10. Visit the West Bank
The West Bank is a chunk of land east of Israel and is home to over 2.6 million Palestinians. We recommend going on a guided tour to help you understand the conflict better. The graffiti artist Banksy visited West Bank back 2005 and painted several images along the separation wall which is super interesting to see.
On our tour, we went with Abraham Tours, we also visited the ancient baptism site of Jesus on the banks of the Jordan River. You also get to visit Jericho, the world’s oldest city at 10,000 years old and is the lowest place on earth, 1,300 feet below sea level
How to get there: We went on Abraham Tours West Bank Tour priced at 415NIS (118USD)
9. Taste all the Local Food
We absolutely loved the food during our time in Israel! Israeli cuisine is a delicious melting pot of flavours from around the world. Our favourites were hummus, falafel, shakshuka (which was the best breakfast food), fried haloumi, the Israeli salads and kanafeh pastries were all amazing.
8. Hike Masada for Sunrise
We highly recommend doing the early wake up call and hike at 4am to the top of Masada. It is an ancient fortress that overlooks the dead sea built around 30BC. Just be aware that it is quite the hike to the top with a lot of stairs. If you don’t feel up for it there is also a cable car you can take to the top which will cost you 40NIS (11USD) one way.
How to get there: We went on Abraham Tours Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea Tour
Tour price: 252NIS (72USD)
7. Explore Jaffa Old City in Tel Aviv
Jaffa Old City is an ancient port city out of which Tel Aviv has now grown. It is made up of winding alleys filled with craft stores and art galleries, and stalls selling antiques and jewelry.
We recommend going at sunset as the city becomes a beautiful orange colour during this time of day – it is breathtaking.
6. Scuba Dive in the Red Sea
Eilat is the perfect place to go for amazing coral reef, colourful fish and crystal clear waters. There are a number of dive shops where you can hire snorkel gear for the day, or if you are keen to scuba you can go on a scuba tour.
During our time in Eilat we actually volunteered at a local dive shop. Out of the 11 kilometers of Eilat beach that is located within Israeli territory, 1,200 meters have been declared a nature reserve. The Coral Beach Reserve was one of the first nature reserves to be declared in Israel and this is the reserve we volunteered at. We helped keep the beach clean, monitored the reef to make sure it was keeping untouched and helped the rangers with beach patrols.
Interested in volunteering here? We went with Go Eco’s Coral Reef Conservation project
5. Stay in a Mud Hut in Tzukim
1.5 hours north of Eilat is Tzukim and here you can stay in eco-lodge mud huts completely made by hand. During our stay we actually did some volunteering, helping the owners of this lodge built mud bricks and learn more about this interesting process.
During your stay we recommend going on hikes through the surrounding mountains, it is seriously one stunning spot in Israel.
Book you stay at Lodge Desert Days here
Interested in volunteering here? We went with GoEco’s Desert Eco Building Village program
4. Use Israel as a Base to Explore Surrounding Countries
Israel is the perfect spot to use as a base to explore more middle eastern countries. From Israel you can do tours that take you to Jordan and Egypt for a couple of days – which means one night you could be exploring the streets of Jerusalem, the next exploring the lost city of Petra or the Great Pyramids of Giza!
During our time in Israel we decided to do a 3 day tour to Jordan with Abraham Tours and it was a fantastic trip! Over the 3 days we visited Jerash, toured Amman, explored Petra and went in 4×4 through Wadi Rum all while sleeping at a traditional Bedouin campsite.
Jordan Tour: Abraham Tours Petra & Wadi Rum Tour from Tel Aviv (3D/2N) priced at 1860NIS (528USD)
Egypt Tour: Abraham Tours Cairo Half Day Tour priced at 2400NIS (682USD)
3. Visit the Birthplace of Jesus
The Church of Nativity in Bethlehem is a very popular attraction for Christians, since that’s believed to be where Jesus was born. Abraham Tours does an amazing Bethlehem tour taking you to one of the oldest churches in the world, The Church of the Nativity, the Franciscan Grotto of the Lady Mary and a large underground cave with a Franciscan chapel built directly on the top which is the site where it is believed Mary and Joseph took Jesus for refuge from King Herod, before fleeing across the holy land to Egypt.
The final stop in this ancient city is to the Shepherd’s fields on the outskirts of the city. Believed to be the location where the Shepherds sited the Star of Nativity before venturing to visit Jesus, these fields hold a number of stunning shrines and a beautiful chapel, drawing pilgrims from around the world.
Bethlehem Tour: Abraham Tours Bethlehem Tour priced at 190NIS (54USD)
Only want to see the church? We opted to see only the church which you visit on Abraham Tours West Bank Tour priced at 415NIS (118USD) – this tour also includes visits to Jericho, Qasr el-Yahud baptism site and the West Bank
2. Float in the Dead Sea
Floating in the Dead Sea is one of those moments that can’t be described! The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth, it is rich in minerals that are amazing for your body. Make sure you cover yourselves in mud while you’re there because it’s the cheapest you will find!
How to get there: We went on Abraham Tours Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea Tour priced at 252NIS (72USD)
1. Explore the Old City of Jerusalem
The Old City of Jerusalem has got to be one of the most unique places in the world. It was fascinating to learn about all the significant religious sites that are found in the Old Town -including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Dome of the Rock, and the Western Wall.
You need to experience the rich history of Jerusalem, visiting amazing sites and hearing the stories from the Biblical history. Leave political opinions and preconceptions behind when visiting this extraordinary city.
How to get there: Jerusalem is one of those places that are best done by tour. You want to have a guide that knows what they are talking about and can share with you the amazing history that comes out of this city. We had a friend that took us around, but if you are looking for a great tour we recommend Abraham Tours Holy City Tour priced at 120NIS (34USD)
0. How to get around?
Definitely, there are so many reasons to discover Israel for yourself. Visiting some its places will let you think about life’s eternal aspects, but visiting some other will let enjoy that exact moment of you being there. Consider renting a car in Israel if you’d like to feel freedom in planning and see as much as possible.
Have we missed something? We would love for you to share things you recommend people do during their visit to Israel in the comment below