12 day Israel trip - advice needed

Old Sep 12th, 2006, 07:19 AM
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12 day Israel trip - advice needed

I am in the final stages of planning a 12 day trip to Israel with my Dad (we are 27 and 51) for mid-October. It'll be our first trip to Israel.

Our Current plan is as follows:
day 1: Caesarea & Towns south of Haifa (Ein Hod, Mukhraka, Zichron Yaakov)
day 2: Haifa, Acco, Rosh Hanikra
day 3: Tel Aviv - Jaffa
day 4: Jerusalem - Yad Vashem & Israel Museum
day 5: Jerusalem - Old City
day 6: Jerusalem & suburbs (Sorek Cave, Latrun, Mini Israel)
day 7: Masada, Ein Gedi & Dead Sea
day 8: Eilat & timna park
day 9: Negev Desert [Makhtesh ramon, avdat, ben-gurion house, air force museum]
day 10: Lower Galilee [megiddo, bet shean, belvoir, tiberias]
day 11: Golan Heights [gamla, nimrod's fortress, banias]
day 12: Galilee [safed, baram, keshet cave, zippori, nazareth]

My questions are as follows:

1. Did our itinerary miss any must-see sights? Is it too much?

2. Any comments on the following hotels: Dan Panorama Jerusalem, Sheraton Moriah Eilat, and Sheraton Moriah tiberias?

3. Are the attractions on the Lebanese border (Rosh Hanikra, banias, etc.) working and is it relatively safe to visit them?

4. Speaking of safety, is it ok to drive (in the evening) from Dead Sea (Ein Gedi) to Eilat along the Israel-Jordan border?

5. Keshet cave - is it worth visiting? Fodors does not mention it, but we heard some great things from other travelers.

Thanks to all in advance for your responses.

islesrule is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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I think you need to take into account the distances involved. Makhtesh Ramon to the Lower Galilee is over 3 hours drive. Ein Gedi to Eilat is over 2 hours.

It is a little rushed IMHO, but doable. Regarding must see, it depends what you feel you must see.

Regarding attraction near the Lebanese border, all are working, and currently the area is safe and quiet.

Regarding driving from Ein Gedi to Eilat: There is no danger from the border, but this road had its share of car crashes. drive carefully, don't speed like Israeli drivers do, and expect tired truck/car driver (e.g. many accidents happen when people speed and flip over, or fall asleep and collide head-to-head).

Many people I know drove this route without incident, but most of them prefer going to Eilat via Mitzpe Ramon and Ovdat - quieter, better scenery and less road crazy. Since this means for you making a de-tour, you might want to consider driving straight anyway, if you are pressurized on time, but drive carefully, and expect the unexpected.

eladn is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2006, 01:42 PM
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I like the location of the Dan Panorama Jerusalem. It's a 15 minute walk to the old city and even closer to downtown, the windmills, a residential neighborhood.

SylviaCaras is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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Personally, I could skip the day at Rimon crater and driving to Eilat unless you really want to see teh air force museum. We drove down and flew back(to TA)Don't miss the crafts fair (one day a weekThurs?) in TA, near Shenkin Street. We stayed at the Dan Pan in Jeru. (kids loved the pool on the roof but that was summer)and the location is GREAT. You can walk to the old city and also walk downhill, past windmill, to the German Quarter (I can not remember the street name, but ask at hotel desk for German Quarter) a beautiful residential street of shops, restaurants etc.. nice to walk to eat dinner.
elmom is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2006, 12:00 PM
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Dear Michael
First i suggest u change your tour plans: Go to Galilee and Golan Heights (Originally days 10-12) right after Haifa (day 2), so u go from center to north than south and than center again. Otherwise u do this trip twice! Driving from Negev to Galilee is aprx. 4 hours.
U can start with a central city (Jerusalem) and end with a central city (Tell Aviv) both close to the airport.
Day 1: At Caesarea dont miss the audio/video harbor presentation www.caesaria.org.il [email protected] and on your way out take 20 minutes to drive through the quiet streets of beautiful Caesaria settlement. Mukhraka is just a monastery with a scenic view point. 10 minuts drive will bring u to a small exotic market at the Druze village of Dayat El Karmel open daily, slightly crowded on weekends.
Day 8: Eilat is basically a recreation city. Go to the underwater observatory and u can dive and swim with dolphins at The Dolphin Reef if u like it. Sheraton Moriah Eilat is standard 4 star hotel, located at center near the beach, it's ok. Eilat can easily fill up a whole day so consider giving up Timna Park. U can't see them all...
Day 9: I disagree with my friend: Makhtesh Ramon is a 'must see'. u can drive drive through it on your way from Eilat north, view it from the observatory at Mitspe Ramon and walk a few hundred meters alopng it's rim.
Keshet cave - suggest u skip it It's an open cave, more a hole in the ground than a cave, with a rocky arch ('Keshet')above.
Speaking of caves - i would spend one more day inside endless Jerusalem (Including the Ein Karem neighbourhood, The Supreme Court, Mnt. Scoupus) and give up your original day 6, unless u like caves.
Day 11: too loaded. skip Baram.
Enjoy your trip.
korindan is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2006, 04:59 PM
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Islesrule: I was in Israel this summer for close to three weeks. I truly feel that your itinerary is far too amitious and you will be exhausted from all the travel and unpacking, and you will not get a flavor of all the places you are going. We had to change our northern itineray due to the war but I will tell you my original intinerary- and I got a lot of advice from Fodors and Frommers boards. Check out the Frommers.com MiddleEast talk board for Israel. There is a lot of excellent advice there and my trip report is posted...look for "beseder."

