Activities in Israel

When you visit Israel you’ll want to see the famous sites, but you might also want to have an adventure and try some new activities in Israel. You can hike in Israel’s national parks or do a wet hike like the Banias Spring Trail, where you follow a stream. Many of the activities in Tel Aviv take place on the shore where there are water sports. A wide promenade runs the length of Tel Aviv’s 14kms-long beach, here you can run, cycle, or skate. The city has a bike-share system so that anyone can rent a bike and explore the city. In the Beautiful Yarkon Park, you can enjoy a climbing wall, take a stationary hot-air balloon ride, play mini-golf, or rent a small boat on the Yarkon River.

Among the activities in Jerusalem are walking the Old City ramparts, visiting the Jerusalem aquarium, hiking in the Ayelah Valley, and following Hezekiah’s Tunnel, an ancient underground water channel. There are plenty of activities for families in Israel, from the Ramat Gan Safari to Tel Aviv Luna Park, and Meymadion water park. In the north, you can go on an ATV buggy adventure, kayak in the River Jordan, horse ride, or, in the winter, ski on Mount Hermon. In the south, there are thrilling desert jeep safaris, and abseiling(rappelling) at Mitzpe Ramon. Further south in Eilat, there are endless activities like camel riding, ice skating, diving, water sports, and swimming with dolphins.


Israel Bucket List: Top Tourist Attractions in Israel

Your Israel bucket list should include all the best and most visited Israel tourist attractions. The country may be small, but there is a lot to cover. With a history going back thousands of years, there are must-see archaeological sites and ancient structures. The Promised Land is home to a wealth of religious sites that shouldalso be on your Israel bucket list. Discover Israel’s natural wonders, the vibrant urban culture, and its endless beaches. It is a travel destination with something for everyone. Start planning your trip today by adding these top attractions to your Israel bucket list.Explore Israel’s Historical and Archaeological SitesSuccessive civilizations have passed through the Holy Land, each leaving their mark. Discover the magnificent Ottoman buildings, the ancient Canaanite cities, Crusader castles, and Byzantine churches. You’ll be inspired by impressive archaeological sites and unforgettable historic places. Add a few of these to your Israel bucket list.Jaffa Port. Photo credit: © ShutterstockJerusalem Old City- This is without a doubt the highlight of any Israel bucket list. Within the walled city are unforgettable sacred sites one can enjoy with or without a guided tour. The Old City is the number one must-see attraction in Israel.Western Wall- A visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem is an unforgettable experience and a must-do for everyJerusalem tour. This remarkable ancient wall is the most sacred Jewish site in the world.Western Wall Tunnels- The Western Wall continues beneath the Old City of Jerusalem. Join atourand discover the hidden section of this 2,000-year-old wall.City of David- On the City of David Jerusalem Tour you’ll explore the excavated city built by King David and see unbelievable ancient water channels.Caesarea - Here King Herod built an impressive port city with a hippodrome, palaces, temples, and an amphitheater you can still see on a Ceasarea tour, that today hosts performances by major artists.Acre Old City- This remarkable Old City has an awe-inspiring underground Crusader city. Visitors say that Acre is one of the most unforgettable experiences in Israel.Tower of David - Today the ancient citadel houses the Tower of David Museum which traces the history of Jerusalem through archaeological artifacts.Discover Breathtaking Nature Reserves and National Parks in IsraelThere are over 400 nature reserves and over 80 national parks in Israel. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll be enchanted by the diverse landscapes, from lush green farmlands and forests in the north to barren deserts in the south. Follow the many hike trails through spectacular scenery and tour unique natural wonders.Masada.Photo credit: © ShutterstockMasada- You can explore the dramatic 2,000-year-old fortress built on Masada’s plateau summit on one of the guided Masada tours. The view from the summit across the Dead Sea is spectacular.Ein Gedi - Nestled among the cliffs of the Judean Desert is the Ein Gedi oasis. Here there are picturesque waterfalls and natural springs flow through thick vegetation.Beit Guvrin - This remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site holds hidden caves, ancient Roman quarries, burial tombs, and the remains of the Biblical city of Maresha.Tel Megiddo- The archaeological mound of Megiddo is the traditional site of Armageddon. Don’t miss the chance to explore this incredible archaeological site.Mamshit- At Mamshit National Park you can see the remains of an awe-inspiring Nabatean city that used to be a stop along the ancient Incense Route.Timna Park - Discover the wonders of Timna Park in southern Arava. The park has archaeological remains and rock formations that have to be seen to be believed.Banias- This nature reserve in northern Israel has jaw-dropping scenery. The heavenly surroundings include Israel’s largest waterfall, streams, and woodlands one can see on Galilee and Golan Heights tour.Ready for the Best Beach Resort in the Middle East?Israel tourist attractions are not all to do with culture, archaeology, and the Bible. It is also a paradise for beach-goers that want to bask in the sun. Check out the excellent beaches along Israel’s Mediterranean coast, at the Sea of Galilee, in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, and at the Dead Sea.The Dead Sea resort. Photo credit: © ShutterstockTel Aviv Beaches stretch for 14 kms along Israel’s Mediterranean coast. A wide promenade runs parallel to the sand, and there are plenty of beachfront amenities. Alma Beach is where you can hang out with hipsters.Gordon Beach has volleyball courts and a saltwater swimming pool. Frishman Beach is a favorite with families. Bograshov Beach is often crowded with people enjoying beach activities and Hilton Beach is popular with the LGBT community.Dead Sea Beaches are a completely unique experience; there is nothing like it in the world. The Dead Sea Relaxationtour gives you time on one of the Dead Sea’s best beaches. The Dead Sea should be on every tourist’s Israel bucket list. Kalia Beach has facilities and a beach bar. Biankini Beach is famed for its traditional Moroccan restaurant. Neve Midbar Beach is a quiet beach frequented by a young crowd. Ein Gedi Public Beach has a campground and Ein Bokek Beach stretches out in front of the top Dead Sea hotels.Eilat Beaches are definitely the place to go for fun in the sun. Eilat offers water sports, top resort hotels, and an incredible waterfront. Bar Beach is popular for snorkeling and diving. Nine Beach is a trendy beach with a lounge bar and music. Kishuski Beach is best if you want to do water sports. Dekel Beach is great for the whole family. Mosh Beach is the “in” place for tourists yearning for the beaches of Goa. Dolphin Reef Beach is a full-service beach with a restaurant on the sand, and an enclosure where you can see dolphins coming and going from the open sea. You can even swim with the dolphins.The Land of Milk and Honey plus Falafel, Hummus and WineNo one will blame you for putting on a few pounds when you visit Israel. The country’s local cuisine is a melting pot of flavors. Indulge in mouthwatering street food, and splurge on fine dining in Israel’s top chef restaurants. Discover the delights of Israeli cuisine on a Carmel Market Food Touror visit Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market. Israel’s food scene includes kosher and non-kosher eateries.Satisfy your taste-buds with must-try Israeli foods like:A plate of hummus, a traditional Middle Eastern spreadSabich - “Sabich” is a traditional Iraqi Jewish pita sandwich stuffed with fried aubergine (eggplant), hard-boiled egg, potato, herbs, spices, salad, and tahini or hummus.Malabi - a dreamy, creamy milk-based pudding with roots in Persia. The basic ingredients are rice, sugar, rice flour, and milk.Knafeh - a classic dessert from the Arab kitchen. Sweet pastry is soaked in syrup, layered with cheese, and flavored with rose water.A legend tells that the dish was prescribed by doctors, to satisfy the hunger of caliphs during Ramadan.Hummus - a popular Israeli street food made from chickpeas. Try the best Tel Aviv hummus on an Israel Street Food Tour.Falafel - a classic Israeli street food of deep-fried chickpea balls. It is just one of the many vegan foods in Israel. Israel has even been called the most vegan-friendly country in the world.Wineries - Israel has hundreds of wineries ranging from large enterprises to small boutique family companies. Spoil yourself with a wine tour or include wine tasting in a private Golan Heights Tour. Some top Israeli wineries include the Golan Heights Winery, the Tishbi Winery in the quaint town of Zichron Yaakov, and the Carmel Winery founded in 1882.Israel's Top Museum’s and Cultural VenuesIsrael’s multi-cultural society means diverse theater, music, and dance. There are many museums packed with treasures that include works by world-famous artists and celebrated local talents. Learn about the country’s history and culture and see exhibits from foreign cultures in Israel’s diverse museums.Israel Museum. Jerusalem.Photo credit: © ShutterstockDance - See performances by the world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company at the Suzanne Dellal Center and attend the Israel Ballet. Mayumana combines dance, music, and acrobatics.Art Museums - The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is the country’s largest art museum, with an impressive collection. The Jerusalem Israel Museum is Israel’s most important museum.Cultural Museums - Yad Vashem is the country’s Holocaust museum and memorial in Jerusalem. You can visit this museum on a Jerusalem Old and New Tour. The Haifa Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art promotes Japanese culture.Performance- Habima Theater is the country’s national theatre. Gesher Theater was founded by Russian immigrants. The Cameri Theater is housed in the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center.Music- Classical concerts can be seen at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium and the Felicja Blumenthal Center. The Israeli Chamber Orchestra performs at the Enav Cultural Center.Add Some Exciting Experiences to Your Israel Bucket ListMake the most of your trip to Israel with some unique activities, unusual attractions and, outdoor sports. To help you find some of these special travel experiences join a tour like the Tel Aviv Bike Tour, the Nachalat Binyamin Graffiti and Street Art Tour, or the Jaffa Flea Market Tour.Bahai Gardens in Haifa. Photo credit: © ShutterstockHere are some fun attractions and activities available in Israel:The Baha’i Gardens are breathtaking landscaped gardens that roll down the slope of Mount Carmel in Haifa. The colorful gardens are home to the Shrine of the Bab.Rosh HaNikra cave system is close to the Lebanese border. The stunning white limestone sea caves can be reached by cable car.Mitzpe Ramon is a settlement in the Negev Desert, near the massive Ramon Crater. Mitzpe Ramon is a popular place for stargazing, thanks to the clear desert skies.Shvil Israel is the National Trail that crosses the entire country from north to south. Hiking enthusiasts will love this picturesque trail that passes through a variety of landscapes.What’s on Your Israel Bucket List?Get your Israel bucket list ready and start planning your trip to the Holy Land. Whether you’re passionate about history, a nature lover, looking for a trendy urban experience, or if you just want some fun in the sun, Israel has something for everyone. Israel tourist attractions will tick all the boxes for the perfect getaway. Go ahead, treat yourself to an adventure in Israel.
By Petal Mashraki

