Best Places to Visit in Israel
Are planning a break to Israel and you want to see the highlights? Israel might look small on a world map but there are so many diverse and spectacular sights to see, both new and old.
From world famous cities with ancient religious sites, to stunning beaches and beautiful countryside - you can places to appeal to all types of travellers.
Even if you only have a few days or weeks, you can really pack in a lot of places to your itinerary as there is a really efficient transport network connecting the whole country.
Before we get started with our guide to the top destinations in Israel, we share some tips for travelling to Israel to help you prepare:
Getting to Israel
Israel looks a long way from most countries but you can get some great deals throughout the year and several low cost airlines like Easyjet fly there from Europe. We recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to Israel as you to compare flights from different airlines and find the lowest prices. You can also use the search function to compare prices across a whole month to find the cheapest time to book.
Buy Travel Insurance
It is really important to buy travel insurance before travelling to Israel. This country is safe and very few international tourists experience any problems here but if you get sick, injured or even get any belongings lost or stolen, travel insurance can protect you from a big financial hit. We recommend getting insured with World Nomads who offer affordable cover for trips to Israel.
Book Accommodation In Advance
There are hundreds of hotels, hostels, apartments and AirBnB throughout the country but prices can be high especially during tourist peak times like summer. If you are looking for somewhere cheap to stay, we recommend using Hostelbookers or Booking.com to search for budget accommodation. Book well ahead of your departure to get the best deals.
Now, check out our top recommendations for essential places to add to your Israel travel itinerary:
A trip to Israel wouldn't be complete without visiting Jerusalem. Israel's capital city is a very religous destination for Christians, Jews and Muslims. This is an ancient city with several places of interest including the Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall which is a holy site to Jews.
Exploring the old part of the city is an incredible experience and also be sure to visit the Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. If you have an interest in history then the Israel Museum in Jerusalem will appeal - here you can see various historical treasures including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the world's oldest known biblical manuscripts.
Other amazing tourist destinations in Jerusalem include:
- Temple Mount
- Tower of David
- Rockefeller Museum
- Tomb of Absalom
- Montefiore Windmill
- The city of David
- Jaffa Gate
- Siloam Tunnel
- Hurva Synagogue
- Gethsemane Site
- Al-Aqsa Museum
- Mahane Yehuda Market
2. Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a lively vibrant city with a young population - it is also the best place to party! Founded in only 1909 this city is an incredible place to visit where you can hit the beach during the day, watch sunset and then visit one of the many bars, cafes and restaurants.
This is a very liberal city which is in total contrast to other cities in the country. If you would be keen on staying longer and are open to the idea going to work in Israel then Tel Aviv is amazing place to be based. There is an international crowd and the atmosphere here is amazing.
Places to add to your Tel Aviv itinerary include:
- Tel Aviv Museum of Art
- Jaffa Clock Tower
- Ramat Gan Safari
- Carmel Market
- St. Peter's Church
- Habima Square
- Yarkon Park
- Tel Aviv Port
- Luna Park
Masada is an ancient 1,300-foot high fort overlooking the Dead Sea located about 20km from Arad. Here you can learn about the history of the Zealots and see ruins, many of which haven't been excavated yet. You can access the fort on foot (for the active) or via a cable car.
4. The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is a world famous destination with several biblical stories occured here. At overe 1,300 feet below sea level it is the lowest point on the planet. The water is very salty and rich in minerals - this has been known to help people with skin conditions. You can also float
Tiberias is an Israeli city on the western shore of the stunning Sea of Galilee. Reasons to visit Tiberias include explore its Old City which is home to important Jewish and Christian pilgrimage sites like the Tomb of Maimonides and Abulafia (Etz Chaim) Synagogue.
The Tiberias waterfront features the restaurant-lined Yigal Allon Promenade, a marina and a fish market. South of the city, Hamat Tiberias National Park is home to famed mineral hot springs dating to antiquity.
One of the most impressive destinations in Tiberias is the Sea of Galilee (as seen in the image above), a huge freshwater lake which is approximately 21 km long, and 13 km wide!
Ask anyone who has been Tiberias and they will recommend going to see the Golan Heights. This is one of the most popular non-city destinations for travellers in Israel due to the scenery and ancient archeological sites. You will be left in awe of the nature and beauty of this area.
Other locations in Tiberias to add to your itinerary include:
- Arbel Nature Reserve
- Aqua Kef
- Hamat Tiberias
- Kursi, Golan Heights
- Church of the Multiplication
- Beit Gabriel on the Kinneret
- Berko Archeological Park
Eilat is a popular Red Sea seaside destination where you can enjoy the outdoors lifestyle, watersports - you can even go swimming with wild dolphins here. If you would like to go snorkelling or scuba diving in Israel then Eilat is your destination. We recommend going to Aqua or Coral beaches which is a great place for views and activities.
