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5 Day Short Trip to Israel. Itinerary Suggestions, please??

5 Day Short Trip to Israel. Itinerary Suggestions, please??

May 10th, 2006, 06:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 24
5 Day Short Trip to Israel. Itinerary Suggestions, please??

Hello Fodorites,
One of the perks of recently moving overseas (from Texas, to Russia) is that my husband and I get to take short jaunts to exotic destinations, all in the name of "visa trips"! Our first trip will be to Israel, the first week of June. We will be there for 6 days/5 nights. However, it seems like most itineraries posted are for at least 8 days.

We are independent, active travelers, usually with a bent towards food/wine, shopping, and experiencing the energy and day-to-day life of the culture. We are interested in the (Christian) religious sites of Israel, in particular.

Right now, this is what we have tenatively planned:

Day 1 THURSDAY- arrive late afternoon {Tel Aviv}

Day 2 (6/2)- FRIDAY { Tel Aviv-> Tiberias/Sea of Galilee}
Morning: Tel Aviv markets (shopping!),
Noon: Get Rental Car, head to Sea of Galiee/Tiberias, spend rest of day exploring sites

Day 3(6/3)-SATURDAY {Sea of Galilee->Dead Sea/Massada}
Morning: Explore more of the Galiee area
Noon: Drive to Dead Sea, Massada- spend half day there
Evening: Drive to Jerusalem

Day 4 (6/4)- SUNDAY {Jerusalem}

Day 5 (6/5)-MONDAY {Jerusalem}

Day 6 (6/6)-TUESDAY {Jerusalem-> Tel Aviv}
Morning: Jerusalem
Drive back to Tel Aviv
Fly out mid afternoon

Even as I write this, I am aware that this is probably trying to squeeze in too much in a short period of time.... SO, my questions are:
- Should I cut North Israel or the Dead Sea? Or maybe it will work? We dont forsee ourselves coming back to Israel anytime soon.
- I am reserving Friday morning in Tel Aviv for the Nachlat Benyamin market- is it worth it? or should we just head straight up North in the morning? We could squeeze in more that way.
- Another option would be to just go straight to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and just take the Egged Tours to the one (or both) of the other destinations instead. Which is better?
- Will any of my plans not work b/c of the Sabbath?

Thanks in advance for your help! I really am stuck on this one!

hookemoph is offline  
May 10th, 2006, 07:28 AM
Posts: n/a
IMHO trying to drive in one day from Tiberias to the Dead Sea and then onwards to Jerusalem is going to be a killer.

The highways here are good, but not perhaps the kind that you are used to. It is a long hard drive. I don't think that in the end you will enjoy yourselves.

Can you possibly stay overnight in the Dead Sea area? If not, then an organized tour with either Egged or United tours would be a good idea. You'll be much more relaxed and enjoy it more.
May 10th, 2006, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 72
For your night in Tiberias look at the Scots Hotel, definitely a different experience from the run of the mill chain hotel. They have the best breakfast buffet I have ever seen.
If you are driving to the dead sea via the jordan valley (probably not recommended nowdays) then your itinery would probably work for that day. The drive from Ein Gedi area to Jerusalem only takes about 90 minutes
shmulb is offline  
May 10th, 2006, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 57
yes you are squeezing but you can do it. if i were you, i would eliminate the galilee. it is beatiful but of all the things to see in israel, it is the least unique. further, the drive time from tel aviv-->tiberias and tiberias-->dead see will take you at least a half day. if you want to take a quick and interesting trip from TA, you can drive or take a train to Cesaria (pronounced kay-sar-ee-uh) which is just up the coast.
ksose is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 30
If you are Christian and interested in those historical places, I would skip the Dead Sea instead of Galilee. It may not be "unique" as a tourist spot, but it is the place where Jesus' life and ministry took place, and there are wonderfully serene churches that commemorate his life. It only takes a half-day to see it well. You could drive from there to the Dead Sea area in the afternoon, but don't plan to drive down there and then back to Jerusalem in the same day.
teachbio is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 01:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 24
Thanks all for your great responses and insights! I can always count on the sage advice of the Fodor's community. After some thought/analysis, we have decided to go with not renting a car at all, and just going straight to Jerusalem. And then using our free Saturday to take one of the Egged Bus tours to the Sea of Galiee. Since we only, really, have one day to see all of that area, we decided that it would be best to just go with a group and therefore not have to bother with the car rental/driving at all.

So now- our trip looks like this:

Thurs 6/1; Arrive Tel Aviv
Fri 6/2: Tel Aviv in the morning for the markets... mid afternoon take a taxi down to Jerusalem and spend that evening exploring the Arab Quarter (since its the only thing open on Friday evening, i've heard)
Sat 6/3: Bus tour to Sea of Galilee Area through Egged Tours
Sun&Mon 6/4 & 6/5 Jerusalem
Tue 6/6 Back Home.

How does this look to you guys? While we usually dont take bus tours, I figure that we will have our days in Jerusalem to do most of our independent traveling.
Will we need a car in the Jeruslaem or Tel Aviv? Anything else that we could fit in? Or does this look like a good itinerary?

Thanks again for all your help!

hookemoph is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 03:33 AM
Posts: n/a
Looks good to me except that evenings in the Old City of Jerusalem are pretty dead. It is almost abandoned and spooky. I would suggest spending Friday evening in Tel Aviv, which remains lively.

You can take your bus tour of the Galilee area direct from Tel Aviv and then go to Jerusalem either that same evening (Saturday) or early on Sunday morning. The trip itself from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is less than an hour.

You will still have two full days there.

You most certainly do not want a car in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem! The parking is horrendous, the traffic jams chronic.
The buses are good and there is always a taxi if you need one. BTW - with taxis *insist* that they turn the meter on!

Welcome and have fun!
May 15th, 2006, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 57
i second staying away from the old city at night unless you are comfortable being very, very alone (not to mention the naviational difficulties). spooky aptly describes it.

also be aware that on friday night->saturday dinnertime, many places will be closed, though less so in tel aviv than elsewhere.
ksose is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 244
would do the night out in tel aviv on thursday, which is like weekend night for them and go to jerusalem via taxi on friday afternoon and go to western wall near sunset. the sight then of people praying at the wall as shabbat approaches is unforgettable. try to get a reservation for western wall tunnel tour. definitely worth it. old city was quiet, but very interesting to see at night - great photo of the wall and dome of the rock.

BonnieN is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 98
in Jerusalem, try not to miss the "modern" museums - Israel Museum and Yad Vashem-- although they can take 1/2 day each. Also the "Burned House" museum in Old City tells the story of the Roman take-over of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Also, try to see Southern Wall of Temple Mount, right around the corner from the Western Wall!
elmom is offline  
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