Why Israel’s on our bucket list (and should be on yours too)

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.

Israel - Jersusalem 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.

TEL AVIV

Israel - Tel Aviv-Yafo 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.

A house in Amzaleg St. in Newe Zedek, Tel-Aviv Photo Credit:  Yaniv Ben-Arie | Flickr

Israel - Tel Aviv 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.

Israel - Dead Sea 1 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!

Israel - Dead Sea 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?

Israel - Masada 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.

Israel - MasadaPhoto 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.

Israel - Ein AdvatPhoto Credit: Ysf_me | Flickr

THE BAHA’I GARDENS

Israel - Bahai 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.

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35 Comments

  1. Purnima
    November 7, 2016 / 11:35 AM

    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.

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 8:57 PM

      Thanks Mom! 🙂

  2. Foram
    November 7, 2016 / 12:31 PM

    Cant wait to visit this place. Looks incredible! Our next vacation spot for sure. Thanks for the post 🙂

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 8:58 PM

      Thank you Foram. Let us know once you plan your trip.

  3. Helina
    November 7, 2016 / 8:49 PM

    Wow your post looks amazing.. looks like an exotic place to visit.. would love to go there

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 8:58 PM

      Thanks Helina! 🙂

  4. November 12, 2016 / 3:01 AM

    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.

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 8:59 PM

      Neither are we but totally agree with you that watching the sunrise at Masada would be worth the grogginess!

  5. Rums
    November 12, 2016 / 8:04 PM

    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?
    TIA!

    • Shruti Prabhu
      November 12, 2016 / 9:03 PM

      8-10 days should be good, not counting travel to Israel. Cheers.

    • Shruti Prabhu
      November 13, 2016 / 11:23 AM

      Thanks Kelly.

  6. November 13, 2016 / 6:11 PM

    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!

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 9:01 PM

      Thank you! Glad our post helped. If you do make a visit, we would love to read about it. 🙂

  7. November 13, 2016 / 8:33 PM

    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!

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 9:02 PM

      Thank you Lisa. Have a great trip.

  8. November 14, 2016 / 1:49 PM

    Lovely photos. Israel has so much to offer a visitor and your post demonstrates that beautifully.

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 9:02 PM

      Thank you very much Sam.

  9. November 15, 2016 / 12:06 AM

    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

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 9:03 PM

      Thanks for pinning our post. Glad you liked it. 🙂

  10. November 15, 2016 / 5:30 AM

    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.

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 9:04 PM

      Awesome! Hope you will blog about your trip.

  11. November 20, 2016 / 8:44 AM

    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.

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 9:04 PM

      Thank you Vyjay.

  12. November 24, 2016 / 10:52 AM

    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…

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 9:05 PM

      Thank you very much.

  13. January 24, 2017 / 6:04 PM

    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..!

    • Siddharth Prabhu
      January 26, 2017 / 9:09 PM

      The Dead Sea is geographically situated between Israel (actually the West Bank) and Jordan, so you can visit it from both countries.

  14. April 1, 2017 / 9:17 AM

    Great insight! Would love to go 🙂

  15. April 4, 2017 / 2:42 AM

    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

  16. April 5, 2017 / 8:46 PM

    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.

  17. April 6, 2017 / 2:12 AM

    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!

  18. April 6, 2017 / 9:20 AM

    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….

  19. April 9, 2017 / 12:26 AM

    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.

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