Israel Itineraries

There are several suggested itineraries for your stay in Israel, depending on whether you prefer to travel independently or with an Israel tour package.  As independent travelers, you could hire a car, or use public transport to get around. Maybe mix in a few day tours to get to difficult-to-reach locations or places where you’d want a knowledgeable guide. Base yourself in Tel Aviv to explore the city and to visit places on the Mediterranean coast like Caesarea, Haifa, and Acre. Travel to Jerusalem to enjoy the sites and make side trips to Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, and Masada. Then spend time in the north where you can visit Nazareth, the Golan, and places by the Sea of Galilee like Capernaum, and Tiberias. If you have more time, you could spend a couple of days in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat.

Alternatively, you can join a group package tour in Israel, where the logistics, accommodation, and transportation are organized for you. From the moment you land at Ben Gurion, you are taken care of, as you explore the country. There are several advantages to tour packages, and you can usually fit in a lot more attractions. Tour packages give you a few free days where you can discover Tel Aviv or Jerusalem independently. Depending on how much time you have in Israel, you could take a tour package that includes a short visit to Petra, Jordan.


Israel Cruise Excursions - All You Need to Know

Tourists arriving in Israel’s port cities of Haifa or Ashdod can take a short ship-to-shore excursion to many of the top attractions. Israel is a small country and most of the important destinations are close enough to Haifa or Ashdod to be included in a day tour. Israel cruise excursions include pick-up from the port, a fully-guided day of sightseeing and drop-off at your cruise ship in time for your cruise departure. Most shore excursions are private tours which means there is a recommended suggested itinerary but you can alter it to your liking. If there are places you are more interested in you can stay longer and if there are places you would rather not visit you can swap them for places that interest you more. The cruise excursions include air-conditioned transportation and the tour price is determined by the distance covered; guide language; length of tour (usually 10 hours); size of vehicle and the day of the week.Israel Cruise Excursion Options from Haifa PortCruise Excursion to Nazareth and the GalileeAlthough Ashdod is a little too far south to get all the way to the north and back in time for your cruise departure Haifa is well located for a day trip to the north. From Haifa port this ship-to-shore excursion travels north to one of the most beautiful areas of the country. The Galilee has rolling hills with a patchwork of farmlands; forests; olive groves; vineyards and small villages and towns. Stop in Nazareth to tour the Church of Ascension and the Church of Saint Joseph built above grottos that may have been the Holy Family’s home and Joseph’s carpentry workshop. Then continue to Tiberias on the edge of the Sea of Galilee and visit Biblical landmarks around the lake like Capernaum and the Mount of Beatitudes.Haifa Port Cruise Excursion to Haifa and AcreSeeing as you are docking in Haifa why not do some sightseeing here. Visit the magnificent Baha’i Gardens planted on 18 terraces that cascade down Mount Carmel. You can also learn about the unique Baha’i religion. At the foot of Mount Carmel see the restored German Templar Quarter. As you travel north stop in Acre, an ancient city built of stone. Descend beneath the Old City of Acre to an underground Crusader city and learn about the many conquerors that have passed through Acre leaving their mark. Your guide will take you on a walk through the bazaar and show you the Turkish baths and Turkish Citadel used years later by the British to hold Jewish prisoners. If you have time travel to the northernmost point of Israel’s coast and walk through the pristine sea caves of Rosh HaNikra.Israel Cruise Excursion Options from Ashdod Port or Haifa PortJerusalem and Dead Sea/BethlehemTake a tour of the Holy Land’s top destination – Jerusalem. Get an overview of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives where there are many churches marking Biblical sites and at the foot of the mount is the Church of All Nations and the Garden of Gethsemane. Take a walk through the Old City where you can visit the Western Wall; the Old City bazaar; ancient synagogues; walk the Via Dolorosa and spend time in the stunning Church of the Holy Sepulchre. As this is a private tour you can pick and choose the sites in the Old City that interest you. Perhaps even include a visit to Mount Zion to see King David’s Tomb and the Room of the Last Supper. You could also visit the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum or the archaeological site of the City of David established 3,000 years ago. As an option, you could spend half your day in Jerusalem and the other half visiting Bethlehem to see where Jesus was born or the Dead Sea, a natural wonder at the lowest point on Earth where the water is ten times saltier than the ocean.Masada and Dead Sea Ship-to-Shore ExcursionTravel from your cruise ship south to Masada, a massive “mesa” a flat-topped mount with steep rocky sides. Masada rises out of the flat desert landscape and served King Herod who wanted a safe retreat. Visitors can take a cable car to Masada’s summit and tour the remains of Herod’s large fortress-palace complex which includes storerooms, guardrooms, palaces, Roman baths and more. From the top of Masada, there are brilliant views across the desert all the way to the Dead Sea which is where you can spend the rest of the day. The tour takes you to one of the Dead Sea beaches where you can indulge in the sun, sea and fresh air which have been found to have therapeutic beauty and health benefits. Get a classic photo floating in the salty water where it is impossible to sink! As a private cruise excursion, you can choose how much time to spend on the beach and whether to include other stops like Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found or the desert oasis of Ein Gedi.Caesarea and Tel AvivAfter being met by your personal guide at Haifa or Ashdod port travel to Caesarea to the excavated site of a powerful Roman port city built by King Herod. Here you can walk among the remains of storehouses, temples, palaces and Roman baths. See the amphitheater that is still used to this day and the hippodrome where chariots once rode alongside the sea. Also, see the Crusader walls and structures build hundreds of years later. From the old to the new the tour takes you to Israel’s modern metropolis of Tel Aviv. See the long stretch of beach flanked by a wide promenade; discover the up-market Rothschild Boulevard; experience the hustle and bustle of Carmel Market and wander through the quaint historic neighborhood of Neve Tsedek. Other sites to include on your private tour of Tel Aviv are Dizengoff Street; Yitzchak Rabin Square and the marvelous Jaffa Port.See all our recommended Israel Shore Excursions
