Israel’s only about as big as New Jersey!
The country of Israel is about the size of the state of New Jersey. So not very large overall, compared to the United States. I honestly was shocked when I first realized this years ago when planning my own first trip to Israel!
Tel Aviv is a super busy and modern city with beaches, great coffee & food (including Vegan food), markets, amazing boutique hotels, tons of culture, night life, adventure and outdoor fun! Most travelers come into the Tel Aviv airport and depart from the same, so more than likely when going here you’ll go through Tel Aviv at least.
The Hottest Spots in Tel Aviv are:
- Old Jaffa – art galleries, historic buildings, extraordinary landmarks and a multitude of quaint authentic restaurants
- Jaffa Port – cultural & leisure activities, plus shopping and tourism
- TA Port – brand and boutique shopping, sharing a meal in restaurants with magnificent sea views and taking part in lots of activities for the whole family, & one of the city’s most popular hotspots at night
- The White City – declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the White City is where you’ll find the world’s largest grouping of international style buildings, also known as Bauhaus – truly unique and memorable architectural treasure.
- Neve Tzedek – hidden gem of a neighborhood boasts beautiful oriental architectural style and charming narrow streets
Jerusalem is the heart of faith based travel to Israel, featuring the Old City, great food, must see sites, markets, art, history, shopping, and more!
The Hottest Spots in Jerusalem are:
- The Old City – which nearly any tour will take you here which houses the other attractions of the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, & its 4 quarters – Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian
- Mount of Olives – take in the spectacular vistas of Jerusalem
- Museums are many but the most popular are the Israel Museum & Yad Vashem
- Jaffa Street – night life fun
- Shoshan Street – night life for more laid back adult evening fun
- Festivals – film, wine, puppetry, beer, whatever you’re into there is sure to be a festival here for it!
- A World Class Aquarium – one of the largest in the middle east!
Must see sites in Jerusalem:
- Church of the Holy Sepulcher
- City of David
- Davidson Center & Jerusalem Archeological Park
- Hurva Synagogue
- Israel Museum
- Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
- Mamilla mall
- Mount of Olives
- Mount Zion
- Nahlat Shiva-Ben Yehuda pedestrianized quarter
- Old City Gates
- Tower of David Museum
- Western Wall
- Western Wall Tunnels
- Yad Vashem
The Dead Sea
Whether you just want to float weightlessly in water, want to see Masada and other historical areas, or just want to enjoy the natural wonders, the Dead Sea region is an amazing stop on your journey through Israel.
Why the Dead sea is AMAZING!
- The Dead Sea is a crevice in the earth’s crust that is part of the Great Rift Valley allows the waters of the River Jordan to flow south into a lozenge-shaped lake at the lowest point on our planet.
- There is no outlet of the water, so the sun evaporates the water. This creates this density of minerals and salt that makes it impossible to sink in the sea!
- Because the sun has to travel an additional 1,200 feet to reach the shore, ultra-violet rays are filtered out and oxygen is enriched to a point where even the fairest skins tan but do not burn.
- A visit to the Dead Sea enables sufferers of rheumatic diseases to breathe better.
- A visit to the Dead Sea allows victims of psoriasis and other serious skin ailments receive temporary cures by bathing in the Dead Sea
The Hottest Spots in the Dead Sea area are:
- Active activities – walking, jogging, cycling, taking a Segway along the entire length of the new boardwalk, magnificent hiking trails, & other adrenaline-charged attractions!
- Beaches – The Magical Beaches of the Dead Sea
- Boardwalk – a new, stone 4k boardwalk and free, accessible public beaches with full facilities have opened in the hotels area of the Dead Sea
- Desert Area – Discover the desert area around the Dead Sea
- Masada – a national landmark with a strong historical connection, located at the top of a massive mountain that the adventure seeker can hike, or it can be reached comfortably by cable car.
- Spas – There are several amazing spas nearby, and the hotels sometimes even have dead sea water pools inside if you go when it’s cool weather. Float on the waters, take a mud bath or go exploring!
Eilat & Negev
Outdoor enthusiasts & beach lovers, this is the area you’ll really love! From all the outdoor thins you can imagine in the Negev Desert, the beaches in Eilat, dolphin reefs, among other very interesting things to see and do, this area is sure to delight the active & beach lovers!
Where is it?
- Eliat is the southernmost city in Israel on the Red Sea with 360 Sunny days a year!
