The Complete 2-Week Israel Itinerary

By Petal Mashraki | Published on 4/1/2021
You’ve decided to visit Israel, that’s great! Now you need to plan your itinerary and the Israel tours you want to take. To cover all of Israel’s stunning sites from north to south you literally need to live here, but no panic, we have prepared a two-week Israel itinerary for you to enjoy the musts. The Holy Land is steeped with ancient history. There is a biblical landmark at every turn, and delicious Mediterranean food to tempt your taste buds in every city. This small yet vibrant country will surprise you with a holistic traveling experience. These are our recommendations for the Israel gems to visit and the top activities Israel has to offer.

People praying at the Western Wall

The Wailing Wall. Photo credit: © Shutterstock

Day 1: Welcome to Israel

After landing in Israel, spend your first day settling in and exploring Tel Aviv. Use this free day to see a local show, take a walk in Yarkon Park, or relax on Tel Aviv’s stunning beaches that stretch for 14km. Tel Aviv has excellent markets and some world-class museums. Indulge in a delicious meal at one of Tel Aviv’s top chef restaurants or discover the local street food.

On your first day in Israel, you could take a short excursion to nearby attractions, like the Ramat Gan Zoo, or the marina in Herzliya. At the southernmost point of Tel Aviv’s coastline is the old port city of Jaffa. Here you can wander the narrow stone alleyways, discover one-off art galleries, hunt for bargains in the Jaffa flea market, or take in the sea views.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

Zodiac Signs Fountain, Jaffa

Zodiac Signs Fountain, Jaffa. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin

Day 2: Tel Aviv

There is no better way to get to know a city than on two wheels. Today, join a Tel Aviv Bike Tour for an urban adventure. Cycle through Tel Aviv’s well-known streets and see some of the hidden gems. The bike tour takes you to Tel Aviv Port, a vibrant repurposed space for recreation and entertainment. Ride your bike along Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade, and through the scenic Yarkon Park.

Your guide will point out top landmarks, cultural sites, and some of the city’s famous Bauhaus buildings. You’ll see Rabin Square where Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated, and ride along chic Rothschild Boulevard. After today’s bike tour, you’ll know Tel Aviv’s back alleys as well as its most famous streets and monuments.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

Optional tours for this dayJaffa Flea Market tour, Graffiti and Street Art Tour 

See all Tel Aviv tours

Tel Aviv beachfront promenade

Tel Aviv Beach Promenade. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin

Day 3: Highlights of Israel’s Coastal Plain

Today is spent visiting some of the top tourist attractions along Israel’s Mediterranean coast. If you prefer comfort and hassle-free travel, this Caesarea, Acre, and Rosh Hanikra Guided Group Tour will be a smart choice. You will visit the ancient Roman ruins in Caesarea, and see the perfectly preserved Roman amphitheater. About 2,000 years ago, Herod the Great built an incredible port city at Caesarea.

Nowadays, the Caesarea Archaeological Park holds the remains of a palace, bathhouse, hippodrome, and Roman temples. The next stop is the Old City of Acre. Walk through Acre’s traditional Middle Eastern market and see Ottoman-era structures like the exquisite Al-Jazzar Mosque. Admire the underground Crusader city built by the Knights Templar. Continue to the northernmost point on Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Take a cable car down into the breathtaking limestone sea caves of Rosh HaNikra, and see waves crashing against openings in the rock. 

Overnight: Tel Aviv

Optional tours for this day: Acre and the Western Galilee Private Tour, The Carmel Coast and Druze Village Private Tour 

Rosh Hanikra Grottoes near the border to Lebanon                                                   

                                          Rosh Hanikra caves. Photo credit: ©  Dmitry Mishin

Day 4: Highlights of the Galilee

Leave Tel Aviv and travel north to the heavenly countryside of Galilee. Start your trip in Christ’s childhood hometown, Nazareth. If you join an organized Nazareth and Sea of Galilee Tour you will have a chance to visit the magnificent Annunciation Church (the place where the Angel Gabriel told Mary of her future son) with a guide who will share its amazing history with you. In the crypt of St. Joseph’s Church, you will see the traditional site of Joseph’s carpentry and the Holy family home.

Leaving Nazareth, continue to Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine and the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. Stop to see the excavated home of Saint Peter at Capernaum. And visit nearby Tabgha, the site of the Church of the Multiplication. Drive along the shore of the Sea of Galilee past Tiberias, a major city established in 20BC. Don't forget to make a stop where the Sea of Galilee meets the Jordan River, at the well-known baptismal site of Yardenit.  