Top 10 Activities for Kids in Israel

Israel has amazing weather and incredible natural beauty which means that there are plenty of outdoor activities and exciting ways to keep kids entertained. Kids will love the top attractions in Israel like the Old City of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea but there are attractions which will give kids a chance to run around and have some hands-on fun!1. Kayaking and River Rafting in IsraelThere are two main locations in Israel for river rafting and kayaking, one is from Kibbutz Kfar Blum and the other from Kibbutz HaGoshrim; both are on the River Jordan and Hatzbani River. The rafting and kayak sites are set in lush green countryside and they offer all the equipment and variations of rafting and kayaking for the whole family. Anyone over five years old can take part and there are routes with instructors and routes that you can navigate by yourselves. There are raft boats for up to 6 people and kayaks for 1 or 2 people. The routes take 1-2 hours. Both sites have toilets, showers, snack bars and attractions for kids.2. Mey KedemGo for a daring adventure walking though an ancient water tunnel which extends 280 meters. 2000 years ago King Herod devised this engineering wonder to bring fresh water from Tzabirin Spring to the Roman city in Caesarea. The complete water system stretches for 6km but visitors can walk through 280 meters of the tunnel with water up to their knees. The adventure starts in Alona Park near Binyamina and visitors can see a short introductory film as well as get a tour of the water tunnel. It takes about an hour and you should bring a flashlight.3. Ein Gedi Nature ReserveJust west of the Dead Sea, off route 90, is this oasis in the desert, it boasts two streams which flow year round and lush vegetation surrounding this rare water source in the driest area of the country. The water and vegetation attracts animals and visitors can see ibex and cute hyrax (dassies) among the reeds, ferns and rock cliffs. There are a number of walking trails through the reserve including one alongside the Ein Gedi Stream and the David Stream. You’ll see waterfalls, gorgeous natural pools and the surrounding flora and fauna. Kids can take a dip in some of the streams and pools and will enjoy seeing the many animals.4. EilatThe whole city of Eilat is a wonderland for kids, from the ice skating rink in the middle of a mall to the diving with dolphins and gorgeous beaches. Take a few days to explore this ultimate resort city. Kids can go on camel rides in the desert, swim with dolphins or spend the day doing fun water sports like water skiing, motor boating and jet skiing.5. Old City Jerusalem RampartsKids will love walking along the ramparts high above the Old City walls. From here you’ll have brilliant views and a chance to teach kids a bit of history as they pretend they are defending the city. You’ll be able to circle the city and look down into some areas where tourists rarely go like the Armenian compound. The walls were constructed under Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century and have played an important role in the city’s history ever since. It isn’t possible to completely circumvent the Old City as there is a break at the Jaffa Gate and the Temple Mount section is closed. However you can start climbing the ramparts at the Jaffa Gate and continue on to the Zion Gate and Dung Gate. Alternatively access the ramparts from the Damascus Gate and walk on to the Lions’ Gate.6. Israeli Water ParksThere are several great water parks in Israel including Yamit 2000 in Holon; Shefayim near Natanyia; Sahek Ota in Emek Hefer (the only water park which operates year round) and Maimeidon in Tel Aviv. In addition there are several smaller water parks. Most of the parks open just for Jewish holidays and the summer months. As with water parks in other countries there are great water slides, open lawns, kid’s pools and wave pools.7. Amusement ParksIsrael’s most iconic amusement park is the Luna Park in Tel Aviv; it boasts many exciting rides for all ages. The Luna Park has bumper cars, carousels, a high Ferris wheel as well as thrilling roller coasters. Superland is another popular amusement park located in Rishon LeZion where there are wet and dry rides as well as three roller coasters and many exciting rides.8. Ice SkatingThere are ice skating rinks in Israel from Canada Center, Metulla in the extreme north to the Ice Mall in Eilat on the Red Sea. The professional ice skaters train in Metulla while the Eilat rink is in the middle of a shopping mall and is the largest rink in the country. You can also find an ice skating rink in the heart of Tel Aviv alongside the Luna Park. Tel Aviv’s iSkate is open to everyone over 6 years old or 3.7 meters tall. Jerusalem has a new ice rink in the Jerusalem Cinema City which is scheduled to open in 2017.9. Israeli BeachesAll along the Mediterranean coast you’ll find ideal beaches for the whole family. Whether you’re based in Tel Aviv, Hertzlyia, Natanyia or Ashkelon there are endless sandy beaches to choose from. For something a little more unusual visit the Dead Sea beaches or the Sea of Galilee beaches.10. Dig for a DayWith so much history in Israel there are constant archaeological excavations in progress. You can join in one of these digs for a three hour session that includes digging, sifting and analysis of the findings. This all takes place at the National Park of Beit Guvrin where you can crawl through the unexcavated cave system. The Dig for a Day program is for adults and kids aged 5 to 14 years. While here you can explore the amazing natural caves in the national park.
By Petal Mashraki

Top 9 Attractions and Activities in the Negev Desert

The magical Negev Desert in southern Israel takes up about 60% of Israel but is sparsely inhabited due to the harsh desert climate. When the State of Israel was established one of the goals set was to make the desert bloom and in many places that has been achieved.Mamshit Archeological Site, Israel. Photo credit: © Manu Grinspan. Published with permission of the Israel Nature and Parks AuthorityThe Negev also has a history dating back to the ancient trade routes and it is home to unique flora and fauna. The Negev is unlike any other area in Israel and shouldn’t be missed. The Negev Desert flows into the Judean Desert where you can also visit Masada, the Dead Sea and the Yotvata Bar Hai Nature Reserve, and Timna National Park in the Arava Desert.1. Jeep excursionsOn a Negev jeep tour, you can go deep into the desert, far off-road to places most people don’t get a chance to see. A guide will explain to you about the local fauna and flora and you will be able to race across the dunes, drive through dry desert valleys and stop to boil up a pot of coffee in the wilderness. There are “wet” jeep tours that take you to desert springs; jeep tours where you can learn about following animal tracks; night jeep tours; survival jeep tours; tours that take you to Nabataean ancient sites and jeep tours that visit Bedouin villages. Tours leave from several points in the Negev including Mitzpe Ramon and Kibbutz Sde Boker.2. Camel Riding ExcursionsIf you want to take things at a slower pace and retrace the steps of ancient camel caravans then take a camel riding excursion into the desert. The “ship of the desert” is a great way to enjoy the scenery, learn about the unique desert environment and gain an understanding of what it was like to travel across the Negev hundreds of years ago. There are a number of places where you can join a camel tour including Mamshit Camel Farm, Kfar Hanokdim, and the Negev Camel Ranch. There is no prior experience needed and camel riding tours are suitable for all ages. There are tours lasting 1-4 hours.Safari Jeep Tour.Photo credit: © Shutterstock3. Ramon CraterThe Ramon Crater or Makhtesh Ramon is a huge naturally formed crater 38km long, 450 meters deep, and 6km wide. It is best reached via the town of Mitzpe Ramon where there is a Visitors Center overlooking the crater. From here you can take hiking tours, jeep tours into the crater, and abseiling excursions where you get to climb down the side of the steep crater.4. Alpaca FarmThere is a welcoming alpaca farm in the heart of the Negev where you can learn about the creatures, pet them, feed them and even stay the night. You can also meet other animals which live on the farm like angora sheep, llamas, donkeys, horses, and camels. There are walking trails on the Alpaca Farm which meander through the untouched desert landscape. Kids can have a ride on the alpacas and you can learn about the alpaca wool production process.5. Negev Wine TastingThe ancient Nabataean civilization cultivated vineyards in the Negev thousands of years ago using a sophisticated irrigation system. The first modern-day winery in the Negev was planted by Carmel Winery in the Ramat Arad area in 1988, then other wineries and vineyards have sprouted up across the otherwise barren landscape. There are now several wineries so that it is possible to follow a Negev wine tasting route along Route #40. Wineries that welcome visitors include the Yatir Winery, Midbar Winery, Sde Boker Winery, Neot Smadar Winery, Carmel Avdat Winery, Rota Winery (where there is also a fruit farm where you can do your own fruit picking in the summer), and Kadesh Barnea Winery.Alpaca farm in the Negev Desert. Photo credit: © Shutterstock5. Sand SurfingThis unique desert experience takes you out to the Negev sand dunes in a 4X4 jeep. Once there you get to slide down the soft dunes on specially designed boards that resemble snowboards but without the footholds. The activity is suitable for those over 2 years old and you don’t need any prior experience. Sand surfing is usually combined with a jeep tour, a historical site, or a desert village for lunch.6. Kibbutz Sde BokerThis kibbutz is famed as the former home of David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel who moved here in 1953. Today Ben Gurion’s former home has been turned into a museum where the original furniture, mementos, and personal items of Ben Gurion and his wife have been preserved. Ben Gurion had a passion for Negev and the small community. He lived here until his death and over the years he welcomed many dignitaries and world leaders. While at Sde Boker you can visit the Sde Boker Winery and the Sde Boker Field School.The archeological site of Avdat, Negev Desert, Israel.Photo credit: © Shutterstock7. AvdatThis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it was one of the most important Nabataean, Roman and Byzantine sites settled in the 3rd century BC along the Incense Route. Here you can see the ancient remains of a Nabataean tomb, a Roman-era residential area, and the remains of a Byzantine fortress, Byzantine bathhouse, wine press, cistern, and ancient Sacred Precinct. There are also two 4th century churches nearby. Perhaps the most important ancient remains are of the Nabataean Temple of Oboda.8. HikingThere are many marked hike trails through the Negev for those of all levels of ability. The trails are color-coded to keep hikers on track. Many of the trails take you to the oasis where there are deep canyons, waterfalls, and hidden natural spring pools. Some of the most popular routes are the Mamshit Loop, passed the Nabataean city; Mt. Ardon, with a challenging climb; Zin to Ramon, a six-day trek passed mountains and springs; Wadi Shua, with hidden gems; Wadi Mamshit; Ramon’s Tooth passed beautiful rock formations and the Hemet Cistern Loop with great views of the Ramon Crater.9. Bedouin HospitalityThe Bedouin people still live in the deserts of Israel with several communities in the Negev. They have a unique and fascinating culture and there are several places in the Negev where you can be a guest in a Bedouin tent and experience their traditional hospitality. Bedouin hospitality includes traditional food, musical performances, tea, coffee, camel rides and even sleeping over in the Bedouin tent under the desert sky.Сamel riding with Bedouins in the Negev Desert.Photo by Greta Schölderle Møller on Unsplash
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How to Spend a Leisure Day in Tel Aviv