Other places to consider visiting in Eilat include:
- Botanical Garden of Eilat
- Camel Ranch
- Coral World Underwater Observatory
- Timna Valley
- Red Canyon
- Ammerm Columns
- Dekel Beach
- Tabernacle Museum
- Aqaba Archaeological Museum
- Musical Fountain
- Mosh's Beach
- Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve
7. Valley of Elah
Looking to experience the real Israeli countryside? Plan a trip to discover the Valley of Elah. Located around 45 minutes south-west of Jerusalem, this is the site of David's epic battle with Goliath, and which is now home to many winerys. There are lots of remote monasteries and scenic spots which make this region one of the hidden jems of Israel. Get here before the crowds arrive.
Bethlehem is one of the most well know places in the world due to being the birth place of Jesus. Thousands of international tourists visit this city which is located in the West Bank in Palestine, and is easily accessible from Jerusalem. This is the locations of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. If you would like to be more than just a tourist you might want to volunteer in Palestine.
Haifa is a picturesq city with spectacular scenery and gardens. The Terraces of the Bahá'í Faith, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, are garden terraces around the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel are stunning. These gardens are some of the most beautiful in the world and a great place to snap pictures.
Other top places to see Haifa include:
- Mount Carmel National Park
- Louis Promenade
- Cave of Elijah
- Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve
- Hai Park Kiryat Motzkin
- Stella Maris Monastery
- Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space
Nazareth is an essential city to check out if you are planning to visit northern Israel. It is smaller than Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with a population of around 75,000 people but offers such a cultural and historic experience. Nazareth is where The Virgin Mary lived and brought up baby Jesus and is an imporant pilgrimage destination for religious tourists. Don't leave Nazareth before visiting the Church of Annunciation.
Other places of interest in Nazareth include:
- Nazareth Village
- Zippori National Park
- Kfar Kedem
- Centre International Marie de Nazareth
- Tavor Mountain Reserve
- Church of the Transfiguration
Jaffa is an ancient port city in Israel which featured heavily in ancient biblical stories. Jaffa, also known as Yafo is somewhere you should add to your itinerary. Located on the Meditteranean sea, you will enjoy strolling around the old cobbled streets of the Old Town.
Booking a tour in Israel is a great way to learn more about the history and tradition of places like Jaffa - you will get a local guide who will be able to give you more information about the places you visit.
12. Beit Shean
Beit She'an is one of the most ancient cities in the world with several archaeological sites located throughout the Middle East. This city offers a mix of new and old, with modern buildings and shops but also ancient ruins.
Looking for a slightly less touristy destintion? Consider venturing to Caesarea, a small town located on the ocean inbetween Tel Aviv and Haifa. The Caesarea National Park is a spectacular archaeological site built by Herod the Great over 2,000 years ago. Expect ancient ruins and spectacular views.
This beautiful park located on a harbour and beaches has so much for tourists to see and do. You can walk around to see ancient ruins, go shopping or if the weather is good you might want to go swimming. The amphitheater is impressive and if you visit during summer the amphlitheatre has been renovated and you can attend a theate/concert here.
Ashkelon is a city located on the spectacular Mediterranean sea, it is one of the oldest cities in the country and is becoming more and more popular with tourists. Ashkelon is only 50 kilometres from Tel Aviv and there is a good transport which makes getting here easier.
Ashkelon is a desireable place to live and the city is constantly being developed with new parks and buildings which offer a mix of new and old. The national park and the ancient port are two of the best places to see.
15. Acre (Akko)
Acre is a port city in northwest Israel, on the Mediterranean coast. It’s famous for its well-preserved old city walls. In a tunnel in the walls is the Treasures in the Walls Ethnographic Museum, depicting daily life from the Ottoman times to the 20th century. The mosaic-covered Or Torah (Tunisian) Synagogue has 7 torah arks. The 18th-century Al-Jazzar Mosque has marble pillars and underground pools.
Places to see in Acre include:
- Templar Tunnel
- Ghetto Fighters' House
- Old City of Akko (World Heritage Site)
- Knights Halls Acre
- Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
- El-Jazzar Mosque
- Hai Park Kiryat Motzkin
- Khan al-Umdan
- Or Torah Synagogue
- The Citadel
- Tel Afek
Other places which didn't quite make our list but you might want to consider include:
- The Uvda Valley and Eilat Mountains
- The Negev Desert
- The Judean Desert
- Gush Etzion
- The Dan Region (Gush Dan)
- The Coastal Plain
- The Lowlands
- Jezreel Valley
- The Carmel Mountain
- The Jordan Valley
- The Hula Valley