Israel may be a small nation but is filled with great diversity. From the history, culture and natural attractions there is so much you can do and see! We spent nearly a month in Israel and have shortlisted in no particular order the top ten places to visit in Israel – you can’t leave without seeing these! Are these sites on your list yet? Take note!
Mediterranean Sea – via Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa
Don’t let Israel’s Middle-Eastern location fool you, the country also has an amazing coastline spanning north to south on the Mediterranean Sea. Tel Aviv is a laid back and modern beach city, but anywhere along the coast you can find crystal clear water just waiting for you to jump in. Take advantage of the warm weather and calm waters!
Sea of Galilee
As soon as you descend from the hills down to the Sea of Galilee you will immediately feel a calm that covers the whole area. Stay in Tiberias, the main town on the lake and venture out around the Galilee to explore wineries, the hometown of Jesus and the Jordan River.
Jerusalem: Western Wall
The Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem is such an icon of Israel and speaks of the history, struggles and faith of the Jewish people. Take the time to venture up close to this epic wall, witness the prayers and see the papers jammed in every crack – an experience you won’t quickly forget.
Jerusalem: Temple Mount
Similarly, the Temple Mount and golden Dome of the Rock dominate the landscape of Jerusalem. While visiting hours are slim, make the effort to visit the Temple Mount to witness another piece of the story of Jerusalem’s history. The courtyards are relatively quiet and the tile mosaic tiles are amazing up close.
Jerusalem: Garden Tomb
The Garden Tomb is a lesser-known location of the death and burial of Jesus. The other location most assume is correct is the massive church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City, however upon visiting the Garden Tomb we were struck with the humble authenticity of the location. Of course you will come across the Holy Sepulchre on any meander through the Old City but don’t forget to venture just outside the walls to this quiet and eye-opening spot, to make up your own mind.
While most historical holy sites are dominated by church memorials or buried under years of rubble, the Garden of Gethsemane is one of the few natural sites left in Jerusalem from the time of Jesus. Obviously it doesn’t look exactly the same however some of the trees in this garden are dated at 2000 years old! If these trees could talk…
Outside of the history and religion of Jerusalem, you can’t miss visiting the Machane Yehuda markets. Its where the locals shop and is packed with fresh produce, pastries, souvenirs and knick knacks. Tel Aviv also has a range of markets for every product. They often have some great small restaurants and stalls that sell fresh and reasonably priced food. Don’t miss the most amazing pasta at Pasta Basta!
One of the most unique places on earth has to be the Dead Sea. At a salinity of 30%, swimming in this lake will have you bobbing like a cork in the ocean! Not to mention the abundance of minerals in the water and the spa treatments available using Dead Sea mud. Drive out from Jerusalem or stay a couple of days in this peaceful oasis.
The Desert Fortress of Masada
Not far from the Dead Sea, at the edge of the wilderness, lies the desert fortress of Masada. This fortress was home to King Herod’s palace hideout and was also the location for the last Jewish rebels against the Romans in 70 AD. Hike the snake path or ride the cable car to the top for amazing views in every direction.
While Petra technically isn’t in Israel but in the neighbouring nation of Jordan, it is an unmissable day trip to take from either Jerusalem or Eilat. This ancient lost city was only rediscovered in the 1800s and consequently is amazingly preserved. There are not many words to describe this wonder of the world, except: ‘Go there!’
Have you been to Israel? What were your must-see attractions? For more information on Israel feel free to comment below or look under Israel on the travel tab to see more of our trip. Don’t forget to pin this post!