Many Israel package tours include some free time in Tel Aviv, a magical city with a unique blend of attractions both historic and ultra-modern. You’ll have no problem finding things to do if you have a day at leisure in Tel Aviv.Explore Tel Aviv NeighborhoodsTel Aviv has some diverse neighborhoods each with their own unique character. Among the most interesting Tel Aviv neighborhoods there is Florentin, a hipster hangout with a bo-ho feel in Southern Tel Aviv. The former commercial area has transformed into a trendy destination with quirky bars and ethnic restaurants. The place has a shabby-chic feel with many independent small stores selling everything from art and tie-dye clothing to designer sweets and hand-made jewelry. This is the neighborhood where you can sit for hours in a café people-watching. Another top Tel Aviv neighborhood is Neve Tzedek, originally the first Jewish neighborhood built outside of Jaffa. Today the small homes, courtyards and narrow lanes have been restored and converted into boutique stores, art galleries, chic cafes, eateries and one-off stores. The neighborhood has a small village feel and most buildings are dripping with gorgeous bougainvillea or flower boxes.Visit Old Jaffa and Jaffa PortJaffa is now a part of the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa; it is the oldest part of the city at the southern end of Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade. The ancient city of Jaffa is built on a cliff overlooking the Old Port of Jaffa and the sea beyond. Jaffa is associated with the Biblical characters of Jonah and St. Peter. As you enter Jaffa the first sight that meets you is the Jaffa Clock Tower that dates back to the early 20th-century Ottoman era. On the inland side of the main road, you’ll find a labyrinth of market lanes and trendy restaurants and bars. On the right-hand side is the Old Port. Narrow lanes, each named after the signs of the zodiac lead down to the water. The lanes of Old Jaffa are lined with art galleries, small stores, and eateries. You can visit the Jaffa Museum to learn more about the city’s history.Tel Aviv MuseumsYou could spend several days visiting the wonderful museums of Tel Aviv. If you are an art-lover then your best choice would be the Tel Aviv Museum of Art where contemporary and modern art is displayed in a spectacular venue that includes a unique modern building, the main building and the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion. Here you can see works by some of the greatest artists of all time including Chagall, Reuven Rubin, Klimt, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Miro, Roy Lichtenstein and work by Israeli artists such as Nahum Gutman. Other Tel Aviv museums worth checking out include the Eretz Israel Museum focused on Israel’s heritage, land and culture and the Museum of Jewish People focused on Jewish communities around the world and their traditions.Tel Aviv Free AttractionsYou won’t have to spend much money on your free day in Tel Aviv; just wandering the streets can be enough to keep you busy for hours. On a walk, through Tel Aviv you can enjoy the Bauhaus architecture which has earned Tel Aviv UNESCO statue as the “White City.” You can easily walk to the best Tel Aviv beaches which are located minutes from the city center. The wide sandy beaches line the beachfront promenade the length of Tel Aviv. Another great way to spend your time is at the Tel Aviv Port. This former port has been gentrified and converted to a wonderful outdoor attraction for the whole family. The many markets in the city include Carmen Market and the markets of Jaffa where you could wend away hours taking in the sights and sounds. Take a walk through any of Tel Aviv’s neighborhoods to see Tel Aviv street art by local and international artists. Many of the street artists in Tel Aviv use their art to bring attention to social issues or the human condition.
By Petal Mashraki

Israel Group Tours – Everything You Need to Know

Seeing Israel with a group tour is an excellent option for travelers who want to see as much as possible. With Israel day tours you don’t have to worry about logistics, transportation or reading up about the places you visit. The tour company takes care of the details for you! All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the trip. Whether you take a group tour in Israel or not depends on how long your trip is, your preferred style of travel and the places you want to see.Masada and the Dead Sea tour. Photo creditֶ: Dmitry MishinWhat are Group Tours?A group tour is organized by a tour company; tourists from around the world book the tour and are told the time and place to meet for the tour. On the tour day, tourists meet at centrally located pick-up points in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Herzliya, or Netanya and are picked up by the tour company bus. The tour buses are air-conditioned, modern, and comfortable. Throughout the tour, the group is accompanied by a tour guide. The size of the group can vary but is usually between 16 and 30 people. The tour guide gives you a bit of background information about the places you are going to see and chats with the group on route to the attractions scheduled for that day. At each attraction, the guide shares his knowledge about the things you see. On most tours, you will also get some free time and a break for lunch in a local eatery. At the end of the tour, the tour bus returns you to the pick-up point.Jerusalem Old and New Tour. Photo credit: Dmitry MishinWhat are the Differences Between a Group Day Tour and a Group Package Tour?A group day tour in Israel (as described above) lasts for one day. You join other travelers for the day and together with a tour guide, bus, and bus driver get to visit specific attractions. Group day tours are great for travelers who want a bit of both – guided tours in the Holy Land and days when they can discover Israel independently. Israel group tours include transportation, guide service, pick-up, and drop-off at a central location. Group day tours are perfect for those destinations that are hard to reach by yourself or when you will benefit from the knowledge and guidance of a professional.Agroup package tour in Israel is like a series of day tours strung together. The major difference is that the price of a package tour includes accommodation. Some package tours include some meals, activities (like jeep safari in the Judean Desert), and airport pick-up or drop-off. Group package tours are perfect for those who don’t want to worry about any of the details of their trip from beginning to end. Group package tours in Israel are a good option for groups of travelers visiting Israel together – church groups, bar mitzvah groups, etc. If you are traveling alone you can join other travelers on a group package tour. There are also shorter package tours which last 2-6 days and can be part of a longer vacation.Jerusalem Old City Tour. Photo credit: Dmitry MishinWhat are the Advantages of a Group Tour?On an Israel group tour, you don’t need to worry about logistics. No need to tackle bus timetables or car rental contracts; no need to stand in line to pay entrance fees or to negotiate with taxi drivers. You won’t have to navigate the roads or Israeli drivers! On a group tour in Israel, you won’t have to choose what the top attractions are, as the tour company has done that for you. The tour will take you to the highlights of each destination so you won’t waste your time getting lost or seeing less interesting sites. The tour transportation is air-conditioned and comfortable and your tour bus driver will take care of parking.Often we look at landmarks and don’t really understand their significance. However, on a group tour, your guide will give you the background and history of each place. On group tours, you are traveling with other tourists from around the world for the day and can often make new friends. Group tours can get you to places that may be difficult to reach independently. For example, you may be nervous about crossing into Palestine to visit Bethlehem by yourself but with a group tour, you will feel more secure. Group tours are time efficient, getting you to multiple attractions in one day thanks to good planning by professionals who know the country.Nazareth and Sea of Galilee tour. Photo credit: Dmitry MishinWhat Can You See on Israel Group Tours?Israel group tours cover the whole country from north to south. There aretours to Masada and theDead Sea tours; trips to Bethlehem and Jericho; tours toJerusalem, visits to Caesarea, Acre, and Rosh HaNikra; as well as to the Galilee and Golan Heights. In addition, there are many smaller locations you get to see along the way that you would probably miss if traveling alone. You can even take a one-day group tour from central Israel to Petra in Jordan. Some of the group tours are geared towards specific interest groups. For example, there are Christian group tours and Jewish Heritage group tours in Israel. Longer group package tours combine several day tours so that you see all of these amazing destinations including Jordan.Golan Heights and Safed Tour. Photo credit: Dmitry Mishin
By Petal Mashraki

Couples Vacation in Israel

Israel is a fantastic destination for a couples get-away, there is gorgeous countryside, exotic deserts, crystal clear sea, sandy beaches, romantic restaurants and many unique places to stay. Avoid the large hotels during the Israeli school holidays when Israeli families take over with screaming kids in tow. Stick to the smaller, intimate boutique hotels, B&BS and rural hideaways or the exclusive city hotels. Here are a selection of top romantic things to see, do and experience as a couple in Israel.Young couple on a beach. Photo by Toa Heftiba on UnsplashTop 10 Romantic Things to do in Israel. Where to Eat and Where to StayIsrael has so many small and intimate mamma and papa establishments that you are bound to discover your own favorite romantic restaurant. However, a few of the most famously romantic Israeli eateries include Cavalier, a French restaurant in Jerusalem; Zuni with its balcony seating in Jerusalem; Adora in Tel Aviv and Shiri Bistro in the quaint town of Rosh Pina. Aladin is a restaurant perched on the cliff of Old Jaffa with views of the sea and coastline all the way back to Tel Aviv. If you want to indulge yourselves then try Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar is Herzliya. You will feel like you are walking into Charlie’s Chocolate Factory!A happy couple traveling. Photo byCarly Rae HobbinsonUnsplashTo find a secluded and intimate “zimmer” try searching on zimmeril.com where they list many romantic B&Bs where the room is a separate suite in the garden or surrounded by beautiful foliage. These zimmers are geared towards couples looking for some quality time along. They often have candles, a jacuzzi, soft lighting, chocolates, and wine to make the occasion even more romantic. Other renowned romantic hotels include the prestigious King David Hotel in Jerusalem overlooking the Old City; the French chateau-style romantic suites of Bayit Bagalil in the Upper Galilee and the Herods Hotel in Eilat.Romantic sunset with cocktails. Photo by Kaur Martin on Unsplash1. Spa Experience in IsraelIsrael-SPA-stone-massageIsraeli’s love spas! You will find a spa in every reputable hotel as well as spa treatments offered in the smallest of B&B. In every mall and on every high street there are day spas offering couple’s treatments which usually include an aromatic bath together, snacks and massages. Carmel Forest Spa Resort is the crème de la crème of Israeli spa experiences. Nestled in the greenery of Mount Carmel overlooking Haifa they offer indoor and outdoor pools and a myriad of pampering spa treatments. Israel also has a few hot spring resorts including Ramat Gader’s SpaVillage Hotel in the Golan Heights.Spa & Wellness Center.Photo byRaphael LovaskionUnsplash2. Wine Tasting in IsraelIsrael has over 80 wineries, some on the doorstep of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Some of the wineries welcome guests without a prearranged appointment and others require a booking. The wineries offer tours and wine tastings. There are 5 main wine-making regions in this small country – Galilee-Golan, Shomron, Samson, Judean Hills, and the Negev. Among the wineries which welcome visitors, there is the Neot Semadar Winery, Dishon River Winery, and the Agada Cheers Winery.3. Banias – The Garden of EdenIf you are the outdoor type take a trip to the Golan Heights and the Banias a natural spring surrounded by lush vegetation. This is said to have been the Garden of Eden. The Hermon Stream is within Banias National Reserve and there are marked routes for you to follow through the forests, over Roman bridges, passed Crusader ruins and ultimately you will reach the romantic Banias waterfall.Banias Nature Reserve, Israel. Photo credit: © Oksana Mats4. Desert Experience in IsraelIf you’re up for an adventure why not stay in a Bedouin tent overnight and enjoy true Bedouin hospitality in the desert. Kfar Hanokdim is one of the places where you can have a Bedouin desert experience which includes camel rides, meals, and overnight accommodation. If you are less keen on the overnight stay then you can always just go for an early morning or late night camel ride across the desert. Mitzpe Ramon is a romantic place to start your desert adventure. This elevated ridge overlooks the Ramon Crater, a magnificent sight that will take your breath away. You could stop just for the view or stay at one of the romantic hotels at Mitzpe Ramon.Camel Riding in the Negev, Israel.Photo byJames BallardonUnsplash5. Endless BeachesIsrael’s long Mediterranean Sea coast offers wide sandy beaches, some of which have lifeguards on duty and others which are more secluded. A few favorite beaches for lovers include Beit Yannai, Aqueduct Beach in Caesarea,and Dor Habonim beach. Take your loved one down to the beach to watch the sunset.6. Renew your VowsJerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Muslims, and Christians and it is home to so many exquisite churches. Why not find your favorite church and renew your vows.7. Shopping in JaffaThis one might be more for the women than the men but it can make a romantic outing. Jaffa is the site of an outdoor antique and junk market - Jaffa Flea Market. It is perfect for bargain hunters or newlyweds looking for unusual items for their new home. If you like shopping then you are not alone as Israeli’s love shopping. You will find many malls, stores, and markets across the country.Jaffa Flea Market. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin8. Eilat DivingEilat in general is a wonderful destination for couples; it has the beautiful translucent water of the Red Sea, luxury hotels, water sports, beaches, TAX-free shopping, attractions, spas, and even a mall with an ice rink in the middle. For something really special go on a diving excursion and explore the coral reefs together.9. Wohl Rose Garden JerusalemTake a romantic walk through this fragrant rose garden where there are more than 15,000 rose bushes and 400 varieties of roses. There are benches along the path where you can sit undisturbed and have a few romantic moments.10. Hot Air BallooningTake an early morning hot-air balloon ride from Kibbutz Ruhama over northern Negev. The company organizing the experience can provide breakfast or spirits for your romantic trip above the Holy Land. Hot air ballooning is a wonderful way to make your partner's birthday memorable. The flight will be nothing short of epic: you will see the sunrise, spot some wildlife, admire Israel from a unique perspective, enjoy mesmerizing sceneries, and drink champaign.To book a customized tour in Israel feel free to check our Private Tours.Hot air ballooning. Photo byFrancesco UngaroonUnsplash
By Petal Mashraki

