We just got back from a 3 day vacation in Northern Israel (we live near Jerusalem) and I'd like to share with you my experiences and suggstions there:
We left home on a sunny Sunday morning, heading north. Our first stop was Gan Guru, adjacent to Kibbutz Nir David. Our 2 yrs old had a great time in this small Australian animals zoo, which they say is the only place outside Australia where you can pet and feed kangaroos. There are many Australian endemic animals there and our kid just loved petting the animals and looking at the colorfull parrots! We spent about 2 hours there.
We dropped the kid at my mom's, who lives nearby, and the 2 of us (we're in our 30s) continued towards our next destination - Amirim. This village is located near Safed and Rosh Pina, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It is famous in its great zimmers, and for the fact that all its residents are stricktly vegeterians. There are several vegeterian restaurants there, and many spas, body treatments and massages places, and also a great view. This time we chose to stay at a place called "Sod HaZimmer HaNe'elam" (The Secret Hidden Zimmer in Hebrew). The place is run by a lovely lovely couple, with which we actually became friends (they even invited us to their home where we had dinner together!!!). We have been to several zimmers up north in recent years. This is by far the best zimmer we have EVER been to in Israel, better even than our last experience in Amirim (Nof10, which I recommended on this board a few times in the past). The excellency of this place stems from several issues: They have THE BEST view in Amirim - the zimmer is situated on top of a hill where the whole Sea of Galilee valley is spread in front of you. There's a large deck overlooking this panoramic view. The owners have only one zimmer, and they put their hearts in it, so it's not like some "zimmer complexes". The zimmer is very isolated and private, with a jacuzzi and very large windows (though no one can see what's inside due to the absolute isolation. Although breakfast is not included (but can be ordered for an additional fee) Ayelet and Yaron put plenty of "treats" in the unit - various chocolates, fresh fruits, homemade cookies, nectars, beers, wine etc. The price in weekdays is reasonable and well worth it. Here's their website - it in Hebrew but you can admire the photos:
On day 2 we did a short hike in the area, and then drove to Bat Ya'ar Ranch for lunch. This place is essentialy a horse ranch with other forest activities. They are located in the Biria forest, near Safed. The restaurant is a steak house with really good steaks and breathtaking view. The place is for carnivors only (after Amirim with its strict vegeterian character, we had to contrast it with some meat...)! Call for reservations a day in advance, and if you come during daylight be sure to ask for a table near the view. Here's their website in Hebrew:
From there we came back to our zimmer and had some rest, and then we had a 90 minute massage in the zimmer, by 2 masseurs, a couple in real life, named Shimrit and David (they are from Amirim and we got their phone# from Ayelet and Yaron, our zimmer owners). This was a great experience which left us very relaxed. Here's their website (again, Hebrew only):
In the evening we went to the Claizmer Festival in Safed, with many free concerts throughout the city of Safed.
Another place we've been to and I'd like to recommend is a restaurant called Rotman, located in a tiny spot on the map - Kibbutz Lotem (it's not far from Carmi'el). This nice place offers Arab/Israeli/International food and the atmosphere there is quite nice - the place is filled with antiques and in the evenings they occasionaly have jazz shows and other musical events. There's also a great view:
Altogether, we had a wonderful and romantic vacation in northern Israel.