A classic tourist site in Israel is Masada National Park—and not just for bragging rights from your hike up the snake path. Once you get up to the top, you’ll enjoy the views of Arad, the Dead Sea, and Jordan across the border.
How Do I Get to the Top?
You have a few options for getting to the top of Masada. You can either hike up one of the paths or take the cable car if you’re there during times of operation. Hiking offers the great opportunity to see the sunrise from the top of the mountain if you start climbing before dawn. Many tour group choose this so that the tourists can climb up when it’s still cool out and can enjoy the amazing sunrise. Alternatively, visitors can take a cable car to the top of the mountain.
What’s Up There, Anyway?
Masada is an ancient fortress with a unique history. You can explore the restored remnants of Herod the Great’s palaces—ancient buildings, wall paintings, and Roman-style bathhouses. There are many archeological sites on the flat top that were built by a group of Jewish rebels in the first century: a synagogue, storehouses, and homes.
What Kind of Animals Will I See?
- Tristram's Starling: a bird whose call resembles a whistle. It is coal black and has orange stripes on its wings.
- Blackstart: a bird about the size of a sparrow. It has a grey body and black tail, which it frequently fans out.
- The Fan-Tailed Raven and Brown-Necked Raven: birds seen hovering in the skies, carrying out aerial acrobatics.
- Ibex: a species of wild goat that wanders around the base of the mountain.
What Else is There to Do at Masada?
Tourists can visit the museum and visitors’ center at the base of the cable car. There is a light-and-sound show and sometimes concerts on some summer nights on the western side of the mountain. There is a great and inexpensive option to camp out at the base of Masada, as well. Complete with showers and permanent tents, this campsite is popular for those who want to climb Masada at dawn.
Next time you’re in Israel, be sure to stop by and enjoy the rich history of Masada, and don’t forget that renting a car will get you there faster and with ease.