Honeymooning in Israel - Where Romance and Adventure Make for the Perfect ‘Marriage’
We all know that planning a wedding takes effort which is understandable since for many people it’s the most important day of their life. But what about what comes afterwards? How do you want to begin your married life and what factors do you take into consideration when it comes to planning the first trip you’ll take together? Choosing a destination that ticks the right boxes is incredibly important because this isn’t just a holiday, it’s your honeymoon!
Just married. Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash
Where Modernity and History Come Together
We might be a bit biased, but we think Israel is the place of honeymoon dreams. It’s a modern, developed country with every amenity you could wish for, combined with oodles of history and culture. It’s small enough to travel around easily but incredibly diverse in terms of landscapes and climates. There’s extraordinary nature, astonishing archaeological sites, history at your fingertips and miles and miles of pristine white sandy beaches and aquamarine Mediterranean waters to enjoy.
Yes, whether you’re a sun worshipper, a culture buff, an avid nature lover or a city slicker, Israel has it all. With four climate zones, you can ski in the Golan Heights in the morning and dive in the Red Sea at night...or hike in a crater at sunrise and be overlooking a Crusader castle by sunset. With its blue flag beaches, hip hotels, fabulous cuisine and breathtaking scenery, Israel is one of the best honeymoon destinations, and here are a few of the ideas we have in mind, to help convince you...
View of Safed against the backdrop of the Sea of Galilee. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
1. All Coupled Up
There’s nothing more appealing for many Israelis than the prospect of heading off to a ‘zimmer’ for a romantic weekend in one of the country‘s most beautiful areas - the Galilee - and for honeymooners, we think this is a perfect idea. The word Zimmer comes from the German ‘room’ but this unique accommodation goes way beyond that.
Zimmers are self-contained units that often take the form of cabins and are rustic yet luxurious, with hot tubs, stylish furnishings and extravagant breakfasts. Pastoral and private, there’s no better place to begin your married life than in these rural retreats, with no one but you and your beloved - oh, and the birds, of course!
A house in Safed, the highest city in Galilee and in Israel. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
2. Urban Living
For city lovers who yearn for an ‘urban’ holiday, then Tel Aviv fits the bill nicely. With its hip boutique hotels, stylish fine dining scene combined with the romantic backstreets of Jaffa and the smart boutiques of the Neve Tzedek neighbourhood, it’s a great choice for a honeymoon in Israel.
The city has all kinds of stylish hotels, many with rooftops that offer stunning views of the skyline and bars where you can enjoy a coffee by day and an aperitif before dinner. By day, stroll the Rothschild Boulevard and tiny streets, soak up the atmosphere; by night, lounge at a cocktail bar, before eating al fresco at some modern Mediterranean spot then dance until the wee hours at one of the city’s hottest clubs.
Neve Tzedek. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
3. Sunrises and Sunsets
Holding hands and watching the sunrise over Masada, in the magnificent Judean desert has got to rank as a seriously romantic activity. On any Israel tour, a trip to the ancient fortress of Masada is a must, but climbing it early in the morning really is a wonderful idea. Sitting atop the ruins, as the sun hits your face, before taking a cable car back to the bottom and heading off to the Dead Sea for a float in the world’s lowest body of water adds a touch of fun to the activity too. Slather yourself in mud, or even take a spa treatment at one of the hotels on the promenade. You can also combine all three, by taking an organised Masada Sunrise and Dead Sea Tour, which includes time at Ein Gedi - hiking, animal spotting and a refreshing dip in David’s Waterfall.
Similarly, why not enjoy a sunset in the beautiful north of the country, in the Golans (nature, history and a foodie’s delight), or on a boat trip around the Sea of Galilee? Or atop an abandoned fortification at Mount Bental, on a private tour of the Golan Heights? This part of the country is renowned for its spectacular landscapes and beautiful wildlife (eagles, deer and jackals).
You can climb the Nimrod Fortress (the largest Crusader-era castle in Israel) or take a detour to the Hamat Gader hot springs. The area is a paradise for foodies too, with its locally sourced cheeses and olive oils as well as several chocolatiers providing sweet treats for locals and visitors! Wine lovers are advised to visit one of the boutique wineries and indulge in some tastings. All of these private tours are custom-made too, so it’s entirely up to you where you travel...
Sunset in Tel Aviv. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
4. Out of the Comfort Zone
If you’re in Israel to relax but want a few activities thrown in, save for the classical day tours or private excursions, why not step out of your comfort zone and try something you’ve never tried before? Head south to the Negev desert, to stargaze and look for meteors at the amazing Mitzpe Ramon crater, before experiencing some local hospitality in the form of a night in a Bedouin tent. Or take a hike around Timna national park before heading to Eilat for some diving or snorkelling in the Red Sea.
There’s also plenty of hiking in the Negev desert, and a trip to the spectacular Ein Avdat canyon, near Kibbutz Sde Boker (home to Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion and his burial place) is well worth it. If you’re looking for more ideas, take a look at our Israel tour packages page, to inspire you.
