Regions of Israel
It is impossible to do justice to the entire country in just a few words, so here are some brief thoughts on different opportunities on offer to the visitor.
A must-see city even if you only have a short time in the country. Highlights include: The Old City, Yad Vashem, Mahane Yehuda market, the Israel Museum and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Even though until just over 150 years ago everybody lived behind the Old City walls, don’t write off modern Jerusalem, there is plenty to see and do in this less ancient part of the city, too.
The Dead Sea
Being able to float in this incredibly salty sea is a unique opportunity. Add to that, its healing properties and mineral rich mud and you have the all-in-one spa experience with a difference. If you really want to pamper yourself, you can book a special Dead Sea massage or treatment. If you are more actively inclined, you could combine your visit with a hike in the nearby Ein Gedi reserves with their beautiful scenery and rich history, a visit to Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, or a tour around the desert fortress of Masada, with its intriguing past and spectacular views over the entire area.
If the adrenalin of the big city is what you are after, then come to Tel Aviv. It is the country’s business and cultural centre, with some good beaches thrown in too. Less intense than Jerusalem, with its own sites of historical interest, funky neighbourhoods and great night life, it is Israel’s cosmopolitan flagship.
Apart from stunning views across the Mediterranean, there are many places of interest along Israel’s coastline. Whether you visit Herod’s pagan city of Caesarea, the Bahai centre in Haifa, or just listen to the sound of crashing waves at Rosh Hanikra, you cannot fail to be impressed by the combination of natural beauty and local history.
The Galilee and the Golan are two of Israel’s best kept secrets with a wide variety of touring possibilities. Be amazed at the ever-changing landscape, horse-back ride, hike, jeep, or canoe, visit a local winery, or relax in one of the charming country lodgings. Politics and history also play an important role in defining the north, but you would never guess it from the welcoming and laid back attitude of the locals.
The raw, untamed beauty of the desert provides the scenic backdrop to the country’s south. From the Dead Sea down to Eilat, you will witness Israel’s various desert landscapes, the unforgettable hues of the Ramon crater, ancient settlements and hidden watering holes and canyons. The unexpected combination of these, with modern agricultural communities, educational facilities and industrial pioneers, introduces you to a kaleidoscope of Israel that few could imagine.
And just for fun… I have added an alphabetical quiz to see how much you already know about Israel and how much is left for you still to learn. The answers are below.