Monday, July 22nd | 19 Tammuz 5779

October 1, 2015 6:13 am

The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

avatar by Noam Matas

Mount Masada. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Mount Masada. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of the places you really must visit while in Israel.

1. Take a dip in the Red Sea. Located in Eilat, the Red Sea offers snorkel and scuba diving that will allow you to see exotic fish and beautiful coral reef. The crystal clear waters are most inviting and the weather here is almost always perfect. If you are not feeling quite so energetic, you can see many of the same sites at the Underwater Observatory in Eilat. Of course, the Red Sea beaches are most inviting, along with some awesome boat cruises. You will never have a dull moment while in Eilat.

2. Climb (or take the cable car) to the top of the mountain fortress of Masada. Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular place visited by Jews. Masada was the last stronghold of the Jews’ rebellion against the Romans, and more than 900 Jews committed suicide here. Overlooking the Dead Sea, there are two paths to the top, or you can take a cable car. Either way, it’s best not to visit during the mid-afternoon, due to the heat.

3. Many people don’t know that the largest crater in the entire world is located in Israel. About an hour south of the city of Beersheva is a heart-shaped crater that is 40 kilometers long and 2-10 kilometers deep. Called the Ramon Crater, it was built by nature through water and erosion.

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4. When you are ready to do some shopping, hop on over to the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. Here you will find stall vendors hawking their goods and taunting each other over their prices, space and even their favorite sports team! These sellers are waiting for you to haggle with them, and you will quickly learn whether or not you have the skills to get a good bargain. This is where you can experience the real Israel, along with the sights, smells and sounds that will make this a fun adventure.

5. When you feel like relaxing, plan a trip to a Tel Aviv beach. Israel has some of the best beaches in the world. At sunset, the view is absolutely amazing and the gently lapping waves of the Mediterranean Sea will put your mind at ease. With cafes close by, there is every reason to kick back and rest your mind and body.

6. A more serious place to visit is Yad Vashem in Jerusalem — Israel’s memorial to the six million Jews that were killed during the Holocaust. There are exhibition halls, museums, a library, monuments and other memorials dedicated to those who lost their lives. Covering 45 acres, this is a place to reflect and appreciate what others have suffered.

7. Of course, no trip to Israel is complete without a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem. The home to three major religions, your day will be filled with adventure and educational experiences. You will want to spend a long day here, visiting many places from the days of the Bible. Here you can visit the Western Wall, the Tower of David and many other historical places that will give you a new understanding of the history of the events that took place here.

8. As you have probably noticed, Israel has many places where you can enjoy water sports. You will find, however, that the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea, is for relaxing. You can lather on the mud and literally float on your back, relaxing and soaking up the sun.

9. A little out of the way, in Halfa, are the Baha’i Gardens. Known for their great beauty, these gardens are filled with greenery that will amaze you. These beautiful natural gardens are a memorial to the founders of the Baha’i faith, and people come from all over the world to visit them.

10. Last, but not least, make sure you take some time to enjoy a night in the city of Tel Aviv. There are museums, galleries, dance centers and theaters to appeal to your cultural appetite — not to mention the many restaurants and cafes that are scattered everywhere, promising you wonderful meals and great atmosphere.

The author is the General Manager of America Israel Travel.

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