By Petal Mashraki

The Ideal Vacation in Tel Aviv

We take vacations not just because we have free time, but to escape the daily grind and change our reality. We all have dreams about what our ideal trip might be and what we’ll do there to make it an amazing experience. Of course, so much depends on the place you’re going to and the fact is that few people don’t enjoy a vacation in Tel Aviv. With its non-stop vibe, stunning Bauhaus architecture, cosy, independent coffee houses, friendly locals and kilometres of sandy white beaches, it’s hard not to fall in love with this city.Panoramic view of Tel-Aviv Beach. Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe Huffington Post once hilariously remarked, “New York and Ibiza had a sexy baby and they called it Tel Aviv”. But they hit the nail right on the head. This is a city with atmosphere, charm, style, and buzz. A city for those in love and a city for those who want to fall in love. Come to Tel Aviv and see for yourself - step outside your comfort zone, meet the locals, and create memories of this Mediterranean city that you’ll never forget. Here are a few pointers, in the meantime.Romance or Relaxation?Tel Aviv is a paradise for lovebirds - stylish boutique hotels, world-class eateries, cocktail bars galore, and fabulous Mediterranean sunsets. Stroll the streets of charming Neve Tzedek, wander through the historic Jaffa, take a paddleboat down the river in Yarkon Park, or just head to the seashore. Each Tel Aviv beach has its own vibe - whether for surfers, drummers, the LBGT crowd, or the volleyball aficionados. Grab yourself a sunbed and umbrella, slop on some protection then lie back and count the shades of blue in the sea, whilst your sweetie lies beside you. Few things can be better.And fear not, if you’re alone (or at least not ‘loved up’) Tel Aviv still has plenty of charm for friends or solo travelers. With its endless streets cafes, lively promenade (with dedicated bike lanes, making for a perfect cycling outing or a Tel Aviv bike tour), and two port areas - the Namal and Jaffa port, it’s easy to while away the daylight hours strolling around, stopping for a light bite, cold lemonade or a cleverly-designed cocktail.Young woman walking on the beach in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Photo credit: © ShutterstockFrom Street Eats to Elegant DiningOnce the sun goes down, Tel Aviv really comes into its own with dining options. For those who keep kosher (i.e abide by the Jewish dietary laws), you’ll find plenty of options - from pizzerias to steakhouses, you won’t go hungry. The basic premises of ‘kosher’ means not mixing milk and meat products so if you’re curious to eat in one of these Tel Aviv kosher restaurants, you’ll need to choose first whether you’re in the mood for some creamy cheeses and milky desserts, or a schnitzel, steak or shawarma!As for vegetarians and vegans - well, Tel Aviv is a veritable paradise. The city is a world capital when it comes to plant-based eateries, drawing on its reputation for Mediterranean cuisine - for starters think olives, green vegetables, juicy fruits, hummus, falafel, sabich, tahini, and potato bourekas!If you’re on a budget, stop at Ha Kosem (which, in Hebrew means ‘The Magician’) - it’s one of the best falafel joints in the city, and the recipe for their chickpea ball creations is a closely guarded secret! For elegant vegan cuisine in Tel Aviv, try Meshek Barzilay in Neve Tzedek - creative plates combined with boho chic make for a memorable meal.Flowering magnolia tree in Jaffa. Photo credit: © ShutterstockTel Aviv Street Tours - Eating Like a LocalWhether you’re traveling as a part of a couple, wandering the city with a friend, or venturing out alone, if you’re a foodie then there’s no better way to see Tel Aviv than with a local guide, who can give you a whole new perspective on what’s good to eat. Join aTel Aviv street food tourif you need guidance.One of the most popular spots in the city is the Carmel Market - selling everything under the sun (from lemonade, pomegranates, and exotic spices to Shabbat tablecloths, toys, and souvenirs, a new and popular activity for foodies is to take a culinary tour. One tour we’d recommend is with Tal Goring, of ‘Loca Local’. Not only will she take you around the market, explaining its history and introducing you to the stall-owners, she’ll then help you buy produce from them. After this, you’ll stroll back to her house, have some mint tea, and then be taught how to prepare a few local dishes. Once cooked, you’ll all sit at her table and enjoy the fruits of your hard work. You’ll meet some new friends too, all fellow foodies! It doesn’t get more authentic than this.If you’re not a fan of cooking, then why not takeCarmel Market Food Tour? You’ll indulge in all kinds of local treats - from Yemenite bread and a variety of hummus spreads to purple olives, local cheese, and fine wines. Don’t fill up too fast either - the baked goods and sweet treats are to die for.Carmel Market Fruit stalls.