Visitors from all around the world flock to Israel, attracted by the geographical diversity, the archaeological and cultural sites as well as the beautiful Mediterranean beaches, the lake shores of the Dead and Red Sea, and the Sea of Galilee. Israel contains a vibrant modern history and culture, based in part on the diverse, immigrant origins of its inhabitants. Come and discover what this wonderful country has to offer!
In modern-day Jerusalem is home to people of the world’s three monotheistic religions and interwoven with the vibrant tempo of Israel’s capital. Nowhere are the contrasts in Israel more apparent than in Jerusalem; The walls of the Old City and the malls of the New City; Roman arches, Byzantine moats, Crusader walls and Ottoman ramparts. Jerusalem is one big colorful mosaic. The Western Wall, Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the glistening domes on Temple Mount and the Shrine of the Book that houses the 2000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls. The Chagall Windows at the Hadassah Medical Center. The somber Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Architectural feats like Knesset and the Supreme Court Building. And even a windmill.
Dead Sea - The lowest spot on earth
As you descend to the Dead Sea from Jerusalem via the Judean Mountains, you travel through a totally different terrain. Within less than half an hour, you will reach the lowest point on earth, 400m below sea level. The healing properties of the Dead Sea and of the nearby natural springs have been known for millennia. Visitors flock here all year round to enjoy the relaxed pollen-free atmosphere created by the high barometric pressure and filtered sunlight. Modern hotels, desert touring centers, shopping centers and beauty treatment centers have created a major health and beauty spa. Float on the water, immerse yourself in the sulphur pools, cake yourselves with the natural black mud, and explore the oases, waterfalls, calves and historical sites in the area.
As you travel through the foothills of the Galilee Mountains, you are sure to be affected by the pastoral peace of the towns and villages. The Lower Galilee is dominated by the Jezreel Valley, the scene of battles since earliest as Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Assyrians, Persians and Romans claimed it for its strategic value. Visit Megiddo (Armageddon) with its layer upon layer of history, and take time to visit a kibbutz, a communal farm established at the turn of the century that played such an important role in developing Israel’s agriculture. Your base for exploring the Lower Galilee is picturesque Tiberias, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), from whose lakeside promenade you can gaze out over the shimmering water. Tiberias has rich cultural interests, with hot springs and spas that have welcomed visitors since antiquity, a multitude of accommodations, distinctive restaurants, and an active program of water sports. You will find that the Sea of Galilee coastline and the surrounding hills are an all-year-round vacation resort, with nature trails, historical sites and holiday haunts.
Even if you have never strayed more than a mile inland from the Mediterranean Sea, you’d find more than enough to occupy you for whole vacation. The sandy Mediterranean coastline, from Ashqelon in the south right up to the Lebanese border, is dotted with modern seaside resorts and coastal cities. Rosh Haniqra in the north is a warren of limestone grottoes and caves carved out of the white cliffs and reached by cable car. Nahariya is a holiday resort with good beaches and windsurfing, while the fascinating Crusader city of Acco is enclosed by fortified sea walls that once successfully thwarted Napoleon. Haifa, Israel’s third largest city which straddles historic Mount Carmel, is a whole world in itself, with its beaches, port, Bahai Temple and gardens.
Vibrant, brash, cosmopolitan Tel Aviv – Israel’s major metropolis and country’s business center. “The Hill of Spring” did not even exist until 1909, when a group of Jaffa residents moved north to build a new city on the sand dunes. With its sidewalk cafes, fine museums, lovely parks and beaches, concert halls and theaters, elegant restaurants, chic shopping malls and boutiques, Tel Aviv was made for strolling and browsing. You can walk for miles along the beachfront promenade from the north of the city down to Jaffa; passing Tel Aviv’s luxury hotels and the striking new Opera Tower shopping and entertainment center. The Carmel Market in the Yemenite Quarter is one of the biggest open air markets in the Middle East. Art galleries and craft centers abound, offering the finest in local and international creative talents.
The Negev Desert is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the Sinai Desert, the Moab Mountains and the Judean Desert. Encompassed within this multifarious desert is an astonishing range of natural phenomena: stark mountains and hidden wadis, cratered canyons and sand dunes. For thousands of years, the Negev was crucial part of the Spice Route plied by the camel caravans bringing the riches of the East to the empires along the Mediterranean shores. The modern visitor will find the Negev Desert a fascinating place to roam, with its ancient highways, waystations, monasteries and fortresses hewn out of the rocky cliffs; The capital of the Negev, Be’er-Sheva, which has grown 30-fold in 40 years; The Nabatean city of Avdat; Arad, possibly the ancient world’s first experiment in urbanization. The term “off-the-beaten-track” gains added significance in the Negev. An exciting way to explore is by camel, on horseback or in a desert jeep. Many sites can be only reached by special vehicle or on foot. There are also museums of Bedouin heritage, archeological gems and thriving animal and plant life to enjoy.
On the southernmost tip of Israel, bursts upon the senses with very little warning. One minute you are traversing the southern Negev Highlands and Arava Desert, with their rocks and mountains in red and grey and yellow and white, and the next minute you are at the Gulf of Eilat on the shores of the Red Sea. Eilat offers you a total care-free vacation. You can be forgiven if you forget the outside world when you are in Eilat. Take a cruise around the Bay, learn to snorkel and scuba dive in some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Try your hand (and feet) at waterskiing… or paragliding… or speed-boating. Visit the underwater observatory with its fascinating view of the marine kingdom. Descend to the ocean depths in a special submarine.