With amazing historical and religious sites, the mineral-rich Dead Sea (which is also the lowest point on Earth), a vibrant nightlife and world-class food, Israel has a lot to offer the visiting traveler.
Israeli Entertainment Industry
The Israeli entertainment industry has had a busy year. In 2021, Native Americans were the 3rd most searched actors in the world! But it wasn’t just the glamorous Gal Gadot that made the audience talk about Israel. You can Watch latest Movies as well.
It’s a small country that doesn’t take too long to drive, but you can easily spend a few weeks here and there is so much to offer that you won’t run out of amazing sights to see, activities to do and delicious food.
Here’s my list of some of the best things to see and do in Israel to help you start planning your trip.
The Negev Desert
The Negev Desert covers the southern half of Israel and covers 13,000 square kilometers, accounting for 55% of its total area. It is a dazzlingly beautiful place. For the best views, visit the Florence and George Wise Observatory near Mitzpe Ramon. Also, don’t miss Timna Park at the southernmost tip (near Eilat), which has amazing geological structures such as massive sandstone columns and multicolored sand. There is also a hot-air balloon festival held here every fall.
The Negev is full of adventure activities of all kinds, from sandboarding on the dunes in the north to descending from the cliffs of Ramon Crater. Even if you don’t have a car, you can find tour operators that can take you around.
Masada Fortress and National Park in Israel
One of the most visited places in the Negev is Masada National Park. Located on the edge of the Dead Sea, just 100 km south of Jerusalem, this fortress was an ancient fortress built on a plateau by Herod the Great. It is famous as a haven for Jewish rebels against the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire lived there for seven years after it was besieged by the Romans in 73 AD and before mass suicide. Today, it is a symbol of Israel’s resolve and one of Israel’s most popular attractions.
There is a cable car to the fort, but an alternative is to hike the Snake Path, a 60-90 minute hike that offers views of the arid landscape, the Dead Sea and Jordan. Summers can be really hot (because it’s a desert after all) and when the weather gets too hot, the authorities sometimes block the road. (Bring plenty of water.) Better to go up before dawn and watch the sunrise over Jordan from the trail or summit (it’s cooler).
Open daily from 8am to 3pm to 5pm. Admission to the park is $9 USD. The park can be reached in about 90 minutes by car from Jerusalem.
Reef and Shipwreck Diving in Israel
Israel borders the Mediterranean Sea and has a short coastline on the Red Sea. Both offer world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. Some of the best places in the Red Sea to see amazing coral and marine life are Coral Reef Beach, Migdalor Beach and Princess Beach.
For scuba divers, the water deepens very quickly in Eilat, allowing you to dive deep into the water without having to use a boat to get further off shore. (If you do not want to go into the water, you can go to the underwater observatory marine park.)
On the Mediterranean coast, divers can explore shipwrecks and ancient Roman ruins at Caesarea’s Underwater Archaeological Park.
Lesser-known Archaeological Sites in Israel
ancient city of acre, israel For more than 100,000 years, there has been human activity in what is now Israel, making it incredibly rich when it comes to archaeological finds. Most people are familiar with the major historical sites (Jerusalem, Caesarea, Masada, etc.), but there is actually much more to see across the country.
In fact, there are over 300 excavations underway in Israel, meaning new discoveries are being made all the time. Here are some of the lesser-known sites.
Megiddo – Located southeast of Haifa, this once fortified city dates back to around 3000 BC. The Hebrew name “Har-Megiddo” (Mount Megiddo) becomes “Armageddon” in the Greek, since this is supposed to be the site of the battle of the last days. Today, the site houses a wonderful and informative museum that illuminates the area and its vast history.
Templar’s Tunnel of Akko – This secret tunnel was built in the 13th century by medieval knights in the fortress of Akko (Acre). It is 150 meters long and was only discovered in 1994. This site is open to the public, so you can actually explore the tunnel yourself.
Beit She’an – This biblical site dates back to the 6th century BC and contains beautiful and well-preserved Roman ruins including baths, theaters and columnar streets. It was the Roman capital of northern Israel and one of the largest archaeological sites in the world.