The Best Dead Sea Beaches

One of the must-see destinations in Israel is the Dead Sea, mainly because it is completely unique and the lowest point on Earth. The Dead Sea is an elongated strip of water with the northernmost of two basins measuring 50km long and 15kn wide. The sea divides Israel on the western shore from Jordan to the east. The low altitude of the Dead Sea makes the environment unique. The water is 9.6 times saltier than the ocean and the air at this altitude is rich in oxygen. Dead Sea Shore.Photo credit: © ShutterstockEven the sun is healthier at the Dead Sea as the sun rays are low in dangerous UV rays. All of these factors together with the mineral-rich black mud of the sea bed that can be used as a natural skin mask make the Dead Sea a popular destination. Along the western shore of the Dead Sea are several hotels, spas, and beaches offering a range of facilities. Here is a list of the best Dead Sea beaches to help you choose where to experience this spectacular natural wonder.Northern Dead Sea BeachesThe northern beaches are easiest to reach from Jerusalem being only half an hour south of the capital. Most of the northern beaches are private, which means you will have to pay an entrance fee (50-100 ILS) and can enjoy many beachfront amenities. Kalia Beach, Dead SeaThis is one of the best beaches for those looking for a complete range of facilities. You'll be able to use the toilets, lockers, showers, beach chairs, and umbrellas. There is a snack bar, Bedouin tent restaurant, a bar, parking, lifeguard, BBQ area, souvenir store, and even sulfur baths. All amenities are included in your entrance fee and you can camp here for an additional fee. On the beach, you'll be provided with Dead Sea mud to smother on your skin. This is a calm, quiet beach away from the large hotels in Ein Bokek. If you take one of the Dead Sea tours you could possibly spend time on Kalia Beach or a similar excellent Dead Sea beach.Open: Summer 8 am – 7 pm. Winter 8 am – 5:30 pm.Fee or Free: Entrance fee (16,5 USD)Kalia Beach, the Dead Sea. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinBiankini Beach, Dead SeaBiankini is the Dead Sea beach with the most facilities, a laid-back daytime atmosphere, and a vibrant nighttime bar. The private beach amenities are provided by the Biankini Resort Village. There is a beachfront restaurant selling oriental food. Visitors can enjoy Middle Eastern music as they lounge on the sand and use amenities such as the spa, swimming pools, kid's club, and stores. There are top-quality beach cabins and bungalows at the Biankini Resort Village, beach chairs, umbrellas, a snack bar, billiard tables, minimarket, lifeguard service, and free parking. When the sun goes down the restaurant turns into a nightclub but continues its Middle Eastern theme with live performances, karaoke, and sometimes even belly dancing!Open: 8 am – 6 pm. Fee or Free: Entrance fee (25 USD).Biankini Village Resort, Dead Sea. Photo credit:©Biankini Village ResortNeve Midbar Beach, Dead SeaThis is a wide, sandy beach with lawns bordering the sand, camping areas, bungalow rental, a swimming pool, restaurant, and parking area. You can find the natural black Dead Sea mud on the shoreline. Enjoy a drink or meal on the restaurant terrace overlooking the sea and sometimes you can even catch a live performance or festival on Neve Midbar. There is a lifeguard on duty; a Dead Sea products store, toilets, showers, beach chairs, and sunshades. This is a great choice for families, groups, and singles. However, there is a steep walk down to the water's edge and there have been reviews saying the beach is not kept clean.Open: 9 am – 6:30 pm. Fee or Free: Entrance fee (15,5 USD)Neve Midbar Beach.Photo credit: ©Neve Midbar BeachDead Sea Beaches in the Ein Gedi AreaEin Gedi Spa Resort Beach, Dead SeaIf you've come looking for a beach near the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve or Ein Gedi Kibbutz you will have found that Mineral Beach and the old Ein Gedi beach are closed due to the danger of sinkholes. However, Ein Gedi Spa Resort Beach is open. Here you can enjoy spa treatments using Dead Sea products. Amenities on the beach include lifeguard service, toilets, showers, beach chairs, and sunshades. There is a shuttle from the spa complex to the beach. You can use the natural Dead Sea mud as a skin mask and soak up all the beneficial salts and minerals. There is a large outdoor pool overlooking the Dead Sea and the spa has six thermos-mineral sulfur pools. Take a look around the spa's health and beauty store and enjoy a meal in the spa restaurant, ice cream store, or snack bar.Open: 8:30 am – 5 pm. Fee or Free:Entrance fee (24 USD)Mineral Beach, Dead SeaCLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICEEin Gedi Beach, Dead SeaCLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICEEin Gedi Spa Resort Beach, Dead Sea. Photo credit: ©Ein Gedi Spa Resort BeachDead Sea Beaches in the Ein Bokek AreaThe southern beaches of the Dead Sea are free although there are a few private beaches where only guests at the adjacent spa resorts can use the beach. Ein Bokek is about a 2-hour drive from Jerusalem but offers beachfront hotels, amenities, and a wide, sandy beach.Segregated Beach, Dead SeaThis public beach is used by the religious community and is divided into a men's bathing area and a woman's bathing area. The beach has a lifeguard on duty and there are beach amenities including open-air fresh-water showers, toilets, and water fountains. This free Dead Sea beach is well maintained and can be visited during the week but not from sundown on Fridays to sundown on Sunday morning.Open: Monday-Friday, 7 am – 4/6 pm, closed Saturday. Fee or Free: FreeTravelers enjoying the Dead Sea on their guided tour. Photo credit: © ShutterstockEin Bokek Beach, Dead SeaEin Bokek is the area where most of the Dead Sea hotels are concentrated. A rather new beach promenade runs along the shore in front of the hotels connecting Ein Bokek's two beaches. Ein Bokek beaches are free and most hotels have access straight to the sand. This year-round stretch of beach is great for the young and old. The Ein Bokek South Beach and Central Beach both have amenities that include lifeguard services; beach chairs; sunshades; water fountains; BBQ areas; outdoor fresh-water showers and nearby snack bars. Camping is prohibited on the Ein Bokek beach except during the holidays when there are designated areas for overnight stays.Open: 24/7 with services 7 am – 5 pm. Fee or Free: FreeNeve Zohar Beach, Dead SeaThis is the southernmost stretch of Dead Sea beach located about 3km south of Ein Bokek in Neve Zohar. The beach is free although there are some facilities you can pay for like reclining beach chairs. Also available here are toilets, changing rooms, outdoor fresh-water showers, and a snack bar. During holidays and the summer season, there is a lifeguard on duty. Open: 24/7 with services available 7 am – 5 pm. Fee or Free: FreeTo view the list of beaches in Israel feel free to check this article.Ein Bokek Beach. Photo by Tristan MIMET on Unsplash
By Petal Mashraki

