Israel for Beginners | Mostly because of never ending tensions between Muslims and Jews, Israel has not yet been able to compete with other popular mediterranean travel destinations in attracting international tourists. But the so-called ‘Holy Land’ actually has a charming side and many historical sites waiting for you. After reading this article, you might consider planing a vacation in Israel – unless you are (A) a Muslim or (B) holding a passport with stamps from entering a muslimic country. Israeli people are very friendly even to Muslims. But border control personnel will interrogate you, confiscate your laptop and literally go up your butt if your passport proves you’ve been to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. or any other muslimic country. There is an option to avoid such hour long interrogation: Fly into Israel with a second passport that does not have any traces of your visits to the muslimic world ;) Now let’s get to the fun part …
The Baha’i Gardens – also known as ‘Hanging Gardens of Haifa’ – offer an incredible view over the city of Haifa. Park your car on Nof Yam Street and just walk into the upper gardens. Definitely worth your time. Keep in mind, that the garden is only open from 9am until noon. If you arrive after 12, you can still visit the bottom, middle, and top, but you cannot walk the stairs inside.
Old City of Jerusalem
The Old City of Jerusalem – of course another UNESCO World Heritage Site – has been a religious and historical hub for millennia. Even veteran Jerusalemites lose their sense of direction in this labyrinth of small, winding, cobblestoned alleys. Divided into four quarters (Muslim, Christian, Armenian and Jewish), the Old City of Jerusalem is replete with sites that jump straight off of the pages of the Bible, such as Temple Mount, City of David, King David’s Tomb, and Last Supper room. For more inside on Jerusalem visit allaboutjerusalem.com.
Grottos of Rosh Hanikra
Located on the northern coast near Lebanon, Israel’s Rosh HaNikra Grottoes are now a popular nature site. It was only available to divers, until the installation of a cable car. Today anyone can come and enjoy the incredibly blue waters of these natural caves.
The Banias Waterfall provides one of Israel’s most beautiful nature spots. Set within the Banias Nature Reserve in the Golan, the Banias Waterfall is a spring which rises from the base of Mount Hermon, flowing for about 3.5 km through a gorge, eventually coming to this impressive waterfall, the largest in Israel. Its waters soon after will meet with the River Jordan.
Israel is predominantly desert, but there are exceptions. Agmon Hahula is a very nice place beautiful landscape peaceful place and if you come during the bird migration you will enjoy even more! Cranes, eagles, storks, mongoose, boar and lots more… Great story about the conservation of this important migration stopover area We arrived mid day and if numbers of birds are important to you it’s probably better to visit early morning or evening.
Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located near the Dead Sea. Dramatic history was written here. Herod the Great built palaces for himself on this mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BC. Masada also marks the spot where 960 Jewish Sicarii rebels entered one of the final episodes of the Great Revolt against the Roman Empire in 74 BC. Instead of fighting, the rebels chose to commit suicide. The scenery surrounding Masada is just as dramatic as its backstory, with Herod’s palace overlooking an immense gorge and the expanse of the Dead Sea. Masada today is a place of reverence, commemorating ancestors who fell against oppression. Others point to Masada it as a testament to extremism and a refusal to compromise.
The Dead Sea (Hebrew: יָם הַמֶּלַח ; Arabic: البحر الميت) is a large long salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel/Palestine to the west. Its surface and shores are 430 m below sea level. That’s Earth’s lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea itself is another 304 m deep, bottoming at 734 m below sea level. This super salty lake has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world’s first health resorts, and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, such as asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets. You will not sink when going for a swim.
At Israel’s southern most city Eilat, tourists have access to the Red Sea. That includes an Underwater Observatory Park and a Coral Beach Nature Reserve. The Red Sea is a very rich and diverse ecosystem. More than 1200 species of fish have been recorded, 10% of these are found nowhere else on earth.
Beaches in Tel Aviv
There are almost 200 km of Mediterranean coastline in Israel, including 50 public beaches. Israel’s capital Tel Aviv counts 13 of them, starting with Metzitzim in the north down to Jaffa in the south. It got a beach for every scenario. There’s a gay beach, a religious beach, a dog beach, a few surfer beaches, and a beach for the high society. Our best bet was Jaffa Beach, located a bit off the beaten path and very chilled. Unlike those more central beaches at Jaffa there are no wave breakers. You can expect bigger waves and surfers joining you on a windy day.
Israel for Beginners. By Chili & Chirp | Hugging horizons since 2004 | Check out more about Asia here: Travel Destinations in Asia