Spice Up your casual Drive from Tel-Aviv (Or Ben Gurion Airport) to Jerusalem and turn it into an attractive Road Trip full of natural and historical attractions.
- Total net distance: 70 Km
- Total Net driving time: 1.5 Hours
- Total itinerary time: ½ Day – Full Day.
- Recommended Period: Any day with good visibility. Best chances for such a day December-April.
- Extra Bonus: During February & March the area is one of the most impressive in the country to enjoy Wildflowers bloom.
- Possible hikes near the route: Springs Trail / Ktalav Wadi
“Burma Road”: A view-point on the area where crucial events of Israel’s 1948 war of independence took place.
Tel Azekah: A short hike to a hilltop with fantastic panoramic views on the Judean plains where the battle of David and Goliath took place.
Yaela Mountain: Greats views.
Avshalom Cave: Visit Israel’s most notable Stalactites Cave.
BarBahar: A restaurant with an outdoor balcony overlooking the views of the Judean mountains and 2 short hiking opportunities.
Monastery of Saint John in the Wilderness : A visit to a beautiful old monastery.
Ein Handak: A short walk to a very special spring.
Map of the Road Trip
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- Burma Road lookout.
- Tel Azekah short hike
- Yaela mountain lookout
- Barbahar 2 short hikes.
- Ein Handak short hike to a special spring.
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- Getting there:
- Starting Point: Nachshon Junction (GPS: 31.815216, 34.917545) – (42 Km from Tel Aviv center / 30 Km from Ben Gurion Airport)
- You are now driving through the “Judean Planes”. It is a geographic area of rolling hills (120-460 m ASL)t that forms the transition between the steep Judean Mountains (900 m ASL) to the coastal plain. It is about 55 km long and has an average width of 10-15 km. During the summer temperatures are hot and the landscape is dry and dusty. But during winter and spring it is fresh, green and full of wildflowers.
- Drive 7 Km until the junction to Harel lookout (GPS: 31.801294, 34.960362) (11 Km)
- Use the “Burma” Map and GPS file from the download pack to reach the Lookout spot.
In May 1948 Jerusalem was under siege and the road linking it with the coast was controlled by Arab forces. It was crucial to find an alternative route that would circumvent the Arab stronghold at Latrun. The detour, which began here, was opened on the night of 10-11 June 1948 and was named after the route opened by the Allies from Burma to China during WW II. (Further reading in Wikipedia)
At the lookout there is a 3D table showing the Burma road geography, a nice view of the surrounding area and a few picnic tables. You can sit here and watch this video where “Danny the Digger” explains the events of 1948…………
Want to take a prive tour with “Danny the Digger” along the Burma Road? Fill out this form.
David and Goliath
- Getting There:
- Get back down to the junction on the main road.
- Drive to Azekah Junction. (GPS: 31.702275, 34.942761) (16.5 Km)
- Use the “Tel Azeka” Map and GPS file from the download pack to drive to the parking location and climb the hill.
- From the parking location walk for about 0.5 Km fairly steeply to the top of the hill. The views from here are outstanding!!
The site is identified with the Biblical town of Azekah , But What makes the spot famous is the fact that it overlooks the Elah valley which is identified as the location of the famous battle between David and Goliath!
Samuel 1 17:2
And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah
You can stand here, open the bible on Samuel 1, 17 , read the chapter and imagine how the events took place in the valley below you 3000 years ago.
Optional detour to Beit Guvrin National Park: (Allow about 2-3 hours)
The area is also nicknamed “The thousand caves land”. All the caves in the area were hewn by humans in ancient times, utilizing the convenient chalk rock for quarrying. Caves were hewn for a variety of purposes: residential caves, water cisterns, columbarium caves, hiding places. The most notable place to experience this is at the Beit Guvrin National Park. (GPS: 31.606879, 34.893119) (12 Km)
Mount Yaela & Avshalom Cave
- Getting There:
- Drive to the Junction of road 38 with road 3855 . (GPS: 31.760560, 34.988506) (16.5 Km)
- Continue to the turn on road 38 to the Avshalom Cave . (GPS: 31.749746, 35.037078) (16.5 Km).
- You will feel immediately the transition from the Judean Planes to the Judean Mountain as The road gets much steeper.
- Drive to the mountain top using the “Yaela Mountain” Map and GPS file from the download pack.
- Walk to the western edge to get a fantastic wide view of the whole Judean planes and the meditation coast (as far as Ashkelon on a clear day).
- However, to get a 360 degrees amazing view of the area you need to climb to the top of the observation tower. The steps are expose and should be used with great caution!!
- Get back down to the main road and drive to Avshalom Cave (GPS: 31.755803, 35.024224) (2.5 Km)
- The 5,000 m^2 cave is unique for its dense concentration of stalactites and other cave formations. It is the most impressive cave in Israel and certainly worth a visit.
- After the visit to the cave drive to Barbahar Restaurant. (GPS: 31.734391, 35.072135) (7 Km)
- Use the “Barbahar” Map and GPS file from the download pack for orientation and walking trails in the area.
- There are several options to choose from:
- The spot is very popular on weekends, especially with good weather.
- Enjoy a drink or a meal on the restaurant’s outdoor balcony.
- Walk the stroller friendly scenic paved path. The path starts from the parking area and goes west for about 700 m, parallel to the main road and offers good views on the Judean mountains. You can follow it as long as you feel like and go back the same way.
- If you are a bit more energetic you can walk the 1.5 Km circular forest path around the hill northeast to the parking. It’s a pleasant short hike with great views opening up from time to time between the trees. The walk starts on the black marked trail to the right of the restaurant. (Very simple to follow on the map).
- If you have the time and energy you can also take the 7.5 Km Ktalav Hike. One of the most popular hiking trails in the area.
Saint John in the Wilderness
- Getting there:
- Drive to the junction of roads 386 & 396 (GPS: 31.770846, 35.149947) (14 Km).
- This section of the drive that starts with The long descend to the bottom of the Sorek stream valley offering great views along the way.
- At the junction Turn right and follow your GPS instructions to the parking area of the monastery. (GPS: 31.767863, 35.132028) (5.5 Km)
The monastery is named after John the Baptist, who was born in the near by Ein Karem, and began his retreat here. The monastery was first built In the 6th century, and later renovated in the Crusader period. The current building on the site was built in 1922 by Catholic Franciscan monks. It is located in a beautiful setting on the edge of the slope and surrounded by a beautiful garden.
Ein Handak (Spring)
- Getting there:
- Drive to (GPS: 31.763653, 35.144941) (5 Km). A minor road opposite to Hadasa Hospital.
- From here walk to the spring Using the “Ein Handak” Map and GPS file from the download pack.
- The walk to the spring is 1 km each way.
- This spring is a “Tunnel” spring. The ancient tunnel is carved into the rock to reach the source of the water. The tunnel is almost 50 m long and the water depth reaches 1.5 m. It’s a unique experience to walk inside the tunnel!! all the way to its end. (You must use a flashlight, preferably head mounted)
- Our Road Trip comes to its end. You are now 10 Km from Jerusalem City Center.