- Eilat is a 4/5-hour drive from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem or 1 hour by flight
- A 15-minute drive south from Eilat brings visitors to the crossing point to Egypt
- 10-minutes to the north, tourists cross to Jordan and the neighboring port city of Aqaba
What to do in the Eilat area
- Beaches! No further explanation required, right?
- Botanical Gardens within Eilat
- Coral Beach Nature Reserve – stunning coral reef, great for snorkeling or scuba diving
- Dolphin Reef of Eilat – Take the plunge and dive with the dolphins
- Eilat promenade – shopping at the local shops & market stands, or enjoy restaurants and cafés, and even a drink in any of the lively seaside pubs and bars
- Party – Eilat offers lots of night clubs and such to enjoy great nightlife!
- Red Canyon just outside Eilat – track through the riverbed & between red Nubian sandstone walls that have been sculpted over the centuries by wind and water
- Shows – see the amazing colorful audiovisual show of the musical fountain; prepare to be wowed with the Broadway style Wow show that combines dancing, acrobatics light effects, great soundtrack and many more surprises.
- Shopping – naturally
- Spas – Of course there are spas to unwind and relax!
- Timna Park Valley – Located 25 kilometers north of Eilat, take a tour, explore the gorgeous scenery and special antiquities of the world’s first copper mine and enjoy the many attractions.
- Underwater Observatory – Through sailing on a glass ship, you’ll feel a part of this magical underwater kingdom, seeing through huge glass windows you’ll see sharks, turtles, stings rays and multicolored Red Sea fishes.
- Water Sports – everywhere along the sea – jet skiing, banana boats, tubing, kayaking and much more
Where is it?
- Israel is a small country with 62% of the total area occupied by the Negev desert. So it’s kind of the whole country, in a sense!
- The Ramon Crater is present in the middle with its bold cliffs and seasonal water sources.
- In the east, one experiences the African desert with wide savannas and acacia trees.
- To the south, one finds red and black granite, contrasted by sandstone foothills having a powerfully pleasant color.
What to do in the Negev & Other Nearby areas
- Arad – beautiful landscapes, desert tranquility, and many walking trails nestled amongst untouched desert nooks, suitable for any age or style
- Bedouin Experience – From camel riding to traditional Bedouin meals and even overnight stays in traditional Bedouin tents – all these are immensely popular attractions with tourists in the region, and an opportunity to discover and connect with a longforgotten way of life.
- Carasso Science Park – largest interactive science park in Israel with games and hands-on activities – also offers interactive exhibitions in Genetics, Communication, Microelectronics, Nuclear Energy and more.
- Culinary Queens of Yeruham – the wonderful women of Yeroham host tourists from far and wide for an excellent traditional meal in their homes, creating an unforgettable experience of smells, colors and flavors.
- Israel National Trail (“Shvil Israel”) – a national project, paving a marked and safe hiking route across the country. Over 900km long, the route is one of the most rewarding ways to experience the nature and community in Israel. It crosses the country from north to south, connecting Mt. Hermon at one end with Eilat at the other. Perfectly suited for bicycle tourism, the trail passes through national sites and astounding landscapes, allowing riders to experience Israel’s diversity of culture and types of communities along the way. The trail is one of the longest demarcated trails in the world suited to, and with appropriate signage for, mountain biking.
- MidBurn Festival – burning man fest of Israel!
- Mount Karkom – considered one of the most significant landmarks in Christian history with a wildly unspoiled landscape & believed by some scholars to be the site of the biblical Mount Sinai – mentioned often in the book of Exodus as the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments.
- Negev at night – this journey would give you a chance to see the splendor of millions of twinkling stars, lighting up the blue-black darkness in a radiance that can only be seen in the desert.
- Old City of Be’er Sheva – Be’er Sheva is one of the oldest cities in the country, with evidence of a settlement dating back thousands of years, and said to have been founded by Abraham from the Bible.
- Ramon Crater – the world’s largest erosion crater, also known as Machtesh Ramon (shaped like an longated heart), with multicolored sandstone, volcanic rock and fossils, the Ramon Crater is often described as Israel’s very own Grand Canyon.
- Ride things – horses, camels, bikes – enjoy!
- Sandboarding in the desert – glide down sitting down or standing up – once you’ve done this, you can call yourself a genuine sand surfer!
- Sde Boker – Once the home of David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister whose home is now a museum open to the public.
- Sunrise at Masada – if you’ve got it in you to climb atop by foot, you’re in for a real treat!
