Whether it’s your first time in the Holy Land, or you’re already as seasoned as a pita with za’atar, check out our list of the best travel experiences in Israel that add a little something extra to the usual bucket-list favorites. Israel is a small country that somehow manages to squeeze in everything you could ever want, and then some. You can easily spend your entire trip hopping from one top tourist attraction to the next, and it would be time well spent! But don’t leave without experiencing some local favorites that are off the beaten path, and well worth the journey. Whether you’re in Israel for a week, a month, or the entire summer, you’re sure to have plenty to explore and still leave wanting more.
Hike the Golan Trail or Yam L’Yam
The Golan Hiking Trail is a stunning 125km of scenic beauty, beginning at Israel’s tallest mountain, Mount Hermon, and descending towards the Sea of Galilee, the lowest freshwater lake in the world. The Yam L’Yam (Sea to Sea) trail starts at the Mediterranean Sea at Achziv Beach, and goes through Northern Israel, ending at the Sea of Galilee. The full Golan Trail hike takes about a week, and Yam L’Yam taken about 4 days, but if you’re not up for that challenge, or have limited time, it’s easy to head up north for a day or weekend to hike a section of either trail. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Israel and Syria, and take in the serene nature and abundant wildlife of northern Israel. Hiking is a big part of Israeli culture, and the Yam L’Yam hike is considered a sort of initiation into adulthood for Israeli youth, so saying that you completed all or part of these trails is a great way to fit in with the locals.
Enhance Your Senses
For a truly remarkable experience, visit the Israel Children’s Museum to participate in the Dialogue in the Dark exhibit, where blind and visually impaired guides lead you through simulations of everyday activities in complete darkness. The exhibit aims to introduce participants to the rich sensory world that we all have access to but largely ignore, while promoting positive change in the way people perceive those who are different from themselves. Want to take your sensory journey a step further? Make dinner reservations at the BlackOut restaurant in Jaffa, Tel Aviv. You’ll dine in complete darkness, served by blind or visually impaired waiters who will happily answer your questions and tell you their stories.
Israel is known as the land of milk and honey, but did you know that it was also one of the first wine making regions in ancient history? Archeologists have uncovered more than 20 wine presses from over 2,100 years ago, and thankfully some things never change. Over the past few decades, the Israeli wine industry has burst onto the global scene, producing some 35 million bottles annually and introducing connoisseurs to Israel’s more Dionysian counterpart, the land of wine and cheese. Enthusiasts won’t want to miss the chance to tour the 300+ vineyards that arguably rival the likes of Napa and Bordeaux. For the best way to imbibe without worrying about a designated driver, book a wine tour and let someone else take the wheel so you can sip the day away!
Explore Jerusalem: High and Low
Many visitors experience Jerusalem, both old and new, but miss out on the high and low highlights. The Ramparts Walk is, without a doubt, one of the most unique ways to explore the holy city from above with amazing views. Afterward, descend underground to explore the ancient City of David and Hezekiah’s tunnels, built in the 8th century B.C.E. to protect the city’s water supply from the approaching Assyrian forces. Already visited the Western Wall? Dive deeper as you explore the Western Wall Tunnels, where you can see parts of the wall that are hidden beneath the city and learn the history of the area. When visiting a city as special as Jerusalem, it’s imperative to explore it from all angles.
One of the hidden gems of Israel, the Sachne is a local favorite that doesn’t make it to most travelers’ itineraries. Nestled in the Lower Galilee, the Sachne (also known as Gan Hashlosha) is believed to be the location of the Garden of Eden, and once you experience this lush oasis for yourself, you’ll see why. The pools are fed by a natural spring, and the waters remain at a constant 28 degrees celsius, making the Sachne a year-round destination for winter soaks and summer picnics. Regardless of the season, prepare to be tickled silly as the fish that live in the pools give you an unsolicited pedicure.
Camp with the Bedouins
No trip to Israel would be complete without having an authentic Bedouin experience, and Khan Spice Route invites you to do just that. Lose all sense of time in the serene Arava desert, as you enjoy traditional Bedouin hospitality, feast on hafla, and immerse yourself in the thermal mineral pools. If you’re looking for a desert adventure, take a Negev Desert Night Safari and come face-to-face with elusive nocturnal wildlife before enjoying a nomadic-style barbecue cooked over a desert bonfire. The desert takes up half of Israel’s landscape, so exploring it is definitely one of the most authentic and best travel experiences in Israel.
Watch the Sunrise from Masada
Whether it’s your first time at Masada or you’ve been a dozen times, you’ll see the magnificent views through new eyes with a sunrise tour. Hike your way to the top and watch the mountain light up as the sun rises in all its glory over the Dead Sea – this is truly one of the best travel experiences in Israel that you don’t want to miss. Then cool off with a bath under Ein Gedi’s lush waterfalls and head to the Dead Sea to paint yourself with mud and float in the restorative waters.
Snorkel or Scuba Dive in the Red Sea
Head south to Eilat to experience some of the best snorkeling in the world! The Red Sea is alive with playful dolphins, bashful clownfish, and magnificent coral reefs that will surely take your breath away. Experienced divers won’t want to miss the site of the Yatush shipwreck, a patrol cruiser that served in Vietnam before being gifted to the Israeli navy and subsequently sinking off the coast of Eilat.
Take a trip to Jordan or Egypt
Take advantage of your time in the region to cross two must-see destinations off your bucket list! You’ve definitely been dreaming about visiting the lost city of Petra and the great pyramids of Giza, so don’t miss out on the chance to fulfill your dreams when you’re already so close. Israel is perfectly situated for a trip to two of the world’s greatest wonders, and with daily departures to Petra and Cairo, all you have to do is book online, then sit back and enjoy the ride!
If you want to book one of the best travel experiences in Israel, contact us and we will help you arrange your journey.