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Abigail from Hong Kong asked

First trip to Israel, where are the best places to explore?

My boyfriend and I are heading to Israel in the fall for a month. We're pretty adventurous and love being outdoors and with the local culture. Where should we visit in Israel and what is it there that we should see? 


2 Answers
top answer by
Meir from Tel Aviv

Preparing to visit Israel means preparing to come to a country that has the whole spectrum of experiences to offer: On one hand there is Tel Aviv, 'The Mediterranean Capital of Cool', a 24 hours dynamic city, few cities on the globe can compete with it's night life, beaches, culture, gay openness. While on the other, pure virgin nature with all it's beauty diversity and serenity.  

Although the country is tiny, we may discuss three main areas you may want to cover: 

  1. The North
  2. Center: Tel Aviv & Jerusalem
  3. The South

Landing at Tel Aviv will be at Ben Gurion International Airport (Ben Gurion Airport) or (what looks like) inter galactic terminal. I guess the cheapest way from airport to town will be by train. It leaves from Ben Gurion terminal to a terminal in center of Tel Aviv, from there by taxi to your hotel.

Accommodation in Tel Aviv: You will off course land at Tel Aviv, the business and cultural center of Israel. You have all the range of accommodation options, from Gordon Inn to elegant hotels to pick from. My suggestion, whatever you may chose, make sure it's between Ben Yehuda St and the beach (Ben Yehuda street and the beach). This means that you will stay within a short walking distance from the beach (for morning jogging, evening promenade, or just sitting on the beach with a beer anytime...)  

A look from Tel Aviv towards Yafo St at sunset.

Transportation while in Tel Aviv - cycling! Friendliest, easiest way through town will be using bikes for rent. You will find them all over town, they are green...

Destinations in Tel Aviv: We've already mentioned the beach. You can still go to the beach and swim until end of October. Beside the points of interest you must have thought of, I'll just mention a few you don't want to miss:

  • Jaffa south of Tel Aviv, with emphasis on the flea market.  When done with the flea market continue to Old Jaffa Fishermen Harbor, nice atmosphere, quite a nice place to enjoy a beer at sunset. Flea market closed on weekend (Saturday), and the harbor is packed on weekend evening hours (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) Try to avoid... 
  • Tel Aviv Port (Old Tel Aviv Port area), quite nice for a stroll, any time of the day. Farmers Market on Fridays.
  • Nahalat Benyamin Arts and Crafts Market on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Tel Aviv Museum of Art), quite good museum if you are into art.
  • Beit Hatfutsot (The Museum of The Jewish People) Beit Hatfutsot, you may find it interesting ...since you are in the Jewish country. At the moment they have a temporary exhibition: Amy Winehouse, A Family Portrait. The museum is located in the heart of Tel Aviv University campus. An opportunity to enjoy a coffee among our somehow nervous students, or have your picnic on the lawns if the weather is nice.
  • Botanical Gardens, they belong to the university, located just behind the campus, I'll give it a 3 out of 5 stars. Worth a visit while there doesn't worth a special trip or detour.  
  • HaYarkon Park, nice for a stroll, jogging, at northern part of town, along the banks of the Yarkon river. 

Navigation while driving through the country - Waze! In case you don't know WAZE yet, it's the best navigation application you may find, and of course it was developed by Israelis.

Jerusalem: Beside anything you may plan there, my suggestion will be of course Old City. You will find yourself in an endless busy, bustling, colorful 'souk', market. Interesting by itself, but then do not miss the main attractions:

All of the sites are within walking distance one from the other, can be done within one day. For lunch, just ask the local guys in old city to direct you to Abu Shukri Restaurant hummus place or to Lina hummus place. They are about the best you may get in Jerusalem! A word of warning, at times things tend to be a bit unrestful in the Old City. Make sure you consult with the people at your hotel before going there.