Top 15 Free Things to Do in Tel Aviv

Even if you are in Tel Aviv on a tight budget you can still see the sites and have a great time. Here’s a rundown of the top 15 free things to do in the beautiful city of Tel Aviv.View of Tel Aviv beachfront from Jaffa.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin1. Tel Aviv BeachesTel Aviv has some magnificent beaches which run continuously from Tzuk Beach in the north to Alma Beach in the south. Each beach has its own character like the Separated Beach which has separate hours for male and female bathers; Atzmaut Beach which is popular with the gay community and Drummers Beach or Dolphinarium Beach where musicians jam each Friday at sundown. Beach season in Tel Aviv is April to October when lifeguards are on duty.2. Tel Aviv MarketsAmong Tel Aviv’s top markets there is the Carmel Market a lively outdoor market where fresh produce and other goods are sold. This market is colorful and exciting, not only that but it is in the heart of the city just off Allenby Street. Adjacent to Carmel Market is Nahalat Binyanim Street Market. This pedestrian walkway hosts an arts and crafts market on Tuesdays and Fridays.There are often street performers at the market. Nahalat Binyamin is lined with great coffee shops where you can sit and enjoy the atmosphere. Levinsky Market is the least gentrified of the three markets. Here you’ll find streets veering off of Levinsky Street from the corner of HaAliya Street to HaMashbir Street. The streets are crowded with small hole-in-the-wall stalls selling fresh produce and everything including the kitchen sink.Orange juice seller, Carmel Market, Tel Aviv.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin3. Free Walking ToursTel Aviv municipality offers free walking tours in English on Saturdays at 11 am which meet at 46 Rothschild Boulevard. The tours take a look at the amazing Bauhaus architecture of the White City and introduce participants to a little of the history of Tel Aviv. There is also a tour of Old Jaffa which takes you through the Jaffa flea market and the Old City examining some of Jaffa’s archeological sites and ending up in the Hapisga Garden. This tour meets on Wednesdays at 9:30 am at the Jaffa clock tower. You can also pick up a free map of self-guided walking tours from City Hall. On Mondays at 11 am there is a free tour of Tel Aviv University which gives an introduction to some of the campus’ innovative architecture and environmental sculptures. The university tour meets at the Dyonon bookstore at the campus entrance by the intersection of Haim Levanon and Einstein Streets.4. Self-Guided Tour of Neve TzedekYou don’t need a professional tour guide to explore one of Tel Aviv’s oldest and perhaps most picturesque neighborhoods – Neve Tzedek. This neighborhood was the first Jewish neighborhood established outside of the ancient Port of Jaffa in 1887. Many of the beautiful historic buildings have been restored and now house boutique stores, quaint cafes, and restaurants giving it a small village within a city feel. The neighborhood has some notable Bauhaus and Art Nouveau buildings. A few museums like the Nachum Gutman Museum; art galleries and the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance are all in this neighborhood. At the southern end of Neve Tzedek is HaTachana, a restored historic train station that has been converted into a shopping and entertainment compound.The lighthouse path, Tel Aviv. Photo by Mor Shani on Unsplash5. Tel Aviv Port The old Tel Aviv Port has been given a make-over and has become a primary entertainment and retail hub for locals and visitors. The port has an expansive boardwalk covering 14,000m² and is lined with interesting restaurants, playgrounds, a carousel, an organic produce market, and fashion stores. When the sun goes down the port becomes the city’s hot nightlife spot. The port is often the site of special events and street performers.6. Ben Gurion HouseThis is one of the city’s smallest museums and is often overlooked by visitors. Ben Gurion House is the former residence of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion at 17 Ben Gurion Boulevard. Visitors to the museum can walk through the Ben Gurion library; see the living quarters and the study where the prime minister worked. There is a free guided tour of the house where you can learn about the house’s history and the life of Ben Gurion.7. SaronaSarona is a former German Templer colony established in 1817 in what is now one of Tel Aviv’s busiest neighborhoods near the Azrieli towers. The Templers were a German Protestant sect which aimed to realize the apocalyptic vision of the prophets in the Holy Land. They established Sarona as an agricultural settlement and at its peak, there were 41 homes, a winery, workshops, a communal hall, and barns. In 1941 the British deported the residents of Sarona who were believed to be Nazi supporters. Today this compound of buildings has been restored and turned into a shopping and entertainment complex. The former Templer homes are now house restaurants, cafes, and boutique stores. The open spaces between the houses are beautiful plazas where you can relax and enjoy people watching special events and street performers.Tel Aviv Promenade (Tayelet). Photo by Shai Pal on Unsplash8. Yarkon ParkAt the northern end of Tel Aviv is this urban oasis; an expansive green Yarkon park with the Yarkon River meandering through the lawns towards the sea. The park is home to many attractions including climbing walls, paddle boat rental, playgrounds, basketball courts, bicycle rental, and if you continue north you can even reach the safari park in Ramat Gan. So even if you are looking for free things to do in Tel Aviv you can relax on the lawns and enjoy the pleasant surroundings and river views.9. Old JaffaAt the southern end of Tel Aviv along the coast is the old port city of Jaffa which is associated with the biblical story of Jonah, Saint Peter, and mythical tales of Andromeda and Perseus. As far back as the Middle Ages, the port was a gateway to the Holy Land, and many travelers, armies, and merchants landed here including Napoleon. Today you can wander along the narrow cobbled lanes between stone buildings leading down to the water and the old port. There are many art galleries, cafes, and restaurants as well as historic sites and museums in Jaffa. Among the sites to see, there is the Libyan Synagogue, St. Peter’s Church, the Zodiac Fountain, the home of Simon the Tanner, the Mahmudiyah Mosque, the Wishing Bridge, Andromeda’s Rock, the Sea Mosque, and the Ilana Goor Museum.10. Tel Aviv RollersDon’t be surprised if you are taking a stroll through Tel Aviv on a regular Tuesday night when a huge group of people on rollerblades whiz by. Each Tuesday skaters meet at Habima Square at 10 pm and the group begins rolling through the city. They roll through the city showing off their skating skills and having fun. Everyone is welcome to join in so get your skates on!Children at Tel Aviv Old Port. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin11. Tel Aviv University Botanical GardensExplore the 34,000m² of the university botanical gardens where there are rare and endangered species of plants from around the globe. There are 3800 plant species from Israel and around the world growing in the campus botanical gardens. The gardens are arranged in ecological groups and themed gardens. Sections in the gardens include the ecological garden of Israeli plants and Mediterranean woodlands; tropical plants from the rainforests; plants utilized by humans; medicinal plants; cacti; poisonous plants; a Palm House; succulent plants and root trees in the Sarah Racine Root Laboratory. The gardens are used by university students for research in ecological and botanical studies and visitors are welcomed for free.12. Rabin SquareIn modern Tel Aviv history, this is one of the most significant sites of the city. Back in 1995, this public square that faces the Tel Aviv Municipality building was called Kings of Israel Square. The tragic events of November 4th, 1995 led to the renaming of the square in honor of Yitzhak Rabin, former Israeli political icon and Prime Minister. It was here on that fateful night during a peace rally that Rabin was assassinated while returning to his car. You can see the exact spot where the assassination took place and the memorial which now marks this location in the northeastern corner of the square. There is also a section of wall covered in graffiti which was drawn by mourners who came to pay their respects in the days following the assassination. In addition, there is a memorial sculpture commemorating the Holocaust at the south end of the square, pleasant trees, and an ecological pool in the square. Rabin Square is often used for concerts, special events, and rallies.Rokach House, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin13. The Photo HouseAt 5 Tchernichovsky Street is a store/ archive of historic photographs documenting the early days of Israel. The collection includes posters, postcards, and photographs. The store is legendary; it is still run by the Weissenstein family which established the shop in 1936. It is the city’s oldest photoshop and it is more like a museum than a store. In addition to the displayed photos which are on sale, there are regular exhibitions. The private archive of photographs has won several awards and has been exhibited across the globe. All of the photos in the archives were taken by Rudi Weissenstein and all of the prints and souvenirs featuring photographs are taken from the negatives of Weissenstein’s collection. Weissenstein photographed the first performance of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra in 1936; Weissenstein was the only official photographer to document the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel in 1948; Weissenstein’s image was featured on an Israeli banknote in 1958 and he won first prize at the International Photography Exhibition in Moscow in 1961.Tel Aviv and Jaffa aerial view. Photo by Shai Pal on Unsplash14. Tel Aviv Art GalleriesTel Aviv has many independent art galleries but there is a particular concentration of galleries along Ben Yehuda Street and Gordon Street which intersects Ben Yehuda Street. You can wander along these pleasant Tel Aviv streets popping into each of the galleries to see current local and sometimes international art. Start with Gerstein Gallery at #101 Ben Yehuda Street and work your way towards Gordon Street. Along the way you will see JOJO Gallery with unique utilitarian and decorative art; Engel Gallery; Gordon Gallery and then on Gordon Street there is the Stern Gallery and Givon Gallery. Along the way and in the adjacent side streets you will discover other fascinating galleries. If you continue on Ben Yehuda Street you will reach Frishman Street where there are even more galleries.15. Musical FountainTel Aviv has a spectacular sound and light musical fountain show to rival those in Barcelona and Las Vegas. The modern music is synchronized to dancing lights illuminating fountains squirting up into the air. This spectacle takes place at Tel Aviv Port during the summer (July and August). There are nightly performances Sunday to Thursday with the fountains at 6:30 pm, 7:15 pm, and 7:45 pm and the sound and lights joining in for performances at 8:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 9:45 pm, and 10:15 pm.If you are interested in Tel Aviv tours and attractions, feel free to check out this article.Hamsas sold at Carmel Market, Tel Aviv. Photo by Bartosz Kwitkowski on Unsplash
By Petal Mashraki

Things to Do and See Near Tel Aviv

Once you’ve arrived in Tel Aviv, it’s easy to stay put - with its sandy beaches, endless independent cafes and hipster neighborhoods, many tourists never venture outside the city. But that’s a pity because there’s plenty to do just a short distance away from the White City. So if you’re looking for a few hours away from the hustle-bustle, here are a few suggestions.RamleMost tourists never venture to Ramle, and that’s a shame because it’s really worth a visit. Just half an hour south-east of Tel Aviv, this working-class city is ethnically diverse - Jews, Muslims and Christians co-exist comfortably (with the city’s 60,000 Jews coming from over 50 different countries, including Ethiopia, Argentina and India). Ramale also has a fair few attractions, including a bustling market, a beautiful church, an old tower and - wait for it - the chance to take an underground boat ride!Yes, indeed. In the 1960s, in the midst of constructing a nearby highway interchange, workers stumbled upon Ramle’s Old City (dating back over 1000 years). And what they found was astonishing - colorful mosaics, ceramic jars (with inscriptions in Arabic) jewelry and gold bars and coins (which are on display today at the local museum).Most impressive of all - arguably - were the deep cisterns and drainage canals. Today, a highlight of any tour of Ramle is a visit to the Pool of Arches, an outstanding example of Muslim architecture. Built in 789 CE by the Caliphof Baghdad, it was originally a large aqueduct, with an almost square basin. Today, you can take a gondola ride (well, a rowing boat!) through this underground lake, sailing past stone columns which hold up a beautifully- arched ceiling.It is astonishing to think that this Pool or Arches has survived almost 1,200 years (in which time there was an enormous earthquake in Ramle, which destroyed much of the city).Our tip: eat lunch at Maharaja, an authentic and cheap Indian eatery close to the market. You can also pick up spices and Indian sweets there.Alexander WineryFounded in 1996, this family-owned boutique winery in the heart of the Sharon region has won international awards for its cellars, and is a wonderful place to sample wines. Their guides are known for being friendly, engaging and knowledgeable and the winery itself is set in beautiful surroundings.The tasting room itself has plenty of space and for 100 NIS you will receive a selection of wines, olives (marinated in their own olive oil), bread and cheese. Yoram Shalom, the charming proprietor, left his job as a photographer with Israeli television to open the vineyard and is often around to show visitors around and answer questions about the business.This family regard wine-making as a labour of love and when you take a tour here you learn just as much about the people involved in the process as you do the wines themselves. Only 30 minutes drive from Tel Aviv, it’s a fantastic way to spend a few hours.Derech Hefer 15, Beit Yitzhak-Sha'ar Hefer.Design Museum, HolonOpened in 2010, this intriguing museum is the first of its kind in Israel devoted exclusively to design. Dreamed up by the acclaimed architect, Ron Arad, the Holon Design Museum aims to act as an engaging experience both for children and adults, as well as those who have no background in the subject.Divided into two spaces (the Design Lab and the Collection Windows) it showcases objects as diverse as chairs, eyeglasses, jewelry and a do-it-yourself sundial for the kids! The exterior of the museum is particularly striking - comprised of five sinuous bands of red Corten weathering steel, these ‘ribbons’’ both support the structure and give it a ‘flowing’ feel.Ben Shemen ForestAn oasis of greenery in Israel’s center, this forest is only 30 minutes drive from Tel Aviv (about half-way to Jerusalem). Full of pine trees and cyclamen, it is the perfect place for a family day out, since it has picnic areas, bicycle trails, and beautiful scenic trails too. Around the forest are observation points, as well as areas of archaeological interest (eg. graves from the era of the Maccabees).If you’re feeling ambitious, head off on the Anava Trail, 25 kilometers long (and circular) which passes the Monks Valley and gives you great look-out opportunities across the surrounding area.Moreover, if you visit on Friday or Shabbat, whilst it will be busy you’ll also have an opportunity to pick up food and drink first from one of the stalls at the main parking lot - freshly-baked laffas and some local beer are a great way to begin a hike! Directions: From Highway 1, turn East at the Ben-Shemen Interchange to Maccabim and Re’ut (route 443).Shefayim Water Park, NetanyaShefayim Water Park is about a 30-40 minute drive north of Tel Aviv and the ideal place to bring the kids in Israel’s long hot summer months. It boasts 22 different slides, (including a slalom), a wave pool or tubing track. There is also a large pool and a separate pool for young children.Shefayim has quite a few numbers of cafes and restaurants (moderately to expensively priced) but you are allowed to bring your own food and drink, so why not think about a picnic? Please note, however, that glass bottles are not allowed into the park. There’s plenty of shaded areas (and astroturf to sit on) as well as a paintball area, if you get tired of splashing around on the slides!The park is open daily from May to October but it’s advisable to call ahead as occasionally it is booked out for private group events. Also, take into account that it’s a very popular attraction so it can get very crowded.Our advice? Buy your tickets online, in advance, and arrive at least 30-45 minutes before the park opens. Then when you walk in, head straight to the large pool and grab a sunbed with an umbrella! Once that’s bagged, you’re set for the day.Directions: Drive north towards Netanya on Highway 2 and exist at Kvish HaHof, ten minutes north of Herzilya.
By Sarah Mann

