Nothing underscores the variety of Israel’s attractions more than realizing that within a few hours you can go from the snowy heights of Mount Hermon to the Judean Desert and the saltiest sea on earth, the Dead Sea, while visiting ancient biblical cities, covered markets and a high-rise metropolis on the way. This is what makes Israel truly a destination with something for everyone.
In Israel you have to use the word “old” sparingly – the age of most of its cities is counted not in decades or in centuries, but in millennia. The ingenuity and complexity of some of these historical gems have won them a place on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List. And of course, Jerusalem is an incomparable highlight that is both historical and spiritual. Restored 19th century villages like Rosh Pina in the Upper Galilee and Zichron Ya’akov on Mount Carmel reveal another side of Israel – its pioneering days. Shops along these streets feature local arts and crafts that make the best gifts. They are often artist-owned as well, which holds the promise of getting to know some very interesting folks.
There’s no place like Tel Aviv to indulge your urban tastes. Classified by geographers as a “world city,” it offers museums, opera, theater and dance, fine restaurants with cuisines from around the world, its own beautifully restored 19th-century quarter, Neve Tzedek and even antiquities, in the form of its “older sister” – Jaffa, which also has galleries galore.
Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean location also means quality beach-time can be part of the experience. As for other beaches, there’s variety there, too: the sand on Ashkelon’s fine-grained shores has been buffeted by the waves all the way from the Nile Delta, while in the north, rocky and romantic coves sprout lovely wildflowers in their season. At the Caesarea beach, divers can take an underwater tour of the Roman antiquities. And for fresh-water fun, head for Tiberias and the Kinneret.
Another kind of diving experience stars at Israel’s Red Sea Riviera on the Gulf of Eilat where a wonder-sea of corals and exotic fish awaits. In addition to hiking and diving, other adventure challenge experiences are to be had in the desert cliffs around Eilat and in the Negev and the forested ridges of the Upper Galilee, including cycling, off-road touring and rappelling. Even those snowy heights are not one-dimensional: in the winter they boast ski-runs with all the amenities, but when the snow melts, Mount Hermon becomes a hiker’s delight with trails to charming alpine-like meadows and shady streams.
Israel boasts a number of unique edutainment attractions that families love – Jerusalem’s Time Elevator, Mini Israel, the new Kings City in Eilat and the Haganah Museum are only a few of the fun-while-you-learn experiences in store.
Lodgings come in all shapes and sizes, from fine international chains to budget hotels and – great for the family or a romantic interlude – country-style bed-and-breakfast accommodations.
Plan your trip around the date of one of Israel’s many annual international events - whether music, sports, theater or film – and see how all the wonderful pieces fit perfectly together.
Israel Ministry of Tourism
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