North Israel: There is a lot to see and do all over the country, impossible to mention all in one post, therefore I'll stick to some of the highlights. We'll go from south to north, and west to east:

  • Haifa, biggest city in the north. Driving north from Tel Aviv, at Zichron Yaakov turn East to road 70, and then at Eliakim turn North (left) to road 672 this will take you to Haifa through a much nicer scenery. On your way you may want to stop at Zikhron Ya'akov for some wine sampling or for a snack at Druze village of Daliat-El Carmel. In Haifa I'd stop for the Baha'i Gardens (הגנים הבהאים), they dominate the view of Haifa and worth a visit. From the top you will also have a nice panorama of the city.
  • Achziv National Park, a 'Micro-Nation', on one of the most beautiful beaches of Northern Israel you will find Akhziv Land, you may even have your passport stamped. If you were looking for off the beaten track - there you are.
  • Rosh HaNikra Not far from the border with Lebanon you'll find the beautiful azure grottoes of Rosh Hanikra. You may stay at Akhziv and drive from there for a visit at the grottoes, like 5 km to the north.
  • Northern road 899 eastbound spectacular driving from the Mediterranean to Hula valley.  When you reach road 896 turn left, north, and drive to Manara for a beautiful panorama of the valley bellow.
  • Agamon Hula, if you arrive during the right season, you'll find a paradise of hundreds of thousands of migrating birds. A visit to the reserve is a must. Have a guided tour in a tractor-drawn safari wagon for an extra close candid visit to the birds. 
  • Golan Heights, tour, and to make it perfect, do not miss a visit to The Witches Cauldron!
  • Sea of Galilee, there are two options for accommodation, each of them beautiful in it's way: 1st. the upmarket option The Scots Hotelvery nice, very spoiling... 2nd. at Ramot just above the Galilee Sea, offering beautiful panoramic view from above.

South Israel: South Israel is the absolute arid contrast to North Israel. You will have to make your strategic choice in planning which you prefer to see first, what do you want your last impression to be... 

  • The Dead Sea, deepest place on the planet 430m bellow sea level, real Biblical atmosphere... My warmest recommendation for a place to stay is by all means Shkedi's Camplodge - חאן שקדי. There are plenty of very nice and spoiling hotels along the shores of the dead sea. The problem with all of them? They are all packed with families, lots of kids, entertainment at the pool... to make it short: tacky, noisy and boring. At Shkedi's you'll find quite a different and much cooler atmosphere, though without the spoiling assets of a 4 stars hotel. It's up to you :-)
  • Wadi Nahal Perazim. South of the Dead Sea, the nearest you will get to landing on the moon :-) Highly recommended! Getting there: By car from the Arava Highway, between kilometres 193 and 194, turn onto a dirt road, which leads to the Ami'az St Plain, there are signs to  Nachal Perazim or the Flour Cave (the cave might be closed, yet the walk through Nachal Perazim is an experience you don't want to miss). In case you are staying at Shkedi's just ask the owner, he'll be happy to instruct you. If you don’t want to go it alone, try any one of the tour companies in the area. This will save you time and the anxiety of perhaps getting lost in this great expanse of frizzling heat.

    When: Not in winter, as there can be flash floods. In the early summer or late summer, and best not at mid day, to avoid the heat. Try timing your visit so you can see a unique desert sunset.

    Cost: Free entrance.

  • Ein Gedi Reserve one of the best hikes in the dead sea area .Make sure you have good walking, hiking shoes and enough water with you.
  • The Dead Sea itself... Where you can literally lay and float on the water because of the high concentration of salts and minerals. By all means avoid washing your face or dipping your head in the water! It'll be like rubbing chili peppers into your eyes...
  • Sde Boker in middle of our Negev, you can stop overnight. My recommendation to stay at Sde Boker youth hostels. Based on the idea that this will allow an early visit to the reserve, just as it opens, or late, just before closing hour. This is the time when you have best chance to watch the animals coming down to the water. Just a hint of what paradise used to feel like...