Tel Aviv - Explore the Nonstop City

Tel Aviv is easily accessible to people across Europe for a short city break or weekend get-away. You could choose to go to another European city but being able to hop over to the Middle East for the weekend is even more special! On a city break in Tel Aviv you can choose to relax and pamper yourself go sightseeing party all night shop til’ you drop or take part in outdoor activities and extreme sports.A lifeguard tower on Tel Aviv's Beach. Photo by Guy Tsror on UnsplashTel Aviv is nicknamed the “Big Orange” because the city never sleeps like the Big Apple and it is called the “White City” for its UNESCO-listed Bauhaus architecture. Tel Aviv truly has it all as a city break destination. After a short flight, you’ll arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, a 30-minute ride from Tel Aviv. Settle into your hotel and start to unwind. There are hotels to suit all budgets from historic boutique hotels to simple hostels.Relax and Pamper Yourself on a Tel Aviv City BreakFor starters there are the stunning Tel Aviv beaches just minutes from the city center you’ll find an attractive promenade running the length of the 13 sandy beaches and the Mediterranean beyond. The beachfront is lined with top restaurants, pubs, and hotels. If you want to indulge and pamper yourself Tel Aviv has many excellent spas. You could even go further afield and visit one of Israel’s hot springs at Ga’ash, Hamat Gader, Hamei Yoav, Tiberias, or the Dead Sea. At the Dead Sea, you can get unique spa treatments that use the natural minerals and salts found in the Dead Sea water and mud.Tel Aviv City Breaks for FoodiesFoodies will be spoilt for choice in Tel Aviv; there are many top chef restaurants serving world-class cuisine. Many of the best restaurants have brilliant sea views while others are in the heart of the city. Visit the farmers’ market at Tel Aviv’s old port; the fresh produce market and small hole-in-the-wall restaurants at Carmel Market; Levinsky spice market and the gourmet market at the Sarona Center. Don’t leave without sampling the Tel Aviv street food and enjoying a good pita stuffed with falafel and hummus.Exhibition at Tel Aviv Old Port. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinHaving Fun on a Tel Aviv City BreakTel Aviv is home to a great amusement park with thrilling rides for the whole family. There are numerous parks, like Yarkon Park, a safari park, and a bird safari. You could chill out at one of the cinema complexes or rent a bike and explore the city. Other places of entertainment in Tel Aviv include Escape Rooms, trampoline centers, playgrounds, climbing walls, and much more.Nightlife on a Tel Aviv City BreakTel Aviv truly is the city that never sleeps; nightclubs and bars only really come to life after 11 pm and they continue buzzing until the early hours of the morning. You won’t have to look far to find places of entertainment after dark. Visit underground clubs near Rothschild Blvd. hipster bars in the historic Neve Tzedek neighborhood; arty clubs around HaHashmal Street and the bohemian hang-outs of Florentin. If you’re not into night clubs Tel Aviv has wine bars, ballet, opera, concerts, and theatre.Shopping in Tel AvivYour shopping choices in Tel Aviv are numerous and diverse. You could stick to the traditional markets like Carmel Market or the flea market in Jaffa. Visit Nahalat Binyamin market for hand-made arts and crafts. Visit the upmarket fashion stores at Kikar HaMedina or travel to one of the large malls like Azrieli Tower. In Tel Aviv, you can find everything from traditional items and locally made goods to international name brands.Tel Aviv Gay Pride, 2018. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinOutdoor Activities on a Tel Aviv City BreakIn Tel Aviv you can rent a bicycle and use the many cycle paths; go rowing in the Yarkon River, do water sports at the beach, join locals on a morning jog try yoga at Tel Aviv Port at sundown visit a local gym, or take a trip out to the countryside for bird-watching. Tel Aviv locals love exercising outdoors and the parks and beachfront are always full of dedicated fitness enthusiasts.Sightseeing in Tel Aviv on a City BreakTel Aviv has excellent museums including the Museum of Art, Design Museum Holon, Bauhaus Museum, Museum of the Jewish People, and the Eretz Israel Museum. There are historic landmarks including the site where the Declaration of Independence was signed on Rothschild Blvd. and the houses of famous artists and political figures. Don’t miss Jaffa, now a joint municipality with Tel Aviv this ancient port city has narrow lanes flanked by stone houses leading down to the water’s edge, excellent restaurants, markets, art galleries, and museums. Also visit Sarona, a restored German Templer settlement, and the American-German Colony neighborhood.Seeing the Rest of Israel on a Tel Aviv City BreakThere are plenty of tours in Israel from Tel Aviv that take you to locations across the country including Jerusalem, the Galilee, Golan Heights, Dead Sea, and more. This way you can see more of the county without having to bother with logistics and transportation issues. The day tours include a complimentary pick-up from Tel Aviv and return you at the end of the day. All you have to do is choose your destination and book the tour, the rest is taken care of for you.An old house in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
By Petal

Top 5 Water Hike Trails in Israel

Israel has many hike trails which go through streams offering some relief from the heat as you hike. These water hike trails are usually free and sign posted so that you can follow the colored lines painted on rocks to show you the route. For these hike trails wear good walking shoes or sandals that you don’t mind getting wet and a swimming costume or clothes to change after completion of the hike. You’ll have a good time following the many streams which criss-cross Israel, keeping cool and enjoying the gorgeous countryside. These wet hike routes are suitable for families with kids.Ein MaboaEin Maboa or En Fawwar spring runs through the Wadi Kelt (Prat River) riverbed carrying water from the Judean Hills near Jerusalem to the Jordan River. This is a very easy hike, in fact, there is hardly any hiking involved at all; rather the fun is in swimming in the spring pool. Each day an underground karstic cave fills up with subterranean water and only when the cave is full does it empty into a pool where the water remains for about 20 minutes before continuing on its journey. From the car park walk about 300 meters to an old British Mandate-era pumping station. Water flows out of the spring at this point into a pool which would have been part of the pumping station. After about 20 minutes the pool empties as the spring water continues on its course. In this area, you can see the remains of ancient mosaics on the ground. A few meters downstream you can see the remains of an ancient aqueduct.Zaki TrailThis water trail follows the last part of the Meshushim Stream which flows from the Yehudiya Nature Reserve into the Sea of Galilee. The walk takes about 3 hours and much of the trail is in the water. This is not a loop trail so if arriving in one car you will have to make the walk back to your starting point after completing the route. The river is quite wide and about knee-deep with gorgeous green trees and vegetation on both sides protecting hikers from the sun. At some points along the trail there is deeper water so bring water wings if you are with children who can’t swim. If the trail is too long for you it is possible to exit the water trail at several points and follow the road back to the parking area. The Majrasa is another water trail running parallel to the Zaki Trial.Nahal AmudThis is a challenging trail in northern Israel when taken from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean but you can also do a small section in a couple of hours. The most popular section is Nahal Amud not far from Safed. The trail goes alongside the stream with several points for jumping in along the way. This is a perennial stream that runs through a valley from Safed and empties in the Sea of Galilee but there are several points of entry including Meron where there is a parking lot and the start of a circular 4km route.Nahal KzivTogether with the Monfort Trail, this is one of the most beautiful trails to follow in Israel. Meandering through the green Galilee following a perennial stream and passing by a Crusader Fortress, mountains, and a spring tunnel. There is an easy 6km circular route that requires some climbing towards the end but is suitable for all ages. There are other trails here that are not circular. You can enter the ancient spring tunnel (Ein Tamir) if you want but be sure to bring a flashlight. The Spring Tunnel ends in a dead-end so you have to double back to get out. This is a wonderful place to see wildflowers especially in spring (April-June).Nahal HaShofetThis water hike takes you through a landscape of HaZorea Forest and the greenery of the Ramat Menashe Biosphere Reserve in the Mount Carmel area. It is an easy hike suitable for the whole family and can be completed in 1-2 hours. Part of this hiking trail is fully disabled-accessible. The water flows in this stream year-round starting near Kibbutz Ein HaShofet, joining the Kishon Stream southeast of Kibbutz HaZorea. There are several routes you can take but the most popular one is a circular route.
By Petal Mashraki

