• Talma Gotteiner

Safed and Ma'alot Tarshiha: Attractions for Moms and Kids

Updated: May 6


Hi there!

I took advantage of the Sukkot holiday to spend some time with my friends and family by going on another trip up north with a friend and our respective daughters. We agreed on a trip that would balance our interests. Us moms wanted history and art. The girls wanted a rope park. This is what came out.

Trip Agenda Options

Safed

  • HaMetsuda Gardens - The Crusader Fortress

  • Old City Walking Stops:

  • The Davidka

  • Simtat Ha'Mashiach

  • The Ashkenazi Ha'ari Synagogue

  • The Artists' Quarter

Ma'alot Tarshiha

  • Monfort Lake Rope Park

Trip Anchors

The Artists' Quarter in Safed

If you've ever been to the market in Jerusalem's Old City with its long narrow alleys of stalls you'll know what to expect. Only in Safed, it's much smaller and cleaner. Instead of the jumble of commonplace memorabilia and crowded path, you have a single long alley of artists galleries located in beautiful ancient stone stores, each prettier than the next, with unique pieces and just enough people to make it pleasant. The deals, if you're looking for them consist mainly of prints that you can frame at home. My friend bought a beautiful menorah for this upcoming Hannukah.

Monfort Lake Rope Park

Monfort Lake in Maalot Tarshiha is a large park in the Western Galilee of ~350 Dunam (~86 acres) with a sizeable man-made lake of 50 Dunam (~12 acres) and a number of family attractions including a boat rental facility at the lake,an ice-skating rink, a karting track, a swimming pool, a trampoline park and the rope park that we decided to visit. The park itself offers has a public playground, restrooms and restaurants. During the Sukkot holiday, a food festival took place in the compound with various food trucks and stalls strewn throughout and a stage was built for the evening concerts that took place every day.

The rope park itself was impressive. It is a four storey complex built on large poles with connecting decks and a variety of challenging courses. Young children aged 4-6 can enjoy courses on the ground level accompanied by their parents. All the rest, after an initial training session, can advance at their own pace. The entrance ticket is for one and a half hours. I don't write prices because I can't update them. Out 12-year-old daughters had a blast and we kept each other company while taking photos.

Additional Options

HaMetsuda Gardens - The Crusader Fortress

Not much remains of what was once the largest Crusader fortress housing 2,200 crusader fighters and a few thousand inhabitants in all, surrounded by a moat. The deterioration began in the 14th century during the Ottoman empire that made use of the stones for other building purposes and final demolition took place following an earthquake in 1837.

The most notable feature remains the view. Safed is the highest city in Israel built at an elevation of 900m above sea. The location of the fortress remained strategic even in modern times when it was recaptured by the Palmach and Irgun fighters during the Independence War in 1948. Our walk took us through what used to be the water reservoir of the fortress up to the grassy peak of the park where the fortress once stood.

Ha'Metsuda Gardens were our first stop of the trip. Parking is free and there are free restrooms and water fountains available at the entrance. After our brief visit, we started walking down a few dozen steps located across the street from the entrance to the park in the direction of the Artists Quarter through the stops that I've listed in the old city.

Old City Stops

The Davidka

The 'Davidka' was an Israeli mortar used during the Independence War. It was was mainly effective in scaring the opponents because it made a lot of noise. At the bottom of the staircase, you'll come across the Davidka. There is a recording next to it in English that recounts the battle over the Citadel in which the Davidka was used. Look around and you'll see gunshots on the surrounding buildings.

Simtat Mashiach

The next stop on the way is Simtat Mashiach. 'Simta' means 'Alley'. There is a plaque next to the narrow alley telling the local story about grandmother Yochevet Rosenthal who lived there and waited for the Messiah, which will add a bit of local folklore to your walk. Cross the narrow alley and continue your way towards the Artists Quarter.

The Ashkenazi Ha'Ari Synagogue

The synagogue is one of the oldest in Israel and was built in the 16th century in memory of Rabbi Isaac ben Solomon Luria Ashkenazi (1534-1572), known in Hebrew as the 'Ha'ARI' (meaning 'The Lion'). He was a spiritual rabbi interestd in Jewish mysticism and considered the father of contemporary Kabbalah.

Food

We took advantage of the food festival at Lake Monfort and bought lunch at the stalls there. However, since it isn't an option year-round, I've listed a few places in Safed as follows: Elements Cafe Tzfat, Ha'Ari 8, Tree of Life Vegetarian Café, Café Monitin and Lahuhe Original Yemenite.

Accomodation

I'm listing accomodation in both locations because I found more options in Safed.

In Safed you have: Ruth Rimonim Safed, Safed Inn, Azamra Inn, Artists' Colony Inn, Canaan Spa Hotel and Pelech Harimmonim.

In Ma'alot Tarshiha you have: C Hotel Hacienda Forestview

My Timeline

Our trip took a day. The drive between Safed and Monfort Lake takes about 30-45 min.

This is what it looks like on the map:

I hope you find this useful on your next trip up north.

Best,

Talma

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#art #History #Extreme #Sports #Parks

Disclaimer: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links, I will receive a small percentage of the profits at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Israel-Best-Trips.com

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