Located in the Upper Galilee, Rosh Pina is a quaint small town that is really worth checking out, especially if you’re after cute restaurants, picturesque leafy alleyways, and in need of the Galilee pace of life (think: chill!).
The town itself lies on the the eastern slopes of Mount Kna’an in the north of Israel, and was founded in 1882 by some 30 families who immigrated from Romania, making it one of the oldest Zionist settlements in Israel.
Today there are some 3000 residents, a number which expands through the holiday season as many Israelis head here for a quick northern escape from the center or south.
It really is an excellent location to base yourself, with the neighboring town of Safed just a few minutes drive away, the delights of the Sea of Galilee just 20 minutes away, and natural wonders like the Hula Valley, Horshat Tal, and the majestic Golan Heights just a short drive away.
What to see in Rosh Pina
If you’re looking to do more than just take on some retail therapy (there are two gig shopping malls the entrance to Rosh Pina – one is full of the standard commercial stores found in Israel, the other is more of an upscale boutique mall), we say head up the hill on Rosh Pina’s main road through the town to reach the older part of town.
You’ll easily recognize it, as the road turns into a cobbled delight (not such a delight for your car though!), before you reach the delightful Baron’s Gardens at the top of the hill, certainly worth a chillout moment. Also nearby is the historical abode of Professor Gideon Mer, the Israeli scientist who worked on the eradication of malaria. His home has since become a national site and his very own private office is preserved for everyone to view.
There are a number of great art galleries to check out in this older part of town, and the Chocolatte coffee shop is a great place to stop by if you need some sweet inspiration in your life (be aware that it’s not open on Mondays). Also watch out for views over the Galilee, especially from the Nimrod Lookout, where you’ll get to see Mount Hermon in the far distance.
At the PICA House, next to the Professor Mer House, you can enjoy a film of Rosh Pina’s history and learn how it turned into the city it is now. The film is available in English, Hebrew and Russian and costs 15 shekels for adults, 10 shekels for children and OAPs. If you fancy catching a more Hollywoody-type movie, head to the Cinemateque, where you can see some of the latest movies.
One last pitstop for those of you needing some hands-on therapy – the Mitzpe HaYamin Spa is on the road that heads out of town (towards Safed). Pricey but classy.
For a map of some of the great things to see and do in Rosh Pina, see the map at the end of this article.
Where to eat in Rosh Pina
There are some pretty decent restaurants in Rosh Pina, many of which we’ve tried ourselves and can heartily recommend.
If it’s burgers you need, head to Amburger or Doris Butchers, both located at the entrance to Rosh Pina (we’ve also heard good things about the burgers at Kvish 90). For something a little homey but very decent, try Ja’uni (now closed unfortunately). For something a little upscale, try the excellent Shulamit, or the Pina b’Rosh (Shiri Bistro), with its excellent views…
Where to stay in Rosh Pina
With tourism very much at the heart of Rosh Pina’s day-to-day, there are plenty of decent places to stay – Zimmers are big business here, which are basically like bed and breakfasts, but more bed and less breakfast. We’d recommend having a look here for availability at some of the better options and hotels. Browse the photos, prices and facilities and then take your pick.
One place we did enjoy staying at is the Meister Farm & Winery, which is located just 5 minutes from Rosh Pina and no, you don’t have to be a wine lover to enjoy the place. Not only is it a winery but there’s a campsite onsite and you’ll have a great time exploring the grounds of this place, especially if you have kids and/or are looking for something budget-friendly.
How to get to Rosh Pina
Rosh Pina is easy to get to, and, as we mentioned, is the perfect base for exploring the area. Its location on Road 90 means it is on the main traffic route that links up the north with the rest of the country.
By bus you can reach the town from almost any other city in Israel – from Tel Aviv it will take you around 3 hours.
Note that you can also fly from Tel Aviv to Rosh Pina via the Ayit company that flies out of Sde Dov airport.