As you know, in the past couple of months Israel has faced yet another battle against those who seek to challenge its existence. Now that things are back to normal and the level of security is as high as ever, it’s time to plan your visit to the Holy Land.
As a landscape photographer living in Israel, I get to travel around the country quite a lot, and I’m glad to share my knowledge on this beautiful country with you. If you have never been here before, here is my top 10 list of must-see places for you to include on your visit:
1. The Old City of Jerusalem
It’s no surprise that Jerusalem, one of the most important cities in the world, comes at the top of the list. Keep in mind you will need at least 4 days to see the best of it. No visit to Jerusalem is complete without visiting these sites: The alleyways of the Jewish and Christian quarters, the Tower of David, the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Also full of points of interest and historical monuments are the Via Dolorosa, Mount Zion and the Mount of Olives, where spectacular views are guaranteed!
2. Yad Vashem Museum, Jerusalem
A visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum of Yad Vashem, the largest of its kind in the world, is a must see for everyone visiting Israel. Understanding the history of the Jewish people and witnessing the horrors that took place shortly before the establishment of our country is a powerful experience.
3. The Dead Sea
Not far from Jerusalem is the world-renowned Dead Sea. One of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, its shores are the Earth’s lowest point of land. Surrounded by desert mountains, the Dead Sea offers a variety of beaches, where you can float on water and cover yourself in nutritious mud, famous for its health benefits.
4. Ramon Crater, Negev Desert
Further down south is another natural phenomenon worth experiencing. The Ramon Crater is a geological landform unique to the Negev desert of Israel. The crater and its surrounding area constitute Israel’s largest national park.
5. The Mountains of the Galilee
Heading north, my next suggestion would be a visit to the Upper Galilee. Cooler weather and green covered mountains are a refreshing contrast to the desert. You can choose between many Christian sites in the area, such as the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum, or visit the nearby historical city of Safed for the ultimate Galilee experience.
6. The Baha’i Gardens, Haifa
The city of Haifa offers one of the loveliest sites to visit – the picturesque Baha’i Gardens. A World Heritage site, the beautiful gardens are Haifa’s #1 attraction, with some spectacular views of the city and its port.
7. Caesarea Harbor National Park
The Caesarea Harbor is the perfect day tour. Historical sites, art galleries, restaurants and beaches – are all at the same place. Walking through the ruins of Old Caesarea feels like stepping back to the times of the Roman Province. Whether you choose to rest afterwards at one of the restaurants or enjoy the beach, that is for you to decide…
8. The bustling streets of Tel Aviv
When you land at Ben Gurion airport, the first place you’d probably go to is the nearby city of Tel Aviv, Israel’s second largest city. I suggest you dedicate a couple of days to simply stroll the streets, checking out the city’s shops and markets and enjoying some of its many cafés and restaurants. Tel Aviv is also famous for its nightlife, and as evening sets in, the streets are packed with people attending their favorite bars and clubs.
9. The Port of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv has many attractions scattered around its streets, but let’s not forget the beaches. You’ll probably plan to enjoy some of its many beaches, but make sure you don’t miss the ever popular Port area. I suggest you arrive during sundown, when you can expect to enjoy a lovely sunset while having dinner at one of the nearby restaurants.
10. Old Jaffa
When visiting Tel Aviv, make sure you include a trip to Old Jaffa. It is actually considered a part of the city, but it couldn’t feel more different. The gorgeous narrow alleyways dotted with small art galleries and shops are simply magical. Add a beautiful view of the sea, and you’ve got yourself yet another memorable day in the Holy Land.
See you soon in Israel!