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinHave an AdventurePart of the allure of a vacation is the chance to get out of your comfort zone so why not have an adventure and explore one of Tel Aviv’s diverse neighborhoods on your own? The streets are safe, almost everyone speaks English and we guarantee that the locals will be delighted to meet you - your average ‘Tel Avivi’ is notoriously friendly.Sarona- once home to German Templars, in Ottoman Palestine, Sarona boasts a covered market that’s a foodie’s paradise, and the architecture isn’t bad either!Florentin -hip and happening, this is the best place in the city to take a street art tour and see why Tel Aviv’s a rising star in this field. Florentin is named for Solomon Florentin, who owned this land in the late 1920s.Neve Tzedek -one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods, and full of tiny, winding streets, it's hard not to fall in love with this place. Literally, the name of the neighborhood means Abode of Justice, it is also one of the names for God.The Namal- Tel Aviv Port, known in short as the Namal, is one of the most popular attractions in Tel Aviv with 4.3 million visitors annually. It has a boardwalk and a lively food market.Jaffa- with its winding alleys, picturesque galleries, charming flea market, and ancient buildings, this is a must-visit attraction when you’re on vacation. Wander at leisure, or take a Jaffa Flea Market TourRothschild Boulevard- this elegant and stylish boulevard is home to a number of extraordinary beautiful 1930s and 1940s buildings, renovated and remarkable. Take a classic Bauhaus tour and find out just why Tel Aviv’s known as the White City.Classical Bauhaus Architecture, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo credit: © ShutterstockOut on the TownTel Aviv’s got a well-deserved reputation for bars and clubs, and the mixology that’s going on is quite impressive too. Cocktail bars that you have to try include ‘Spicehaus’ (where drinks are served up in chemistry beakers), the Imperial (upscale and plush, with Asian-inspired bar bites), ‘Bellyboy’ with its outlandish and innovative drinks menu, and the classy ‘Library Bar’ at the Norman Hotel (which, arguably, serves the best martini in Tel Aviv).Jaffa and Florentin, in particular, are hotspots for nightlife and, in case you didn’t know, Tel Aviv has some fabulous bars and nightclubs. Florentin is a particularly young and trendy neighborhood, where a lot of 20-somethings live and when the sun comes down, it really starts to get lively. You can party to your heart’s content here until the wee small hours; indeed, some Tel Avivis go to ‘morning raves’ at the end of a party night out. Just remember, the real nightlife doesn’t get going here until about 2 am.Our tip: have a power nap before you head out!DJ in one of Tel Aviv clubs. Photo credit: © ShutterstockPrinted MatterIf you want to understand more about the vibe of Tel Aviv, there’s plenty you can read about (via the internet, or with books). We recommend:Tel Aviv Noir’ by Etgar Keret & Assaf Gavron -14 extremely readable stories, giving you the chance to see a more ‘hidden’ side of the city.‘When I Lived in Modern Times’ by Linda Grant -the story of a young girl arriving in Palestine as a state struggles to be born.‘Rhyming Life and Death’ by Amos Oz -the evocative story of an author who, bored with his fame, has traveled to Tel Aviv to promote his latest book.‘The Way to the Cats’ by Yehoshua Kenaz -a story of aging and uncertainty, which is a delightful read.Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinCulture and HistoryWhether you’re staying a couple of days or a couple of weeks, it’s always useful to figure out your itinerary and decide what your ‘must visit’ and ‘must do’ activities should include. Tel Aviv’s not just about beaches and food joints - it’s also the perfect place for a cultural odyssey, in the form of museums, galleries, and performance venues. When it comes to museums, you can take your pick! The Tel Aviv Museum of Modern Art houses impressive permanent and temporary exhibitions, Nahum Gutman’s house in Neve Tzedek showcases his paintings, the Steinhardt Museum is full of treasures of nature, the Ilana Goor Museum (Goor was self-taught and never studied art) is full of beautiful sculptures and the Rabin Centre gives you a little history into the life of Israel’s famous Prime Minister, who was tragically assassinated in 1995. If it’s a performance that you’re hankering after, then check out one of Tel Aviv’s numerous music and dance venues - Yarkon Park and the Nokia and Bloomfield Stadiums and the Zappa Club host live music and have hosted the great and the good, including Madonna, Ringo Starr, and the Rolling Stones. For classical music, take in a performance at the Mann Auditorium by the Israeli Philharmonic or some opera at the Cameri Theatre.Ilana Goor Museum, Jaffa.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinTheatre lovers won’t be disappointed at productions hosted by the Gesher troupe (who marry Russian classics with contemporary Israeli playwrights) or even some Yiddish theatre. And when it comes to dancing, you should not miss a performance of the famous Batsheva troupe, whose home is the beautiful Suzanne Dellal Centre in Neve Tzedek.You should also leave enough free time to wander around some places of historical interest unless you want to book a private Tel Aviv tour Israel’s Hall of Independence, on Rothschild Boulevard, is where David Ben Gurion proclaimed the famous Declaration of Independence in 1948. The Palmach Museum lets you experience the gripping story of the years leading up to the creation of Israel, by following a group of friends on their journey. And the Diaspora Museum is a must for anyone fascinated by the history of the Jews, spanning over two thousand years, from the time of Abraham to the modern-day state. A trip to any of these places will really give you a sense of modern-day Israel and help you understand the history of this fascinating country a little better.Minaret of a Sea Mosque in the Old City of Jaffa, Israel. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinRelax and Kick BackIt’s often been said that Tel Aviv’s the kind of city that tends to grow on visitors...at first glance, it seems noisy, crowded, and a bit chaotic, leaving you wondering if you should head for the hills! But as you get to know it, its charm and flair tend to seep inside you...leaving you craving just one more day on its streets. Of course, many people who visit the City that Never Sleeps don’t have too much time to stand still, so here are a few tips on how to get the most out of 2 days in Tel Aviv.Finally, whether you’re having a romantic break, exploring with friends, or spending some quality time with yourself, the most important thing is to relax and have a great time. The weather is so good for much of the year that you can walk everywhere (or be adventurous, and hire a City Bike or electric scooter). Soak up the atmosphere, grab an iced coffee or some mint tea, and hit those streets. Decide on one of various Tel Aviv day tours. After your obligatory falafel, stroll on the promenade and chillout time, gaze at a glorious sunset over the Mediterranean, take a breath and remind yourself that you’re on vacation - and you deserve to be enjoying it.Tourist on the beach, Tel Aviv. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
