Noam Chen
Israeli Landscape Photographer

40+ Breathtaking New Pictures of Israel That’ll Make You Excited to See Tomorrow

Breathtaking Pictures of Israel

By the time you finish reading this article, I’m certain my new pictures of Israel will make you feel hopeful and excited about tomorrow despite everything that’s happening today.

“The future influences the present just as much as the past” (philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche).

This quote sums up why there’s no better time to start planning your next trip to Israel than right now!

Some of us are still feeling deflated, possibly in quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A mandatory lock-down in Israel prevented us from going further than 100 meters from our front yards, which affected our mood immensely.

Therefore, I know first hand that planning for a brighter future can help us cope with this situation.

So what if you could use that free time to do something that’s both useful, and is also likely to lift your spirit?

Well, the good news is that you can!

Whether you’ve been to the Holy Land before or you’re dreaming about your very first trip, join me on this breathtaking virtual tour without leaving the comfort of your home. I will guide you through some places you might have never seen before, and give you practical insider tips for every site.

I gathered some of my newest pictures of Israel, as I’ve done in the past with Jerusalem, to share this guide and help you plan your own amazing visit!

Let’s get started:

1. Jerusalem

I’ll start with Jerusalem because it is the heart of Israel, and it will likely be the heart of your trip.

The Israeli capital is one the most fascinating cities you’ll ever see. With unparalleled historic significance and importance to all major religions, the holy city is an absolute focal point of the world. Much has been said about it, including here in my blog, so I’ll just leave you to enjoy some of my newest pictures of Jerusalem. Be sure to check out my insider’s tip below.

Region: Jerusalem.

Time you’ll need: 1 week for a proper experience!

Insider’s Tip: Discover some captivating secret sites that are totally off the beaten path in Jerusalem, in an article I wrote about Jerusalem’s Hidden Gems.

The iconic view of the Old City, Jerusalem.
A sense of holiness, Jerusalem.
The magical Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem’s Old City.
View on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
Damascus Gate during Jerusalem’s Festival of Light.
Nahalat Shiv’a, one of many things to do in Jerusalem.
Rooftops of the Holy City.
Christmas Eve in Jerusalem.
Goods in every shape, size and color, Old City Market.
Keeping the memory from fading, Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Celebrations in Jerusalem, The Tower of David.
Focal point of the world, Jerusalem.

2. Nimrod Fortress National Park

Nimrod Fortress is the largest surviving castle from the Middle Ages, dating back to the 13th century. In more recent history, the castle was used by the Syrians as an artillery observation point during the 1967 war. Since then it’s been renovated and declared a National Park.

Its location at the foot of Mt. Hermon offers some spectacular views of the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee.

Region: North.

Time you’ll need: 2-4 hours.

Insider’s Tip: Make sure not to miss the little entrances leading to secret staircases. There are few of them throughout the park, each will take you to an underground world. Big halls and even an ancient prison await you there to discover. Also, combine a trip here with the beautiful Sa’ar Falls, approx. 7 minutes drive away.

Nestled on top of Golan Heights, Nimrod Fortress National Park.
Spectacular views from the Nimrod Fortress.
The nearby Sa’ar Falls.

3. Banias Nature Reserve & Bar’am National Park

In short proximity to the Nimrod Fortress is one of the more serene settings you’ll find in the Golan Heights – the Banias Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to tranquil streams and waterfalls, hiking trails, lush vegetation and historic archeological remains.

Merely 40 minutes drive from the Banias, there’s the small yet fascinating National Park of Bar’am. It’s well worth a visit to see one of the best preserved ancient synagogues anywhere in the world. The synagogue dates back to the Talmudic era, and is a testament to the ancient Jewish settlement in the Galilee.

Region: North.

Time you’ll need: 3-4 hours.

Insider’s Tip for the Banias: The best time to tour the Banias is during spring, particularly in March and April, when you’ll find strong currents of water and abundant vegetation.

Insider’s Tip for Bar’am: Don’t miss the Maronite Church built on this site during the 19th century, when the city of Bar’am was entirely Christian.

One of the best preserved ancient synagogues in the world, Bar’am National Park.
Beautiful natural setting, Banias Nature Reserve.

4. Yehi’am Fortress National Park

Built in the 12th century by the Crusaders, the Fortress of Yehi’am is located in the heart of the Western Galilee. It includes impressive halls, watch towers and incredible views of the Western Galilee all the way to the Mediterranean coast. The fortress also tells the heroic story of the defenders of Yehi’am during the 1948 War of Independence.

