Must-Visit Attractions in Israel
Israel offers a rare mix of good food, great people and an endlessly diverse list of sites. So no matter if its culture, faith or curiosity that brought you here, here are the attractions you just must see once you’ve arrived.
Acre’s Old City
A rarely visited site in Israel, this amazing old city offers the best of the old and new world: great restaurants perched on its seaside cliffs and even a world-class hotel alongside all the fun of a classic Arabic market.
This mountaintop fortress in the Israeli desert was once the last holdout for the members of the Jewish revolt against the Roman empire. Their fate was a bitter one – after a lengthy siege they decided to take their own lives rather than surrender – but visiting the site is anything but bitter. Wake up extra early and hike or just take the tram and enjoy this amazing historical site.
Bahá’í Temple, Park
The Hanging Gardens of Haifa are an absolute beauty. Holy to the adherents of the not-widely known Bahá’í faith, the gardens are a temple to their god Bah. Come for the view, or come to learn about the faith – just don’t miss it.
Jerusalem’s Old City
One square kilometer of winding streets and alleys and home to the holy sites of the three main monotheistic faiths, Jerusalem’s Old City is the place where history has happened and is the only place priests and monks commonly have fist fights. It also has amazing food and countless secrets for those willing to brave its maze of shaded streets.
Western Wall, Jerusalem
The exterior wall of the long-destroyed Jewish Temple, the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) is one of Judaism’s most holy sites, so holy that ultra-Orthodox Jews won’t even step beyond the wall to where the temple actually sat for fear of desecrating the land. Its open plaza accommodates both women and men for prayer, and regardless of faith, follow the local custom and put a note in the wall.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Via Dolorosa
Follow in the steps of Jesus by walking the Via Dolorosa, or head to his final resting place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The tomb itself has recently been renovated and is a popular site for pilgrims and tourists alike.
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
The Dome of the Rock, next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque within the Temple Mount complex, is one of Islam’s most holiest sites. Though a flashpoint for tensions between Jews and Arabs, it is safe for tourists per a few caveats: don’t go on Friday, Israelis might be barred from entering, and women are required to dress modestly (i.e. long skirts extending below the knee and no cleavage or exposed shoulders).
Tel Aviv’s Port
Tel Aviv’s Port, recently revamped, is now an urban powerhouse of cafés and restaurants. It’s a great place to see the sea without having to pass through a beach, and its farmer’s market offers great local food with its produce and restaurants.
Jaffa’s Old City and Old Port
One of the world’s oldest port cities, Jaffa is one of the best parts of Israel. Head to its port for great sea breezes and fresh fish.
Tel Aviv’s White City
Home to an internationally acclaimed collection of International Style houses (sometimes also called Bauhaus) the so-called White City is actually part of Tel Aviv’s central Lev Ha’ir district. The homes are beautiful even for those usually not interested in architecture, and we’ve even put together a great walking tour to explore them for you.
Jaffa’s Flea Market
Trendy and stylish, Jaffa’s Flea Market is home to strange antique stores alongside new restaurants and cafés, a symbol of how Jaffa’s old meets Tel Aviv’s new to create something amazing.
Mahne Yehuda (Jerusalem Markets)
Jerusalem’s central market is a bustling middle eastern bazaar offering the best local delicacies, for those who know how to find them. Take a chance and get lost in this great market, which has even inspired a fancy restaurant hidden within its allies bearing its name.
Hipster central at the Big Synagogue in Tel Aviv
The epicenter of the hipster side of Tel Aviv, the Big Synagogue plaza on Allenby Street, is home to a bar, a restaurant and two places that fall somewhere in between. The Port Said and Santa Catarina are the places to eat contemporary Tel Avivi cuisine, and the Otzar is the place to get a drink if you’re young and in style. So head there to meet the city’s younger and more attractive scene.
Tel Aviv’s beaches
The multitude of beautiful beaches in Tel Aviv need no introduction and remain some of Israel’s most famed and most popular tourist attractions.
Eilat’s barrier reefs
In the southernmost tip of Israel sits the resort town of Eilat. Perched on the head of the Red Sea peninsula, its waters open up to Egypt to the south and Jordan to the west, and on good days, Saudi Arabia is visible in between them and across the water. Eilat has great coral reefs, a few dolphins and even a bird festival, so go south and enjoy the dry, warm sun.