Melissa Douglas
Award-winning British Travel Writer

Travel Bloggers Share Their Favourite Things About Israel

Beautiful Israel has soared in popularity as a tourist destination in recent years. Historically it was predominantly religious travelers or those on birthright tours flocking to the country. However, word has gotten out about Israel as the perfect destination for a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.

The 2020 pandemic may mean that Israel has had to temporarily close its borders; but that definitely isn’t to say that there are not thousands of people across the globe dreaming of the laidback atmosphere of Tel Aviv, the peacefulness of the Dead Sea, the breathtaking beauty of Masada, and the multi-colored canyon of Makhtesh Ramon.

When international travel resumes, Israel will be waiting. The wonderful thing about this part of the world is that weather conditions are perfect all year round. If the current global health crisis means having to postpone your summer vacation, don’t fret. Conditions are still perfect in Israel for sightseeing in Jerusalem and bobbing in the Dead Sea like a cork, well into Fall and Winter.

As you plan and gather inspiration for your future trips to Israel, I asked several well-known Travel Bloggers what their favorite part of their recent trips here were.

The LGBT Scene – Robert of Leave Your Daily Hell

In addition to being the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel is the only country with a visible LGBT scene. Whether you visit during Tel Aviv’s incredible annual pride celebration every June, or simply lay a towel on Hilton Beach any sunny afternoon, you’ll be astounded by how accepting and open everyone in this city is. 

This is true whether you’re a gay couple taking a romantic long weekend trip or an adventurous independent traveler who wants to meet some handsome locals before diving deeper into your Israel itinerary.

Robert of Leave Your Daily Hell 

Nazareth – Jo of Wander with Jo  

Having spent four amazing days exploring Nazareth’s old town, I can honestly say I loved this quaint hill town with its steep winding roads and cobbled streets. Totally different from its more popular counterparts – Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Nazareth seems like a cute storybook destination and should be an addition to any Israel itinerary. 

Lovely adorable shops, bookstores, and cute cafes line up the entire old town – my favorite was the oldest cafe coffee shop of Israel – Cafe Abu Salem. The owner Wissam is wonderful and you can see its a haven for locals who have been flocking inside it for decades playing backgammon with hot mugs of “Inar” in hand. 

What’s more, in Nazareth, you have the option to stay in a 200 old Arab mansion – Fauzi Azar Inn by Abraham hostels – which is perhaps the most popular sleep in the old town of Nazareth. The locals are wonderful and I got invited to a traditional home-cooked meal on day one itself. The city has a certain old-world charm to it and as a solo female traveler, I felt completely safe.

Jo of Wander with Jo  

Exploring Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea – Tamara of Globe Guide 

 

One of my favorite experiences in Israel was hiking to the waterfalls in serene Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and taking the cable car up to the plateau of Masada, then heading over to the Dead Sea. 

Taking a dip in the salty waters was at the top of my list, and the phenomenon of effortlessly floating did not disappoint- in fact, I ended up going three different times during my Middle East trip! 

I picked up a few tips along the way, like making sure you put a bandaid over any cuts before getting in (ouch), and some of the best poses for fun photos (flip on your tummy and stick your arms and legs up out of the water). One of my favorite things about a trip to the Dead Sea is being able to do your own spa treatments with the mud found along the shoreline- my skin felt incredible after!

Tamara of Globe Guide 

Tel Aviv – Rachel of East to West Mrs 

The best part about Israel for me and what kept me coming back and ultimately made me move here from New York City is Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is a small city that encapsulates so much history, culture, religion, people, and attractions in one. 

Any type of person can fall in love with Tel Aviv. From the beaches to the urban city, bars with techno music to live Middle Eastern hip-hop, history dating thousands of years back to modern art museums, typical Jewish food to Yemenite food to Iraqi food, and more, there is truly something for everyone. 

The laid-back vibes and social aspects of the city are some of my favorites. The people in this city are also special – Israeli’s openness, hospitality, and sometimes bluntness, is one of a kind. Strangers inviting you into their homes after one meeting, bartenders giving you free shots during your meals just because, business owners becoming your friend or setting you up with someone, and Israeli’s true form of saying exactly what is on their mind. 