Region: North.

Time you’ll need: 2-3 hours.

Insider’s Tip: If you take a 25 minutes drive from here to Goren Park, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views overlooking Montfort Castle, yet another beautiful Crusader castle in this area.

Stunning views of the Western Galilee, Yehi’am Fortress National Park.
Inside Yehi’am Fortress.

5. Tzfat (Safed)

Tzfat is a Jewish settlement dating back to the Second Temple. Located at an elevation of 900 meters (2,953 ft), it is the highest city in the county. Rich with history and charm, the city attracts many visitors from all over the world looking to enjoy its picturesque alleyways, vibrant art galleries and unique atmosphere.

Region: North.

Time you’ll need: 1 Day.

Insider’s Tip: There’s an underground city not many know about, that is a must-see! Hidden underneath the streets of the Old City lies a fascinating ancient Jewish neighborhood dating back to the 16th Century.

Picturesque alleyways, Old City of Tzfat.
Rich with charm, Tzfat.
A glimpse of ancient Israel, the underground 16th Century neighborhood.

6. Sea of Galilee & Nazareth

Two of the main tourist spots in the northern region, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee are both major centers of Christian pilgrimage, with many surrounding sites commemorating biblical events. What brings in visitors here from all over the world are Nazareth’s most prominent site, the Church of the Annunciation, and a vast assortment of historic, archeological and religious attractions surrounding both Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.

These are the most interesting sites around that you don’t want to miss: Yardenit Baptismal Site, Capernaum The Town Of Jesus (with impressive ruins of an ancient synagogue), Mount of Beatitudes, Church of the Twelve Apostles, Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor and the dramatic Arbel National Park.

Region: North.

Time you’ll need: 2-4 days, depending on the number of sites you’ll visit.

Insider’s Tip for Nazareth: For a cool experience go to the Nazareth Village, an open-air museum that reconstructs and reenacts village life in the time of Jesus during the 1st century.

Insider’s Tip for the Sea of Galilee: To take the best pictures of the Sea of Galilee, choose between Ofir Observation Point and Mitzpe HaShalom (Peace Vista). Either will offer you the chance to shoot some of your own favorite images of Israel.

Abundance of attractions around, the Sea of Galilee.
Mount of Beatitudes.
Dominated by the Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth.

7. Caesarea

The Herodian city of Caesarea and its huge archeological park are one of the country’s most popular tourist spots. It has numerous captivating structures and relics including a Roman amphitheater and impressive mosaic floors. Nearby, you can enjoy some lovely restaurants and galleries by the shores of the Mediterranean sea.

More recently a new promenade opened which leads to an ancient synagogue, and the new Visitors’ Center offers media presentations and displays archaeological artifacts.

Region: Central.

Time you’ll need: 3-4 hours.

Insider’s Tip: Leave the borders of the National Park to see the nearby beautiful Birds Mosaic. The colorful mosaic was the floor of a 6th century palace excavated in 1950, and is now open with free admission.

Striking mosaic floors, Caesarea National Park.
A must-see when you visit Israel, Caesarea Harbor.

8. Herodion National Park

The Herodion National Park is a monumental site that normally stays off the beaten track for most tourists. Built by King Herod the Great between 23 and 15 BCE, the site comprises a fortress, a palace, bathhouses and a 1st-century synagogue. In 2007 a tomb was uncovered here, believed to be the burial place of Herod the Great.

Region: Center.

Time you’ll need: 2-4 hours.

Insider’s Tip: Make sure you go underground and cross through the huge tunnels system, from the time of the Great Revolt of Bar Kokhba.

Inside the Palace of King Herod, Herodion.
Monumental site, Herodion National Park.
The man-made hill erected by King Herod the Great.

9. Tel Aviv

The modern heart of the country, Tel Aviv is our second largest city (that never sleeps), and the only liberal city in the Middle East that embraces members of the LGBT community.

With so many things to do, it must be a part of your itinerary. Shopping streets, markets and museums, numerous cafes and restaurants, packed beaches and vibrant nightlife is what the city is best known for.

Region: Tel Aviv.

Time you’ll need: 1-3 days.

Insider’s Tip: If you ever get tired of the busy city life, go to the Yarkon Park, where you’ll find many green and quiet spots to relax. Also, no trip to Tel Aviv is complete without visiting the picturesque Old City of Jaffa nearby.