By Sarah Mann

7 Tips for an Ideal Vacation in Jerusalem

Seven is often considered to be a lucky number, especially in Western culture. But it’s incredibly auspicious in Jewish tradition too. Why? Well, seven represents God’s creation of the world (six days for the physical, then the seventh day of rest - for Jews, Shabbat). The Jewish holiday of freedom - Passover - has seven days. Under the Jewish wedding canopy, where the bride and groom stand, a rabbi will recite seven blessings. In the Bible, there are mentions of the seven species, with which the land of Israel is blessed. Even Israel’s national symbol, the menorah (candelabrum) has seven branches! So when planning your ideal vacation in Jerusalem, we thought we’d carry on the tradition and give you seven tips to make it everything you hoped it would be…The Western Wall.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin1. How Many Days Should I Stay? What Season is Best?How long should you spend in Jerusalem? Well, how long is a piece of string? No, seriously, Jerusalem is so extraordinary, so magical and so spectacular that some might argue you could spend a lifetime there (or at least your entire vacation). But let’s work on the basis that you’re not coming to stay forever - meaning that you will need to plan your itinerary according to how long you have for your entire trip to Israel (factoring in places such as the Galilee, the Negev desert, the Golan Heights and - of course - the non-stop city of Tel Aviv). We think that at the very least you will need 2 full days to explore the main attractions (the endless sites in the Old City, the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem, and Mahane Yehuda Market) but you’d be on your feet all day and barely scrape the surface of the city. If you have more time, allow 3-5 days which will let you move at a more leisurely pace and see Bethlehem, or even take a day trip to the Dead Sea and Masada. In terms of when to travel, the most popular months to visit Jerusalem are April to October (unless you can’t bear the heat, in which case skip July and August). The spring and fall are always lovely in Jerusalem, whilst winter days are more chilly and rainy (once in a while, the city even gets snow), although attractions will definitely be less crowded in the colder months. Do remember to check when the major Jewish and Christian Holidays fall - Passover, Easter, Sukkot (a Jewish harvest festival) and Christmas are always very busy and flights, accommodations, and attractions all book up way in advance.Jerusalem in winter. View from Mt Scopus. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin2. What Kind of Trip Should I Take?Choosing how to travel very much depends both on your budget or personality. GuidedJerusalem day tours are ideal for anyone who doesn’t want complications and hassle on their holiday or doesn’t want to travel alone. Whether you’re interested in history, religion, or archaeology, there’s a Jerusalem tour package that will suit your needs, and guides in Israel are incredibly well-versed in everything that makes the country so fascinating.However, it’s also easy and safe to travel independently and, if and when you feel the urge for company, you can always take an organized Jerusalem day tour. Since you will land at Ben Gurion airport (which is about 40 minutes drive from Tel Aviv) you will need to travel to Jerusalem under your own steam - either by train or with an airport transfer. Once in the city, there are all kinds of day tours on offer - for art lovers at museums, foodies at Mahane Yehuda Market, and history buffs within the ancient walls of the Old City.Tower of David, Jerusalem. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin3.Do I Need a Visa? What About My Driver’s Licence?For a large number of tourists, no visa is required and you will automatically be granted a 90-day stay, at Ben Gurion Airport. If you are not one of the lucky ones covered under this Exemption Agreement, then you will need to apply for a visa. More information about this can be found on this dedicated Foreign Ministry page. Renting a car is easy and not particularly costly - all you need is a valid driver’s license and your passport and you’re good to go. For more information about driving in Israel as a tourist, click here. Just remember, once you’re off, that you’re in the Levant, and the driving might be a bit more ‘chaotic’ than what you’re used to, in Europe or America!Moses Montefiore Windmill, Jerusalem.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin4. What Kind of Accommodation Should I Book?Jerusalem is awash with accommodation, ranging from the cheap and cheerful to the utterly decadent. It goes without saying that much of this decision is about the budget (and yes, we’re sorry, but staying in Jerusalem is expensive, whichever way you cut it). However, there are plenty of humble lodgings and modest places for rent, which are both clean and comfortable. If you’re looking for privacy but still want some comfort, try the Agron Hostel, located between downtown Jerusalem and leafy Rehavia. There’s also the Austrian Hospice (run by priests and nuns) located on the Via Dolorosa in the Old City, which affords marvelous views from its terrace. (Our tip: try their apple strudel - it’s homemade and delicious!). And if you want to splash the cash, well - don’t worry! Classy Jerusalem hotels like the Mamilla, King David and Wardolf Astoria won’t leave you disappointed. With their amazing views, fine dining and stunning architecture, we guarantee you won’t regret the experience. And, after all, you’re on vacation, so why not treat yourself to a touch of luxury?View of Jerusalem from the roof of the Austrian Hospice. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin5. What Should I See? How Do I Fit in as Much as Possible?Jerusalem is a city with an enormous amount to see - both inside the walls of the Old City and outside. Whether you’ve two days or twenty, you don't want to miss the ‘classic’ sites i.e. the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, not to mention the surrounding Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane and perhaps a tour of the city’s underground tunnels! Luckily for you, we’ve already done the research and compiled a list of the city’s top attractions, entitled “Jerusalem: Top Activities and Tours”.And whilst we’re on the subject, the museums and art galleries of the city are a great treat for visitors, as is a stroll in some of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods (tranquil Ein Kerem, bustling, lively Nachlaot, and the trendy German Colony). Another way of approaching it is to combine Jerusalem with some other sites. Why not try a Jerusalem, Masada, and Dead Sea tour - an unforgettable three-day experience. Or, for pilgrims, head up to the North and the West Bank for a break, with a Christian Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem tour? A monk in Jerusalem.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinAnd if you prefer to be alone, exploring with one of our experienced guides, go ahead and book one of Jerusalem private tours - it can be customized exactly to your specific requirements. Jerusalem has sights that many people have never even heard about - such as Marc Chagall’s magnificent stained glass windows, at the Hadassah Hospital. With their exquisite color, each window depicting one of the twelve tribes of Israel, they are a must-see for any modern art lover.Another hidden gem, often overlooked, is the Museum of Islamic Art, close to Katamon. Housing ancient pages of the Quran, pottery, glass, and luxury items such as jewelry and ornaments, it tells the story of Islamic art from the 7th to the 19th century and has justly earned its reputation for being one of the most important collections of its kind in the world.Jerusalem Knights Festival-2018.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin6. What Should I Read to Prepare Myself?Preparing for a trip to Jerusalem also involves transporting yourself back in time, via the printed word, and here are a few ‘classics’ to help you in this regard.The Bible - whether you’re a believer, an agnostic, or a committed atheist, there’s no doubt about it that the Bible is possibly one of the greatest pieces of literature around. As a collection of literary genres, written over many centuries, it encompasses letters, poetry, and some quite visionary writing. Arguably the world’s most famous, and popular book, it’s easy to purchase too. When in Jerusalem don't forget to visit the Bible Lands Museumdedicated to the history of the people of the Bible.“The Jewish War“by Joseph Flavius - this wonderfully detailed and evocative account of the Jewish rebellion against Rome between 66 and 70 AD (culminating in a mass suicide at the Masada Fortress) is marked by all kinds of treacheries and atrocities. Flavius’ account provides much of what we know about the history of the Jews under Roman rule. Riveting.Oculusin thedomeof the Church of the HolySepulchre.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin“A Tale of Love and Darkness“by Amos Oz - Oz is a giant in the field of Israeli literature and his beautiful autobiography is guaranteed to move even the hardest heart. Telling the tale of his childhood, growing up in Jerusalem, during the last years of the British Mandate and before the establishment of the modern Israeli state, Oz dazzles and his words move many to tears, and his story is so compelling, you may well not be able to put the book down. Translated into 28 languages, it has sold over a million copies to date. A true masterpiece.“The Master and Margarita“by Mikhail Bulgakov - a story of the supernatural and the mythical, this Russian author wrote with elements of romanticism, realism, and mysticism. His rich and buoyant narrative moves back and forth between Moscow and ancient Jerusalem, weaving into the pages scenes that range from a Satanic ball to the murder of Judas in Gethsemane. A Russian classic!TheGardenofGethsemane, Jerusalem. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin“The Book of Intimate Grammar” by David Grossman - Grossman is another one of Israel’s great novelists and he does not disappoint in this beautiful novel. The protagonist, Aron Kleinfeld, is the ringleader amongst the boys in his Jerusalem neighborhood, set in a time of ‘false’ innocence, just before the Six-Day War in 1967. The book mirrors the author’s perception of Israeli society at that time - reflective, insecure, and complex. Grossman’s insights into adolescent psychology are right on the money.“The Innocent Abroad”by Mark Twain - by all accounts, Twain did not enjoy his trip to the Holy Land, complaining bitterly and endlessly about desolate landscapes and rocky terrain. The one exception he made was for Jerusalem, where he stated: “Perched on its eternal hills, white and domed and solid, massed together and hooped with high gray walls, the venerable city gleamed in the sun...the thoughts Jerusalem suggests are full of poetry, sublimity, and more than all, dignity.” Highly recommended!Jerusalem square.Photo credit: © Shutterstock7. Is It Safe?Many visitors arriving in Israel for the first time, feel a little nervous. We’re happy to alleviate your fears and tell you that traveling in Jerusalem is really very safe (although if you want to wander around Mea Shearim or the East of the city, you may feel more comfortable with a guide). The streets are extremely safe to walk, but if you want a bit more reassurance, then there are also plenty of day tours on offer. Public transport is cheap and efficient, and almost everyone speaks English. Something else - Israelis love to help so the chances are that if you stop one and ask for directions, you might well end up being invited for coffee or if you’re lucky, Shabbat dinner! And once you’ve done that, you really will want to stay forever (or at least begin planning your next vacation in Jerusalem... Enjoy yourself in the beautiful, awe-inspiring, and quite unique city called Jerusalem!Antique shop in the covered alleyway of Jerusalem Old City Market. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
By Sarah Mann

How to Plan Your Perfect Vacation in Israel