Lastly, Tel Aviv’s weather is near perfect – winters are mild and enjoyable and summer spans from almost March to November, providing the perfect getaway at almost any time of the year. Israel’s eclectic, cultural history can be found within every aspect of Tel Aviv which is why it’s one of the best, happiest, most interesting, and sometimes difficult cities I am lucky enough to get to call my home now and get to explore every day. 

Rachel of East to West Mrs 

Anne de Graaf of Anne Travel Foodie – The Local Cuisine 

As a vegetarian, Israel is a heaven for me. There are so many tasty dishes that are a staple to the Israeli cuisine that are vegetarian or even vegan

I love hummus and falafel, and they don’t get any better than the ones in Israel. There are tons of wonderful food spots in Tel Aviv. Every time I travel to Israel I’m mostly excited about all the good food I’ll be eating. And another plus is that the weather is nice enough to eat outside pretty much from September to June. For me, nothing beats eating fresh hummus at a table in the sun outside of a small hummus shop

Anne of Anne Travel Foodie

Abi of Inside the Travel Lab – The Mixture of Old and New 

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I’ve no idea why, but I’d always imagined Tel Aviv would be small. But today’s post from @pointsandtravel reveals the truth: it’s, er, not. ???? As one of the oldest cities in the world, it has a tale or two tell. A railway station that’s now a restaurant. Jonah’s last taste of land before the whale tasted him. And this magnificent view of Old Jaffa. Cacinda has picked out her favourite things to do in two days – (see the link in profile! ) And @virginatlantic fly there from London [ad.] Cacinda describes Tel Aviv as one of her favourite cities in the world, which got me thinking? Where are yours? Have they changed over the years? . . . . #theglobewanderer #madewithmap #finditliveit #welltravelled #letsgosomewhere #stayandwander #travelon #lonelyplanet #unlimitedparadise #passportready #lppathfinders #aroundtheworldpix #travelog #originaltravel #lifeisinthedetail #travelocitypicks #bythewater #calmwaters #oceanviews #worldheritagesite #unesco #worldheritage #unescoworldheritagesite #unescoworldheritage #patrimoniodelahumanidad #telavivlife #telavivcity #igersisrael

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With a history stretching back thousands of years and visible in so many places, it is the blend of old and new in Israel that is such a joy to see. 

Take Tel Aviv, for example, a city of gleaming skyscrapers and modern nightlife. Yet, the ochre stone of Old Jaffa Port features in ancient Greek mythology as well as the story of Jonah and the Whale. You will see a lot of architectural variety during one or two days in Tel Aviv.

The Bialik Museum shows life in early 20th century Israel through the home and works of poet Hayyim Nahman Bialik. But Israel is not a place stuck in the past; even the old can be repurposed. 

HaTachana, built in 1892, was the first railway station in Tel Aviv, connecting old Jaffa with Jerusalem. Now it’s a shopping center and entertainment complex, with repurposed freight terminals, rail tracks and railway coaches. You can quite literally reach out and touch history while sitting down to enjoy dinner and drinks. 

Abi of Inside the Travel Lab 

Jerusalem -Vicki of Make Time to See the World

 

As one of the oldest cities in the world and a holy city in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Jerusalem has a long and complex history making it quite unlike anywhere else. This is definitely a destination worth exploring – whether you are religious or not. 

Everywhere you look in the old city there are slices of history, millennia-old stories, and beliefs that have shaped it into the melting pot of cultures that it is today. As an atheist, I find the city fascinating, insightful, and educational – it’s as if you are actually walking through history.

Outside the holy city, touches of modern society can be seen seeping in, mixing the old and the new, and as the polar opposite of Tel Aviv, it provides great contrast and insight into different ways of life within Israel.

Vicki of Make Time to See the World 

 

About the Author
Melissa Douglas is a professional travel writer and full-time digital nomad from the UK. She manages www.highheelsandabackpack.com - a trusted solo female travel website, which she uses as a platform to encourage women to push themselves outside of their comfort zones.
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