Israel may be a small country, but its attractions are very diverse, both natural and handmade. While southern Israel is arid and desert, and Eilat is primarily known for its diving, the rest of Israel has an impressive array of sights and activities, from the wadis and mountains of the Negev desert to the ruins of ancient cities and palaces. Further north, you can drift in the Dead Sea, revel in Tel Aviv, and visit the holiest sites of Judaism, Islam and Christianity in and around Jerusalem.
While northern Israel may not be as well known, the greener land here, with the pleasant Sea of Galilee, Mount Carmel National Park, and the disputed Golan Heights, all offer god-awful excursions. The best way to see all or part of Israel is to take a guided multi-day tour. There are many factors to consider when booking your own itinerary, including security, hotels and transportation, and a good tour can take care of these logistical issues for you, allowing you to spend more time experiencing Israel in a relatively luxurious setting. Here are five of the best itineraries for Israel.
Classical Israel Tour
This five-day itinerary is a great introductory option if your main goal is to see internationally known religious landmarks, as well as some off-the-beaten-path sites in northern Israel. The itinerary includes a drive through the vineyards of the Golan Heights and the countryside of the Sea of Galilee, with stops in Jerusalem, Old and New Jerusalem, Nazareth, and the Roman sites of Capernaum. Accommodation is in hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, while transportation is by small coach or tour bus, depending on the group size. All of this is included in the breakfast, although lunch and dinner are additional costs.
Jewish Travel Packages
As a country where Judaism is the dominant faith, some of the most precious and respected monuments in Judaism can be found in Israel. The purpose of the trip was to visit as many of these monuments as possible over the course of five days and four nights. The departure point is naturally in Jerusalem and the itinerary includes two nights of hotel accommodation. Enter the Old City from the Zion Gate and visit holy sites such as the Western Wall, the underground stone carved kingdom known as the City of David, and overlook the entire city at Mount Scarpus. This is just part of the first day’s itinerary. You’ll also stop near the Dead Sea, visit the ancient synagogue in the hilltop city of Safed and more. Accommodation, transportation, guided tours and breakfast are all included.
Highlights from Israel
From: US$ 1,226/person
If five days sounds too short, it’s probably because it’s too short. While many tours focus on the main holy sites and ancient sites in central and northern Israel, this Israel Highlights tour takes a more in-depth look at these areas of Israel and spends more time getting to know them. Spend more time in Jerusalem and also visit the excavation site of Herod’s palace, the Roman ruins of Beit Shean, and wine tasting in the wine country of Israel. Another great thing about this trip is that you can also stay at the kibbutz for a few nights.
From 1,840 yuan/person
While many of the above tours are large groups of up to 40 people, many people prefer the relatively relaxed small group tours (averaging around 10 people). And the Israel Explorer tour is about more than just the popular tourist attractions in the country. In addition to the usual highlights of the trip, such as Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Dead Sea swimming, there was a visit to the village of Druze, a visit to the working kibbutz, and a trip to the Palestinian refugee camp of Duhais, which is now more of an unofficial town than a refugee camp. The purpose of the latter trip is to get a sense of the people who live there and see how they’ve made the place a thriving community. The accommodation is mostly in three-star hotels.
From 1,985 RMB/person
The last trip on our list was a step back and instead of trying to cram every attraction in Israel into the trip, we tried to spend more time in the major cities of Israel. Focusing primarily on Jerusalem, Nazareth and Tel Aviv, this itinerary is capped at 12 people and provides an in-depth look at the neighborhoods and religious sites in each city. Your main guide and several local guides will take your visitors on a walking tour of a range of landmarks, from the UNESCO World Heritage listed fortress of Masada, built by Herod, to lesser known areas such as the pedestrian street (Via Dolorosa).