There’s nothing we all look forward to more than a good vacation and after a year of Corona, we’ve never needed one more than now! Of course, life after the pandemic means we’re a lot more health-conscious and we want to stay as safe as possible when travelling abroad. That’s why Israel, whose vaccination record is the envy of the world, is a great choice. Here are a few tips from us on how to make it a trip you’ll never forget:Jerusalem courtyard.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin1. Vaccines and Travel InsuranceLet’s start with the question on everyone’s mind - what are the Corona regulations? Well, first of all, and it probably goes without saying, all visitors will need to have been vaccinated. From 23rd May 2021, along with a Vaccination Certificate (or Certificate of Recovery), you’ll be able to enter Israel but only as part of an organized tour package. It is hoped that by July, this will be extended to individual travelers.The following guidelines apply to all tourists:No more than 24 hours before you fly, fill out a passenger statement form - once approved, you will have entry clearance.Take a COVID-19 PCR test at least 72 hours before departureAfter arriving at Ben Gurion airport, show both the entry clearance and negative COVID-19 test result to staff.Take another COVID-19 test at the airport, as well as a serology test (to show that there are antibodies in your blood).If the results are good, you’re free to start enjoying yourself! Don’t forget to carry a copy of your Vaccination Certificate on you, whilst traveling, to show where necessary. We should also point out that Israel has a healthcare system that is the envy of the world so, in the event that you do feel unwell, you will be assured of first-class treatment (by the way, nearly all medical professionals here speak excellent English). Just make sure you have comprehensive cover from a good travel insurance policy.Tourist at HaBonim Beach, Israel.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin2. When? Low or High Season?Another excellent question. Israel has a subtropical climate, with long, hot summers and cool winters (although not too much rain and quite a few sunny days). If you love the heat (and sunning yourself on a beach) and then July to September will suit you perfectly (remember that in Jerusalem, the heat is dry but on the coast, it is more humid). However, if you want to hike in the Negev or Arava desert (or ski at Mount Hermon!), then the winter months will suit you better.The high season in Israel isn't just the summer though - it also includes the Jewish holidays (Passover in April and the High Holidays in September/October). Prices will be higher than and attractions busier. As a rule of thumb, spring and fall are always recommended for a vacation, with plenty of blue-skied and sunny days, allowing you to travel in shorts and sandals and eat outdoors at night. And if you want to travel in January and February, whilst it may be a little more cold and rainy, it still won’t resemble the wintery months of Europe - and there will be less of a crowd at the major attractions.Spring in Latrun, Israel.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin3. Plotting an ItineraryA lot depends on how long you’re coming for - 7 days or 2 weeks in Israel- and it is never enough. At present, you need to travel as part of an organized tour package which actually has many advantages in any event - the services of an experienced tour guide, the chance to see a lot in a short space of time, pre-booked accommodation and the opportunity to make new friends. Whilst it’s possible to pack a lot in, over a week, we’d recommend one of Israel and Jordan tour packages, which, as well as offering you all kinds of Israel attractions, include a free day (useful for relaxing, shopping, and sunbathing!) and a day trip to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.View from Rosh Hanikra, Israel.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin4. Choose your Travel Style/PartnerOnce you’ve booked your vacation, think about what kind of trip you want it to be - are you a solo traveler, a couple, a family, interested in a historical/archaeological tour, or visiting as a pilgrim?Solo travelers - hopefully, by July 2021, solo travel will be permitted once more. Israel’s a very easy country to explore alone - almost everyone speaks English and public transport is cheap and air-conditioned. And if you do find yourself wanting either the services of a guide or a bit of company, there are a wide range of day tours in Israel to choose from.For couples - if you’ve rented a car, why not spend a couple of nights at a zimmer? These privately-owned units can be found all over the country, and are often quiet, pastoral, and very romantic - the perfect place to get away from it all.For families - Israel's an incredibly child-friendly destination. Whether it's a museum, nature reserve, water park, beach, or zoo, your kids are bound to have a ball.For historians - if you love history or archaeology, you’ve hit the motherload. Classical tour packages give you the opportunity to explore extraordinary sites such as Jerusalem,Rosh Hanikra, and Masada.Pilgrimage - a visit to Israel is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Christian pilgrims and Christian tour packages are a fantastic way to enjoy what is bound to be both an emotional and moving journey, whilst you walk in the footsteps of Jesus.Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin5. Visas and FormalitiesFor many visitors, obtaining a visa for your Israel vacation is not an issue. In such cases, entry for 90 days is automatic (don’t forget your Corona Vaccination Certificate!) It is a good idea to check and see if you are on the list of countries with which Israel has an Exemption Agreement. If you are not, you can find further information about visa applicationson the country’s Foreign Affairs dedicated page.Tourists in Jerusalem.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin6. Booking AccommodationIsrael has all kinds of accommodation available - from luxurious five-star hotels and romantic zimmers, to self-catering apartments, youth hostels, campsites, and even Bedouin tents! Kibbutz accommodation gives visitors a chance to see how Israelis live, as does renting a small apartment in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, where you will quickly get to know the neighborhood. Many places offer a reasonable cancellation policy, and never more so than now. When booking any kind of accommodation make sure to check that you can cancel your stay at short notice - flexibility really matters!Nimrod's castle.