Beit Guvrin-Maresha – Located in Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park (near Kiryat Gat), these Roman ruins were known in Roman and Byzantine times as Eleutheropolis. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a Jewish cemetery, an amphitheater and a Byzantine church. You can also see remains of public baths and caves here.
Herodium National Park – Located just outside Jerusalem, this fortress rivals the more popular Masada, but has only a small percentage of visitors. Here you will find palatial ruins, underground tunnels, secret caves, lookouts with beautiful views, and the famous tomb of Herod the Great.
The better known Caesarea National Park is a 30-minute drive south of Haifa. One of the largest archaeological sites in the country, it contains Roman, Byzantine and Crusader cities. its
It is famous for its Roman aqueduct, racetrack and amphitheater (a great place to watch concerts), and is close to public beaches and shopping.
Aerial view of Tel Aviv and coastline in Israel
With nearly 4 million inhabitants in the Greater Tel Aviv region, this Mediterranean seaside town has a lively and cosmopolitan vibe. It is the most modern city in the country and is where most international flights arrive (there are also international airports in Haifa and Eilat, but Tel Aviv is the main arrival point).
The city has a lot to offer (including 13 beaches), but one of the main attractions is the food. The culinary scene is full of creative eateries that blend traditional Israeli cuisine with flavors from around the world, using fresh organic ingredients and reflecting the diverse ethnic groups that make up Israel’s population.
There are also a huge number of vegan options (Israel is an amazing destination for vegetarians and vegan travelers). You can also stroll through the stalls at Carmel Market and Levinsky Market to sample delicious local street food. Tel Aviv also has a nightlife that rivals New York or London.
At night, rooftop bars, wine bars and craft breweries can be found all over town. Especially check out the places that line the Rothschild Boulevard. It also has a strong music scene with numerous live concerts (of all genres) throughout the city, as well as a world-class Philharmonic Orchestra. Lots of great theaters here too!
During the day, visit dozens of museums, including the popular Yitzhak Rabin Center, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art or the Museum of the Jewish People. Tel Aviv has many informative and insightful walking tour companies where you can learn more about the city’s past, people, street art and architecture.
(Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus structure, “The White City”, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). New Europe is the city’s best free walking tour (tipping is a must). And don’t miss the ancient port of Jaffa, home to a large flea market, artists’ quarter, fine restaurants, a mixed Arab and Jewish population, and great views of Tel Aviv.
Israel’s Dead Sea Coast
Israel and Jordan share the Dead Sea. Covering more than 600 square kilometers, this coast is the lowest point on Earth and the water is more than eight times saltier than the ocean, virtually uninhabitable for sea life (hence its name). Its saltiness also means that you float on water (salt increases buoyancy).
So you’ll see a lot of people taking pictures while they’re floating all day. Unfortunately, it also means that if you have cuts on your body, you will feel sharp! Also, beware and heed all signs as industrial exploitation shrinks shorelines and creates sinkholes in some areas.
Salt and other minerals (such as magnesium and bromide) have historically been considered healing objects, which is why there are so many health resorts along the coast. Many beaches are only accessible through resorts, but there are also several public beaches along the coast, including Neve Midbar to the north and Ein Bokek to the south.
Skyline of the historic city of Jerusalem in Israel
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world with a history of about 5,000 years. Known as the “Holy City” (al-Quds in Arabic), Jerusalem occupies an important place in the world’s three major religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Home to over a million people, it is a place full of amazing (and often controversial) history for pilgrims and tourists alike. The walled Old Town is home to nearby Mount Zion and the City of David (the original site of Jerusalem), as well as many famous and important sites that are well worth a few days’ tour.
For Jews, the Wailing Wall (formerly called the Wailing Wall) is considered the most sacred place for prayer. It is divided into men’s and women’s, and you can explore the tunnel on one side.
Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount (just above the Wailing Wall) is one of the holiest places for Muslims after Mecca and Medina . For Christians, Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old Town mark the final journey leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and the place of his crucifixion.
In the new western part of Jerusalem, be sure to visit Yad Vashem, a deeply emotional official memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. There is also the Israel Museum, which contains the Dead Sea Scrolls and treasures of Israel’s past.