5 Attractions in New Jerusalem

Tours from Jerusalem usually concentrate on Old Jerusalem within the Old City walls. However the Holy Land’s top destination also has a “New” City. If you look at a Jerusalem map you will see that the new, more recently built part of Jerusalem takes up a much larger area than the Old City. It follows that there is a lot to see in the New City of Jerusalem. Here are a few highlights of attractions in new Jerusalem, outside of the Old City walls.Yad Vashem Holocaust MuseumThis world-class museum is spread over a large complex on Mount Herzl. The museum holds thousands of authentic Holocaust artifacts, historic documents, photographs, and filmed testimonials by Holocaust survivors. On the grounds are memorials honoring the children who lost their lives in the Holocaust. There is also a part of the complex dedicated to gentiles who helped save Jewish lives during the Holocaust.Chagall Windows In a small chapel (Abbell Synagogue) in the Hadassah University Medical Center, there are twelve stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall. Chagall gifted the windows to the Jewish people in the 1960s. The twelve stained glass windows were inspired by the Bible and particularly Jacob’s blessings to his 12 sons. The images in the stained glass depict scenes from Jewish history, Chagall’s love for the Jewish people, and the artist’s own personal experiences living in a Russian shtetl.KnessetThe Israeli parliament or Knesset is situated in the Givat Ram neighborhood of western Jerusalem. The present building was completed in 1966 and it is possible to arrange tours of the building or view it from the outside. Highlights of the Knesset tour include seeing the original copy of the Declaration of Independence. You will see the Knesset Committee Rooms, the Chagall Hall featuring art by Marc Chagall, and the Plenary Chamber. There are 12 stunning floor mosaics and three tapestries by Chagall. The one-hour tours are held daily with a focus on photography and art; architecture and the parliamentary function of the Knesset.Machane Yehuda MarketAt the bustling Jerusalem market, you can get everything plus the kitchen sink! The market offers stalls of fresh fruit and vegetables, household items, freshly baked goods, spices, nuts, pickles, arts and crafts. In addition, the market is home to several renowned eateries. There are cooking and tasting tours of the market or you can explore independentlyIsrael MuseumIsrael’s national museum houses extensive collections covering a wide range of fields. Specifically, the museum archaeology and art collections as well as the collection of Jewish cultural items and art are outstanding. The vast museum complex includes a children’s wing, sculpture garden a scale model of Second Temple era Jerusalem and the Shrine of the Book. The white dome-shaped Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls.
By Petal Mashraki

Top 10 Attractions in Jerusalem

There are so many things to see and do in Jerusalem that narrowing down the list to just 10 is almost impossible – but someone has to do it! If your time in the City of Gold is limited then you will need to pick and choose only the best attractions and activities in Jerusalem.Tourists in Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinJerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and a sacred city in the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths. Over the course of thousands of years, Jerusalem has remained a truly eternal city and one with certain magic which can only really be understood when you there surrounded by biblical, Byzantine, Crusader, Ottoman, and modern historical sites.1. Old City, JerusalemOk, so this is a bit of a cheat, as the Old City of Jerusalem is one site with many attractions. Within the ancient Old City walls are the top attractions of the city and the most important Christian, Muslim, and Jewishholy sites. In addition to the most famous sites, there are many hidden gems, markets, stores, excavated Roman ruins, synagogues, and churches in the Old City of Jerusalem. You can follow the Via Dolorosa, visit David's Tower, see a Sound and Light Show or walk the Ramparts.Church of the Holy Sepulchre – This huge church was consecrated in 335AD and holds the last five Stations of the Cross, the Stone of Anointing, Calvary, the holy tomb or sepulcher where Jesus was buried and resurrected, and many small chapels. The church marks the end of the Via Dolorosa, the route Jesus took through the Old City towards his crucifixion.Western Wall – The Kotel (Wailing Wall) is a segment that has survived from the original Second Jewish Temple which was destroyed in 70AD. Today Jews pray at the Western Wall as they do in synagogues. This holy site is the closest Jews can get to the site on Temple Mount where the Temple once stood. You can place a prayer note between the large limestone blocks which make up the wall. You can visit the Western Wall Tunnels running beneath the Old City along part of the Wall which is hidden underground.Temple Mount – The Jewish Holy Temple stood here almost 2,000 years ago and today it is the site of the Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Dome of the Chain. It is the holiest Jewish site and the holiestMuslim site in Israel. The Koran tells of Mohammed reaching the al-Aqsa Mosque after the Night Journey and of Muhammad’s ascent to heaven from the stone which is within the Dome of the Rock.Dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin2. Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, JerusalemPerched on Mount Herzl overlooking the forests and hills of Jerusalem is this memorial to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust. The Holocaust Museum includes a Children’s Memorial, Hall of Remembrance, Museum of Holocaust Art, a sculpture garden, and the Garden of the Righteous Among Nations. Here you can see filmed testimonials from people who were in the Nazi concentration camps as well as thousands of authentic artifacts from the camps and the Holocaust period. The museum building has a unique design that leads you through the Holocaust story with multimedia exhibits, provocative displays, and somber photographs and documents.3. Mahane Yehuda Market, JerusalemGet a taste of Jerusalem’s “shuk” a marketplace with all the character, color, flavors, and aromas of the Middle East. The Mahane Yehuda market is spread over several lanes and stalls are loaded up with fresh produce, baked goods, spices, nuts, dried fruit, and even household items and clothing. There are several eateries in the market where you can try some authentic Jerusalem cuisine.4. Israel Museum, JerusalemIsrael’s national art and archaeological museum exhibits a vast range of Israeli and international art and artifacts. Among the gems of the Israel museum, there is the oldest artwork in the world, a Youth Wing, fine art, pieces by Rembrandt, Chagall, Pissarro, Henry Moore sculptures, and a special section devoted to Jewish Art and Life. On the grounds of the museum is a model of the 2nd Temple and the Shrine of the Book, where you can see the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest copy of the Bible in the world.Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem. Photo by Snowscat on Unsplash5. Mount of OlivesLike the Old City, this site holds several attractions. The mount stands alongside the Old City; it has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years. The mount features several sites from the New Testament. Among the landmarks on the Mount of Olives is Augusta Victoria Hospital; the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene with its distinctive gold onion domes; the Seven Arches Hotel and the Dome of the Ascension which holds a stone with the last footprint of Jesus before he ascended to heaven. For a great view of the city visit the observation promenade on the Mount of Olives.Church of the Pater Noster – This church stands where Christ taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. The present church bears plaques featuring the Lord’s Prayer in more than 100 different languages.Church of Dominus Flevit – From here Jesus looked out over Jerusalem and wept. The present tear-shaped church was built in 1955 and has a window overlooking the Old City so that visitors can experience the same view that Jesus would have seen.Garden of Gethsemane – Here it is believed that Jesus came to pray just a few hours before his capture by the Romans and subsequent crucifixion.Church of All Nations – The Basilica of Agony built in 1924 is recognizable from afar by its large colorful mosaic above the entrance portico and its 12 grey domes on the roof. The church marks the site where Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest.Burying damaged Jewish prayer books, Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery. Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash6. Jerusalem Biblical ZooAt Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, you can see animals that are mentioned in the Old Testament as well as endangered species. The zoo covers 62 acres and is designed with lush gardens and trees. There is a man-made lake, pools, waterfalls, and a miniature train. The animal enclosures are without conventional bars and cages but rather recreate the animal’s natural environments. Over 2,000 animals live at this zoo and by each enclosure, you can see the quote from the Bible which mentions the featured animal.7. City of DavidThe original City of David established in the 10th-9th century BC existed outside the present Old City walls. Today the site has been excavated to reveal water tunnels that brought water to the city and the remains of a city. Visitors can follow Hezekiah’s tunnels, see the remnants of homes from the biblical period and the remains of a Canaanite fortress. This is an exciting experience as you walk through the dark tunnels with water at your feet from Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam8. Knesset – Israeli Parliament BuildingYou can visit this important building and take a look from the outside or take a tour of the interior. Tours are held on Sunday and Thursday at 8:30 am, noon, and 2 pm, they last an hour and are free but remember to bring your passport. You don’t need to book in advance for one of these tours. On the tour, you’ll get an overview of the workings of the Israeli parliament as well as get to see the magnificent works of art and photography on the Knesset walls. The Knesset holds several valuable pieces including works by Reuven Rubin, Kedma, and Moshe Castel. The tour stops at the Chagall Hall, Knesset Library, Plenary Chamber, and other architecturally interesting points in the building. At the moment, only virtual tours are possible.Mahane Yehuda Market. Photo by Roxanne Desgagnés on Unsplash9. Mount ZionMount Zion is located on the edge of the Old City. Like the Old City and Mount of Olives, you can see several attractions on Mount Zion. The most significant sites are the Room of the Last Supper where Jesus ate with his disciples on the night of his arrest and the Tomb of David where King David is said to be buried. Other must-see attractions on Mount Zion include the Dormition Abbey, the Chamber of the Holocaust, and a Catholic cemetery where Oskar Schindler (of Schindler’s List) is buried.10. Ein KeremThis ancient village is built on a hillside surrounded by hills, olive groves, vineyards, and forests. It is the traditional site where John the Baptist was born and one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque neighborhoods. It is an idyllic green area with quaint stone houses, courtyard cafes and restaurants, and several small churches and monasteries. Ein Kerem landmarks include the Church of St. John the Baptist; Church of the Visitation; Les Soeurs de Notre-Dame de Sion Russian Orthodox Convent and Mary’s Spring.Liked this article? Join a One Day tour to Jerusalem Old & NewDormition Abbey, Mount Zion.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
By Petal Mashraki

