hiking in northern Israel and negrev/eilatt

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Jan 22nd, 2014, 02:49 PM
  #1
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hiking in northern Israel and negrev/eilatt

we are visiting Israel Sept 2014--will have approx. 2 wks to explore/ hike--renting a car--
?Is it better th do on our owm, or take short tours?
clairekane is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 07:42 PM
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I prefer to rent a car and explore on our own. Israel is small so you could drive from say Tiberias down to Eilat in about 6 hours. Stop at Massada and maybe hire a guide for two hrs to explain what you are looking at. Around Dead Sea and Eilat there are many dry river beds to hike (wadis) and you need good maps and clear directions from a tourist information site in a big town. In the Negev, there are again many hilking opportunities, even staying with Bedouins. Tel Aviv and Galilee are easily explored on your own by car with a good guidebook for reference. Jerusalem is the most confusing for first-time visitors. Take one dy to explore the old city, just wandering around, taking in sights, sounds, and smells! Then hire a guide for a day to give you more insight into Jerusalem's rich and layered history. Tell him/her your interest and then visit those places that intrigue you the most. I would recommend the tour that follows the Western Wall (Kotel) underground and emerges in the Arab Quarter, also newly discovered city of David (Ir Dawid) with its tunnels. Enjoy and try to talk to locals. Israelis are prickly on the outside, but sweet on the inside.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 09:27 PM
  #3
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Thanks, KaliCa-
Very helpful-You've given us courage to do the outdoor parts on our own--since tours aren't my strong point.
CK
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 09:51 PM
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There is no problem touring Israel on your own. Most sites provide audioguides, have their own tours, provide brochures, etc. You should however consider hiring a private guide for one day to see the Old City in Jerusalem because a good guide will greatly enhance your visit. There are "free" introductory tours to the Old City every day:
http://www.newjerusalemtours.com/dai...free-tour.html

You can also consider taking jeep tours in the Golan and the Negev because so that you can see areas not accessible with a regular car.

You definitely do not need a car in Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem because of the parking and traffic problems. Public transport in both cities is cheap and efficient. Renting a car is an excellent idea for the rest of the country, especially in the Galilee and the Negev, where bus service to many tourist sites is very infrequent.

The standard itinerary for 2 weeks:
Start off in Tel-Aviv. Rent a car when you leave the city and tour the Galilee and the Golan. Drive to the Dead Sea via the Jordan Valley. (optional: you have sufficient time to continue to Eilat and go to Petra). Drive to Mitspe Ramon and see the Negev. Drive to Jerusalem and return the car. Spend the remainder of your vacation in Jerusalem.

You should not hike on unmarked tails in the Negev and around the Dead Sea. There are a lot of marked trails, many of them in National Parks. Look at the National Parks website:
http://tinyurl.com/pzx6u5x
This website also gives a lot of information on hiking:
http://www.tiuli.com/track_search.asp?lng=eng

You do not need a guide at Massada because the site supplies audioguides that are sufficient.

These two web sites have information on the official and independent hostels in Israel. Note that the Youth Hostels are open to everyone and have private ensuite rooms:
http://www.iyha.org.il
http://www.hostels-israel.com/index.asp

Also note that the Jewish New Year holiday starts on September 25. I recommend that you finish your trip before that date because many sites are closed on the holiday, there is no public transport, the country is crowded with tourists, etc.

Other web sites:
- list of museums:
http://ilmuseums.com/
- government tourism website:
http://www.goisrael.com
- Tel-Aviv "Time Out" magazine:
http://digital.timeout.co.il/english/
- free walking tours in Tel-Aviv:
http://www.visit-tel-aviv.com/free-w...s#.UuC6_RD8JMw
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