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When some people picture Israel, they imagine sites of historic & religious importance, long beaches of golden sands, delicious food and a laid back culture. Whilst it is true that the country is richly historic and beautiful, Israel is also becoming a worldwide centre for extreme sports. Adrenalin junkies from across the globe are starting to flock to Israel to make use of its dynamic landscapes and environments. Here is a list of 6 extreme sports you can do in Israel.
Sandboarding in Israel
As a sport, sandboarding requires large expanses or sloping sand dunes for sandboarders to properly enjoy the sport. Luckily, as almost half of Israel is covered by the Negev Desert, sandboarding is becoming an increasing popular sport among people looking to try something different. The majority of sandboarding in Israel takes place in the southern half of the country, in an area called Ramat Negev. If you find sandboarding too tough or boarding down a slope at high speeds too daunting, you can toboggan down the dunes as well.
Skiing in Israel
Skiing with real snow! For a country that is almost 50% desert, you would naturally assume that there wouldn’t be much (if any) snow to ski on. But… Israel’s highest point, Mount Hermon, has seasonal spring and winter snow falls which cover all three peaks for most of the year. Due to the snow, Mount Hermon is also home to Israel’s only ski resort. The resort has three chairlifts and a range of ski trails. These range from novice all the way through to expert level. The Mount Hermon ski resort is only open during the peak winter time (January through to March) when there is enough snow to ski safely on.
Kayaking in Israel
The River Jordan may bring several biblical stories to mind but did you know you can go kayaking on it as well? The River Jordan is a popular place for extreme sport lovers to go kayaking down. Whilst you can find traditional kayaks, most of the kayaks here are more akin to large inflatable rafts that carry between 2 to 5 people. To get an idea of what kayaking on the River Jordan looks like, watch this video below…
With sections that range from exhilarating, high flowing stretches of water to calming patches to float along lazily, the River Jordan is a fantastic destination if you don’t mind getting a big wet. During the hot summer months, this may be an ideal way to cool down.
Rappelling (abseiling) and climbing in Israel
As mentioned above, Israel has an incredibly diverse landscape. This has led to Israel being a highly sought after destination for climbers. Some of the places in Israel to go climbing include Ein Fara, Gita, Keshet cave, Nesher quarry, Nezer cave, Timna, Yonim cave and Zikhron among others. The country is home to some wonderfully scenic locations for bouldering, sports climbing, traditional climbing and the locations mentioned all have numerous routes to test your skills on.
If your prefer going down rather than up, Israel’s cliffs are fantastic to rappel off as well. Quick fact: in Israel, rappelling is also known as snappling. In Israel, you can rappel through the air, alongside cliff faces, through waterfalls and into caves. Some of the best place to go rappelling in Israel include Abirim stalactite cave, Ein Fara, Keshet cave, Nachal Rachaf, Shilat cliff, Upper Galilee canyon, Yonim Cliff and Zanoach cliff just to name a few.
Snuba in Israel
What is snuba? Snuba is the perfect combination of scuba diving and snorkelling. Unlike scuba diving, where the air tank is attached to the diver’s back, with snuba the divers get their air via a long hose that is connected to air cylinders that float on the surface. Israel’s southernmost city, Eilat, is home to one of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs. If you choose to Snuba (or Scuba dive) near the reef, you will be treated to a multitude of colourful tropical fish. During this underwater safari, you can expect to see butterfly fish, parrotfish, a whole variety of shellfish and crustaceans, as well as 800 other species of tropical fish.
Surfing in Israel
With Israel’s long stretches of coastline, it’s no surprise that surfing is rather popular here. The Mediterranean waters along the coastline have many surfing schools. You can head to Tel Aviv’s Dolphinarium Beach, Surf Point, to experience some of the best surfing Israel has to offer. If you want to change things up, not only can you surf but you can also go kayaking and kitesurfing.