Israel is one country that you can absolutely see in a week. The country is not big although it is blessed with a diverse landscape (sea, desert and mountains). From the coral reef filled Red Sea to world heritage UNESCO site in Jerusalem – with history going back all the way to foundation of Christianity – to hypersaline waters of Dead sea to new Hi-Tech accelerator center in Haifa, Israel is both interesting, adventurous and unique. One thing to remember is Israel is an expensive country in the Middle East.
Tel Aviv – 1-2 days
- Take the free walking tour from SANDEMAN that takes you around the Jaffa area. The tour starts from the Clock tower and takes you through Port of Jaffa, the Mosque of the Sea, the Zodiac Alleyways, the Wishing Bridge and walk around Jaffa town.
- Free Night tour of Tel Aviv – also a great tour that lets you discover the culture, incredible sites, stories & legends of Tel Aviv city
When you are in Tel Aviv watch out for the desert storm. Sometimes the storm arrives from Negev (in the south) and creates a dark and cloudy environment and the sand tends to get into your mouth and eyes. You can just feel it as soon as you leave the door.
Jerusalem – 2 days
There is a ton to see in the capital city of Israel. It has history, culture, shopping etc. The place is filled with so many para military soldiers and gun-toting student volunteers that makes you think either you are really safe or you should be scared.
Here is a list of things you can do in Jerusalem:
- Stay at Abraham hostel – Great place to stay to meet fellow solo travelers. Also the hostel arranges tours to Masada and Dead sea. The hostel is cheap by Israel’s standards.
- Free walking tour of Old city to get a better understanding of the cultural and religious history of the place
- Sepulcher Church
- Western (wailing) wall – can’t take photos but people do it anyways
- Jewish cemetery
- Day trip to Ramallah
- Day trip to Dead Sea and Masada
Masada, En Gedi & Dead Sea – 1 day
Take a day trip to Masada. Start as early as 3:30 am in the morning from Jerusalem so you can get to Masada mountain before sunrise. You will notice that it is still dark and therefore you climb up the mountain with the aid of the light from your phone. When you get to the top of the Masada there is a fortress. From there you can have a beautiful view of sunrise behind the oddly colored Dead Sea.
Dead Sea is about 1,300 feet below sea level and it has 33.7% salinity. You float without any effort. Just don’t flip over in the water otherwise you will end up getting super salty water on your eyes and mouth.
Ramallah – Day trip – 1 day
From Jerusalem there is a bus service that goes to Ramallah on the Palestinian side. Make sure you take your passport as you need it to cross the border both ways. Things are much cheaper over in Ramallah. People are extremely friendly and want to tell you their side of the story.
- Mahmoud Darwish museum
- Olive factory
- Tomb of Arafat
- Art galleries
Haifa – 1 day
- Baha’i shrine and gardens – This Baha’i shrine in Haifa is the world headquarters of the Baha’i faith. Go in the evening to see the beautiful light arrangement leading up to the top.
- Science and tech museum – One of the best science centers I have visited in the world. They have many experimental booths where you can conduct Physics and Chemistry experiments.