Traditional Bedouin flatbread getting baked on a tabun in the Negev desert. Photo credit: © Oksana Mats
5. A Little Bit of Luxury
Everyone loves pampering and what better time for it than on an Israel honeymoon? The country has some incredibly luxurious hotels, and we’d recommend indulging in at least one or two nights in them! Jerusalem boasts the Waldorf Astoria, the pinnacle of style with its eclectic and elegant architecture and furnishings. Try their afternoon tea - it’s to die for. Or head to King David, with its stunning views over the Old City and palatial limestone walls.
In Tel Aviv, we’d recommend the Norman - luxurious bedrooms, fine dining and the famous ‘Library Bar’ - perfect for an evening aperitif. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention ‘the Jaffa’ too - a modern luxury set in 19th-century grandeur. With its minimalist style, sumptuous bedrooms, lavish bathrooms and all kinds of luxury amenities, this is - by and standards - a ‘lifestyle’ hotel, and perfect for newlyweds.
Rosh Hanikra Grottoes, Israel. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
6. Roots Schmoots
If you are Jewish, it might be a dream of yours to hold your wedding in Israel but if that’s not possible, then come here afterwards - as part of the Honeymoon Israel. This unique project offers young couples, just married or in the early years of their union, a nine-day subsidized honeymoon in Israel program. The idea is to give them an immersive travel experience and - whatever their personal backgrounds - make them feel at home both in the country and in the Jewish community.
The trip around the country involves outings to the top tourist spots in the country as well as unusual experiences i.e. eating dinner with locals that you wouldn't get on a classical Israel tour package. There will also be time to explore alone, with your partner and, of course, at the end of the nine days you are free to stay on longer if you want to see more of the country.
Banias National Reserve. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
7. Adrenaline Rush
If you’re a couple that craves excitement, then an Israeli honeymoon won’t disappoint. With miles and miles of coastline and rivers too, there are all kinds of water sports - sailing, surfing, kayaking on the Jordan river and jeep safari tours through rugged desert terrain. Explore the tunnels on a tour of the City of David and Underground Jerusalem, or head off to Acre, another Crusader City, with its stone walls and winding streets.
For the truly adventurous, explore some of the country’s caves - Sorek (the Stalactite Cave) in the Judean Mountains has wooden walkways which make it easy to explore. Malcham, close to the Dead Sea, has huge spaces and vertical shafts over 400 feet deep! Or what about the Maresha Caves in Beit Guvrin National Park, in which you can find cisterns, olive presses and burial caves of the Phoenicians.
Beit Guvrin National Park. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
8. Small Pleasures
Take pleasure in the small things! If you’re in Tel Aviv, eat ice cream on a hot day (the city has some fabulous artisan gelaterias) take a stroll on the beach promenade (‘Tayelet’), hunt for vintage items in Jaffa’s flea market then have lunch at Jaffa port, watching fisherman pull in their catch. Hire a bike and explore the city by cycling the boulevards or head to Yarkon Park and rent a paddleboat, which you can take all the way down to Luna Park (what’s more romantic than a ride on a Ferris wheel at night?).
Also, consider a Jerusalem tour package - have a guide walk you through the Old City, from one ancient spot to the next, soaking up an atmosphere that’s 2,000 years old. Jerusalem might not have beaches and 24/7 activity, but it has a charm all of its own.
City of David Archaeological site. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
9. Getting Lost
For those who like to live on the wild side, head to the central railway station of the city you’re staying in, buy a ticket to a place with the most exotic or unusual sounding name you can find and take a day trip there. Wander the streets, grab some street food and get lost. Just remember not to miss the last train home! Here are a few of our recommendations, on the ‘unusual’ front:
Ein Hod - a charming artist’s village on the foot of a hill in the Carmel, between the mountain and the sea! It doesn’t just offer accommodation either - there are workshops for those with a creative inner spirit!
Ein Kerem - this tranquil village in the west of Jerusalem will delight every honeymooner - full of history, its lush vegetation is downright gorgeous (and if you’re there in February, look out for the almond blossom).
Caesarea - famous for its Herodian architecture, the city also boasts the Ralli modern art museum - filled with Spanish and Latin American art, its Moorish courtyard is the perfect place for honeymooners to sit and swoon over each other.
Safed - magical and holy, wander through the ancient streets and let yourself be enveloped by its mysterious and intoxicating atmosphere. Don’t forget to visit the Artist’s Quarter while you’re there.
Safed street. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
10. Do as the Locals Do
This one sounds rather odd, but why not just ask a local? Israelis are notoriously friendly and apart from loving to help, they love to give advice! They also have opinions on everything - particularly the best places to see in what they consider to be the greatest country in the world.
They won’t name the tourist spots either - they’ll tell you about the places they grew up in, went to as teenagers, or travelled en route to their army base! Places like the underground water cisterns in Ramle, the Druze village of Daliat-el-Carmel, and the Latrun monastery. They are all hidden tourist gems and most visitors to Israel never make it to them.
To sum up, then, we think that you’ll love taking a honeymoon in Israel. The adventures the two of you will have in this exciting, beautiful and unusual country are ones you are guaranteed to love and the memories you’ll make we think will stay with you for years to come. Congratulations on tying the knot and see you soon!
The Wedding Church at Cana, where Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine. Photo credit: © Shutterstock