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin7. Transportation in IsraelTraveling around Israel is easy, whether you prefer public transport, taxis, car rental, or the services of a personal driver, it’s up to you. From Ben Gurion airport - taxis can be found by a stand outside the entrance to the arrival gate. There is also a reasonably priced train service that runs frequently to all major cities in Israel. Airport transfers are an excellent idea for those who want peace of mind.Buses and trains - public transport in Israel is good - buses run often and are cheaply priced - a good idea is to buy an electronic green Rav Kav card and load it up with the money. The new train route between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem takes only 29 minutes and at a cost of 21.50 NIS ($6.50) is a bargain. Please note that there is no public transport on Shabbat (i.e 2 hours before Shabbat begins on Friday and an hour after it ends on Saturday). Of course, if you aretraveling in Israel as part of a guided tour, this won’t be a problem.Taxi in Jerusalem street.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinTaxi - you can hail taxis on the street easily or use the ‘Gett’ app.Renting a car - this is easy and not too costly.Guided tours in Israel- to maximize what you can see in a day, and skip the hassle of driving, why not take a guided day tour? All of our guides are experienced and knowledgeable and we use comfortable air-conditioned buses (ideal in the hot summer months).Sataf Forest, Judean highlands.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin8. Top AttractionsIt’s hard to know what to see first in Israel. Jerusalem is a must, of course - both the Old City, which is home to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western (Wailing) Wall, Dome of the Rock and many other places of great historical significance. Outside the ancient walls, the Israel Museum (a treasure trove of art, sculptures, and home to the Dead Sea Scrolls) and Yad Vashem (Israel’s incredibly moving Holocaust museum) are must-visits. Nor should anyone leave Jerusalem without a visit to the lively, bustling Mahane Yehuda market. In the north of the country, the Sea of Galilee and the many pilgrim sites (the Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Yardenit) are always popular, and a short drive north, to the Golan Heights, is a delight in itself, not just for the scenery but as a chance to explore some boutique wineries. On the coast, don’t forget Haifa (with the impressive Bahai Gardens) the beautiful Crusader City of Acre and Caesarea, with its impressive Roman ruins. Jerusalem rooftop view.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinNo trip to Israel would be complete without a swim in the Dead Sea and a visit to Masada, the ancient fortification located high in the Judean desert. Ascend by cable car (or if you’re fit, climb up the winding path) and enjoy outstanding views. If you like the desert, Mitzpe Ramon (with its crater) and Timna Park in the Arava are perfect hiking spots and from Timna, Eilat, on the Red Sea, is just a hop, skip, and a jump.Don’t forget to spend a couple of days in Tel Aviv too. The White City as it is known, because of its beautiful Bauhaus buildings, is packed with cafes, restaurants, small stores, fine museums, and some phenomenal beaches (all with their own unique flavor). With its wonderful promenade (Tayelet) from which you can walk all the way from the Old Port (Namal) to historic Jaffa, local coffee shops, and lazy beat, Tel Aviv is the ideal way to end your perfect vacation.Tel Aviv coastline.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin9. Calendar of Local EventsThere are cultural events happening year-round in Israel, so whatever time of the year you visit, the chances are that there will be something great to see, hear or do. If you’re in Tel Aviv in the spring, don’t miss the Annual ‘Leila Levan’ (‘White Night’) where the city comes to life with free performances in every neighborhood - jazz, opera, klezmer, and cover bands - from 8 pm until 5 am. Or why not catch some free opera in Yarkon Park (a huge green space in the city’s north), along with the locals? If you like to dance, don’t miss the Batsheva troupe, whose home is the Suzanne Dellal Center in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood, or a show at the Cameri Theatre (we’d recommend ‘The Wandering Israeli’). You should also try and visit the impressive amphitheater at Caesarea and enjoy a performance by some Israeli or international singer. And for jazz aficionados, you can’t do better than make a trip down to the Red Sea - their annual Jazz Festival in Eilat offers world-class music with spectacular views thrown in for good measure. In Jerusalem don't miss the Israel Festival with 3 weeks of performances around the city, as well as the Jerusalem Festival of Light.Jerusalem Knights Festival-2018.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin10. A Little HebrewWhilst almost everyone in Israel speaks some English (and many speak it fluently) it’s always a good idea to learn a few words and phrases beforehand. Not only will it make your life a little easier, but you can have fun at the Israeli ‘shuks’ (markets) when bargaining for souvenirs. Modern Hebrew looks intimidating (especially because of the way it's written!) but once you’ve learned a few expressions, you’ll be surprised at how simple it can be. You’ll also be amazed at how pleased locals are to hear you making an effort - there’s nothing like thanking someone in their own language to put a smile on their face. Check out our Hebrew-English dictionary for visitors for some tips.Banias Nature Reserve.Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe choice between traveling on your own andpre-arranged tour packagesis often a pain. Israel’s a small country so it’s easy to cover a lot of ground quickly, but there’s no doubt that it punches above its weight in every respect - weather, food, landmarks, scenery, cultural events, and pristine beaches. Whether you’re a culture vulture, a foodie, a pilgrim, or a sun-lover, there’s a perfect vacation waiting for you.
