By:Sara Turgeman This-is-Galilee
Here are just a few suggestions for places to go when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big towns and cities.
Klil - Western Galilee
Klil is a small ecological settlement, not far from Nahariya, which follows the principles of permaculture. In case you're not familiar with the terminology, it's basically a system which aims to provide for society's needs by working with nature instead of against it.
If you like your scenery rugged and untouched, then this is the place for you. Klil is "off-the-grid" and solar panels supply almost all the electricity to the houses, only resorting to generators when there's not enough sun. All the vegetables, herbs and fruit are organically grown - no insecticides are allowed and the crops are fertilized with compost.
Several families have built zimmers (B&Bs) - or there's a camping site if you want to get even closer to nature. For something completely different, you can stay in a "yurt". Yurts originate from central Asia, and are large round tents built on wooden frames. They're an example of low-impact housing because they don't leave a permanent effect
on the site
You may be surprised to find here excellent eateries in this out-of-the-way place. One is Smadar BeKlil where you can enjoy a delicious organic vegetarian meal including various home-made delicacies. Smadar and Yossi have also built two log cabins which they rent out as zimmers with amazing views over the unspoiled countryside.
For reservations, phone: 04-9561678
Moshav Amirim - Upper Galilee
Moshav Amirim has a prime location on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, just off the road leading up to Sfat. It was founded in the 1950s on vegetarian and vegan principles and no meat is allowed in the village. The spectacular views and fresh mountain air has made it a popular place to stay with Israelis and foreign tourists alike.
At Amirim, you can pamper yourself at one of the spas offering various rejuvenating wellness treatments. Or wander around the art galleries and shops selling natural cosmetics, organic wines and olive oil. Not surprisingly, there
is a variety of vegetarian restaurants, the most well-known being Dalia's which has been going for thirty years.
There are several well-established zimmers and country lodgings on the moshav. For a taste of the good life, Nof 10 offers a choice of accommodations - two wood and stone cabins or their tastefully-furnished luxury suites. Relax in
the jacuzzi or sit on the balcony and take in the breathtaking views. Eran and Gittit will also organize jeep tours in the area if you want to get off the beaten track, enjoy the unspoiled scenery and see wildlife in its natural habitat.
For reservations, phone: 052-9772008 or 04-6980927
Hagoshrim Hotel - Galilee Panhandle
Hagoshrim is a green hotel which is making efforts to become even more eco-friendly. It is situated in the far north of Israel near Kiryat Shmona and the northern Golan Heights. Set in a lush nature reserve, just walking in the hotel grounds is a pleasure, but if you're feeling energetic, take a walking tour or hire a bike. Afterwards, have a relaxing massage at the country club and spa.
The accommodations are chalets or low buildings divided into hotel rooms set in spacious public gardens, kept green and beautiful by a computerized irrigation system. All rooms have low-flush toilets, notices about washing towels to save
water and energy and non-smoking rooms are available on request. Recycling bins are scattered around the grounds for collecting plastic bottles and cans and there's a herb garden which is available to guests free-of-charge.
The buffet breakfast, with its large variety of fresh salads, local cheeses and home-made preserves makes it just that bit more special than the average hotel breakfasts.
One of the basic principles of eco and sustainable tourism is "giving back" - not just to the environment but also to the local community. Hagoshrim Hotel does just that by donating their facilities and helping underprivileged families in the area.
For reservations, phone: 04-6816000