Steeped in history, Israel is perhaps most famous for its religious pilgrimage sites and ancient cities. But look beyond the obvious to discover world-class diving, hip urban quarters and gorgeous golden beaches.
Spend a few hours exploring the ancient City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem. It has been in the process of excavation since the mid 19th century. Walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a long passage of waist-deep water that was mentioned in the Bible.
Step inside the somber yet sacred Church of the Holy Sepulchre, said to be the location of Jesus’ tomb. Marvel at the gold-plated Dome of the Rock, a shrine on Temple Mount which is thought to contain the rock from which Mohammed ascended to heaven. Join the pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall, also known as the Western Wall, an ancient limestone wall that surrounds Temple Mount and is the holiest place for Jewish people to pray.
Culture-loving visitors will want to see the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which is housed within a striking angular building. Don’t miss the contemporary art exhibitions at the Museum on the Seam, a gallery located on the border between East and West Jerusalem.
Pick up some fresh fruit, vegetables, spices and pastries at the Mahane Yehuda Market, a bargain food market and restaurant hub in Jerusalem. Find some vintage clothing and furniture at the flea market in the lively Jaffa neighborhood of Tel Aviv.
Tour the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, a picturesque collection of garden terraces which also includes the golden-domed Shrine of the Báb. Take the ferry from Haifa to Akko, and explore the underground Templars’ Tunnel and the medieval Hospitaller Fortress.
Fly into Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, and then ride the train or bus to neighboring towns and cities. Rent a bicycle to explore the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Rent a car if you want to explore the country at your own pace.
Offering much more than meets the eye, Israel is an exciting, multifaceted destination.