Beaches in Israel

One of the top reasons to take a vacation in Israel has to be its fabulous beaches - whether you’re in the north, south or centre, there’s always a spot where you can don a bathing suit or bikini and spend a day sunning yourself or splashing around in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Dead Sea, or the Sea of Galilee.Caesarea Aqueduct Beach.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinIsrael’s beaches are glorious - with their white sand and clear water, they’re the ideal place to kick back for some relaxation or bring the kids for a fun day (or longer!) out. And many of them are close to other attractions too - snorkeling and dive spots, national parks, and even archaeological sites - which means you can mix up a day’s activities if you’re so inclined. Let’s take a look at some of the top beaches in various parts of the country - we’re confident there are going to be a few you’ll long to visit...Top Tel Aviv BeachesWhatever you’re looking for in a beach in Tel Aviv, we’re pretty sure this city can offer it. With beautiful white sand and clear blue water, whether you’re keen on calm or looking for a sporty adrenaline rush, want live music, or a deserted stretch of coast, you’ll find a Tel Aviv beach you will fall in love with. Here are some of our favorites:Tel Baruch Beach, Tel AvivWide and clean, this beach has some great cafes and restaurants and a wide, sandy area to sunbathe. You can hold barbecues on the lawn nearby and there’s also plenty of parking!Hilton Beach, Tel AvivOne of Tel Aviv’s most popular beaches, this is a great place to kayak, surf, or paddleboard. Traditionally, it has been a popular spot for gay travelers, but it’s also beloved because its waters are calm and clear. The Hilton beach also contains a section where dogs can run freely.Banana Beach, Tel Aviv. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinMetzizim Beach, Tel AvivThis is the most northern beach in the city and close to Tel Aviv Port (Namal) full of eateries and boutique stores. It has a playground, a cafe, showers and, with its shallow waters, is ideal for families. This is a good place to visit at night if you want privacy since it is situated off the main promenade area.Gordon Beach / Frishman Beach, Tel AvivOpposite the Sheraton hotel, this beach is a great choice for those who love volleyball, ‘matkot’ (an Israeli tradition), and a wonderful outdoor (saltwater) pool. If you go on Saturday mornings, you’ll also see locals folk dancing on the promenade! Chairs, loungers, and parasols for rent (as with every Tel Aviv beach).Banana Beach, Tel AvivThis beach is great for flying kites, surfing, body-surfing, and looking for seashells. The southernmost of all these beaches, you can easily walk to Jaffa from here.To see the complete list of Tel Aviv beaches feel free to check out this article.Metzitzim Beach, Tel Aviv. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinRecommended Mediterranean Beaches1. Ashkelon BeachesWith its long beachfront, you’re free to choose from a number of beaches here - Bar Kochba, Delilah, the Rock, and Surfer’s beach amongst them. It’s also great for kids - not just the boardwalk but also a lovely children’s playground and a skating area. Well maintained, with clean sand and pristine restrooms. Beach Chairs and umbrellas can be rented all the way along and there are shallow waters, for the most part. Ashkelon Archeological Park is minutes away.2. Palmachim Beach near Rishon LeZionWhat this beach lacks in facilities, it makes up for in sheer beauty. With amazing cliff views to the south and Tel Aviv views to the north, this secluded sandy area views of cliffs to the south, this white sand, crystal clear water beach is perfect for a day out. The nearby national park is great for exploring sand dunes, unusual flora and fauna, and limestone ridges.3. Ajami Beach in JaffaJust south of Old Jaffa lies the Ajami beach, which is popular with locals - a mixture of Jews and Arabs. The water is clear and if you get bored of sunning yourself, head off and explore the Jaffa port, Jaffa flea market,and Artists' Quarter. Not far away is the famous seafood restaurant ‘the Old Man and the Sea’ - they don’t take reservations but it’s worth waiting in line!Ashkelon Archaeological Park.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin4. Apollonia Beach near HerzliyaLocated under a cliff, overlooking the sea, this pretty beach, with green-colored water, can only be accessed by walking across rocks, and so it’s ideal for those who want some ‘alone’ time. Nearby is the national park Tel Arsuf (Apollonia National Park), dating back to Crusader times.5.Beit Yanai Beach, near NetanyaThis perfect sandy beach is not far from the moshav Beit Yanai named after the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus (known in Hebrew as Alexander Yanai). There is an old dock and decent facilities: bathrooms, showers and a fish restaurant. Keep in mind that sometimes waves can be particularly high, as the beach is not protected from the open sea.6. Mikhmoret Beach, near NetanyaThis quiet stretch of beach, close to Netanya, has natural rocky barriers which block large waves (making it safe for kids) and there are acres of sand dunes to explore. It’s great for kite flyers but can be a little rocky (so bring flip flops). Mikhmoret has a Sea Turtle Rescue program and if you’re lucky you might spot one.7. The Aqueduct Beach, CaesareaIt doesn’t have many facilities but it does have a long row of beautifully preserved stone arches that served as an aqueduct and date back to Roman times. Undeveloped and pretty, you can swim here but there’s no lifeguard.Apollonia Beach. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin8. HaBonim Beach near Zichron YaakovWith more bays and inlets than any other in Israel, the coastal strip of Dor HaBonim, not far away from Zichron Yaakov, is picturesque and magical, with a nice campground that makes it perfect for overnight stays. There’s also a walking trail on the kirkar (calcareous sandstone) path and Tel Dor - an ancient city and harbor - close by.9. Dado Beach, HaifaWith a long promenade, full of restaurants, clear water, and helpful lifeguards, this clean and spacious beach in Haifa is not usually too crowded. Great for relaxing and walking on the boardwalk.10. Akhziv beach near Nahariya Arguably one of Israel’s finest beaches, Akhziv beach with the Akhziv National Park, is about 15 km north of Acre and near to Rosh Hanikra. It has cliffs, lagoons, and coves, all full of marine life - the kids will love the rock pigeons and swifts and in the summer, you might even spy a sea turtle on their way to lay their eggs. Akhziv has a campground, showers, lifeguards, and a cafe.Akhziv National Park. Photo credit: © Yaniv Cohen. Published with permission of the Israel Nature and Parks AuthorityTop Dead Sea BeachesDead Sea beaches are quite unique since they’re filled with water that is 9.6 times saltier than the ocean, meaning you can’t swim in them but you most definitely can float! Whilst you will need some decent beach shoes (because there are rocks around), you can also take advantage of the black mud on the shores - it’s perfect for slathering yourselves in if you want a free body treatment! Another wonderful activity tourists can enjoy is exploring the amazing salt deposits all along the sea’s edge - they form all kinds of strange shapes - white ‘icebergs’, strange sculptures, and flat platforms. There’s no doubt about it, with its extraordinary natural features and situated at the lowest point on earth, a trip to a Dead Sea beach is something you can’t miss out on, whilst on vacation in Israel.1. Ein Gedi Spa BeachThis very popular spa resort is a great place to enjoy the Dead Seanear Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. Ein Gedi Spa offers many treatments and activities including thermo-mineral sulfur pools, as well as dramatic east-facing views over the waters, towards Jordan. In our opinion, one of the best beaches of the Dead Sea.2. Ein Bokek BeachFree of charge, this beach has plenty of shade and is well-equipped. The whole Ein Bokek area is very clean and if you bring your own padlock, you can use one of the free lockers. The water here is somewhat saltier than at the northern end of the Dead sea but it's also crystal clear. Whilst you won’t find too much black mud here, you can always buy it elsewhere and smear it on yourself for an authentic experience! Ein Bokek Beach. Photo by Tristan MIMET on Unsplash3. Biankini BeachThis private beach is part of an upscale resort with luxury suites, terraces, and gardens with panoramic views and a good place to consider if you want to stay overnight. The entire atmosphere is Moroccan - the decor, the food, and the music and there are plenty of family-friendly activities, including a swimming pool and a kid’s club.4. Neve Midbar BeachThis beach has showers, bathrooms, a boutique, and a beach bar that serves drinks and snacks. It also has plenty of natural black mud on its shores. Be aware that there are a few slippery steps to clamber down, and wear sturdy shoes because there are rocks all around.5. Kalia BeachWith a good selection of places to eat and quite a few shops, Kalia beach is less crowded than the other Dead Sea stretches and even the opportunity to go camel riding nearby! It is easily accessible with a Masada and Dead Sea Day Tour.Kaila Beach, the Dead Sea.Photo credit: © ShutterstockTop Eilat BeachesEilat is a great getaway spot and its beaches offer restaurants on the sand, water sports, and excellent diving in the Red Sea:1. Migdalore Beach, EilatAway from the tourists, therefore a little less crowded, this is a lovely beach for relaxing and also snorkeling. You can rent chairs and loungers and food is served at reasonable prices. Fun fact: ‘migdalore’ in Hebrew means ‘lighthouse’. Look up the hill and you’ll see it...2. Dolphin Reef Beach, EilatThis beautiful area is worth the cost of the admission, because you get to see dolphins up close and personal, even being able to pet them. There’s plenty of shade and a bar that serves food and drink. If you want, you can pay to take a 20-minute snorkel or dive with these beautiful and friendly creatures. The perfect place to visit in Eilat - whether as a family, a couple, a group of friends, or a solo traveler.The Lighthouse in Eilat.Photo by Shalev Cohen on Unsplash3.Coral Beach, EilatIf you like the idea of snorkeling amongst coral reefs, you found the right spot. Eilat Coral Beachis a private beach that has warm water showers, clean bathrooms, a snack bar, and plastic chairs (included in the price). There are lots of covered seating and family areas roped off. Access the water via a long jetty over the reef and enjoy the endless colorful fish.4. Princess Beach, Eilat Possibly the best free beach to snorkel in Eilat, there isn’t much shade but there’s plenty of coral and fish in the water. The fact that it is the last beach in Eilat before the border with Egypt means it’s less crowded than other places, and a little more ‘wild.’ Not too many facilities but a great place to visit.5. Mosh Beach, EilatThis pretty pebbled private beach offers visitors good food and music, as well as a relaxing atmosphere. If you like coconut cocktails and a chilled-out atmosphere, this is where you should come.Paddleboarding in Eilat.Photo by Josh Appel on UnsplashTop Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) Beaches1. Gofra Beach, KinneretWith calm and scenic views over the lake, this rocky beach on the east of Galilee is full of eucalyptus trees, making it popular with campers (who always like their shade!) Just be aware that Gofra Beach is not a recognized beach and therefore does not provide lifeguard services.2. Ein Gev Beach, KinneretThis private beach is on the eastern shore of the lake and is next to a kibbutz with a fine fish restaurant, surrounded by lush green lawns and a short drive from a number of Galilee Christian sites. Enjoy the mini harbor and lovely boardwalk.3. Bora Bora Beach, KinneretThis beautiful private beach lies on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee and is surrounded by natural spring waters. Facilities include lounge chairs, hammocks, sofas, a Polynesian-style bar (serving all manner of drinks), a cigar bar, and a restaurant. There are water sports available (including kayaking, boat sailing skiing, banana skiing, tubing, water skiing, jet skiing, and windsurfing) and even a dance bar.Sea of Galilee.Photo credit: © Shutterstock4. Tsemach Beach, KinneretOn the south of the Kinneret, this family-friendly beach is perfect if you’re looking for activities to keep everyone occupied, particularly on hot spring and summer days. There’s a water park with slides and an indoor swimming pool, sun umbrellas, lockers rooms, and a range of water sports too - tubing, kayaking, and floating on mattresses. There’s plenty of parking and places to stay overnight, whether you’re a camper or looking for lodging. 5. Rotem-Shizaf Beach, KinneretSituated on the eastern shore, between Kibbutzes Haon and Ein Gev, its white sands, picnic tables, and parasols make it the ideal spot for a quiet day. There are toilets, a grocery store, and a kiosk too but no lifeguard!This list of beaches in Israel is incomplete - there are 137 beaches in Israel in total and most of them are famous for clear blue water and great beach facilities.To visit Kinneret beaches book a Private Sea of Galilee TourView on the Sea of Galilee at sunset.Photo by Dave Herring onUnsplash
By Sarah Mann
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