Mount Arbel

Mount Arbel located in Israel’s Lower Galilee region stands sharply and prominently over the Sea of Galilee. Its graceful stature and steep slopes, particularly on the eastern side, provide magical views across the Sea of Galilee and beyond, to the Golan Heights, and Israel’s tallest peak at Mount Hermon. Designated as Mount Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve, the mountain has beautiful observations, hiking trails, archaeology and Biblical history, and is the only place approved for base jumping in Israel.

About Mount Arbel

Mount Arbel, towards the end of the Jesus Trail marks the start of the descent to the Sea of Galilee
Mount Arbel, towards the end of the Jesus Trail marks the start of the descent to the Sea of Galilee

The majestic views from the top of Mount Arbel are enough reason to ascend its slopes – whether by car or by foot, alone. As well as the beautiful landscapes of Israel’s tranquil Galilee region, visitors can see the ‘Horns of Hittin’ where Saladin defeated the Crusaders in 1187. Mount Arbel is located in the Lower Galilee  region beside the Sea of Galilee. From its peak, you can see as far as the Golan Heights, and Israel’s tallest peak at Mount Hermon.

History at Mount Arbel

Dug into the slopes of Mount Arbel are caves which were the hideouts for the Jews who fought against the Greeks and Romans. These were extended in the 17th century by the Druze, but the original caves are documented to date back to the Second temple period. Josephus writes about the Roman conquest of some of the last Hasmonean rebels who dwelt in the cliffs of Mount Arbel. As well as the cliffs, Arbel houses an ancient synagogue, the ruins of which can be seen today. Interestingly this it the only synagogue in the world in which the ark does not face Jerusalem.

Hiking at Mount Arbel

Arbel Mountain’s powerful shape among the Galilee landscape by Laufer Izhar, on Flickr

Hiking at Mount Arbel is incredibly popular. The ascent to the top of Mount Arbel from the south is included in the Israel National Trail, and an approach from the west is included in the Jesus Trail. As a national park, there is information on other, shorter trails accessible to walkers of all levels, on the information leaflet provided at entry to the site.

For those who would prefer to embark upon this trail with a tour guide or logistical support, click here for further information.

Visiting Mount Arbel

As Mount Arbel is a National Park, its opening hours are limited, and entry fees required. These ensure the site is invested in and maintained to a high standard. The site is open from 8am–5pm in summer months, and closes at 4pm in winter months. Entry fees are: NIS 18 for adults and NIS 8 for youth. To access Arbel by car from the Tiberias-Golani junction road (no. 77), turn at the Kfar Hittim junction to road 7717. Turn right at the turnoff for Moshav Arbel, and before entering the moshav, turn left and drive 3.5 km to the site.

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