Top 10 Must See and Do in Israel
Israel might be a small country in size, but it is certainly packed with many places and things to see. This is accredited to its rich history and diverse landscape. Israel has everything from deserts to forests and urban cities. In addition, Israel is connected to three bodies of salt water—the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean. Further, Israel is the center of the three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Thus, there are endless historical religious and biblical sites to check out as well. In this article, we provide a list of 10 ‘must-see and do’ in Israel. However, this is not an extensive list. It is just a sampling of some of the top places and things to get you started on your journey in Israel. There are many other things worth seeing and doing.
Caesarea is a stunning coastal town on the Mediterranean Sea. It was once an ancient port city built by Herod the Great. Currently, it is a modern city with stunning homes. Further, there are beautiful beaches and a national park that includes ancient harbor ruins. There is a famous Roman aqueduct that runs along the beach and is the post card image of Caesarea. Caesarea Aqueduct Beach is considered one of the best beaches in Israel. In addition, summer concerts are hosted in the restored ancient amphitheater. Lastly, located in Caesarea is the world’s only underwater museum. In this museum visitors tour the underwater ruins of the ancient city of Caesarea, it is well worth a visit.
2. Haifa and Acre
Haifa is the third largest city in Israel, after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Also, it is the most northern city of the big cities nestled on the northern edge of Carmel Mountain National Park. Haifa is home of the Bahai World Center, the center of the Bahai faith and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beautiful Bahai gardens are certainly something to see. In addition, on the northern side of Haifa Bay is the city of Acre, also known as Akko. The Old City of Akko is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with remains of a Crusader town above and below the streets. Further, the Ottomans left their mark by leaving one of few Ottoman walled towns with citadels, mosques and hamams. The old city is still populated with active markets and boat rides from the marina. Acre is great for a half day visit.
Rosh Hanikra is a place of beautiful grottos and caves, which are natural geological creations. It is located at the northern most point on Israel’s Mediterranean coast. One of the popular things to do in Rosh Hanikra is ride the cable car down the cliff face. There are also trails for visitors to use to explore the gorgeous natural geological formations.
Masada is a magnificent ancient fortress built by Herod the Great. It is located on top of a mountain in the Judean desert overlooking the Dead Sea. The Masada fortress is most well known for being used as a hide-out by the last remaining Jewish rebels. The Jewish rebels hide here in an attempt to avoid slavery by the Romans. In the end, legend has it that instead of succumbing to Roman conquest the Jewish rebels took their own lives. Today, this story is regarded as a story of freedom. As a result, Masada remains one of Israel’s most cherished sites. With that said, Masada is accessible by a hike up the snake path, which was the traditional path used during ancient times. It is customary to do this hike before sunrise to see the sun rise over the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. The hike is quite strenuous. Therefore, for those not up for the hike there is a cable car to take you to the top. This is an absolute must see in Israel.
The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth and the saltiest sea in the world. It is located in the Negev desert and bordered by Israel, Jordan, and the West bank. Due to the seas salinity it makes floating a very attractive thing to do. More precisely, a human is so buoyant while floating in the Dead Sea that one can read a newspaper while doing so. As a matter of fact, this is a popular thing to do. In addition, since ancient times the water of the Dead Sea is regarded as having healing properties for various skin conditions. A visit to the Dead Sea and Masada are good options to combine into one day.
6. Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a bustling beach city located on the central strip of Israel’s Mediterranean coast. In addition, Tel Aviv offer’s world class night life, food, art, culture, and high tech. Tel Aviv is a great place to stay during your trip as it is easy to access all areas of Israel from this vibrant city.
Golan Heights is a green and rocky scenic region in the far north of Israel, east of the Sea of Galilee. Golan Heights supplies much of Israel with its water. The beautiful Banias Nature Reserve is located here. There are many hikes and trails of all levels and distances inside this reserve. In addition, nearby is the Nimrod Fortress, which is the biggest crusader fortress in Israel. Within Golan Heights is an Israel settlement called Katzrin. Katzrin is also known as the ‘Capital of Golan’. Also, there is an ancient Katzrin, which contains ruins of the ancient Jewish village of Katzerin. These ruins offer a look into Jewish life during the Talmudic times.
Jericho is a city located in the West Bank. Jericho is the oldest continuously populated city in the world, dating back over 11,000 years. It is mentioned in many biblical texts and home of many ancient tales. Jericho is also renowned for its date palm trees. A visit to Jericho takes about a half a day and is advised to be pre-arranged with a tour company.
Bethlehem is an ancient city with many sites, including the Church of the Nativity where is it believed that Jesus Christ was born. With that said, in Bethlehem you will find a lot of Christian history.
There is no place like Jerusalem. It is the birthplace of western civilization. Also, Jerusalem is holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. It is a city with ancient history and modern culture. There are endless things to see and do in Jerusalem. This includes the Old City of Jerusalem with famous sites such as the Western Wall, the Church of Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and more. Also, there are many things to do outside of the Old City, such as a visit to the bustling Methane Yehuda Shuk or the Germany Colony. In addition, it’s worth a visit to one of Jerusalem's many famous museums such as the Yad Vashem museum, or the Israel Museum where you can see the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls.