Israel is probably not the first country that comes to mind when looking up travel destinations. However, this tiny Mediterranean nation is quickly becoming a tourist hot spot thanks to its rich mix of history, culture and lifestyle. Modern-day Israel is located in the Holy Land and holds tremendous historical & religious significance for the 3 major Abrahamic religions of the world; Islam, Christianity & Judaism.
JERUSALEM – THE BIRTHPLACE OF THREE RELIGIONS
How can we talk about Israel and not mention Jerusalem! Jerusalem is at least 4,000 years old and a World Heritage Site. The city is home to some of the most important religious sites; the Temple Mount is of great significance to all 3 Abrahamic religions and is considered as the holiest site in Judaism.
Photo Credit: Neta Bartel | Flickr
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre holds an important place in Christian faith as the site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and where he is said to have been buried and resurrected. The Western (or Wailing) Wall is the most sacred site for Jewish prayer being connected to The Second Jewish Temple built by Herod the Great. The Al-Aqsa Mosque where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven is the holiest site in Islam outside Saudi Arabia.
Photo Credit: Philippe-Alexandre Pierre | Flickr
A complete contrast to the historic Jerusalem, Tel Aviv is a young and vibrant city. Although it is a small walkable city, it has museums, cafes, beaches, designer shops, and a buzzing nightlife. It is also the world’s second-largest creator of IT software and systems.
Photo Credit: Yaniv Ben-Arie | Flickr
Photo Credit: Chris Hoare | Flickr
Doesn’t the city look like it’s sparkling at night!
DEAD SEA AND THE MASADA FORTRESS
Along with the rich heritage and culture, Israel is also filled with natural wonders. The Dead Sea is part of the long border between Israel and Jordan and only an hour’s drive from Jerusalem. The salty sea water has medicinal properties along with the mud and salt. A small warning though, the salt can sting if you have any cuts or bruises.
Photo Credit: Sue Schoenfeld | Flickr
There are a number of public beaches open along the shores of the Dead Sea and also resorts that offer private beaches and spas. The high saline content in the water makes swimming impossible and voila, you float!
Photo Credit: Arian Zwegers | Flickr
Masada is traditionally climbed early in the morning by tourists who wish to see the ruins at sunrise with picturesque views of the Dead Sea and mountains. Despite not being morning people, this is on our list. We can sacrifice a few hours of sleep for that view, can’t we?
Photo Credit: A World to Travel Neverending wanderlust | Flickr
Masada is essentially a fort which was built by King Herod between 37 and 31 BC, but is popular for being the site of mass suicide in 72 AD, when nearly 960 Jewish took their own lives as a show of defiance to the Romans.
Photo Credit: Bradley Howard | Flickr
EIN ADVAT NATIONAL PARK
The Negev desert which covers a large portion on Israel is like none other. Instead of sand dunes, it has rocky terrains, craters and canyons. Ein Advat is a canyon with mesmerizing rock formations and spectacular panoramas. Numerous springs at the southern opening of the canyon empty into deep pools in a series of waterfalls which emerge from the rock layers. As trek-lovers, this just had to be on our list! There are different types of trails ranging from beginner to pro.
Photo Credit: Ysf_me | Flickr
THE BAHA’I GARDENS
Photo Credit: James Kirkpatrick | Flickr
After the unusual desert, salty seas and rocky terrains, we were a bit surprised to see so much greenery. The Bahai gardens comprise a staircase of nineteen terraces extending all the way up the northern slope of Mount Carmel. On July 2008, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added the Baha’i Shrines and Gardens in Haifa and Acre to the eleven World Heritage Sites in Israel. Long straight path flanked by lush green trees on both sides.
Believe it or not, this is not all. There’s stalactite caves, tombs, museums, and a whole lot more. If you are as excited as we are after writing this post, check out the Ministry of Tourism’s Go Israel website for more information.
This post was made possible by Israel Tourism. Opinions as always, are our own.
Hi Israel was always on my bucket list. I would definitely like to plan to visit the country after reading your post. Thanks for posting this.
Thanks Mom! 🙂
Cant wait to visit this place. Looks incredible! Our next vacation spot for sure. Thanks for the post 🙂
Thank you Foram. Let us know once you plan your trip.
Wow your post looks amazing.. looks like an exotic place to visit.. would love to go there
Thanks Helina! 🙂
I don’t have Israel on my bucket list but the pictures are amazing. I am not a morning person either but when it’s something travel related, I make some efforts, especially for Masada’s view. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Neither are we but totally agree with you that watching the sunrise at Masada would be worth the grogginess!
So much history to be seen in Israel! Adding this to my bucket list 🙂
I do have a question- How many days do you suggest for a trip here? At the bare minimum?
8-10 days should be good, not counting travel to Israel. Cheers.
Israel is now on my bucket list. Lovely post and your photos are stunning!
I’ve been thinking of visiting Israel more and more lately as I have seen cheap flights from Europe there. You’ve certainly made a great case for visiting and got me thinking about it even more. My knowledge was quite limited, so thanks for sharing places like Ein Advat as I think I’d really find them interesting!
Thank you! Glad our post helped. If you do make a visit, we would love to read about it. 🙂
Oh Yeah, Israel is definitely on my list of places to visit. I have friends that live there and I can’t wait to visit and have them show me the less touristy places. Thanks for a great post will share!
Thank you Lisa. Have a great trip.
Lovely photos. Israel has so much to offer a visitor and your post demonstrates that beautifully.
Thank you very much Sam.
I have wanted to visit Israel for quite some time and I am annoyed that I haven’t reached there yet! So I do love this post, you have covered plenty of what I would like to do and more … yes I would get up early for that view! Thank you for giving me wanderlust for this beautiful place, I have pinned this for future reference #feetdotravel
Thanks for pinning our post. Glad you liked it. 🙂
The country’s history and culture are rich and has a lot to offer travellers. I haven’t visited Israel yet but hopefully, I will next year.
Awesome! Hope you will blog about your trip.
Israel is such a melting pot of history, heritage, culture all blended with technology and youth. A heady combination and add to this beautiful landscapes and the Dead Sea.
Thank you Vyjay.
As you guys mentioned Israel is becoming a hot spot for tourist and we have been reading a lot about this beautiful country recently. Its unbelievable that such a small country has so much to offer! Thanks for sharing this post, hoping to travel to Israel soon…
Thank you very much.
I also have Israel on my must-go-to list, but actually mostly because of Jerusalem. Hadn’t even realised that the Dead Sea was also situated in that country.. Super cool to learn a bit more about Israel, it seems like a very interesting place to visit..!
The Dead Sea is geographically situated between Israel (actually the West Bank) and Jordan, so you can visit it from both countries.
Great insight! Would love to go 🙂
Great post and really timely as the country is beginning to appear on more and more travellers’ lists. The Israel tourism board is working hard to promote visits and it seems to be working. I would really love to visit and you have highlighted a couple of places I haven’t even heard of! Ein Advat National Park looks amazing! Thanks for sharing
I’ve always wanted to visit Israel. As a Christian, I’d love to visit all of the holy sites. Traveling to this area in the past has seemed a little uneasy, but things seem to have settled down a bit.
The dead sea and Tel Aviv have been on our radar for awhile now. We can’t wait to be able to visit. Inspiring post!
You’re right – Israel hasn’t really been on my bucket list before now (other than the Dead Sea but I wasn’t 100% sure where that was). The country looks beautiful and I love visiting places that have so much history and culture on show. Maybe I should be looking into flights….
I have to admit that Israel was not on my bucket list but after reading so many posts about it, the interest started to grow. You highlighted some great places to visit, great job. Thanks for sharing.
Israel definitely looks magnificent! I love your post!