The Western Galilee stretches from Rosh Hanikra in the north to the Carmel in the south and offers a great combination of mountains and beaches, car, hiking and bicycle routes, attractions for the whole family, beautiful vantage points, and many accommodation options at all hotel ratings alongside excellent restaurants.
You can tour here a few enjoyable hours or stay for two or three days or even a week and go on excursions throughout the region. According to the length of time you want to spend on the trip, you will be able to rent a car for a day or for a week.
The trip to the Western Galilee can be combined with trips to the Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee, and if you have decided on a rental car for a week - you can easily add trips to the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights area, which are indeed located in the eastern part of Israel, however in Israel, of course, the distances are very short when crossing the country from west to east.
If you rent the car in Haifa, take Route 22 towards Akko (those arriving from Tel Aviv can take Route 2 to Haifa and from there proceed as described here) The new multi-lane road bypasses the busy and congested Haifa Bay area and brings you through bridges straight to Route 4 heading north. On Route 4 it’s possible to continue up to the most northerly point of the Western Galilee - Rosh Hanikra, located 40 km from Haifa. However, it’s a great idea to stop in Akko on the way and spend at least an hour or two in the Old City.
Akko’s Old City, one of the most ancient harbor cities in the world, is surrounded by an impressive wall, parts of which are adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea. Leave the rental car in one of the parking lots adjacent to the Old City and go for a walk through the narrow cobblestone alleyways. It’s highly recommended to explore the walls, from which there is an incredible view of the City and the bay. The Akko Fortress, located at the entrance to the Old City, had been built during the Turkish era and has a visitors' center, a lovely garden and the Museum of the Jewish Resistance (during the era of the Ottoman and British rulings the Fortress served as a prison). Under the Fortress lays the Knights' Hall Complex - these impressive halls served the Crusaders for lodging and food. Out of the Knight’s Halls there is an underground tunnel extending over 350 meters, leading straight down to the harbor.
Next to the al-Jazzar Mosque, built in the 18th century, there is a renovated Turkish bath, presenting an audio-light show called the “Last Bath Attendant”, which tells the story of the city. Akko has several colorful markets, with stalls selling fruit and vegetables, fish and sweets, souvenirs and handicrafts. The indoor Turkish Bazaar, which had been renovated in recent years, includes small craftsmen shops, galleries, food shops and restaurants.
A few kilometers north of the city are the Bahá'í Gardens, in the center of which is the manor house where the Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, had lived and the shrine where he is buried. The landscaped gardens combine Eastern and Western elements. The entrance to the gardens is free of charge, eating and smoking during the tour are prohibited.
After the visit to Akko, continue on Route 4 up to Rosh Hanikra (follow the signs to the caverns’ area, which is located north of Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra). This is a unique nature reserve, located at the highest north end of Israel’s Mediterranean coast, and it is characterized by a steep cliff descending into the sea. Leave your car in the parking lot at the entrance to the site, and before you continue further, stop and take a look at the breathtaking view: The indented coastline of northern Israel is entirely spread out before you, as Mount Carmel is seen on the horizon. In the sea you may see three small islands - Schahaf, Tchelet and Nachlieli, and boats adding charm to the sight. After admiring the view, buy tickets for the cable car descending into the caverns. The short ride allows you to once again admire the great view, and at the end you may take a tour on the footpaths carved into the caverns (unsuitable for the handicapped or baby carriages). Occasionally a window opens in the white rock through which you may see the sea that changes colors from light blue, to turquoise, to intense blue. The slippery and narrow path, the sound of the crashing waves and the many pigeons nesting in the rock’s cracks - all of these contribute to the unique experience. Adjacent to the caverns’ trail is a large hall, also carved in the rock, showing a short film about the site and its surroundings. It’s possible to combine the visit to the caverns with a bicycle trip or a ride on a small train that goes along the coastline (tickets may be purchased at the cashier stand at the upper cable car).
From Rosh Hanikra you can continue east on Route 899, also called the North Road, which passes along Israel's northern border. Alongside the road there are small settlements, kibbutzim, nature reserves and mountain views. It is recommended to stop at Adamit Park, located next to Kibbutz Adamit. The highlight of the manicured park, including hiking trails, is the Arc Cave. This is a natural stone arc created by the collapse of a cave, through which a trail passes showing a breathtaking view. Extreme enthusiasts come here to rappel from the highest point into the abyss below. More in the area of Route 899: The Betzet Stream Reserve and the Sarach Stream Reserve.
Another option for continuing the trip from Rosh Hanikra is to head south on Route 4 to Nahariya and then turn onto Route 89 heading east. Among the places that may be explored around the road: The Monforte Fortress, the Monforte Lake (despite the name, they are not close to each other), the Open Museum in Tefen and more.