- Timna Park – 15,000 acres in a horseshoe-shaped valley surrounded by steep cliffs is great for hiking enthusiasts, offering a multitude of attractions, colorful sands and craggy mountains
- Vidor Center – The Center for Cochin Heritage at Moshav Nevatim tells the story of this unique community. Cochin Jews consider themselves as one of the most ancient Jewish communities in the world.
- Yotvata Hai-Bar – area’s largest animal breeding and reclamation center for animals before they are reintroduced into the wild
Whether you go to eat, pray, and love or just to see the sites, northern part of Israel offers you great food & wine, seeing the Galilee region, Haifa, Caesarea, Nazareth, Tiberias, and many more things, the north is not to be missed!
The Hottest Spots in Northern Israel are:
- Bet She’an – South of the Sea of Galilee are the remains of one of the largest cities in the Roman-Byzantine Empire, Bet She’an. One of ten ancient cities (hence “Decapolis”) that included Philadelphia (present day Amman in Jordan) and Jerash, Scythopolis ((Bet She’an) was the only decapolis city west of the Jordan river. It was very grand, with a giant theater, streets of tall columns, shops, bathhouses a hippodrome and hundreds of homes. However, the splendid city was toppled in 749 by a massive earthquake, and never rebuilt. Over the centuries the ruins were overgrown – and it was not until the mid-20th century that Israeli archeologists pulled Bet She’an out of the murk, discovering (and restoring) the theater, the Cardo, the columns and much more.
- Caesarea – The Roman port city of Caesarea is one of Israel’s wonders, combining ancient structures, archeology and a picture-perfect harbor, and adapting them for modern use. Caesarea was one of the largest and most magnificent ports in the Mediterranean. Caesarea is 45 minutes’ drive from Tel Aviv, 20 from Haifa.
- Galilee – Most of northern Israel is generically known as The Galilee (Galil in Hebrew). It offers wine, food, religious tours, the sea, hike, see wildlife, ride horses and bikes, go white water rafting, mountain climb, enjoy sky-jumping, jeeping over rough mountain tracks or rappelling down challenging cliffs! It’s also where Armageddon (Megiddo) is, Mount Gilboa where King Saul and his son, Jonathan, died in battle against the Phillistines, Tiberias is here and some of Israel’s 300+ vineyards producing award winning wines plus Nazareth and Carmiel.
- Haifa – Israel’s third-largest city & main port, you’ll find here Mount Carmel, Upper Carmel is home to museums, many hotels and shops, is home to a dozen museums, including a museum of Japanese Art, Israel’s Railway Museum and the Af-Al-Pi-Chen Museum of Illegal Immigration. It is also home to the Technion, Israel’s version of MIT. Haifa’s Wadi Nisnas neighborhood is the center of multi-holiday celebrations reflecting Haifa’s identity as city that is home to Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha’is. Must see sites here include Baha’i Shrine of the Bab, Baha’i “Hanging Gardens”, Panorama of Haifa Bay from Upper Carmel, Templer Colony
- Nazareth – A blend of faiths and cultures – See the “Cradle of Christianity” come alive before you, the childhood home of Jesus, Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel, and an important site for pilgrims and tourists, Nazareth offers shop-lined thoroughfares, stone-paved alleys. Everything in Nazareth is open for business on Shabbat (Friday night and Saturday) and its friendly vibe and stunning location, right in the middle of the Lower Galilee (about 15 miles West of the Sea of Galilee), makes it a beloved stop
- Tiberias – Located at the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, the capital of the Galilee, was established in the early Roman period and has served as a religious, administrative and culture center of the Jewish people for many years, experience a wonderful mix of relaxation, nature and history, along with contemporary attractions, active water sports, pilgrimage sites and unique tourist attractions
Things to do in the North of Israel:
- Active tourism – hike, bike, walk, ride horses, go rafting, mountain climbing/rappelling, and more!
- Culinary Delights – regional cheeses handmade in artisanal dairies to world-class wines from boutique vineyards, from gourmet family-run restaurants to freshly-picked fruits and vegetables bursting with flavor, the Galilee is a foodie’s paradise.
- Wine Tasting & Tours – In the north, the general atmosphere reminiscent of French or Italian wine regions while the south has become renowned for its burgeoning wine scene, thanks to pioneering farmers and their use of computerized drip irrigation.
There’s SO much more to see & do in the area, but the list was getting rather long. 🙂 Want to know more or ….
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