Whether it is faith, culture or the sun that brings you to Israel, there is an endless list of attractions and places to visit. There are few countries as diverse as Israel with so many cultures, making it an interesting cocktail of great food, super friendly people and bucket list attractions. Here are ten once-in-a-lifetime places you should definitely visit in Israel!
Western Wall, Jerusalem
I will never forget the first time I visited the Western Wall. The first time I walked down the stairs of the Jewish quarter, from where you suddenly have a magnificent view of the Western Wall complex, the Dome of the rock and Olive mountain behind it. It is the most sacred place in Judaism, so the complex is divided into a male and female section to allow everyone to pray in privacy. I honestly arrived a little bit skeptic and was hesitant to approach and touch the wall seeing many women praying emotionally, but once I touched the wall I understood why so many women around me where in tears. There is an energy there that I have no words for, there is no way to describe it so special and peaceful. Why am I sharing this personal story with you?
Because it is the most special place on earth that I have visited, undoubtedly the most special place in Israel and a must-visit when you are in Israel. It is a place that must be experienced, felt with the heart to truly appreciate it.
Planning to visit the Western Wall? There is a rooftop view close to the Western Wall which gives you the best possible view of this part of Jerusalem. Click here to read more.
In Israel, they call it the Salt Sea and this is much more precise than Dead Sea, because did you know this sea is not dead at all? All along the Dead Sea, due to the retreating sea levels, sinkholes are appearing with fresh water and guess what, they are full with fish! Personally, this part of Israel, bordering Jordan, is so special to me that I keep going back. It is the lowest place on earth and the sea is so salt you can only float in it. The Dead Sea mud and minerals are world famous and even the air your breath is rich in minerals. Thousands of years ago, pharaos and kings already came here for a spa retreat and is no wonder why.
Along the shores you can find some of Israel's most interesting attractions, like the Ein Gedi oasis, famously mentioned as the hiding place of King David, Masada and Qumran, where the oldest Torah scrolls known today were found. The infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are said to have also been along the southern shores. Remember how Lot's wife was turned into a salt pillar because she looked back? You can still find this statue today just south of Neve Zohar. For a full travel guide to the Dead Sea, click here.
Old City, Jerusalem
Did you know the Old City of Jerusalem is divided into four quarters? There is a Muslim, Aramaic, Christian and Jewish quarter, each with their own attractions, vibe and food. Wandering through these ancient streets is so special, truly a one-in-a-lifetime experience. Have you been to Jerusalem and if yes, what was your favorite part? Leave a comment below! To everyone who has Jerusalem on their bucketlist, here is a beautiful video by Visit Israel.
Eilat's coral reefs
Many people know about the more known, biblical attractions in Israel, but did you know Israel's far south borders the beautiful Red Sea and is full with coral reef? Eilat's setting is beyond stunning, with the deep blue sea and red desert mountains all around it. From here, you can see Jordan, Egypt and on a clear day even Saudi Arabia! The city itself mostly is a resort city, with five-star hotels lining up all along the beaches. But just out of the city, towards the Taba crossing with Egypt, you can find some of Israel's most unique places. Endless diving centers, bohemian beach bars, an ecological dolphin rehabilitation center and eco-friendly glamping site are all within a few kilometers' reach here. During my first year in Israel, I went diving here for the first time in my life and it is still one of my favorite memories, due to the school of dolphins who came to say hi. How special is that?! For more info about visiting Eilat, click here.
It is no doubt that Masada is one of Israel's top sights to visit. Visiting the ancient fortress built on top of a mountain plateau truly is a special experience, because there is something about this place - not only because of it's majestic location overlooking the Dead Sea, Jordan and Judean desert, but because of it's historic importance and symbolic meaning. Masada literally means fortress in Hebrew, built by the famous Jewish King Herod between 37-4 BC. For Jews, Masada is of great symbolic importance, because during the invasion of the Romans and the destruction of the Jewish kingdom of Judea, there was a massive revolt against the Romans at Masada. The fortress was the last stand against the Romans and it was so impregnable that after three years of siege, a massive ramp was built (which took months!) made out of rocks and sand - that is still visible today and one of the two entrances to the fortress. Once inside the fortress, the Romans found that around a thousand men, women and children had chosen to die free above slavery. This tragic story is one of heroism, courage and strength - now an important symbol of that in modern day Israel.
The most special experience at Masada is to watch the sun rise above the Jordanian mountains! Click here for more information about visiting Masada.
This city doesn't need much introduction, it speaks for itself! Yafo is one of the oldest port cities in the world and home to amazing hummus restaurants, whereas Tel Aviv is one of the high-tech centers of the world, with endless beaches and some of the world's best vegan restaurants. This city really never sleeps and is a must visit.
Wadi Rum in Jordan most likely is on your bucket list (or perhaps you have visited already!), but did you know that not far from Wadi Rum lies Timna Park, the Israeli equivalent? It is home to the oldest copper mines in the world and endless, out-of-this-world desert views. I am hoping to visit soon, so stay tuned for a travel guide to this beautiful part of Israel! In the meantime, here is a bit of travel inspiration:
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, or Kinneret in Hebrew, lies just 100 km north of the Dead Sea and is the lowest fresh water lake in the world. Opposite from the desert landscape of the Dead Sea, the landscape here is lush, almost with a tropical feel because of the endless date and tropical fruit plantations. The Sea of Galilee is one of Israel's most visited places and it is no wonder why. The landscape and views are some of the most beautiful in the country and for Christians it is a must visit pilgrimage! Below you can watch a gorgeous one-minute video from one of the dreamiest places in Israel.
The Sea of Galilee is also one of the best places to watch the sunset in Israel, click here to read the Tales of Israel sunset guide.
This city probably is the most authentic cities in Israel with the most authentic feel, which is exactly why it had to be included in this list! For a full travel guide to this UNESCO World Heritage Sight, click here.
Baha'i Gardens, Haifa
Have you heard of the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa? They're undoubtedly the most beautiful gardens in Israel and the holiest place for the Baha'i religion because it's the resting place of their prophet. These gardens, perfectly laid out in the middle of Haifa along the slopes of Mount Carmel, really are special to visit. From the top you have some of the best views in Israel!
These are the Tales of Israel top ten places to visit, let me know below which one of these you would like to visit most!