Hidden Tourist Gems in Israel

By Petal Mashraki | Published on 3/25/2021
Most people can easily name Israel’s top attractions, but few tourists ever explore the country’s hidden gems. Israel has magnificent historic buildings, secluded nature trails, and unusual museums that are waiting to be discovered by curious tourists. Some tours in Israel include must-see sites, plus fantastic hidden gems. You could also take a private Holy Land tour and pick places you want to include in your itinerary. Here are some of the most interesting hidden gems that must be seen when you travel to Israel.

Tel Aviv’s Hidden Gems

Sometimes hidden gems are where you least expect them, smack-bang in the middle of a busy city. Tel Aviv is packed with unusual, weird, and wonderful places to visit. You’ll be amazed at what you can find on a Tel Aviv tour and in the surrounding area.

Ilana Goor Museum, Jaffa

Ilana Goor Museum, Jaffa. Photo credit:  © Dmitry Mishin

  • Eretz Israel Museum - See the impressive collection of archaeological findings, historical artifacts, and artwork, all connected to the Land of Israel. 

  • Ilana Goor Museum - This unique museum in the ancient old port city of Jaffa exhibits unbelievable sculptures, statues, and furniture designed by artist Ilana Goor. 

  • Beit Hatfutsot Museum - The Museum of the Jewish People (Beit Hatfutsot) is one of the best places to learn about the fascinating Jewish Diaspora. 

Tel Aviv Region's Gems  

Tel Aviv is a buzzing cultural hub, but only a short car ride away from the city that never sleeps there are some tranquil getaways. Get ready for exciting adventures in the great outdoors. These exceptional sites are well-known to locals but not necessarily to tourists.

The Pool of Arches, Ramle, Israel

The Pool of Arches, Ramle. Photo credit:  © Dmitry Mishin

  • The Pool of Arches, Ramle - A real hidden gem awaits curious travelers who visit this 1,200-year-old underground cistern where you can take a rowboat on to the water. 

  • Mey Kedem - Have an adventure walking through the ancient Roman water channels that once brought water to Caesarea. Access the tunnel from Alona Park for a wet adventure. 

  • Apollonia National Park, Herzliya - Explore the ruins of a Crusader fortress on a cliff overlooking the sea.

  • Ashkelon Archaeological Park - Here, excavations have revealed layer upon layer of historical remains from various eras. Attractions include the largest ancient burial ground for dogs!

Most Unusual Places in Jerusalem and the Surrounding Areas

The magical city of Jerusalem is famed for its religious landmarks, but for intrepid travelers, there is much more to discover in the sacred city. Discover another part of the Western Wall, the Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art, and huge bell caves beneath the ground on a private Jerusalem tour. Prepare to be amazed by Jerusalem’s hidden gems.

Stalactite Cave, Beit Shemesh, Israel

Stalactite Cave. Photo credit:  © Dmitry Mishin

  • Mount Herzl - Mt. Herzl is home to the country’s national cemetery, where heroes, victims of terrorism, and Israel’s fallen soldiers are buried. 

  • The Kishle Excavations - Tour this remarkable structure built by Egyptian rulers in 1833 and used by the Ottomans and British. Access the site via David’s Citadel Museum.

  • Little Western Wall - The Western Wall is a well-known Jerusalem attraction, but few tourists realize the wall continues beneath the houses of the Muslim Quarter. This secluded section of the wall is perfect for quiet prayer.

  • Hurva Synagogue - This synagogue has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. See brilliant frescoes and enjoy the rooftop view from this spectacular synagogue. 

  • Siebenberg House - Discover this valuable archaeological site hidden beneath the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City. Excavation revealed remains of a Hasmonean mansion. 

  • The Italian Synagogue - The 18th-century Rococo Conegliano Veneto Synagogue can be seen at the U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art. This is, without doubt, one of the most magnificent hidden gems in Israel. 

  • Pools of Bethesda - Visit the biblical site where Jesus healed a paralytic. This hidden gem can be included in tailor-made private tours in Jerusalem.

  • Beit Guvrin National Park - Prepare to be amazed by the mind-boggling beauty of spectacular bell caves, underground tombs, and the ruins of the biblical city of Maresha.

  • Avshalom Stalactite Cave - Walk through a magical chamber beneath the ground where stalactites form mysterious shapes and stalagmites rise from the cave floor like steeples. 

  • Ein Prat Nature Reserve - Embrace your adventurous side with a hike through Ein Prat. You’ll see spectacular gushing springs and lush vegetation in the desert valley of Wadi Qelt.

