The security situation that gripped us suddenly brought us back in search of short trips that would still allow us to get some fresh air and breathe – especially after the last year we have had. In the coming summer days, a short and satisfying trip full of natural wonders and rich history can be found in Nahal Taninim Reserve and Caesarea National Park.

One of the places where it’s always fun to get some fresh air and enjoy nature with a variety of trails is the Nahal Taninim Reserve, which features a charming 25-kilometer stream that flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Despite its misleading name, there are no crocodiles in the cove. Crocodiles were its inhabitants from the days of the swamps until the last century, but today one can only imagine. At the entrance to the reserve is a film describing the history of the place. Take a site map and get started.

Start walking among the tall eucalyptus trees, look for the bird species hiding among the branches with the creek flowing beside you, and follow the signs to the dam. Despite the many eucalyptus trees in the reserve, most of the walk will be in unshaded areas, so having sunscreen, a hat, and water is very important. After five minutes of walking on a comfortable trail, you will reach a shed with stunning views of the lake and the dam that awaits you further down the road.

Head towards the large stone wall that forms the dam. The impressive dam was built by the Romans over 1,500 years ago in order to raise the water level in the river. The dam, which was undoubtedly an innovative thing in ancient Israel, stretched about 194 meters in length and ended in a lake that covered 600 dunams, about 1,500 acres. Continue until you reach the stairs with which you can reach the top of the dam. The promenade on the dam allows you a panoramic view of the Carmel which slowly comes back on itself, and of the peaceful shores of the Mediterranean. If you look at the other end, you can also see a nearby Nahal Ada canal.

You will return to the path and observe along the dam until you see the impressive lake and the large eucalyptus grove. On the other side, the calm waters of Nahal Ada flow slowly, and later you will come across the crocodile cove. It is important to note that swimming in the stream is prohibited.

After this slow walk, you will come to a flour mill that worked in Ottoman times and has been restored. The mill, and many others that operated in earlier (Byzantine) periods, were built to take advantage of the water flow created by the height differences between the lake and the dam. In the restored flour mill complex, you can see the remains of the old millstones and the paddle wheel that moved the water. This wheel, which is on the ground, is a most surprising relic because, as far as is known, such vertical paddle wheels were not used in the country before the Crusader period.

Next to the flour mill, there is another attraction not to be missed: a small swimming pool very popular with families of hikers. It’s always fun to stop by the pool and enjoy the peace and quiet. At this point, children usually can no longer resist the temptation and wade their feet in the cool water. After the stop at the edge of the swimming pool, you will continue the path until you reach a fork in the paths with the help of which you can return to the reserve parking lot from where you started, or continue towards the Caesarea beach. It’s an extra effort, but the views along the way are well worth it. In any case, if you decide to go down to the beach to enjoy the water, you can eventually retrace your steps in the same way.

Location: Ramot Menashe

Admission fees: Adult NIS 22, Child NIS 10, Seniors NIS 11

directions: Continue on the old Tel Aviv-Haifa road towards Beit Hananya, then continue following signs for the reserve.

You can end your tour with a visit to another water aqueduct which is located nearby, right at the entrance of Moshav Hananya. It’s a short stop on the way, allowing you to see another aqueduct that supplied water to nearby Caesarea, and is even older than the one you saw at Nahal Taninim. Historians have discovered information about its age and time of construction using ancient inscriptions found at the site.

Among the inscriptions, 10 in all, there is a mention of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, a painting of an eagle and the Roman legion. Besides the inscriptions, you will also be impressed by the clay pipes and water channels. If that isn’t enough for you, you can always take a short visit to Caesarea National Park or choose to spend the whole day as there is a lot to see and experience. CAESAREA: simply beautiful (Hadar Yahav)

The Caesarea amphitheater is not just for performances. There is a lot to see in the park after paying for admission. In the Roman Theater complex next to the exhibits (check if they are working before you arrive) you will see the Reef Palace and an archaeological garden. In the Hippodrome complex (restored frescoes and old toilet building), you will walk between the public baths, the seafront promenade and the old town complex and the port. There is no doubt that this is one of the most beautiful and best maintained national parks in our country. The ramparts promenade, the port, the old town and the sculpture garden are simply breathtaking. The entrance complies with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health. It’s worth checking the website ahead of time, as there are also volunteer guided tours of community parks and lantern tours at night.

You can choose to enjoy an ice cream with a perfect view, a meal in one of the restaurants or just a picnic on the large lawns. If you already have a picnic, the large lawns are recommended at sunset as the views are just amazing. If you have chosen to dedicate your day trip to the park, you can end it at the beach, with the spectacular aqueduct and the immersion in one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. So don’t forget to take a swimsuit with you.

Location: Port of Caesarea

Admission fees: Adult 39 NIS, Child 24 NIS, Seniors 20. Entrance to the port costs 14 NIS only.

Type of hike: An easy route on a circular route, suitable for the whole family. There are accessible paths on the site.

Visitors must register in advance on the website of the Nature and Parks Authority.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

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