Overnight: Galilee Kibbutz hotel

Optional tours for this day: Sea of Galilee, Cana, Magdala & Mt. of Beatitudes Tour, Mt. Tabor, Tsipori, Beit Shearim Private Tour 

St. Joseph's Franciscan Roman Catholic church in the Old City of Nazareth

St. Joseph's Church, Nazareth. Photo credit:© Dmitry Mishin

Day 5: Golan Heights from Tel Aviv

Travel to the Golan Heights mountain range which forms a natural border between Syria and Israel. The mountains are covered with woodlands, vineyards, farms, and quaint villages. Your Golan Heights tour takes you through picturesque scenery, past Hamat Gader hot springs, and to the Shalom Observatory. From here, you can see Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Make the next stop at Katzrin, a settlement known as the “Capital of the Golan.”

Explore Katzrin’s ancient synagogue and excavated 3rd to 6th-century Jewish village. Visit Katzrin’s Golan Antiquities Museum and learn about the nearby Second Temple Era city of Gamla. Continue along the Golan Heights to Mount Bental. Once a Syrian outpost, this historical site still has trenches and bunkers from the 1967 Six-Day War. Throughout your tour of the Golan, you will have stunning views across Galilee.

Overnight: Jerusalem

Optional tours for this dayGolan Heights Private Tour, Golan Heights, and Safed Tour 

See all Galilee and Golan One Day Group tours

Tourist enjoying the beautiful view at the Golan Heights

Golan Heights. Photo credit: © Shutterstock

Day 6: Free Day in Jerusalem

This is a free day to explore Jerusalem. You can visit the famous Mahane Yehuda Market, or maybe wander the lanes of Jerusalem’s Old City. If you love finding hidden gems, then visit the Montefiore Windmill, the American Colony Hotel, or the Museum on the Seam. Do some shopping in the huge Malcha Mall, the chic Mamilla Mall, or the Old City bazaar

Ein Kerem is one of Jerusalem’s most beautiful neighborhoods where stone houses drip with bougainvillea and quaint cottages have been turned into restaurants and art galleries. Ein Kerem is the traditional hometown of Saint John the Baptist, and this village within a city has several impressive churches. You might decide to use your free day to relax, or even go hiking in one of the spectacular nature reserves around Jerusalem.

Overnight: Jerusalem

Street market in the Old City of JerusalemJerusalem market. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin

Day 7: Full-Day in Jerusalem

On day seven of this Israel tour itinerary, we recommend seeing the highlights of Jerusalem. Start with a view of Jerusalem’s cityscape from Mount Scopus. Next, enter the Old City and explore the top attractions (better with a guided Jerusalem tour) including the excavated ancient Roman Cardo, and the Western Wall. The wall (or Kotel) was once part of the Jewish Temple that stood on Temple Mount and is the most sacred Jewish site in the world.

In the Christian Quarter, follow the iconic Via Dolorosa, as Jesus did when he walked towards Golgotha. The Via Dolorosa ends at the Holy Sepulcher Church, which is always a highlight for Christian travelers. This breathtaking 4th-century structure encompasses the final Stations of the Cross, including the site of Christ’s crucifixion, and His burial tomb. Leaving the Old City, the tour takes you for a drive through modern-day Jerusalem past important landmarks. The final stop on today’s tour is at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.

Overnight: Jerusalem 

Optional tours for this day: In the Footsteps of Jesus TourJerusalem Temple Mount & Dome of the Rock Tour

See all Jerusalem tours

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

Via Dolorosa. Photo credit: © Shutterstock

Day 8: Visit the West Bank

Visit Bethlehem and Jericho from Jerusalem - better with a West Bank Tour that will take you through the Judean Hills and past the Inn of the Good Samaritan. On route, you’ll see the Monastery of Saint George clinging to the cliffs of Wadi Kelt. Visit the biblical city of Jericho, built in c.8,000BC.

According to the Book of Joshua, the Israelites made the walls of Jericho fall by marching around the city for seven days. The tour stops at the famous sycamore tree climbed by Zacchaeus who was trying to get a better view of Jesus (Luke 19:1-10). Leaving Jericho, continue to Bethlehem where the first stop is at Manger Square. Here you can enter the 4th-century Church of the Nativity and see the Holy Grotto where Christ was born.

For Christian tourists, this is usually the most emotional part of the trip. Also visit the Church of Saint Catherine, where the annual Christmas Eve Mass is held. The return journey to Jerusalem takes you past Shepherds’ Field, where the shepherds received the news of Christ’s birth on the first Christmas Eve.

Overnight: Jerusalem 

Optional tours for this dayBethlehem Half Day Tour,  Jericho, Dead Sea, and the Jordan River Tour  

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Nativity Church, Bethlehem. Photo credit: © Shutterstock

Day 9: Masada and the Dead Sea from Jerusalem

On day nine, head to one of the most popular destinations in Israel - to southern Israel. The first stop is at Masada, a flat-topped mountain, where King Herod built a fortress over 2,000 years ago. You can ride the cable car to the summit and tour the remains of Herod’s fortress. If you choose to join a Masada guided tour, your guide will tell you the moving story of Jewish rebels who made the last stand against the Romans in the 70AD Jewish-Roman War.

