6 Reasons Israel Is The New Go-To Destination
Israel, the Land of Creation, excites a transformative journey of discovery through the many distinct contrasts and cultural expressions. In fact, just one country will bring you more than you ever thought possible. The famous Holy Land which was once at the epicentre of the Bronze Age is now one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. And with that, you are welcomed into a world of immaculate experiential travel that will inspire even the most discerning traveller.
More than a bucket list destination, Israel has become a favourite for those seeking an extraordinary getaway with great weather, ease of access, safety, diverse nature, plenty of local and luxurious gems, and a range of enchanting adventures.
There’s so much to experience – where can we even begin?
Here are six reasons for visiting Israel – and trust us, there are lots more!
Historical, beautiful Jerusalem
Full of history and culture, Jerusalem is the top destination for vacationers travelling to Israel. Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall (or Western Wall) is 2,000 years old and is the holiest site in the Jewish faith. Millions of people place written prayers in the cracks over the course of a year.
If you’d like to learn more about Israel’s history, tour the Western Wall Tunnels and travel back in time to 19 BCE.
Like any other metropolis, Jerusalem is full of outstanding restaurants and shopping. Head to the Mahane Yehuda open-air market, where you can buy local wares, food, and spices to your heart’s content. Try the fresh seafood and other specialties at Satya or Adom restaurants, which will satiate even the pickiest eater’s appetite.
While most of Israel experiences hot weather, Jerusalem is often cooler and breezy, rarely getting above 30 degrees Celsius. Take a walk through the nearby Sataf Forest and enjoy the views of gorgeous Har (Mount) Eitan. Be sure to watch the city’s ancient walls turn from golden to red as the sun sets.
Pro tip: If you choose to visit Israel for non-religious reasons, you may want to avoid the High Holy Days, which are Passover in the Spring and the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in September. The dates vary from year to year, so check your calendar!
Modern, dynamic Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is the second-largest city in Israel and is steeped in rich history but is also incredibly modern.
Nicknamed the Miami of Israel, Tel-Aviv has glittering beaches, international restaurants that are a foodie’s dream, vibrant nightlife, and world-class shopping, along with impressive contemporary architecture.
But unlike Miami, a short trip down the road takes you to a time long since passed. The port city of Jaffa is around 3,500 years old and is a favourite destination for professional and amateur archaeologists. Many biblical stories have their settings in Jaffa, including those of Solomon and Jonah.
Be sure to take one of Tel Aviv’s urban tours, where you can see the city’s fun street art and fashion, along with its famous – rightly so! – Bauhaus architecture. You can walk or bike, or if you prefer, you can reserve a private tour. Don’t forget your camera!
Stunning and surreal beach experiences
When most people think of Israel, they think of the desert – and to be fair to them, the country is more than half desert! But you may not know that Israel has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world! Not only are there more than 100 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline, but the country is also bordered by three seas: the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, and the Sea of Galilee.
You’ll find everything you want from a perfect beach vacation, including lots of sunshine, golden sand, and excellent snorkelling and diving. See if you can spot some lionfish or eels lurking in the warm waters below!
Many impressive beaches can also be found surrounding the Dead Sea, named for the fact that it doesn’t support any plant or animal life. Did you know that the Dead Sea, which is actually a salt lake, is the lowest point on earth? This incredibly unique place is so salty that you won’t be able to dive in – but you can certainly float! So, slather yourself in the mineral-rich mud from the shores of this saline lake, grab a good read, and let yourself float away!
Unparalleled nature excursions
If your idea of an exciting adventure involves experiencing the great outdoors, Israel will not disappoint. There are several nature parks to explore and breathtaking views to be seen! Hike through the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve or take a trip to the northern part of the country to see the Bahai Gardens overlooking the sea. The beauty of the 19 stunning terraces of this UNESCO World
Heritage Site atop Mount Carmel is worth the more than 1,500 steps it takes to reach the summit!
You can also head to the Safari Park Ramat Gan, which has the largest collection of animals in the Middle East – 1,600 different species are housed in this park. Get close to a white rhino or a Komodo dragon along the way – if you dare!
Of course, while you’re in Israel, you should take some time getting to know the camels! Tours by camel through the picturesque Negev desert (south of both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) will allow you to explore this dramatic landscape and view grand desert vistas. If camels aren’t your thing, you can always opt for a Jeep tour.
Rosh Hanikra, an incredible geological creation
Adventurous types should head north along the coast to Rosh Hanikra, which is in the Western Galilee region along the Mediterranean Sea. This rare locale is the only place in Israel where sea meets mountains.
At Rosh Hanikra, you can visit an astonishing natural phenomenon: marine caves, or grottoes, formed thousands of years ago. When you’re done, you can take the world’s steepest cable car ride down an almost 90-degree cliff face, where you’ll be treated to a magnificent view of the sea and the jagged rocky formations above it.
Rosh Hanikra is also a kibbutz, or a communal agricultural settlement, growing bananas and avocadoes and raising turkeys. Tourists can visit and have an authentic experience of kibbutz life here.
The world-class cuisine
Come to Israel with an empty stomach and a desire to try new things! Fresh Mediterranean and traditional Jewish cuisine abound – you’ll be in for an absolute culinary delight during your stay. Like its Mediterranean neighbours, Israelis feast on hummus, goat cheese and meat, fresh fruits, and a variety of vegetables.
Israelis are known for regional foods such as falafel (deep-fried balls of chickpeas served in a pita), eggs, and lots of salad. Start your morning with the scrumptious shakshuka, whose name literally translates from Hebrew as “all mixed up”! This hearty dish, made with eggs, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and various spices, is the perfect way to start your day! Israel’s mouth-watering breads and sweet baked goods are definitely worth a try as well!
Because Israel is a Jewish country (the only one in the world), some people and places observe strict dietary laws. For example, meat and dairy should not be mixed or even cooked using the same utensils. In addition, many businesses are closed during the Shabbat (or Sabbath), the Jewish day of rest, which is from sundown on Friday to sunrise on Sunday.
Israel is a land of stark contrasts that will keep a piece of your heart and yet leave you feeling fully complete all at once. However, you choose to experience this abundant country is up to you, but you won’t run out of things to do – and like most visitors, you’ll learn that Israel feels like home and find yourself returning time and time again.
June 8, 2022