How can one convince travellers of destinations in the Middle East that are not only safe, but also staggeringly beautiful and inspiring? Our feet can do the talking in Palestine.
1. The West Bank in Spring
2. Bedouin Hospitality in Reshayda
Walking is the most time-tested means to receive the company, protection and hospitality of other people. South east of Bethlehem, walkers are hosted by a Bedouin family in Reshayda.
3. The Hills that are Mountains
A large variety of hiking trails has been initiated over the last decade, turning small villages into hubs of heritage and hospitality. In Sebastia, boys play football between the Roman ruins.
5. Into the Wild
Hiking is no foreign adventure travel niche. Amr Sheikh, a Palestinian Chistopher McCandless, permanently travels up and down the West Bank on foot as "Palestine Voyager": #walkforpeace #hiking #middleeast.
6. Walking Guides
Other Palestinians have taken up trail guiding as a profession. From Ein Samia, north of Jericho, one can descend down spectacular Wadi Auja to the Jordan Valley.
7. Facebook Trekking
Organized through social media, over a dozen local Palestinian walking groups hit the trails on weekends and during holidays: on the Nativity Trail, the Sufi Trails, the Battir Trails, the Massar Ibrahim or exploring entirely new routes.
8. Masar Ibrahim
The longest of these trails, the Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil, extends over 300 km across the full length of the West Bank. Signs have been placed along some of the main traveller hubs, such as in Bethlehem City.
9. Palestinian Homestays
10. Walks and Heritage
Walkers come across lonely hilltop shrines, Ottoman castles and holy places in the desert: south of Jericho hikers cross the domes of Nabi Musa.
Photo credits: all pictures by photographer Frits Meyst who travelled the Masar Ibrahim / Abraham Path in March 2015.