The Yarkon River, Israel’s longest coastal waterway, has many faces. It begins in the east as rain in the mountains of Judea and Samaria , which sinks into the rocks and emerges in Yarkon National Park in hundreds of springs. Most of them are capped today by the water company, but a policy of “nature’s right to water” keeps the water flowing here.
In the shade of huge old eucalyptus trees you’ll see the el-Mir water mills, which first ground grain in Roman times. You can take the Romantic Trail along the quiet stream, enjoy a picnic while the little ones romp in the playground, and see the pond where water-lilies bloom from May to September.
With informative signs in English to enrich your experience, look for a variety of animal life, including nutrias, foxes, kingfishers with their brilliant turquoise wings, and the green flash of once-captive lovebirds. You can continue your walk (which is part of the Israel Trail) about 1.5 kilometers on a path through thickets of reeds and brambles past a lake to 5,000-year-old Tel Afeq , or drive around the outside of the park to visit Tel Afeq separately.
Yarkon National Park can also be a jumping off point to cycle or hike all the way to Tel Aviv (contact the Israel Cycling Federation, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, or the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel for directions), a fascinating journey of about 28 kilometers that takes you from the heart of nature to the heart of Tel Aviv.
There, the lawns along the Yarkon become a getaway to nature for the many urban walkers, joggers and cyclists you’ll meet, and you can even rent a paddle-boat. End your Yarkon experience at its outlet to the Mediterranean , right next to Tel Aviv’s popular port with it promenade and many restaurants.