It is hard not to overuse the word ancient when talking about Israel.
History was made here, but the highlights include not only centuries old biblical cities but also the saltiest sea on earth - the Dead Sea, fascinating local markets, incredible desert landscapes, and the high-rise metropolis of Tel Aviv.Read More...
Jerusalem’s Old City, has a history that stretches back more than 3,000 years, is surrounded by impressive 16th century Ottoman city walls. A fascinatingly unique place where the 1st century rubs shoulders with the 21st century, where picturesque old neighbourhoods nestle against glistening office towers and high-rise apartments. It is one of those places which has to be seen to be believed.
Tel Aviv is Israel’s second-largest city and largest metropolitan area. Modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan – it is one of the country’s greatest assets, a sun-bronzed strip of coastline where coffee and culinary innovation are the local obsessions, where residents speak every language under the sun, and where life is lived outdoors and to the fullest.
The Dead Sea
The lowest body of water on earth the Dead Sea is devoid of life due to an extremely high salt content, which gives its waters theraputic qualities and buoyancy. Because the salt content is four times that of most world’s oceans, you can float in the Dead Sea without even trying, and the only place in the world where you can recline on the water to read a newspaper! A truly unique experience!
An important town on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee and home to apostles Peter, James, Andrew and John. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other.
One of the four holy cities of Judaism, the burial place of venerated sages, and a very popular base for Christians visiting holy sites around the Sea of Galilee. Tiberias has been a popular destination for tourists for more than 2,000 years. As early as Roman times, this thriving recreation spa, built around 17 natural mineral hot springs more than 600 feet below sea level, welcomed visitors from every part of the ancient world.
In the low season (Dec–Feb) it may be chilly in the north, especially at higher elevations. It is a great time to head to the warmth of Eilat and the Dead Sea. During October, November & March through to June it may be rainy but more often warm and sunny.
Spring wildflowers make March and April ideal for hiking. In the high season (Jul & Aug) it will be warm in Jerusalem, muggy in Tel Aviv as well as Eilat, Tiberias,
“Chaotic, colourful, noisy, eclectic, welcoming and unusual – the superlatives could go on forever, but I’d rather show you around Lebanon, and particularly Beirut, myself. Where else can you lean against a wall dotted with bullet holes left over from 15 years of civil war while you queue for lemon sorbet made by the same family for decades? Or hunt for treasure in the antique stores of Basta, try the best ever falafel at M. Sahyoun, wander the delightful Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum of modern and contemporary art or see outstanding examples of iconic street art by well-known Lebanese artists in trendy neighbourhoods bursting with cool restaurants and cafes.
A little further afield (and it is only a little, most places can be reached within three hours drive from Beirut), there are the colossal structures of Baalbek, built over a period of more than two centuries, and a model of Imperial Roman architecture. Dedicated essentially to Jupiter, Venus and Mercury, my personal favourite is the Temple of Bacchus, not least because he was the god of wine, but the temple itself is beautifully decorated and extremely well preserved. Add to this the Phoenician cities of Tyre, Byblos and Sidon, even the most fanatic history fans have no option but to be content.
That sorbet though, it’s definitely worth queuing for!”
Kate Couling, Director
Currency Israeli new shekel
Language Hebrew, Arabic
Why we love it Who could not love this land of living history! It’s a fascinating place to visit to observe the contrasts of ancient Judaism with other aspects of life that are surprisingly 21st century.
Weather In the low season (Dec–Feb) it may be chilly in the north, especially at higher elevations. It is a great time to head to the warmth of Eilat and the Dead Sea. During October, November & March through to June it may be rainy but more often warm and sunny. Spring wildflowers make March and April ideal for hiking. In the high season (Jul & Aug) it will be warm in Jerusalem, muggy in Tel Aviv as well as Eilat, Tiberias,
Social customs & quirks Israelis are often considered brusque or even rude by Western visitors, but this is customary rather than deliberate, and honesty, directness, openness and warmth are the norm here. Hospitability is commonplace and locals delight in sharing their country with visitors.
Festivals & events If you would like to see Pharaoh eagle owls, pied wheatears, McQueen’s bustards and Nubian nightjars come to Eilat in March for the Eilat Bird Festival. During this time many millions of our feathered friends will arrive for the spring migration season.
If jazz is more your thing, come late July for a four-day international festival featuring all styles of jazz. You will be spoilt for choice with about eight concerts playing every evening in bars and clubs.
One of the most traditional of all the Jewish festivals is Sukkot rooted in the ancient Israeli traditions of the 40 years spent wandering the desert as described in the Old Testament. During the festival, tents are erected and covered with greenery and produce, with families eating at least one meal in their sukkah each of the seven October evenings.
Mid-December sees the start of Israel’s friendliest social event featuring bluegrass, country, blues, Irish, Scottish and folk music. Jacob’s Ladder Festival takes place over a long weekend on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, it’s a laid-back, cool event which draws regulars every year.
Health* Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.
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