Mesmerizing sunset in Tel Aviv.
Surfer on the beach, Tel Aviv.
The Port of Tel Aviv.
Numerous cafes and restaurants to enjoy.
The city that never sleeps, Tel Aviv.

10. Cyclamen Hills, Tal Shahar

Tal Shahar is a Moshav (communal settlement) located 45 minutes from both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. While it’s not on the list of most visitors to the Holy Land, its surrounding hills are the perfect nature getaway for all you nature lovers or families traveling with children.

Region: Central.

Time you’ll need: 1-3 hours.

Insider’s Tip: The ideal time to visit is February and March, when the hills are carpeted with beautiful cyclamens and the weather is nice and cool.

Off the beaten track, Cyclamen Hills of Tal Shahar.
Charming cyclamens all around, Tal Shahar.

11. Cave of the Patriarchs, Hebron

The second holiest site in Judaism after the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs in the Old City of Hebron is the burial site of three biblical couples – Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah. Getting here, you can’t help the sense of stepping back in time to the Biblical era.

Region: Center.

Time you’ll need: 2-3 hours.

Insider’s Tip: Get here with an organized tour that will take care of the safety arrangements needed to access Hebron.

Cave of the Patriarchs dominating the skyline of Hebron.
Tomb of Abraham, Hebron.

12. The Dead Sea & Masada National Park

Two of the most popular tourist destinations in Israel that should not be overlooked.

The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth, where you can walk on salt flats, float in its waters and rub yourself in mud that’s known for its health benefits.

A 20 minutes drive away is the historic Mountain of Masada. The well-preserved ruins of the ancient fortress tells a story of courage of the Jews, in the face of a Roman siege. Besides its archeological remains, it offers hiking trails, cable car rides and impressive views of the Judean Desert.

Region: South.

Time you’ll need: 1-2 days.

Insider’s Tip for Masada: Avoid coming here in mid-day. The summer heat and flocks of tourists can make it harder to enjoy the place.

Insider’s Tip for the Dead Sea: Don’t try to dive in the salty water! Also, consider visiting the nearby Qumran National Park, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were recently discovered.

Telling a story of courage, Masada National Park.
Impressive views of the Judean Desert, Masada.
Lowest place on Earth, the Dead Sea.
Break of dawn, the Dead Sea.

13. Monasteries of the Judean Desert

Among the dramatic mountains of the Judean Desert, somewhere between Jerusalem and Jericho, are some of the most breathtaking hidden gems in Israel.

The Mar Saba Monastery was built in the year 483 and is considered to be one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world. St George’s Monastery is another fascinating 5th century religious site that’s built into the Desert cliffs.

Region: South.

Time you’ll need: 1 Day.

Insider’s Tip: These sites are not easy to access. An organized tour will likely be your best chance to get here safely, so make sure to plan ahead!

The breathtaking Mar Saba Monastery.
Built into the cliffs, St George’s Monastery.
The Promised Land, outstanding views of the Judean Desert.

14. Ein Prat Nature Reserve

The Judean Desert is not all arid and plain – you can find true oasis spots here. Ein Prat Nature Reserve is one of them. Hiking trails among dramatic cliffs and rock formations will lead you to clear-water springs surrounded by trees and vegetation.

Region: South.

Time you’ll need: 2-4 hours.

Insider’s Tip: Near the beginning of the trail, look for impressive remains of an aqueduct from the time of Herod the Great. Together with its surrounding desert mountains, it makes for a beautiful picture.

Hiking in the Desert, Ein Prat.
Desert Oasis, Ein Prat Nature Reserve.

Hopefully you’re feeling really excited about your next trip now!

I’m sure these incredible landscapes and pictures of Israel gave you something to look forward to – the day you’ll once again be able to travel to the Holy Land.

I hope it encouraged you to use your free time to start planning today!

Did you know of all these places? Which ones are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments section!

For Israel stock photos, calendars of Israel, licenses and more, visit my website.

Join me on social media: Instagram, Facebook.

For inquiries email me at: noamc75@gmail.com

About the Author
Noam Chen is an award-winning photographer, specializing in Landscape and Portraits. He began his career in Israel, before expanding to work in Europe and later in the United States, where he was granted an Artist Visa for individuals with extraordinary ability, by the US Government. Noam's work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the world, including National Geographic magazine, Entrepreneur, The Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Le Figaro and Sunday Times Travel, among others. He has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Israel, Europe, North and South America. Besides photography services, Noam offers prints, calendars and licenses to use his Israel Stock photos.
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