Read more to find out.
Vegetable and animal life: The Yarkon River is a great nature reserve, inhabited by a great variety of animals and plants. From utters to jackals, from blue nymphaeas to eucalyptus trees, the Yarkon in unlike any place in central Israel for lovers of wildlife and plants. Some of the animals are very friendly, like the swans and the ducks in the Yarkon park that are constantly asking to be fed.
Historical landmarks: Being the most important river in central Israel since biblical times, you know that there is a lot of interesting history to go with the trail. What can you expect to see? Antipatrus fort, established by King Herod the Great in the first century B.C. British guard station from before the establishment of Israel, or the Maccabia bridge which was the site of one of Israel’s greatest tragedies. Walking by the Yarkon is a great way to see eons pass before your very eyes.
Yarkon national park: The Yarkon River passes through the Yarkon national park, Tel Aviv’s favorite picnic spot. Though the waters of the Yarkon are not swimmable, the park contains many boat rental services, so you can combine a pedal boat trip in your hike for a relaxing change of pace.
The sea: One of the best thing about the Yarkon is that it ends epically in the beautiful seashores of Tel Aviv, so you can choose to stay there for a while and enjoy the waves or reward yourself with a meal in one of the many nearby restaurants, not to mention that the vicinity of public transportation makes the distance between yourself and a shower as short as possible.
Best Hiking Trail
The Yarkon River experience is very malleable. One can choose to do it without existing Tel Aviv at all by just picking a spot along this very accessible river in the outskirts of town and start plowing a way to the sea, or simply go to the Yarkon park and head in any direction until one feels satisfied. The best trail, though, is the one which follows the river from its roots in Tel Afek Yarkon Source park (accessible by car or bus). At thirteen and a half miles this trail is no joke, but aside from its length it is flat and the roads are very good, so it is very possible to complete this hike in anywhere from 6-8 hours, and the beautiful surroundings and rich history make it totally worth it.
A word of advice: get a map (even by phone) and do not swim in the river!
Where to eat: Blue Sky & Lumina. Chef Meir Adoni is a star of Israeli cooking, and he opened two Kosher restaurants in the Carlton hotel: The first, Blue Sky, is for dairy, the other, Lumina, for meet. This allows Adoni to play and keep an open culinary dialogue with himself. 10 Eliezer Peri st., Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv.
Where to stay: Just by the sea and the Yarkon stands Dan Tel Aviv Hotel, a luxurious hotel that is one of the most famous in Tel Aviv. Hayarkon 99, Tel Aviv.