October 25, 2014

Israel Offers History, Waterfront Fun, Nature Experiences and Pilgrimage Opportunities

Itís no secret to those who know me that Iím a huge fan of Middle East travel. While itís true Iíve spent more time in other countries throughout the region, David and I did have a chance to visit Israel several years ago. While we werenít able to see everything (and plan to return in order to do so), we did manage to see several sites and cities of interest. Here are our top tips for the places we were able to see.

Jerusalem

If itís your first time visiting Jerusalem, we definitely recommend staying in the Old City. Not only will you be closer to the main sites and attractions, youíll experience a greater sense of atmosphere and spend less time being transported back and forth every day. There are plenty of affordable street food options there, and an exceptional restaurant called Amigo Emil that we highly recommend for a wine dinner.

Old Jaffa

If you happen to be in the Tel Aviv area, a visit to Old Jaffa is definitely worth a daytrip. A virtual living museum filled with art galleries, thrift shops, restaurants and more, the city has been inhabited for thousands of years. Itís a charming break from the city bustle, full of photo ops and a great place to enjoy anything from falafel to seafood.

Haifa

Spectacular gardens and nature experiences, modern art and daytrips to Akko are included among our top tips for visiting Haifa, Israel. The Bahai gardens, Mount Carmel National Park, the Haifa Museum of Art and a variety of outdoor cafes are some of the things youíll want to experience in this city. We enjoyed a spectacular lobster ravioli lunch for less than sixty bunch with a view of the Mediterranean to our right and the Bahai world center gardens on our left. Itís a great city with lots to see, and why many people bypass it is beyond me.

Tel Aviv

While Jerusalem is head coverings and pilgrimage sites, Tel Aviv is beach yoga, food and nightlife. There are other things to be seen for sure, but the point is that a visit to Tel Aviv is a visit to a modern, bustling city. If tradition is what youíre looking for however, you can certainly take some time to explore the Yemenite quarter and take a stroll down the beach to Old Jaffa.

We did get to visit a few other places in Israel, although just for an overnight or less. Nazareth, Lake Tiberius (AKA the Sea of Galilee ) and Eilat all made our list. However, Qumran, Masada, Bethlehem and Gaza did not, so we definitely need to make those stops happen on the next visit. Also, we would have liked to have more time to explore the area around Lake Tiberius. So readers, what were your favorite travel experiences in Israel? Do you have an article or online image to share?

Photo Credits: These pictures of Israel were photographed by the team here at Trek Hound. However, others are available for creative commons use online at our sister travel photography site, Pictures of Travel Places.