Best of Israel
- 2 Weeks
A whirlwind introduction to Israel's most important historical, religious and natural sights.
Spend your first four days in and around Jerusalem, including a couple of days wandering the alleys of the Old City, exploring the Western Wall and the adjacent Temple Mount/Al Haram Ash Sharif, and following the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Break out your swimsuit and hiking shoes for a full-day excursion down to the Dead Sea and up the storied stronghold of Masada. Next, head to the Mediterranean coast for three days around Tel Aviv, dividing your time between strolling, cycling, lounging on the beach, fine dining and watching the world go by. Next, head up the coast for a peek at Roman-era Caesarea before pushing on to Haifa. Check out the views from atop Mt Carmel and the Baha’i Gardens before a day trip to the walled city of Akko and the grottoes of Rosh HaNikra. After a day in Nazareth, concluded with a tongue-tingling ‘fusion’ dinner, head to Tiberias for a day exploring the storied shores of the Sea of Galilee. On the drive back to Jerusalem, stop at the Roman ruins in Beit She’an.
- 4 Weeks
Explore the best Israel has to offer from the Lebanese border to the Red Sea.
After four or five days in and around Jerusalem, including a couple of days exploring the Old City and a half-day visit to the Israel Museum, take a trip down to the wondrous caves at Beit Guvrin–Maresha National Park, stopping at a winery on the way. Next, stir it up in Tel Aviv for a few days, strolling along the beachfront promenade to historic Jaffa, biking along the Yarkon River and working on your Mediterranean tan. On your way north to Haifa, stop at the Roman ruins of Caesarea and the quaint old town of Zichron Ya’akov, famed for its vintage winery. After touring Haifa’s sublime Baha’i Gardens, visit Mt Carmel and the Druze village of Daliyat Al Karmel. The next day, continue north to Akko, with its enchanting mixture of Crusader ruins and Ottoman relics. Next, go as far north as politics permit, to the subterranean grottoes of Rosh HaNikra, before heading inland for a couple of days in Nazareth, exploring Christian sites and dining on traditional Arab delicacies and East-West fusion dishes. Based in Tiberias for a couple of days, relax around the Sea of Galilee, combining ancient synagogues and Christian sites with quiet beaches and, perhaps, white-water rafting on the Jordan River. Loop east to the Golan Heights, visiting the hilltop ruins of Gamla, the Golan Archaeological Museum in Katzrin and towering Nimrod Fortress. Circle west via the lush vegetation of Banias Nature Reserve to the wetlands of the Hula Valley, beloved by migrating birds; the quaint, cobbled streets of Rosh Pina; and Tsfat, suffused with the spirituality of the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism). Finally, head south through the Jordan Valley, strolling the colonnaded Roman thoroughfares of Beit She’an. After a starlit night on the shores of the Dead Sea, rise early to catch the sunrise from high atop Masada. Continue south into the Negev Desert for a day or two around Mitzpe Ramon, including a hike into Makhtesh Ramon. The last stop, for a spot of sea, sun and snorkelling, is Eilat.