Spectacular Panoramas: 5 Breathtaking Winter Vantage Points

Whatever the landscape you love best: desert or sea, mountains or plains - you’ll find it in Binyamin. The Binyamin region’s geographic location and topographic height provide vantage points from sea to sea: from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea, and from Northern Israel to the South.

Sunny winter days are perfect for panoramas with optimal visibility, so you can see Israel from new angles and connect to its nature and history through the eyes. Most lookout points in Binyamin feature panoramic maps and audio explanations that turn viewing into an especially enriching experience. So where should you start? Below are 5 overlooks that you simply can’t miss this winter.

1. The Dead Sea Balcony - Mitzpe Yericho

Mitzpe Yericho’s name signifies the view that its residents overlook. It literally means “Overlooking Jericho,” and it indeed soars above the northern end of the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea, the Moab Mountains and the lowest city on earth: Jericho. After you catch your breath following the breathtaking view of the City of Dates and its environs, you can listen to the audio explanation on the balcony that will share with you the stories of the Biblical and historic events that took place right below. There’s definitely no shortage of such stories!

Tourists from countries all over the world stand open-mouthed on this balcony and are amazed by the enchanted desert view that both catches the eye and touches the heart. 

How do I get there? After you pass the gate of the Mitzpe Yericho community, continue until you reach a T-shaped intersection. Turn left at the intersection and drive a few hundred meters until you reach the balcony. 

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2. The Roof of the Country and Tower to the Mediterranean Sea - Haresha Overlooks

From the Dead Sea, we’ll continue to the Mediterranean Sea - to two gorgeous overlooks that are both near Haresha.

Roof of the Country: Soaring to a height of 750 meters above sea level, standing on this balcony will make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Right in front of you is the city of Modiin, the coastal plain, Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Sea. To the south: The coastline down to Ashdod Port. To the north: The coastline up to Netanya. Visitors from Israel’s central region like to stand here and play the “Spot your city” game. Residents of Modiin can even identify the building they live in, and those with a sharp eye can see ships that have dropped anchor in the middle of the sea.

Tower to the Mediterranean Sea: The lookout tower is located inside the Givat Hayekevim archaeological site. The angle of this view is similar to the view from the Roof of the Country overlook in that it also includes the Mediterranean Sea and the coastal plain. The added bonus is that here, you will also enjoy a walk through an impressive archaeological site and listen to the audio explanations that will connect you to this region and its history. Of course, the best thing is to visit both overlooks and see the full picture from this window to the Mediterranean Sea.

How do I get there? The Roof of the Country Overlook is at the edge of the community of Haresha. The Tower to the Mediterranean Sea is at Givat Hayekevim. In the middle of the uphill ascent, you will find the Givat Hayekevim parking lot - there are signs at the site. 

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3. Elie Lookout - Rimonim

Elie Lookout, named after Elie Asayag, of blessed memory, a ong-time resident of Rimonim, offers a wide panoramic view from Jerusalem to Har Kochav. However, the exciting part of this lookout is actually the area that you can see right below it: the Jordan Valley.

The audio explanations at the lookout will tell you exactly what you can see from up here, as well as captivating historical stories from Biblical times until 1948, plus a few more stories from 1948 until today. Did you know, for example, that right here, in the valley in front of you, the city of Petach Tikva was almost founded?

How do I get there? Enter the community of Rimonim by turning off of Alon Highway. Drive until the eastern edge of Rimonim. You’ll spot the lookout right away.

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4. Danny Overlook - Mitzpe Danny (Maale Michmas)

Mitzpe Danny was founded in 1998 in memory of Danny Frei, a resident of the neighboring community of Maale Michmas. From this overlook, you can see the mountains at Jerusalem’s eastern border: the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus. At the bottom of these mountains, you’ll be able to see the city of Maale Adumim, above the Dead Sea. The Jordan Valley stretches before your eyes.

What makes this overlook special is the far-reaching view of the desert and the area termed “the desert frontier” - a region that borders the desert and is characterized by unique climate conditions that produce special flora and fauna. The audio explanations at the overlook will teach you all about the unique Judean Desert - “a desert in the shadow of rains,” and connect you to the Biblical stories that took place right here. You’ll hear all about the moving story of Jeremiah the prophet, who was active in this very place.

How do I get there? Drive on Highway 60 following the signs to Maale Michmas. The entrance to Mitzpe Danny is one kilometer north of the entrance to Maale Michmas. 

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5. Har Kochav - Kochav Hashachar

You can’t miss the pointed mountain next to the community of Kochav Hashachar. In Arabic, the mountain is called “Najama,” which means “star,” an accepted term for round hills that protrude from their surroundings. In this case, Har Kochav (“kochav” is a star in Hebrew) is indeed a horst - a raised block of the Earth’s crust that has lifted, while the land on either side has subsided. The person who named this mountain  Mount Kochav is none other than Rechavam Zeevi, while serving as GOC Central Command.

At the top of the mountain are two vantage points that offer an amazing view of the Binyamin mountains to the west, Jerusalem to the south and the Jordan Valley to the east. But the vantage points are just one of the attractions of Mount Kochav. On the mountain, you will find great hiking trails, picnic tables and even a spring at its base. By the way, Mount Kochav is apparently one of the mountains atop which the Jews of the Mishnaic period once lit bonfires to relay the message that the new month had arrived.

How do I get there? From Alon Highway, turn off the road and enter the community of Kochav Hashachar. Turn right at the first turn until you reach the sign and trail markings. 

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Overlooks: Have you visited? Did you take pictures? Tag us on Instagram: #go_binyamin

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