Best Israel Tours for Seniors
Travelling to a country like Israel can be exciting, but even if you are an experienced traveller, there can be a few points of concern. There may be questions if you haven’t travelled there before, especially as a senior traveller.
However, Israel has lots to offer: the climate is moderate for much of the year, an enviable healthcare system, world-class infrastructure, and transportation. Language barriers don’t need to be a concern either, as the country is well versed in English, as well as other languages such as French and Russian. You won’t have any trouble navigating the country, as the people are friendly and willing to chat with you should you need directions or even a restaurant recommendation.
Our travel company, does recognize that people are sometimes hesitant to travel to the Middle East due to political conditions. However, we hope that we can answer some of your more pressing questions, as well as offer you some tips and other information before you decide to travel to the Holy Land.
Israel’s History & Culture
Thousands of years of religion, culture, and history have shaped Israel. Israel has been influenced by the three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam, all of which hold Jerusalem as sacred. The uniqueness of Israel lies in the fact that it welcomes Christian pilgrims, contains a large Muslim population, and is the epicentre of Jewish culture. Likewise, Israel has a fascinating culture and history, including folklore, literature, art and language.
Israel has become home to immigrants from Europe, North Africa and North America. All these cultures have had an influence on Israel as a country. There can be vast differences in Israeli life: from ultra-orthodox to secular and liberal, which can be seen at its best in Tel Aviv.
Understanding Israel and its history are worthwhile. The biblical and political history is particularly worthwhile as you explore the unique experience Israel has to offer. You can also learn about Israel from modern writers, as well as films.
As religion plays such a large part in Israel, don’t forget to be mindful of religious sensitivity – Friday noon is when Muslims attend important prayers, Friday night to Saturday night is the Jewish Sabbath, and Sunday is the day Christians attend church. When visiting holy sites in Jerusalem, women should carry a light shawl or shirt.
Is it possible to travel on Shabbat and religious holidays?
Jews observe Shabbat, a day of rest, on Friday evening and for 25 hours. Most stores are closed on Fridays. Tel Aviv is open on Shabbat, but Jerusalem closes almost completely during the day. Even the public transportation system is unavailable on Shabbat, but taxis are available for those who may need to travel.
Those who practice Shabbat do not use electricity or work. Even those who are not religious use it to relax and catch up with friends and family members. This may seem odd at first, but we assure you, after you’ve tried it, you’ll enjoy it.
Similarly, Israel strictly observes religious Jewish holidays, especially Yom Kippur (Atonement Day), when everything grinds to a halt. Prepare in advance, and you will enjoy the time off!
Some tips to make the trip easier
1. Middle Eastern culture is different from the west, so be respectful. A few things may seem strange, such as the widespread smoking, contrasted with the disapproval of excessive drinking. Likewise, dress according to the context. Jerusalem is more traditional, so modest dress is expected. However, in cities like Tel Aviv, you can wear whatever you like. We recommend that you learn a few Hebrew phrases. This is an effective way to endear yourself to your guides and locals alike!
2. If traveling as a group, keep in mind that hotel pickups might take 15-30 minutes, especially for day trips. Having said that, we do recommend a tour package to seniors. It’s more convenient, comfortable, and you’ll be going at a reasonable pace! Furthermore, you will have a leader who understands the country well, so you can feel more comfortable.
3. For couples in Israel, there are three common mattress sizes: double beds, queens, and kings, for those who like more room to move.
4. Israeli cuisine has a variety of flavours. There are many old European favourites such as soups, schnitzel, herring and chopped liver. The traditional Yemenite breakfast consists of shakshuka, which are poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce, malawach, a thick Yemeni pancake, and Jachnun.
There is also Israeli street food such as hummus, falafel, which are fried chickpea balls, and sabich, an egg, potato, salad, and aubergine with a mango sauce, which is commonly served with pita bread.
Among the Iraqi dishes that entice visitors are Mujadara and T’beet, either made with lentils or chicken and Moroccan baked cod. Moreover, the salads are incredible, made with the very best of Israel’s local produce. The markets offer a variety of food, and we recommend you try as much as possible!
5. Are you ready for the trip of a lifetime? Our advice is to read as much as you can. Our website offers additional information and read our article on How to Plan Your Perfect Vacation in Israel to make sure that you are as prepared as possible. We hope that this has inspired you to take the plunge, and we look forward to seeing you soon!