  • Latrun - Famous historical battles have taken place at Latrun, but today it is home to Mini Israel, a Museum and Memorial for fallen soldiers, and a unique Trappist Abbey.

Unusual Places in the Galilee and Golan

Travel north to Israel’s greenest region, where rolling hills are covered by thick woodlands and streams flow through fields of wildflowers. Tour Galilee and Golan Heights and enjoy what they have to offer, including ancient archaeological ruins, biblical sites, and hike trails.

Tourist at the Templars' Tunnel, Acre

Templars' Tunnel, Acre. Photo credit:  © Dmitry Mishin

  • Tsipori National Park - This ancient village is the traditional birthplace of Mary and has a rich historical legacy. You can tour Zippori’s archaeological remains and see remarkable 3rd-6th-century mosaics.

  • Tel Dan National Park - This little slice of heaven is mentioned in the Old Testament and is home to archaeological remains dating back to the Neolithic Age.

  • Ralli Museum Caesarea - See magnificent works of art from Latin America and 16th-18th-century paintings depicting scenes from the Bible. 

  • Monfort Fortress - This awe-inspiring Crusader fortress looks down from a rock outcrop onto one of Israel’s most picturesque scenic areas. 

  • Templars' Tunnel, Acre - This unbelievable 12th-century structure connects the Knights’ Templar fortress and Acre’s port. You can walk through the tunnel that runs beneath Acre’s charming Old City.

  • Kziv Stream - Immerse yourself in Israel’s picturesque countryside. This scenic perennial stream flows for 39km through the Upper Galilee.

  • Hula Nature Reserve - Bird-watchers flock to these wetlands that provide a stop-over for thousands of migrating birds. 

Jordan Valley Hidden Gems

One of the best places to find new attractions in Israel is the Jordan Valley. This area holds several surprising points of interest including nature reserves, ancient synagogues, and idyllic natural pools.

The Archaeological site of Beit Shean

The Archaeological site of Beit Shean. Photo credit:  © Jenny Ehrlich

  • Beit Shean Archaeological Park - Substantial ruins of a Roman city have been preserved within this impressive national park. See extraordinary ancient Roman structures, including a beautiful amphitheater.

  • Gan HaShlosha - This park has been called the Garden of Paradise. Magnificent gardens surround the hot springs that cascade into natural pools. 

  • Beit Alpha Synagogue - The 6th-century synagogue at Beit Alpha has one of the finest floor mosaics of the period depicting Jewish symbols and Biblical scenes.

The Dead Sea and the Negev

In the south, you’ll see a completely different side of Israel, one with desert mountains, hidden caves, ancient fortresses, and natural wonders. Explore southern Israel’s unique landscape and visit attractions that few tourists ever discover.

The Negev Desert, southern Israel

The Negev Desert. Photo credit:  © Shutterstock

  • Nokdim Village - This small Jewish settlement in the Judean Mountains offers visitors a glimpse into Jewish life in the West Bank. You can visit Nokdim as part of a desert excursion or a Bedouin experience.

  • Metsuke Dragot - Perched on a cliff looming over the Dead Sea, and with breathtaking desert mountains as a backdrop, Metsuke Dragot is one of the unique locations in Israel. 

  • Neot Smadar - This desert kibbutz has a surreal building that houses an art center. Enjoy the community’s organic winery, homemade cheeses, and organic produce.

  • Mamshit - Prepare to be amazed by the archaeological remains of this Nabataean city that once stood on the ancient incense route. 

  • Timna National Park - Be awe-struck by Timna’s mysterious rock formations, colored sands, and ancient archaeological ruins. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, see the Timna Sound and Light Show.

  • Ben Gurion’s Home and Tomb - At the Sde Boker you can learn about Israel’s first Prime Minister, Ben Gurion, a colorful character who loved his home in the Negev Desert.

  • Ein Avdat - The breathtaking Ein Avdat canyon was once inhabited by Nabateans and Catholic monks. Explore the archaeological remains and enjoy a scenic hike.

Which are the Best Tours in Israel?

Israel’s best tours are not always the most popular ones. You should mix the must-see sites with some less obvious hidden gems. Create an exciting travel itinerary that includes weird and wonderful places in Israel, special tours, unusual attractions, and spectacular natural sites. Plan your trip to Israel today and don’t forget the Promised Land’s remarkable hidden gems.

Yemin Moshe historic neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel

                                                                                                                 Jerusalem. Photo credit:  © Dmitry Mishin