Touring Tips

Jonathan’s Favourite Places in Israel

Most tourists who have been to Israel would confess that it is nearly impossible to choose only a few favorite places, so expect that in the future there will be another list of more favorite places in the country. Meanwhile, this article lists the favorite places by categories.

1. Holy Place

For this one, it is a conventional choice. To make the visit to Kotel a bit more different, plan to go there in the late evening. It is cooler and less crowded — it can make it easier to pray and to contemplate. Another good alternative is evening services on the Sabbath or Festivals — more people but more atmosphere. If you want to visit during the day then going to the Davidson Center can be a highly recommended activity — it is the same wall or you can visit the Southern wall and the Hulda Gates (where pilgrims entered the Temple in ancient times) — it’s quieter and again, more intimate. The snag — you have to negotiate opening times and admission.

2. Galilee & Golan

Overall the Galilee and the Golan are favorite places. In this category the view from Bental is an ideal spot — clean air, rich history and a feeling that you can see for miles.

On the other hand, it is impossible to let such a large part of Israel be mentioned with only one place. So we’re going to mention other good places, such as Rosh Haniqra, where the caves are beautiful and the sea is breathtaking to watch. In the area one would spend some time on Achziv beach and for history — the story of the bridges at Rosh HaNiqra and Lohamei HaGhettot nearby.

beach with a group of buildings in the background
Palmachim Beach

3. Beach

Choosing beaches in Israel must be a lot easier — or harder, depending on yourself. Palmachim is almost a runaway choice, and a top favorite. It is pretty, much more natural and, apart from the weekends in the summer, generally not packed (maybe it will be now it is given a mention here). There are certainly another two or three contenders in this category — perhaps they beg for another article!

4. Tiyul (Ramble)

There are many great “tiyulim” or rambles in Israel and there are many of them that people frequently return to once every year or so, just because they are always good fun and pretty much guaranteed to be a successful day out. In the north, Arbel is a firm favorite – not too long, a little bit challenging and offering great views of the Kinneret.

Overall, however, many people think that the most dependable tiyul is Nahal David at Ein Gedi. Not a hard tiyul at all, and often busy. But because of the easy access to the water, it is great in the summer and the route is warm enough in all but the coldest and wettest days of winter. Nahal David has it all — water, desert, a waterfall, great views and cool animals within easy reach. You can choose some of the extra options to make it a bit more challenging — but overall you can’t go wrong with Nahal David.

5. Sunset spot

When it comes to watching sunsets in Israel, there are a lot of strong candidates in this category — watching the buildings in Jerusalem turn gold in the sunset, almost any beach on the Mediterranean. But among the personal favorites are sunset over the Kinneret. This way you get the sunset, beach, water and landscape in the same view. Any of the beaches themselves (on eastern shore) are excellent. Other good places can be found on the roads in the Golan — for example, Road 789 (Mitzpe Ofir and other lookout points).

6. Museums

Israel houses some of the world’s most impressive museums, from classical to modern to contemporary art. And of course, being a country with rich history, needless to say Israel boasts a lot of important historical museums. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem instantly comes to mind — it is considered a cultural institution and one of the world’s leading names in art and archaeology. It is definitely a “must-see” in your Israel travel bucket list.

But if you want to have a dose of art and architecture while stepping back in time (sort of), go to Tel Aviv and visit a district called “The White City” where you can see over 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings that were built during the 1930s. It the largest collection of buildings built during a particular architectural style and era and is one of the first “modern” UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Walking the streets while exploring one building to another is like going around a vast outdoor museum!

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