The archaeological remains on Masada are incredible, and the views overlooking the Dead Sea are unforgettable. The second half of the day is spent at the Dead Sea; a bucket list item for most tourists. This unique body of water is nine times saltier than the ocean and packed with minerals. You’ll get time to relax on the beach, float in the water, and smother your skin with Dead Sea mud for a natural facial.  

Overnight: Ein Bokek

Optional tours for this day:  Full-Day Masada Private Tour,  The Dead Sea Relaxation Tour 

Sunrise at the Dead SeaThe Dead Sea. Photo credit: © Shutterstock

Day 10: Free Day on the Shore of the Dead Sea (Ein Bokek)

One day isn’t enough to indulge in the delights of the Dead Sea. So, use this leisure day to spend more time lazing on the beach, getting a beauty treatment at one of the Dead Sea spas, or exploring the surrounding area. Nearby is the Ein Gedi desert oasis with lush vegetation, idyllic streams, and waterfalls. Other attractions in the Dead Sea region include Qumran where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered and the salt caves of Sodom.

Overnight: Ein Bokek

Woman with a Dead Sea mud face mask at the Dead Sea spa resortThe Dead Sea Spa. Photo credit: © Shutterstock

Day 11: Free Day in Eilat

Today we recommend you to leave the Dead Sea and travel further south to Israel’s most popular beach city, Eilat. If you ask any Israeli where they’d like to spend their vacation the answer will be Eilat. This seaside resort on the shore of the Red Sea offers all the indulgent pleasures you’d expect from a top resort destination.

Try watersports, dive among the coral reefs, or even swim with dolphins. Eilat is a tax-free city, so everything is cheaper! There are several excellent malls, including the Ice Mall, which has an ice rink in the center. A free day means time on the Coral beach, shopping, and maybe a camel ride. End the day with a sunset cruise, and a sumptuous fish dinner. Eilat is also known for its beach bars, laid-back atmosphere, and dynamic nightlife.

Overnight: Eilat

Eilat bay with a sailing ship

Eilat. Photo credit: © Shutterstock

Day 12: Petra from Eilat

As part of this complete Israel tour itinerary, you also need to see Jordan’s top attraction - the ancient city of Petra, probably, better with an organized 1-day tour to Petra. Start day twelve early with a drive across the Arava border to the Kingdom of Jordan. Thousands of years ago the Nabataean people created Petra as a desert oasis that became a prosperous stop along the ancient Arabian trade routes.

The buildings, ornately decorated temples, and tombs of Petra were carved out of red rock cliffs. Take a walk along Petra’s colonnaded main street, and be amazed by the rock facades that tower above you. On the return journey to Eilat, you’ll travel through Wadi Rum, a desert wilderness made famous by Lawrence of Arabia. There may be time for a brief panoramic tour of Jordan’s Red Sea city, Aqaba before returning to Eilat.

Overnight: Eilat

Optional tours for this day: Petra One Day Tour from Eilat, Petra & Wadi Rum, 2 Days from Eilat

Petra rock tombs and caves, Jordan

Petra. Photo credit: © Shutterstock

Day 13: Timna, Mitzpe Ramon

Today leave Eilat and travel north through the heart of southern Arava, to Timna Park. Historical archaeological sites and unique geological features cover Timna’s unique landscape. The park is best known for its strange natural rock formations created millions of years ago by tectonic activity when the Great Rift Valley was formed. Timna is home to the world’s earliest copper mines which were used over 6,000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians.

At the heart of the park is Timna Lake where there are tourist facilities and activities. After an exhilarating day, the tour continues north to Tel Aviv passed Mitzpe Ramon, a town perched on the edge of the incredible Ramon Crater. The 40km-long crater was formed by natural erosion, over 220 million years ago. Standing on the rim of the crater and looking out across the Negev Desert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Overnight: Tel Aviv

Mountain goat in Mitzpe RamonMountain goat in Mitzpe Ramon. Photo credit: © Jenny Ehrlich

Day 14: Tel-Aviv-Your Last Day in Israel, Free Day and Departure

What an experience! On your last day in Israel, you can relax in your Tel Aviv hotel and reflect on the Israeli tours that have taken you from one end of the country to the other. Pack your bags at your leisure, and prepare to head off to Ben Gurion airport. Depending on the time of your flight, you might want to buy last-minute souvenirs or gifts for the family. Use this day to visit any places you still want to see, enjoy the Tel Aviv beaches, explore the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, or tour the Carmel market. Then, it's time to head off to Ben Gurion Airport and begin your journey home.

Charms to ward off the evil eye (hamsas) in Carmel Market, Tel Aviv

Carmel Market. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin

If you wish to cover the majority of these sites in Israel, go ahead and book a classical 10-day Israel tour. If you are interested in visiting Jordan as well, check this Israel and Jordan Tour Package, 12 Days. You can see the country’s top attractions without having to worry about transportation, open hours, or hotel bookings. You’ll have a mix of free days to explore, and tour days with a knowledgeable guide to show you the sites. With this itinerary, you can see the entire country.