Three Days in Israel

Nov 7th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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Three Days in Israel

I'm thinking of spending three days in Israel. The flight arrives around 4 am on the first day, so the first day is a sightseeing day. I'll leave at 6 am on the fourth day.

What are the most important things to see on a trip like this? Can people recommend some tour groups?

My previous experience was about 24 hours in Tel Aviv.

This time I plan to visit Jerusalem, Masada, Dead Sea and I guess Tel Aviv again.

I envision an itinerary like this one (from GoIsrael's website), but I'm wondering what's possible without a car.

Specifics would be useful of course, along with suggestions with where to stay, as I have about a week to do the planning. Thanks!
111op is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 05:05 AM
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The three day itinerary seems doable but rushed. In the time you have I would sleep all three nights in the same place, Jerusalem. Consider the YMCA. A convenient location for old and new Jerusalem. We had an apartment but our friend stayed there. Nice cafe, nice service. Nice interfaith programs.
laurie_ann is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 06:21 AM
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Thanks for the rec. So is this the hotel?

It's by no means cheap. The rates quoted are $155 for single and $195 for double. I looked at Tripadvisor last night and I checked some hotels there. One I checked was Eldan for roughly the same price.

I think that I may just spend two nights in Jerusalem. We'll see.
111op is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 07:11 AM
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We were in Israel for about 2 weeks this past September, visiting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Eliat. If we only had 3 nights in Israel, I would definitely spend them in Jerusalem.
Giuseppa is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 07:26 AM
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Hi again, does anyone have any advice on airport access? I'm taking a look at the Ben-Gurion Airport website.

I haven't decided what to do yet, but I think that I'll head to Jerusalem upon arrival. The flight gets in at 3:30 am. I gather that there's a shared taxi service.

Will it be running at that hour?

Any potential problems with such an early arrival? Will airport information counters be open?

My return flight leaves at 6 am in the morning. I'll probably be leaving from Tel Aviv, but I'm not sure yet. Is there anything I should watch out for?

What do you recommend for transportation to and from the airport -- taxi, bus, train?

111op is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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I've done some more reading and would like to get some more advice. While I appreciate the suggestions to stay in Jerusalem for three nights, I'd rather spend the first night there and the other two nights in Tel Aviv, as I have some friends there.

I have some more questions:

Day 1: Arrival day is on a Sunday. Will this present any problems for visiting Jerusalem?

I was skimming Let's Go, which says not to do a walking tour on Sunday, and I'm not sure why. I notice some attractions on Mt. of Olives are closed on Sunday.

What can I fit into Jerusalem in one day? What do you think are the most important sights?

I'd like to fit in some history and also the Israel Museum (mostly under renovations) and Yad Vashem (I know it's vast). So obviously I can't do everything.

The Western Tunnel requires a reservation. I found a website, but the reservations page is in Hebrew, and it seems like there are no slots for Sunday (though I don't read Hebrew). I guess I have to call them.

Day 2: Masada and Dead Sea. A (out-dated?) guidebook suggests that there are tours that leave at 3:30 am in time for sunrise, but I can't the existence of such tours online. Are there really such tours?

Any recommended tour companies? I've checked Egged and United websites.

I know that what I have in mind may not be the best plan for 3 days in Israel, but I really do want to spend at least some time in Tel Aviv, so please take that into consideration.

Thanks again.
111op is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 05:30 PM
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I don't know of any organized sunrise tours to Masada. I think you'd need to hike up anyway, I don't know what time the tram opens, but probably not at sunrise.

Frankly with that little time I'd focus on Jerusalem rather than traveling out to the Dead Sea. But I'm sure your hotel in Jerusalem can arrange a day tour to Masada and Ein Gedi.

I'd visit Yad Vashem, the old city, Israel Museum, the Chagall windows at Hadassah Hospital... lots to do for three days.

We've stayed at the YMCA (called locally the "Yimka.") It's quite comfortable and wonderfully located across the street from the King David. It was designed by the same architect who did the Empire State Building, and I believe the Nebraska State Capitol building in Lincoln is a near-twin. The cafe at the 3 Arches is not kosher if that matters.

I find hotels in Jerusalem to be poor value for money most of the time, but IMO that's true throughout Israel.
Gardyloo is online now  
Nov 9th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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Thanks. I can't remember which guidebook this was (I think it was Lonely Planet, but I didn't check the publication date) about the sunrise tours. In any case, I don't plan to rent a car, so if I take a regular tour, I can probably get up via cable car.

I agree regarding the hotel values. I'm kind of shocked that the hotels are asking for $150 or more. But I'm not sure what their quality is. It seems like Israel should be cheaper than Europe in general, but I don't find this reflected in hotel prices.

I was chatting with a friend from Israel, who was saying that I'd have to be careful spending my nights in Jerusalem as I'd have to know what's safe and what's not. That's news to me. I did look at the maps in Lonely Planet and as far as I can tell there are clusters of hotels outside the Old City. I imagine that if I stick to a cluster, I should be ok.

But if there's any cause for worry, please let me know.
111op is offline  
Nov 10th, 2008, 04:20 AM
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I've booked Hotel Palatin for one night.

It's about $115 (rate was in shekels). The woman who answered the phone was really friendly and told me that early arrival wouldn't be a problem and they could take my bag.

Can someone help with the car service from the airport? Should I book in advance? I think that I can take a taxi with Nesher, but maybe it's easier to book this when I get to Jerusalem?

I was thinking of staying at the Lutheran Guest House, but it's all fully booked:


I was a little concerned about the Old City at night, but this TA thread seems to think that it should be fine:

Lutheran would have been much cheaper.

111op is offline  
Nov 24th, 2008, 04:02 AM
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I'll add a few things to this. Arrival early in the morning was absolutely no problem at all. You follow the signs and you can take the Nesher shared taxis to Jerusalem (50 NIS). I didn't need to worry. The airport was absolutely bustling.

I did the Western Tunnel tour, which was interesting. Remember to prebook by calling (or online if you read Hebrew).

For my one day in Jerusalem, I went to Church of Holy Sepulcher, Old City, Temple Mount, Israel Museum, Yad Vashem (less than one hour there). I found it a fascinating city.

Look for the Austrian Hospice. It has a nice cafe and there are nice views from the roof.

A friend drove me to the Dead Sea and Masada. Remember to bring sandals for the Dead Sea as the ground is extremely rough. You can easily cut yourself while walking barefoot in the water.
111op is offline  
Nov 25th, 2008, 07:49 PM
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You so crazy. Are you back already? Did you sleep on this trip?
Leely2 is offline  
Nov 25th, 2008, 10:49 PM
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I am back already. I wrote about the Europe part on the Europe forum.

Actually the first night I didn't sleep on a bed at all. I took my transatlantic flight, which got into Milan. Then I went to Parma for a few hours to see the Correggio show.

My flight to Israel left around 8:30 pm that first night. I got in at 3:45 am in the morning. I went to the hotel in Jerusalem and started sightseeing around 6:30 am. My first stop was Church of Holy Sepulcher as it opens early -- some guidebooks say around 4:30 am. I was out all day that day (except for a brief stop to check in around noon, but I was at the hotel for literally 5 minutes).

I guess it's not surprising I caught a cold in the first part of this trip.
111op is offline  
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