Israel – a country bursting with a unique tapestry of ancient history, vibrant culture, deep religious roots, stunning beaches, and outstanding cuisine. Despite its relatively small physical size, Israel is home to 4 diverse geographic regions, each of which is characterized by unusual physical features and varied microclimates.
In a nutshell…Israel is a little country with a large personality that offers a wide range of extraordinary and varied vacation options for travelers of all ages and interests.
Tel Aviv, hailed by the New York Times as “The Mediterranean Capital of Cool,” is a trendy and energy-packed holiday destination not to be missed. Its stretches of golden beaches, along with its great weather throughout most of the year, make relaxing at the beach – or joining one of the ubiquitous volleyball games -a great pastime. At its colorful markets, including the open-air Carmel Market, the Nahalat Binyamin Arts & Crafts market, and the Jaffa Flea Market – one of the region’s oldest bazaars located in neighboring Old Jaffa – you’ll experience a lively mix of natives and tourists shopping for everything from fresh produce and local delicacies to art and souvenirs. Tel Aviv’s celebrated nightlife is buzzing with hip hotspots, and its culinary scene – which features local and international specialties – is a magnet for foodies. A cultural center, Tel Aviv is home to theatres, state-of-the-art museums such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the ANU Museum of the Jewish People, and hundreds of art galleries and boutiques.
Jerusalem, the Eternal City, was proclaimed capital of the Kingdom of Israel 3,000 years ago by King David, and is, today, the capital of the modern State of Israel. Holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, the walled Old City, encompassing 1 square mile, is the heart of the city and contains the holy places of all three of these faiths: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa, the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, and the Western Wall– the remaining retaining wall of the ancient First and Second Temples. The Old City is divided into four residential quarters: Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, each characterized by its individual heritage. In addition to the holy sites, highlights include a tour of the Old City gates as well as the Western Wall tunnels, the Davidson Center & Jerusalem Archeological Park, and the Tower of David.
The sprawling modern city of Jerusalem includes must-see attractions such as the Knesset (Parliament) building, the restored, upscale Mamilla pedestrian mall which bridges the old and new cities, the Mount of Olives, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, and the iconic Mahane Yehuda open-air market which, by night, turns into a venue for trendy bars and eateries. Jerusalem is home to many renowned museums including the Israel Museum, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum, and the Tower of David Museum.
South: Bethlehem, the Dead Sea area, and Eilat
Located south of Jerusalem is Bethlehem, the city of Jesus’s birth, with the famous Church of the Nativity. Heading further south, through the Judean Desert, will lead you to Masada, the ancient fortification atop an isolated rock plateau, which is accessible by cable car or – for the more adventurous- by foot, along a long, winding path. Sunrise, with its cooler temperatures and stunning views, is the most popular time for this hike. The nearby Ein Gedi Nature Reserve offers an outstanding natural oasis with unusual wildlife, desert plants, and waterfalls in the middle of the desert.
Continuing through the Judean Desert, you’ll arrive at the lowest point on the earth – the Dead Sea– which is a unique natural phenomena whose water is a dense concentration of saline and minerals. Enjoy floating in the water and immersing in the mud with its special healing properties.
Further south, on the Red Sea, is the city of Eilat – a resort area with beautiful beaches, world class hotels, spectacular hikes and water sports, and attractions such as the Dolphin Reef.
Israel’s north, full of culture, history, beauty, and adventure, is another popular destination. The beautiful city of Haifa, located on the slopes of Mount Carmel, is home to many museums as well as the famous Bahai Gardens. A short drive through the Carmel Mountains will bring you to the city of Nazareth, with the Basilica of the Annunciation and its Gallery of Madonnas. Continuing along the route are the Christian sites, Cana and Capernaum, and then the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake which is the site of many New Testament stories. It is also a center for recreation, offering watersports, hikes, and boat trips. The city of Tiberias, with its holy sites, is located along the Sea of Galilee.
Caesarea, with its famous national park which includes a large Roman amphitheater and historic port, is located along the Mediterranean coast. Further north along the coast is the city of Akko, a Crusader port, and, at the tip, is Rosh Hanikra with its beautiful grottoes, carved into the cliffs by the force of the sea.
Whether you’re looking for traditional or trendy, religion or recreation – or some of both – RoutePerfect is your address for planning, organizing, and booking your personalized dream vacation to Israel. Unlike any other company, Routeperfect offers its exclusive popular itineraries written by tourism professionals and experienced travelers to jumpstart your planning, helping you customize your travel and book your accommodations so that you can experience the country YOUR way.