Discover Your Interest in Israel
Israel Travel guide
The State of Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world, covering an area of 22,000 km², with a population of approximately 7.5 million (smaller than that of New York City). Despite the country’s small size, it is multifaceted in terms of both its geography and its people.
Within one hour’s drive eastward from Tel Aviv, the large metropolitan city situated on the coastal plateau at sea level, you can travel up to the Judean Hills of Jerusalem to a height of several hundred meters above sea level and then descend to the lowest place on Earth, the Dead Sea, 400 m below sea level. Similarly, departing from Eilat, Israel’s southernmost tip, leaving behind the arid desert climate where precipitation is less than 10 mm per year, a mere seven-hour drive northward brings you to the Upper Galilee in northern Israel, where precipitation averages 1000 mm per year. The range of scenery and climate makes for very rich and diverse types of flora and fauna, some of which is endemic to the country.
The population of Israel is also varied and comprises different population groups, of which the majority are Jewish and the Arab minority.
The varied scenery and landscapes, the diversity of flora and fauna, and the rich history and culture of the Israeli population allow the traveler to enjoy an enormous variety of tourist attractions in Israel. There are several sites of Jewish heritage, such as Masada, Gamla, and the synagogue at Qatsrin, which reflect the vital connection between the people of Israel and their land, a bond which remained vital for thousands of years, since the establishment of the very first settlements following the Exodus from Egypt and until the establishment of Zionist settlements in the early 20th century.
Christianity, which was born in the Land of Israel 2000 years ago, has left several Christian holy sites in Israel that perpetuate the story of the birth and life of Jesus in the Holy Land, prominent among them is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. There are also many other sites, located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, in Nazareth, and in Bethlehem.
The land’s rich history is reflected in the existence of several World Heritage Sites in Israel, such as the Nabatean Cities in the Negev (such as Avdat), Masada, the old city of Acre, Megiddo, and “The White City” area in Tel Aviv.
Be sure to include in your itinerary a visit to Israel’s lively and fascinating cities, chief among them Jerusalem, Israel’s present-day and historic capital, as well as the great metropolitan Tel Aviv, Israel ‘s cultural and financial hub, located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
The beautiful city of Haifa, located on Mount Carmel facing the Mediterranean coast, is also the World Center of the Baha’i faith. In these major cities, you’ll find an abundance of museums, some with archaeological items demonstrating the country’s rich history and varied cultures, others marking important events in the history of the Jewish people and in the development of the State of Israel, while others exhibit works of art of past and present. A visit to the Museum of Yad Vashem, the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust of World War II, is highly recommended, as is a trip to Beit Hatfutsot –The Museum of the Jewish People. Located in Jerusalem, the Israel Museum, the country’s largest museum, exhibits an enormous array of archeological items and many and varied art collections.
Israel has been blessed with innumerable sites that highlight the country’s beautiful nature and landscapes. Some of the most impressive scenic views include the mountain range of Eilat, which is a link in the chain of the world’s deserts; the Ramon Crater, the largest natural crater in the world; the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth; the waterfalls in the Golan heights; the snow-covered peaks of Mount Hermon in the wintertime; the source of the Jordan River at the northern tip of the Upper Galilee, and the bird-watching site in the Hula Valley, situated on the migrating path of hundreds of thousands of birds and fowl that fly between Africa and northern Europe.
Of course, Israel offers several luxurious resorts and spas for rest and relaxation, which can be found along the Mediterranean coast, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and of the Dead Sea, and in the Bay of Eilat. In a small country such as Israel, all of these sites are within a short distance from one another and easily accessible. Israel’s accommodating climate makes touring a delightful experience –all year round.
I hope this guide will help you to find the best things to do during your travel to Israel and wish you a wonderful journey and an enjoyable stay in the endlessly fascinating and beautiful land of Israel.
Maayan Hess Ashkenazi