  • Mizpe Ramon just above Ramon Crater, dramatic moon-like scenery... For accommodation, beside the regular touristic options, I'd warmly recommend on one of the following two: 
  1. A dance studio run by two outstanding artists, dancers and choreographs, now masters. The studio is alive and kicking, dancers come for the unique atmosphere from all over the country and abroad. They also have accommodations, totally off the beaten track. Not for the typical touristic lot... Nir Ben-Gal, one of the owners of the studio will be glad to instruct you. The cliff looking over the crater is within walking distance from Adama Studio. On the cliff, the edge of the crater you may find either the sculptures park 

  2. Succah in The Desert off off the beaten track retreat. You can't get more Biblical than this... A very unique retreat in middle of nowhere for a different experience.

At either you'll get great leads for trekking and hiking around. By all means worth the trip and a couple of days stay that will make the whole visit to Israel worthwhile.  

EilatThe southern touristic center of Israel, on the Red Sea. To mention few of the main attractions:

  • The Underwater Observatory Marine Park: where YOU are in the aquarium and the fishies are swimming around you...
  • Dolphin Reefwhere you can literally swim with the dolphins...
  • Scuba Diving in the Red Sea: there are various centers, just ask at the reception for recommendations.

I personally find Eilat awfully touristic, so I'll just leave this section for others to complete. Otherwise, at ANY hotel you may stay in Eilat you'll get full info about touristic attractions in town and around + booking at the reception. 

Post by Meir Jacob, founder of Trips for Photographers

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Israel (attraction)
  2. Tel Aviv (city)
  3. Jerusalem (city)
  4. Ben Gurion International Airport (attraction)
  5. Gordon Inn (hotel)
  6. Ben Yehuda St (attraction)
  7. Yafo St (attraction)
  8. Jaffa (attraction)
  9. Tel Aviv Port (attraction)
  10. Tel Aviv Museum of Art (attraction)
  11. Beit Hatfutsot (attraction)
  12. HaYarkon Park (attraction)
  13. Jerusalem (city)
  14. Old City (attraction)
  15. The Western Wall (attraction)
  16. Church of the Holy Sepulcher (attraction)
  17. Al-Aqsa Mosque (attraction)
  18. Abu Shukri Restaurant (restaurant)
  19. Lina (restaurant)
  20. Haifa (city)
  21. Zikhron Ya'akov (city)
  22. Baha'i Gardens (הגנים הבהאים) (attraction)
  23. Achziv National Park (attraction)
  24. Rosh HaNikra (city)
  25. Manara (attraction)
  26. Agamon Hula (attraction)
  27. Golan Heights (attraction)
  28. Sea of Galilee (attraction)
  29. The Scots Hotel (hotel)
  30. Ramot (attraction)
  31. The Dead Sea (attraction)
  32. Shkedi's Camplodge - חאן שקדי (hotel)
  33. Ami'az St (attraction)
  34. Ein Gedi Reserve (attraction)
  35. Sde Boker (city)
  36. Negev (attraction)
  37. Sde Boker (city)
  38. Mizpe Ramon (attraction)
  39. Succah in The Desert (attraction)
  40. Eilat (city)
  41. The Underwater Observatory Marine Park (attraction)
  42. Dolphin Reef (attraction)
likes (3) thanks
answered by
Shir from Israel

Hi Abigali, 

If you plan a month in Israel I will recommend you to travel from north to south or south to north , this will be the best way and you will save time and money

The main interesting cities for travelers are 

  1. Haifa
  2. NazarethNazarat
  3. Tel AvivTel Aviv 
  4. JerusalemJerusalem
  5. The Dead SeaThe died sea
  6. EilatEylat 

Do you plan to stay in hotels ?


Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Haifa (city)
  2. Nazareth (city)
  3. Tel Aviv (city)
  4. Jerusalem (city)
  5. The Dead Sea (attraction)
  6. Eilat (city)
likes (1) thanks

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