By Sarah ,Mann

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

48 Hours in Tel Aviv - How to Get the Most of 2 Days in Tel Aviv

Well, it’s official - Tel Aviv has just been named by Forbes as the second-best city in the world to visit in 2020 (disclosure: the White City was only beaten by Sin City...aka Las Vegas). And for anyone who’s visited here, this decision will come as no surprise. With its miles of pristine, sandy beaches, eclectic foodie scenes, and diverse neighborhoods (historic and hipster) you’re spoilt for choice with ways to enjoy yourself. Here’s our guide to 48 action-packed hours in Tel Aviv, a taste of a city that we guarantee will leave you longing for more.Day 1A) Namal PortThe majority of Tel Aviv tours start at the Namal Port. Originally built in the 1930s and used to store Israel’s most successful export - Jaffa Oranges - the hangers are still in evidence. Today, however, it’s more of a commercial hub, with a wonderful boardwalk, plenty of fashionable stores and restaurants, and a Friday Farmer’s Market that sells high-end local produce. After you’ve wandered the area, grab a coffee or ‘limonada’ (Israelis take theirs with mint) and begin strolling south, along the promenade (‘Tayelet’) along the endless Tel Aviv beaches. Each has its own unique flavor (some are popular with surfers or dancers, others with dog-lovers of the gay community) but all have fine white sand, clear water, benches to sit and take in the view, and even free workout stations (incredibly popular with the locals, who love to stay in shape). You could also join a Tel Aviv bike tourand experience the city’s vibrant atmosphere, top landmarks, and fantastic weather riding along the beachfront promenade andthrough Park HaYarkon, along the banks of the Yarkon River where there are expansive green lawns, lush gardens, and shady trees.Or discover the mouth-watering blend of spices that go into traditional Tel Aviv street snacks like sabich on a classicalTel Aviv street food tour.B) Yemenite Quarter and the Carmel MarketAfter around 45 minutes, you’ll hit the Yemenite Quarter, a maze of alleyways, part-renovated, part-dilapidated, but full of charm. Wander the narrow streets, then tour the Carmel Market, orShuk haCarmel, Tel Aviv’s most lively and colorful bazaar which is a hive of activity before the Jewish Shabbat begins on Friday night. Take in the Levantine smells, purchase some local spices to take home, then grab lunch at Shlomo and Doron (a grandfather and grandson team) renowned for their affordable hummus, and delicious vegan toppings. Afterward, sit with the locals at Beer Bazaar, one of the market’s most popular hangouts, which stocks over 100 different craft beers from around the country. It’s always lively, with occasional musical performances as the day wears on. Walk five minutes down to the beach and watch the sun go down over the Mediterranean.C) Rothschild BoulevardAfter a quick nap, take an early evening stroll along Rothschild Boulevard, one of Tel Aviv’s most iconic streets, crammed full of Bauhaus buildings, a style that originated in 1930s Germany and which gave Tel Aviv the name of ‘White City’. To see the stunning Tel Aviv murals, join a Tel Aviv street art tour.There’s no shortage of good restaurants in the neighborhood - we’d recommend Cafe Noir, a long-established European-style bistro, with seating areas that cater both to romantic dates and those inclined to a more buzzy atmosphere. It’s rumored that they serve the best chicken schnitzel in town, but don’t take our word for it!Stroll home leisurely whilst watching Tel Aviv’s young crowd head out for fun - the city has one of the most enviable nightlife scenes in the world and it’s rumored that things rarely get started before 2 am!Day 2A) JaffaBegin your day in the ancient port of Jaffa, with a history that stretches ack 4,000 years. Wander the narrow streets (named after zodiac signs) and pop into some of the many art galleries in the neighborhood. Walk through the Abrasha Park (with its stunning views) - this area is home to St Peter’s Church (with its Spanish baroque style), the ‘Gate of Faith’ statue (made of marble from the Galilee), and the ‘Smiling Whale’ sculpture.A short stroll away is the Jaffa Flea Market and whilst the second-hand section is closed on Shabbat, there are plenty of stores, cafes, and restaurants to enjoy.For lunch, we’d recommend the quirky Pua, which has been around forever but retains a special charm. The food is fresh and simple but moderately priced and beautifully served, and the portions are enormous. Moreover, it offers plenty of vegetarian and vegan options (including pumpkin dumplings, red tahini, and fried cauliflower). Don’t hesitate to order a jug of their lemonade to go with your meal. (Fun fact: every piece of furniture in the restaurant is for sale). Another option is to join a guided Jaffa Flea Market tour "From Shuk to Chic" so that a local guide couldtake you through the labyrinth of lanes where junk, carpets, antiques and restored furniture spill out onto the sidewalk.B) Neve TsedekFrom Jaffa, take a leisurely stroll along the beachfront to Neve Tsedek, one of Tel Aviv’s oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods. Wander down Shabazi Street (the main thoroughfare), peruse the boutiques and jewelry stores then pop into the Anita gelateria for a sweet treat, or enjoy a coffee at Suzanna, a long-standing local haunt with a lovely garden in which to sit. Neve Tsedek is also packed full of cultural treasures including the Suzanne Dellal Centre (a cultural center, which is home to Israeli dance) and the Rubin Museum (who painted in a style similar to that of Matisse and was occasionally referred to as the ‘Gaugin of Palestine!’)C) Dizengoff StreetSpend your evening on Dizengoff Street which, like Rothschild Boulevard, has to be experienced. Named after the city’s first mayor, it has a bit of everything - fine-dining, casual coffee shops, glamorous cocktail bars and it’s the newly-renovated central square, complete with fountain, chairs, and trees that provide shade in the scorching summer months. Enjoy a ‘Happy Hour’ cocktail at Spicehaus (a ‘concept’ bar where the staff dress as pharmacists and the skeleton at the door reminds of your old school biology lab). Drinks are served, appropriately, in potion bottles of three sizes - and we recommend the Istanbul-Louisville Express (with gin, lychee, aloe vera, and rose flavoring). Then, a stone’s throw from the bar, have dinner at La Shuk, serving elegant, Mediterranean food (think fresh seafood, kebabs, and a medley of vegetable dishes). This is a hot spot (with a patio that’s perfect for people-watching) so be sure to make a reservation in advance.Dizengoff is always lively on a Saturday night, and so if you’ve any remaining energy, there’s always going to be a bar or coffee shop to wile away your last hour or two.
By Sarah Mann
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