First, you should spend more time in Jerusalem. It is a wonderful city and the flavor is amazing. You may also want to try to arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday and spend Shabbat in Jerusalem going to the Kotel on Shabbos. It is very special. Yad Vashem needs it's own day (or at least half a day- but after that you'll be museumed out. We spent almost 4 hours at the Israel Museum. We stayed at the Dan Panorama and we loved it. Great room, lovely staff, overwhelming breakfast, and you can walk to many places including Ben Yehuda St (also go to Solomon St.), Old City, Yemin Moshe, and even the German Colony (we're from NYC so we walk everywhere).
Great restaurants in Jerusalem, great wine, just an amazingly spiritual and cool city.

So, here is our original itinerary:
Wed - Tuesday (6 days): Jerusalem Dan Panorama Hotel
Tuesday: Drive to Tzfat Spend One Night at Ruth Rimonim Hotel (for Klezmer fest.)
Wednesday - Sunday (4 days)in Tel Aviv at Metropolitan Hotel (very nice place and great price) visit Jaffa one day, do beach and explore Tel Aviv neighborhoods.
Sunday- Monday: Drive to Caessaria, Zichron Yaacov to Haifa stay at Dan Gardens. Monday tour Haifa.
Tuesday: Drive to Akko, Rosh Hanikra back to Tzfat (Ruth Rimonim)
Tuesday- Wednesday in Tzfat
Thursday- Rosh Pina to Tiberias stay at Scot Hotel in Tiberias until Saturday (spend one day touring around Kinneret)
Depart Sunday 1:00 AM

Here is our actual itinerary:

Wed - Tuesday:
Dan Panorama Hotel Jerusalem. Sights: Tower of David Museum (great tour and overview of history of the Old City); Walking Tour with David Tours of four quarters & SHabbat at the Kotel, dinner at hotel; rest on shabbos, Bus 99 city tour, Day trip to Masada, Ein Gedi (great);

Tuesday: Rented car from Eldan and drove to Tzfat (Ruth Rinomin Hotel)explored the town in the late afternoon, had dinner with amazing view of Golan, and had a great time at Klezmer festival.

Wednesday: Took morning walk in Tzfat and then drove to Tel Aviv. On our way we heard Hezbollah mentioned a lot on the radio but had no idea that the night before the soldiers were killed and captured...got to Tel Aviv, went to the beach, came back and got a call from my brother back in the US and he told us what was going on...turned on TV and you all know the rest...meanwhile we also met up with our teenage daughter who was on a teen group tour of Israel.

So...by Friday we knew that we'd have to reschedule our northern trip. Luckily we booked with Regent Travel in Israel and we were able to change all of our hotel reservations. We ended up extending our stay in Tel Aviv for a few days and then went back to Jerusalem for the last few days of our trip. While I was a little disappointed to miss seeing all of the northern sites I was still happy to be able to go back to Jerusalem because there was so much that we didn't see- we went to the Israel Museum, Archeological Site at the Western Wall, Herodian House, City of David, Mahene Yehuda market.

Tel Aviv is also a very cool place - but it totally reminded me of South Beach Florida.

I recommend using an Israeli travel agent in the event that you need to make any changes while your there.

I also recommend not doing both the north and the south (Eilat) for a 12 day trip. Concentrate on one area and spend more time in Jerusalem.

Good Luck.
risab is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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Risab, What route did you use to drive from Jerusalem to Tzfat?
CFW is offline  
Old Dec 6th, 2006, 04:11 AM
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Just want to add my voice to the suggestions to concentrate on the North - Caesarea area, Galilee and Golan Heights at one go, either in the beginning or the end of your trip. Doesn't really make sense to go to the far south and then return to the north imho.

Yes, and also to reconsider some of the items on your list. Running around like that, you miss the true feeling of a place. More time in less places is much more rewarding.

Welcome & Enjoy
unaS is offline  
Old Dec 6th, 2006, 07:41 AM
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If you decide to spend the night in Tiberias, The "Scotts Hotel" is in a class of it's own, the amazing breakfast buffet is almost worth a trip of it's own. Mini Israel is expensive and needs at least 2-3 hrs
shmulb is offline  
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