Welcome to Beit Guvrin National Park! This is our 6th NP in our National Park Challenge – with our goal of visiting and documenting every national park in Israel. We share all of our adventures via blog posts and on our Instagram account – Hochdorf family adventures. Join us as we discover Israel’s beauty!
Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority was designed to protect Israel’s natural, historical and heritage treasures throughout the country. Spread across Israel, there are currently 81 national parks and reserves to be explored.
Beit Guvrin National Park is unlike any other national park you’ll find. With over 500 underground caves and 3,500 underground rooms to explore, it’s the ultimate spelunker’s dream adventure.
Beit Guvrin is spread out over 741 acres of land dating back at least 2,000 years. The national park is broken up into two sections – north and south – featuring unique sites and points of interest in each one. The north area features ancient Roman and Crusader remains, including an amphitheater, and the south features the Tel Maresha and all the caves. The south is also broken up into additional lettered zones (A-E).
Grab your park map and join us as we head underground to discover more about this one of a kind National Park.
Tip: The only way to see all the various sites within Beit Guvrin in one day is to drive and park at each location within the park. You’ll receive a map at the entrance that includes all the sites and where to park.
Beit Guvrin National Park is located in the south of Israel, near Kibbutz Beit Guvrin, and is divided by Road 35 into two sections – north and south. From Tel Aviv, take 6 south and from Jerusalem, take 1 east then 38 south. From the south, take either the 40 or 6 north.
Waze Location: Beit Guvrin National Park
The park is open every day with two different schedules, winter and summer.
Sunday – Thursday and Saturday: 8:00 – 17:00; Friday: 08:00 – 16:00
Sunday – Thursday and Saturday: 08:00 – 16:00; Friday: 08:00 – 15:00
Park Tip: The park’s entrance closes one hour before closing time.
The price for an adult to enter is ₪28.00 (shekels), and for children ages 5-17 is ₪14.00. Children under 5 can enter free. Buying an annual National Park Pass gives you free access to all national parks for a year.
Price Tip: We highly recommend purchasing the yearly pass, especially for a family who plans to visit more than a couple of parks a year. Our pass paid for itself after just 3 parks.
Beit Guvrin is open year-round, but during the winter rainy season (December – February), it may close due to extreme flooding, so always check with the National Park authorities first.
The best time to visit is during the Spring and Fall seasons: March through June and September – November. If you are planning to visit the park during the summer (June, July and August), go early and bring lots of water. And while the caves remain relatively cool underground, temperatures above ground are extremely hot during these months.
Beit Guvrin is a very kid-friendly national park, and most kids love being underground, running through the caves and hearing their voices echo throughout. But it’s a lot of walking, and it might be a struggle for younger children to see all the attractions throughout the park in one day.
It’s also important to note that some of the caves are a bit dangerous to enter. A few have steep and narrow entrance steps and can be a bit scary for younger ones. Some of the areas are stroller-friendly, and some are not, so it’s best to access each section before determining whether or not to bring a stroller. I suggest skipping the stroller although and bringing a body carrier.
Our first cave of the day was the “Polish Cave,” which was an epic start to our day. Inside the cave, niches were carved out to raise doves, which were common for their meat and eggs. It was named after the Polish soldiers who visited the cave during World War II and famously carved the inscription, “Warsaw, Poland,” along with an eagle.
We then headed to the Columbarium Cave, another cave with tens of thousands of carved out niches. In this area alone, 85 Combarium caves have been discovered. And for any Indiana Jones fans out there, these caves will have you feeling all the Indi vibes!
The Bathtub and Oil Press Caves house old sitz baths and oil presses used during the Hellenistic period. More than 20 baths and 22 oil presses have been uncovered in these caves.
Along with an assortment of caves, you’ll also find an ancient agricultural installation complex that displays an olive-oil press model that thrived in this area.
Tip: If you have a stroller, leave it behind for this section and opt for a body carrier instead.
The second stop on the South route is section B, where you’ll see Tel Maresha, the city’s remains, and a view of the area. You’ll also see the Villa, which was reconstructed to resemble the original Hellenistic house.
You’ll also see the Maze Cave at this stop, which reveals underground rooms and dwellings. This section wasn’t open to visitors when we went, so we didn’t have a chance to explore this one,
Continuing along the course to section C, you’ll come to the Sidonian Caves – a favorite for our daughter. The Sidonian Caves are burial caves with paintings throughout, which housed the deceased of the time period.
And if you take a short walk along the path between parking lots C and D, you’ll come across St. Anne’s Church, which was constructed during the Byzantine period and restored during the Crusader period. It was named after Anne, the mother of Mary.
Tip: This section has a really nice restroom and snack area, so if you’re bringing a picnic or snacks, it’s a great stop for that.
The last lot of the South section houses the most popular caves – the Bell Caves. Impressive in stature, these caves will have you exploring in awe as you venture from one to the next. The Bell caves were used mostly as quarries during the Byzantine and Early Muslim periods. They are seriously breathtaking!
Tip: Make sure to allow enough time to explore these caves. They can be quite popular, but they are worth the extra time to see all of them.
Once you have finished touring the South Section’s caves, cross over the main road to the North Section, where you’ll experience a different look at history. Here you’ll take in the Roman amphitheater, which was used for sports competitions and gladiator fights along with plays. You can tour both the outside and the underneath space, where they once held the wild animals for the battles.
You can also tour the Crusader Fortress, located next to the amphitheater and the remains of an ancient basilical church. Remains of a Roman bathhouse are housed beneath the fortress. We opted to skip the church and bathhouse because our little explorer was at her limit and had a bit of a breakdown before we got there. It’s always important to understand your kids’ limitations, and after a long day of exploring, we had to just let this one go.
Tip: Definitely make sure you have time to explore the underground tunnels. They are really cool, and the kids love running through the tunnels.
We’ve created a fun and educational way for kids to learn more about the cave environment with our cave creatures activity pages. Download our free pages and learn all about birds, animals and creatures who call the Beit Guvrin caves and land their homes. It’s a great way to introduce science and social studies into your outdoor adventures.
Beit Guvrin is definitely a unique national park experience. With a blend of underground caves and ancient structures, it’s a special mix of the history that once inhabited the land. The educational factor is off the roof, and our daughter loved learning about the different creatures and people of the caves.
Because of the vast amount of land and features to see, it’s an all-day adventure (and then some). I’m sure we missed many things along the way – a great reason to return another time.
Overall, we give Beit Guvrin National Park 4 out of 5 ibexes. (The Ibex is the symbol for the Israel National Parks.)