Israel first-time, 9 nights in May 2014

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Jan 11th, 2014, 08:02 AM
  #1
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Israel first-time, 9 nights in May 2014

My wife and I are planning a first trip to Israel for 9 nights in latter May 2014. Our interests are in art, history, archeology, culture, and all religions. We're fairly well-traveled and have fun planning an itinerary, exploring, and finding sights and areas of interest. We've also gotten a lot out of having guides for certain museum and cultural experiences (ie Ephesus), and are considering how important/critical it would be to invest in guided experience for our time in Israel. Again, we normally travel pretty well on our own. Is everything all-or-nothing as far as guided tour experiences or could we benefit, for instance, in having a guide for a day here, a day there? Aside from advice on not having a car in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, is it advisable to simply rent a vehicle and plot our way around for the 9/10 days? Thanks for your thoughts.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 09:33 PM
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The only place a guide is definitely recommended is in the Old City of Jerusalem. A good guide will enhance your visit tremendously. Most other places have audioguides, brochures, their own internal tours, and/or have informative signs. You can also download a lot of material from the internet.

For 10 days you should do the standard itinerary: Start off in Tel-Aviv, pick up your rental car when you leave the city. Visit, Akko, the Galilee and Golan. Drive to the Dead Sea via the Jordan Valley. Drive to Jerusalem and return the car. Spend the remainder of your vacation in Jerusalem.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 06:37 AM
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We've done Israel both ways -- with a guide/driver and without -- and loved both experiences. We're equally interested in art, history, archeology, and religion, and our guide was able to give us a good overview that help set the stage for understanding the region. I agree with @mbgg - a guide for us was most useful in Jerusalem, where we spent 2 days with a guide and 2 days on our own. We did not need a guide in Tel Aviv, but did find one more useful than the audioguides in Masada.
Have a great trip!
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Jan 12th, 2014, 02:21 PM
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jgg
 
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We had a guide for most of our trip, aside from a few days in Tel Aviv and Eilat. I agree, a guide is a must for Jerusalem, we also found it very helpful throughout the Galilee. I would recommend having one for as much as you can on your first trip to Israel. It is not so much about the specific information that he imparted at specific sites, but just the many religious, political, social and cultural discussions that we had on the trip. It really brought a richness to the journey that you can not get from an audioguide or book. We used Menachem Holzman ([email protected]) as our guide and he was fabulous! Here is a link to my trip report along with pictures:
http://www.fromhometoroam.com/catego...e-east/israel/
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Jan 18th, 2014, 12:21 PM
  #5
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These are very helpful responses. Thank you.
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