Introducing Israel & the Palestinian Territories
At the intersection of Asia, Europe and Africa - both geographically and culturally - Israel and the Palestinian Territories have been a meeting place of cultures, empires and religions since history began. Everyone from Moses to Mark Twain has dreamed of going there. The appearance of prophets seems to be dwindling and the Crusaders have long since hung up their swords and shields, but travellers still come in droves, almost magnetically, to this land still considered holy by countless millions.
The appeal of Israel’s ancient and holy past may be obvious enough but many new arrivals are surprised to see that it’s much more than a lesson in history. While Jerusalem is a dazzling amalgam of past and present, and a contested hotbed for the world's monotheistic faiths, the whole country is a tightly packed ball of everything from Mt Masada and the Negev desert to the beaches of Eilat. On a leisurely weekend you could surf, ski, sip wine, ride horses, go clubbing in Tel-Aviv or enjoy some cutting-edge theatre – and that’s just the start. You can also work on a kibbutz, volunteer at a West Bank school, float in the Dead Sea, hike across the Israel National Trail…
Like the patchwork of new arrivals at Ben-Gurion airport, Israel is an amalgamation of peoples who arrived over centuries of time, each one staking their claim to the land. Territorial disputes led to violence, which in turn made for some epic accounts in the Bible – not terribly dissimilar to what is playing out on nightly newscasts where you are today. But contrary to popular belief, Israel is not a war zone to be avoided, and it has such rigid security that travel is surprisingly safe.
Somewhere along the line, politics and the bitter facts of life in this uncertain land will nudge their way into your trip. And while Israelis and Palestinians love nothing more than to argue, muse and prognosticate over the latest political currents, it’s best to leave your own opinions at the door. Enter the Holy Land on a clean slate and you’ll never watch the nightly news the same way again.
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Best places to stay in Israel & the Palestinian Territories
Lessons from the road: mistakes travel writers make (so you don’t have to) – part II
As we’ve learned from Lonely Planet authors in our earlier article, travel-writer mishaps can result in pearls of wisdom for readers. Here we continue telling the real stories behind some of the simplest advice in travel guidebooks. Team effort with a broken-down car. Image by Kazunori Nagashima / Taxi / Getty Images.
Israel & The Palestinian Territories destination guides
People have been writing about Jerusalem for the better part of its 3000-year history, but still today your first glimpse inside the ancient walled city will leave you speechless.
How to plan a trek along the Abraham Path
A new series of walking trails through the Middle East is opening up trekking opportunities in a region more often seen solely as a historical destination.
A journey uncovering the extraordinary history and geographical delights of Jordan
Petra Day Trip from Tel Aviv - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Petra, in a convenient day trip from Tel Aviv.
Hunting for hummus in Israel
Tubs of hummus – cooked, mashed chickpeas mixed with garlic, olive oil and lemon -- fill refrigerators all over the globe, but where can the best be found? One contender for the gold medal is Israel, where, despite political differences, locals have embraced this Arabic dish as their own.
Sights in Israel & the Palestinian Territories
Activities in Israel & the Palestinian Territories
Tours in Israel & the Palestinian Territories
Restaurants in Israel & the Palestinian Territories
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Mediterranean sunshine, laid-back locals and a thriving party scene.