Take a walking tour or food tour for an insightful overview of the city. There are tours of the Machane Yehuda market, and Abraham Tours (which also runs an amazing hostel) organizes day walking tours highlighting Jerusalem’s past from various (and often competitive) perspectives.
Ancient monastery near Jericho, Israel
As the epicenter of the three major religions, Israel has many important pilgrimage sites and pilgrimage sites. Many travelers take Bible tours (guided tours or self-guided tours) to visit places like Galilee, Bethlehem, and Jericho (the latter two in Palestine).
Galilee is home to several Christian sites, including Nazareth, home to the largest church in the Middle East. and the Way of Jesus or the Way of the Gospel, a hike from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee – Capernaum, Tabgah (where Jesus fed the people with bread and fish), Cana, the Beatitudes (the predestined place of the Sermon on the Mount).
Known as the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem is a must-see. Be sure to visit the Church of the Nativity, one of the most important Christian sites (ostensibly where Jesus was born) and one of the oldest operating churches in the world (opened in AD 333).
Near Jericho are Qasr el Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River, said to be the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and the Monastery of St George, which hangs from a cliff carved into the sheer cliffs of Judea. There is this. desert.
Learn about Gaza (and West Bank) Struggling Palestinian Gaza Strip
Located on the southwest coast, Gaza has a long history. In recent history, the region was controlled by Britain, Egypt and Israel, and is now (de facto) ruled by Hamas. The Palestinian-Israeli relationship is a sensitive topic and I don’t want to cover it in this post, but understanding the conflict is essential to understanding the region and its history.
Although Gaza is not easily accessible, it is only 71 kilometers (44 miles) from Tel Aviv and there are several border tours that can help you learn more about the ongoing conflict. Abraham Tours runs Gaza’s “dual narrative” tours (and also tours of the West Bank) that provide insight into the conflict’s complex history.
Green Olive Tours, an Israeli-Palestinian joint venture, also offers insightful 1-day and 2-day tours around the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Beautiful garden near the coast of Haifa, Israel
The laid-back port city of Haifa on Mount Carmel in the north is also a must-see. With a population of less than 300,000, the city’s history dates back to the 3rd century AD. As an important industrial center, Haifa has a mix of Muslims, Jews and Christians, which has helped maintain a diverse and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Haifa is also home to Israel’s only metro: a single line with 6 stops
You can easily spend a few days just looking at the highlights. Don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Baha’i Gardens in the heart of the city, the beautiful terraced gardens with the golden-domed Bahai Temples. For amazing views, take the cable car up Mount Carmel to Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery. It takes 5 minutes and costs 35 ILS ($10 USD) (round trip). You will be rewarded with picturesque and perfect views of Haifa and the Mediterranean Sea.
You can also stay in Haifa during day trips along the coast or to other destinations in Nazareth, Megiddo or Galilee.
Visit The Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community, usually centered around a particular profession or workplace. They started in 1910 and were originally centered on collective agriculture. The concept spread quickly and there are still nearly 300 of them across the country today. Many tourists want a more unique travel experience. If you want to know more, here are the most popular kibbutz.
Kibbutz Ein Gev – Situated on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, this is one of the largest kibbutz in the United States. It is home to a beach resort open to visitors and several agricultural operations (including dairy and banana plantations). More than 600 people live in the kibbutz, and you can learn more from a short train trip or book a stay at a vacation resort. The tour runs for 30 minutes and costs 16 ILS (less than $5 USD).
Kibbutz Degania Alef – Israel’s first kibbutz, founded in 1910. Over 500 people live here, all working in the community’s factories, farms or service industries. The community has two small museums that illuminate history and development, and a historic building you can visit to learn more (museum visits must be booked in advance).
Kibbutz Ein Gedi – Situated on the Dead Sea, this kibbutz is known for its 25-acre botanical gardens and home to over 900 plant species. Founded in 1953, the kibbutz has a population of just over 600, with a focus on agriculture and tourism. Free tours are available daily in English and Hebrew.
Whether you’re interested in religious history, archeology, spending time outdoors, hiking, diving or snorkeling, Israel will find what you’re looking for. It’s a truly world-class destination for laid-back vacationers, foodies and intrepid backpackers looking to get off the beaten track.