Home to some of the world's holy sites, Israel has been a popular destination from Biblical times to modern days. As the Bible says, it is "a land flowing with milk and honey", but this holy land offers much more than that, from the religious center of Jerusalem, historic relics of Masada to the natural beauty of Dead Sea, etc. Read one of the 8 experiences to inspire your tour in Israel. Which one would you most like to pick?
Tour the Old City of Jerusalem
Known as a world's holy city to the Jewish, Islam and Christianity, Jerusalem, the capital city is a melting pot of different cultures and beliefs.
Step back into time and walk by the three iconic sites. The Western Wall, the most religious site for Jewish people. You can see Jews reciting prayers or writing down prayers to be placed in the cracks of the wall; the Dome of the Rock, a sacred site for Muslims, where you will find the story behind that Muhammad's ascending into heaven; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a must-see place for Christians. Take a walk along the Via Dolorosa where Jesus walked to his crucifixion and then buried. Make the most of your time in the four quarters: the Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Armenian Quarter to gain an insight into the contrasting ways of life.
The Three iconic views in Jerusalem(Top: Dome of the Rock; Left Bottom: Wailing Wall; Right Bottom: Church of the Sepulchre)
Satisfy your taste buds in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is truly a city that has no shortage of places to satisfy your taste buds. One of the most famous foods is hummus, a dip made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice. The locals often eat it with pita bread, salad and falafel. According to BBC Travel, Tel Aviv's Yemenite Quarter, an old neighborhood, is a good place for your hunt for hummus. Another delicacy is falafel, a fried ball made of chopped chickpeas and fragrant herbs and traditionally served with hummus, vegetables and sauces. Frankly, some of the tastiest falafel you can find is on the streets of Tel Aviv. Come and discover some other yummy food!
Hummus, the famous Israeli snack
Float in the Dead Sea
Floating in the world's lowest point, the Dead Sea, is one of the relaxing experiences in Israel. All you need to do is to lie back, and you will find floating in the Dead Sea is quite easy. The minute your legs and even your whole body are in the water you feel as if they are weightless and being pushed up by somebody. Having a photo taken while you are floating with a newspaper is a fashion, and you should not miss it! Also, you can slap on some mineral Dead Sea mud which contains therapeutic benefits to clean your skin and relieve arthritic pain.
Note: Be sure that your family, friends and yourself have no cuts before entering the water, and do not soak the heads in the water as you'll get can get pain for the salty water.
A carefree floating in the Dead Sea
Check out the Natural Grottoes at Rosh Hanikra
On Israel's far-northern border, you'll find a spectacular white rock cliff, Rosh Hanikra where the sea meets with the cliff. This natural phenomenon was formed by the power of the water throughout millennia. It's a year-round destination and suitable for nature lovers.
Start your journey with a cable car down to the foot of the cliff; the view outside the cable car is really breathtaking. Along the trail, you can walk inside the limestone caves and cross through the different parts in all shapes and see the emerald-blue water. The well-illuminated path provides you with a bright exploration. As you go deep, you will find a magical world in the darker water. On a sunny day, you may take a cycling tour with families along the sea promenade, which combines exercise and super landscapes into one. If you seek a peaceful time, the electric car is another good option. Just taking your seat and looking out of the sea, you will get a glimpse of hyraxes who luckily live in the cave cracks luckily.
An eye shape you can see from the cave
Cycle around the Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee is well-known as a Christian pilgrimage for its association with the life of Jesus. Here, cycling is a pleasant way to get around. One of the most impressive trails is the Kinneret Trail. It passes around the Sea of Galilee with a full length of 60 km (37 miles). A shorter route is 30 km (19 miles beginning at Almagor Junction, and a 12km (7.5 miles) family route that starts at Ashdot Yaacov Ichud. Children can also take part in it, so that's family-friendly.
On your way, you can get close to the picturesque landscape of lakes, mountains and sandy beaches, and drop by many iconic religious and historical sites, including Capernaum, the Jordan River and Amnun Bay.
Related article: Northern Israel and the Jesus Trail
Uncover the Hidden Gem of Negev Desert
"The multicolored rock formations of the Negev Highlands go on for as far as the eye can see and you can't stop wondering how such a small country can be home to such a vast secret." This is a quotation from the Lonely Planet. Negev Desert was rated as one of Lonely Planet's top regions to visit. It has been a hidden gem and many people from all around the world are attracted to visit.
From stunning desert landscape, outdoor activities to welcoming Bedouin people, there is always one thing to knock your socks off. Stepping into this land, you will marvel at the Ramon Crater, a unique geological feature known as makhtesh, which is only found in Israel's Negev Desert and Egypt's the Sinai Peninsula. Here is also a paradise for hiking lovers. There are many accessible trails marked by color-coded markers. It's safe for you to hike, or take a jeep trail if you like. Don't miss the Ein Avdat canyon, one of the most popular hiking areas. You may wander through the natural beauty of waterfalls and springs. Luckily, you will encounter the hospitable local Bedouins, and are served to taste some traditional food and sleep in a tent to catch the blanket of stars. Continuing your trip, you also have the chance to meet some animals, such as the Arabian oryx, Arabian leopard etc in the natural reserve.
Explore the UNESCO-protected site of Masada
Without doubt, Masada is one of Israel's greatest sites. It is not only a sacred place for Israel, but was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. What's more important is its story behind, Jewish's sacrifice and heroism on this ancient fortress atop the mountain.
The most comfortable way to Masada is by cable car. When reaching the top, you'll see the well-preserved Masada complex dotted with Roman-style bathhouses, storehouses and synagogues that remind you of the historical times. The most impressive sight is Herod's palace built on three rock terraces. If you like burning calories, climbing the Snake Path on foot is available. Many travelers love climbing Masada to catch the splendid view of the sunrise before the day gets hot. At that moment, all the surroundings turn gold, including the Dead Sea.
Masada, Israel's legendary UNESCO World Heritage Site
Pay a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial
Yad Vashem is the largest Holocaust memorial in Israel. It was originally built as a document storage in memory of the history during the Holocaust in 1953, and then a new museum opened in 2005. It was designed by a famous architect, in a special shape of a triangular prism structure penetrating the mountain from one side to another.
Within the museum, you can walk through the nine different galleries each depicting a different part of history. You may get the authentic record from the hundreds of artifacts, posters, photos, documents, letters and personal items found in the camps. At the end of the museum is the Hall of Names. A 10-meter-high cone is decorated with pictures of 600 men and women who perished in the Holocaust. Also, you will see the pictures reflected below the lower cone in memory of the victims whose names are unknown. All the items inside are thought-provoking, offering visitors a deeply emotional experience.
Note: Please note that some audio-video recordings in the museum may make you uncomfortable. Please prepare yourself if you are traveling with children.
Israel has other top things to do just as the comprehension of Hamlet varies from reader to reader. What are the top experiences in your mind? Tell us when and where you are looking forward to going and our travel consultants will help customize a tour from your list of things to do.
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