Israel’s kibbutzes are the world’s most successful communes, where the residents live and work in cooperation. There are 270 of them, the oldest dating back a century, and they present a glimpse of a way of life that few people outside the country have ever seen.
You can drive from the beach town of Eilat in the south, right up to the Upper Galilee in the north, staying in kibbutz inns and hotels.
Things to do
Many kibbutzes welcome guests who can stay for a few days and even join in with communal work, such as picking oranges or brewing wines that are exported around the world. Although the kibbutzes began as agricultural communities, and are still mostly located in rural areas, they are modern communities with schools, hi-tech factories and medical clinics. Some of the communities also have organised tours of local historical sites, with experts who live on the kibbutz and enjoy telling guests all about the history around them.
Their location means many are in some of the most beautiful parts of Israel, and they attract people who love nature – bird watchers are especially taken with the migrations that touch down in Israel and the kibbutes are perfectly placed to watch it happen. The fact that the country is so small – about the size of Wales – means it is easy to drive from place to place without tiring yourself.
If you want green, lush scenery and water around you, try visiting the kibbutzes of the Hula Valley in northern Israel which is a haven for birds. But if you want a dramatic landscape, the communities in the southern Negev desert will show you how they are making the desert bloom. You will be surrounded by the spirits of ancient people – not just Jewish, but also the Canaanites, Nabateans and Romans. Or for modern history, you can call in at Sde Boker, the kibbutz that was home to Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.
7 night kibbutz on B&B basis
Kibbutz visits included (2 locations minimum)
Including small saloon car
from £490 per person
As above with no kibbutz visits
from £355 per person