Salt islands at the Dead Sea

Israel's most epic hidden gems in 2023

What a year this has been. There's 2023 before October 7th and an entire different era after October 7th, which you probably know already if you've been following me on Instagram. But this guide is about celebrating the uniqueness of Israel, celebrating how beautiful and diverse this country is. Sometimes we forget about that with all the current events, but there is so much beauty to be found in Israel. So, without further ado, here are Israel's most epic hidden gems that I've visited in 2023!

The most unique hidden gems I've visited in Israel this year

1. Gan Hashlosha

  • Where: northern Israel
  • What: ancient hot water springs
  • Why visit: it's called the Garden of Eden for a reason!

Imagine visiting a place so beautiful, that it is known as a possible site for the ancient Garden Of Eden.  Gan Hashlosha is that beautiful. Although not a hidden gem among locals, these ancient hot springs with lush greenery and flowers surrounding the turquoise pools is a highlight from my travels in 2023. This is a national park, so there's an entrance fee, but you'll get all the facilities you might need, including the option to camp on the green lawns lined with palm trees. Note: this is a very popular place to visit among locals, especially in weekends so I recommend arriving early to swim in all quiet.


Interested to visit in 2024? Here you can find all the info about prices & opening hours.

Gan Hashlosha in Israel

Hidden gems printed and framed: for a piece of Israel at home!

2. YMCA pool in Tiberias

  • Where: northern Israel
  • What: hot spring in the Sea of Galilee with lush palm trees
  • Why visit: most beautiful place in the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret)

In essence, the YMCA pool in Tiberias is more than just a beautiful swimming spot – it's a retreat. Again, these are hot springs and what makes them so special, is that they're located inside the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) in Tiberias' outskirts. It's one of those places in Israel that make you feel like you're in another country - it's so tropical and lush with lines of palm trees in the water. Truly a hidden gem. 


Want to visit the YMCA pool in 2024? In this video you can find all info!

Tiberias in Israel

3. Davidson Center - The Jerusalem Archeological Park

  • Where: Jerusalem Old City
  • What: ancient excavations
  • Why visit: want to walk the ancient steps that led up to the First Temple?

Imagine walking the original steps where people all these thousands of years ago walked up to the First Temple! There's no denying this is one of the most unique places in Jerusalem, truly a hidden gem, though relatively unknown. You can see ancient mikvehs that the Jews used to clean themselves in before walking up to the Temple Mount and there Hebrew writings in stone everywhere - all right below the Temple Mount. The steps lead to where today's Al Aqsa Mosque stands.


Visiting the Davidson Archeological park truly is a journey back to Biblical times. 


Here you can find all information if you'd like to visit this hidden gem.

Davidson Archeological Park

For a piece of Jerusalem at home: framed wall art & digital prints

4. Dead Sea salt islands

  • Where: Dead Sea
  • What: islands made entirely out of salt
  • Why visit: one of the most unique places in Israel

Have you ever been to the Dead Sea?  The southern part of the Dead Sea, the shores around Ein Bokek & Neve Zohar are lined with islands and formations made entirely out of salt, creating my favorite landscape in Israel! Although it's not really a hidden gem anymore, if you walk along the shores, you can find hidden islands without people to enjoy. The lowest place on earth and such a unique place to visit in Israel. 


Interested in doing a photoshoot with us at these islands? 

Dead Sea in Israel

5. Kibbutz Neot Semadar

  • Where: Arava (southern Israel)
  • What: unique, artistic kibbutz
  • Why visit: want to visit a fairytale castle in the middle of the desert?

Imagine driving in the desert, to suddenly see a huge fairytale-like structure pop up that looks like straight from a movie set. Welcome to Neot Semadar, one of the most unique places to visit in Israel and such a hidden gem - most tourists skip this kibbutz. Not only do they have an amazing art center with the most beautiful souvenirs, there's a boutique winery to visit and a vegetarian restaurant with lots of produce from the kibbutz - don't miss their goat cheese ice-cream.


Here you can find all information if you'd like to visit this hidden gem in 2024, and I so recommend you add it to the list!

Kibbutz Neot Semadar

Ready for 2024? With the Tales of Israel calendar we celebrate twelve beautiful places in Israel, one month at a time

6. Megiddo 

  • Where: northern Israel
  • What: ancient archeological site
  • Why Visit: one of Israel's most famous Biblical locations

Are you Christian and have you heard of Armageddon, the battle at the end of times? That is said to take place right here, in Megiddo. This is such a hidden gem, unknown to most people but one of the most unique Biblical places to visit in Israel. Today you can still visit the ancient water spring to the city and the water tunnel deep below ground. The views and history are very interesting to learn about, this city is one of the oldest in the area - going back thousands and thousands  of years.


Interested to visit this hidden gem? Here you can find more info!

Megiddo in Israel

7. Ein Gedi

  • Where: Dead Sea
  • What: ancient desert oasis
  • Why visit: Israel's most beautiful desert oasis

Imagine stepping into Biblical times, to the desert oasis where King David hid in a cave from  Saul.  Welcome to Ein Gedi! Ok I have to admit, it's not really a hidden gem - but there are so many hiking trails in this park that you can find many unexplored pools, waterfalls and stunning views. It's one of my all time favorite places in Israel, so it had to be in this list. There's so much beauty in the waterfalls & pools nestled between the desert mountains, with lots of wildlife and lush greenery. A slice of paradise on the shores of the Dead Sea!


Interested to visit this hidden gem? Here you can find all info about opening hours & prices.

Tales of Israel in 2024

So many unique places visited this year, so many hidden gems discovered and authentic experiences curated! I can't wait to take you with me on a visual journey through Israel in 2024 - exploring more of this beautiful country. Uncovering more hidden gems. Honestly, with everything going on, I'm more determined than ever to show you how unique and beautiful Israel is!


What can you expect from Tales of Israel in 2024?

Coming soon: curated travel experiences in Israel on

Lots of free tips & information on unique places & authentic travel experiences

For all of you unable to visit Israel: unique pieces of Israel for your home

Interested in planning a photoshoot at one of Israel's most beautiful places? 

Woman on the beach in Israel

The Author: Miriam van Laar

Miriam is the face behind Tales of Israel, the largest English speaking Israel travel page on social media. Miriam is a visual creator and Israel travel expert, working as a photographer and videographer exploring and capturing Israel, always looking for the most unique places and authentic experiences. She has been curating unique Israel experiences for travelers since 2017.

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