KNOWLEDGEABLE TRAVELERS AND FUN-LOVING TOURISTS FIND ISRAEL THE PERFECT DESTINATION.
By Ross Belfer
Imagine waking up with palm trees outside of your window and the glistening Mediterranean Sea just footsteps from your door. On your stroll towards the beach, you stop off for a warm cappuccino and freshly baked pastries with a group of comfortably dressed youngsters scattered about. Upon your arrival to the beach, you take a chair at one of several beachside restaurants, and enjoy a cold limonana (lemonade + mint) while beachgoers and families play in the water, kick around soccer balls and revel in the warm sun. No you are not in Barcelona, Miami or Rio de Janeiro—but Tel Aviv!
Life in Israel is far different from how it is constantly portrayed in the media. From the picturesque Galilee region in the north, to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea and south through the Negev to the Red Sea resort town of Eilat. Life in Israel is full of unexpected surprises that will inspire and enlighten travelers of all tastes and interests.
Life in Israel is full of unexpected surprises that will inspire and enlighten travelers of all tastes and interests.
The north of Israel offers a calming mix of stunning natural landscapes, historic sites and modern attractions, including museums and world-class spa resorts. In the Galilee, locals and travelers alike often spend the day touring a mélange of historic sites and cities, including Tiberias, Tabgha and the Mount of Beatitudes. After a day of traversing through ancient historic sites, many locals look to retreat to the Sea of Galilee for a refreshing swim—or to set up shop at one of the area’s several camping sites and zimmerim, Israeli bed-and-breakfasts. For the luxury-minded traveler, the Galilee region and the nearby Carmel region boast several organic spa resorts, including Mitspe Hayamim and the Carmel Forest Spa Resort, and as well as hundreds of boutique wineries offering various tastings and workshops.
In Jerusalem, travelers can start the day with a famous Israeli breakfast, known for its wide assortment of freshly baked breads, delicious salads, locally produced cheeses and fruits. Following breakfast, travelers should head to the Old City of Jerusalem, including the archeological haven of the City of David, where a world of ancient holy sites is accessible by foot or by boarding the city’s brand-new light rail system.
Gourmands and foodie travelers to Jerusalem can visit the Mahane Yehuda market, home to hundreds of ethnic food stalls, fresh produce and dairy products, and pastry stands, not to mention several luxury restaurants and cafes. Jerusalem is filled with modern attractions and high-end amenities, from 5-star hotels and world-renowned museums, including the Israel Museum and Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, to art galleries and the Alrov Mamilla shopping mall.
For those more tuned to serene desert landscapes, Israel is home to the Judean and Negev deserts, a popular destination for both locals and travelers alike. Start the day with a sunset hike up the majestic Masada, a mountaintop fortress built by King Herod more than 2,000 years ago. From Masada, travelers can take a dip in the mineral-rich Dead Sea and spend the day floating amongst a calm mountainous landscape for the perfect natural spa experience.
Water-enthusiasts, snorkelers and scuba divers will never find a dull moment in Eilat, Israel’s seaside resort town along the Red Sea. Eilat receives hundreds of thousands of travelers and locals each year to swim in the crystal-clear Red Sea amongst the tropical fish, coral reef, and even dolphins! Visitors to the Negev Desert can also drive 15 minutes north of Eilat for a morning hike in Timna National Park, which boasts massive rock formations and structures, and in the evening, enjoy a relaxing meal at one of the several restaurants along the city’s vibrant waterfront promenade.
In all, Israel is a glistening country with everything to offer to both the knowledgeable traveler and to the fun-loving tourist.