Israel

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Within its small perimeter Israel packs in abundant riches, from cherished religious sites and well-preserved archaeological treasures to spectacular natural wonders. Holy land to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, this is where biblical place-names like Jerusalem and the Galilee come vibrantly alive. Here, too, you can party by the Mediterranean in Tel Aviv, float in the super-salty Dead Sea, and explore cool mountain waterfalls or sweeping desert landscapes. Whether you’re in a shrine or on a hiking trail, Israel is a place to renew the spirit.

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Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a city suspended between heaven and earth, East and West, past and present—parallel universes of flowing caftans and trendy coffee...

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, Israel's ever-growing metropolis, would be unrecognizable to its founders, a small group of Jewish immigrant families in what was...

Eilat

A legend says that after the Creation, the angels painted the earth and when they got tired, they spilled their paints: the blue became the...

Haifa

Spilling down from the pine-covered heights of Mount Carmel to Haifa Bay, Haifa is a city with a vertiginous setting that has led to comparisons...

Tiberias

As the only city on the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, with a population of 40,000, has become the region's hub. The city spreads up a steep hillside...

Nazareth

The Nazareth where Jesus grew up was an insignificant village in a hollow in the Galilean hills, but today's city of 65,000 pulses with energy...

Tzfat

This magical town on a hill attracts artists searching for inspiration, travelers charmed by its cobblestone alleys, and religious people in...

Bethlehem

Even from a distance, it's easy to identify the minarets and steeples that symbolically vie for control of the skyline of Bethlehem, home to...

Beersheva

Although Beersheva has often been overlooked by visitors, in recent years Israel’s fourth-largest city (population 200,000) has managed to raise...

Akko

The Old City of Akko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an enchanting mix of mosques, markets, and vaulted Crusader ruins (many of them underground...

Mitzpe Ramon and Makhtesh Ramon

Israel's most spectacular natural sight, and one of the largest craters in the world, the Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater) in the heart of the...

Rosh Pina

The restored village of Rosh Pina is a gift-shop-and-gallery-browser's delight, and the dilapidated wooden doors and stonework of some still...

Netanya

The lively resort city of Netanya (literally, "gift of God") has a pretty seaside promenade along the cliffs, endless sandy beaches, a pleasant...

Kiryat Shmona

The major urban center in the Upper Hula Valley, Kiryat Shmona is known for the scenic cable car up Manara Cliff and as a practical base for...

Zichron Ya'akov

Zichron Ya'akov, the country’s first moshava, or cooperative farming community, was founded in 1882 with the help of Baron Edmond de Rothschild...

Nahariya

This seaside recreation spot, Israel’s northernmost coastal town, was built along the banks of a river lined with eucalyptus trees. (The town...

Ein Avdat National Park

Ein Avdat (Avdat Spring) lies at the foot of the narrow canyon dividing the plateau between the ancient Nabatean city of Avdat and Kibbutz Sde...

Caesarea

The Phoenicians discovered it, and the Romans fell in love with it: Caesarea is most famous for its intriguing Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader...

Ein Hod

A charming village nestled in ancient olive groves on the western slope of Mount Carmel, Ein Hod is home to some 500 residents, most of them...

Ein Bokek

The sudden and startling sight, in this bare landscape, of gleaming, ultramodern hotels surrounded by waving palm trees signals your arrival...

Jericho

The sleepy oasis of Jericho—full of date palms, orange groves, banana plantations, bougainvillea bushes, and papaya trees—is aptly called Ariha...

Beit Shemesh

The modern town of Beit Shemesh, Hebrew for "House of the Sun," takes its name from an ancient city now entombed by the tell on a rise on Route...

Mount Gilboa

Visit Mount Gilboa in February or March, and find yourself surrounded by people enraptured with the delicate purple iris native to these slopes...

Latrun

Latrun is the ridge that projects into and dominates the western side of the Ayalon Valley. A natural passage between the coastal plain and...

Kursi National Park

Kursi, where Jesus healed two men possessed by demons (Matthew 8:28–32), is today a park incorporating the ruins of a Byzantine monastery. The...

Majdal Shams

Majdal Shams may not look like much, but the Druze town is a hub for skiers in the winter and berry pickers in the fall. It's also a year-round...

Arad

Breathe deeply: Arad sits 2,000 feet above sea level and is famous for its dry, pollution-free air and mild climate, ideal for asthma sufferers...

Katzrin

Katzrin, founded in 1977 near the site of a 3rd-century town of the same name, has a suburban feel, despite its strategic location. The water...

Mount Meron

For many centuries, Mount Meron has drawn thousands upon thousands of Orthodox Jews to pay homage to the great rabbis of the Roman era who are...

Ein Gedi Nature Reserve

After miles of burned brown and beige desert rock, the green lushness of the Ein Gedi oasis leaps out in vivid and unexpected contrast. This...

Qumran National Park

If you’re interested in archaeology, Qumran definitely should be on your itinerary. This is where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were unearthed...

Nahsholim-Dor

The beautiful beach at Dor is fit for a king—not surprising since it has a royal history. Founded 3,500 years ago, biblical Dor was once the...

Abu Gosh

The Arab village of Abu Gosh is said to be the biblical site of Kiryat Yearim, where the Ark of the Covenant rested for 20 years, out of the...

Mount Tabor

Now covered with pine trees, Mount Tabor has a serene look that belies its strategic and historical importance. Here you find the Church of...

Daliyat el Carmel and Isfiya

Daliyat el Carmel (Vine of the Carmel) is Israel's largest Druze village, and its weekend market, oil press, and hilweh (house of worship...

Gamla Nature Reserve

Aside from the inspiring history of the "Masada of the North," the beauty of Gamla's rugged terrain, softened in spring by greenery and wildflowers...

Ella Valley

The Ella Valley is one of those delightful places—not uncommon in Israel—where you can relate the scenery to a specific biblical text and confirm...

Beit She'an

At the intersection of the Jordan and Jezreel Valleys, the modern town of Beit She'an has little to offer visitors, but the past beckons at...

Amirim

...

Degania, Kinneret, and Yardenit

Degania and Kinneret, two historic kibbutzim founded in the early 20th century, contain museums and historic graveyards worth a visit. Also...

Side Trip to Ashdod

Busy Ashdod is one of Israel's fastest-growing cities as well as its largest port. Perched on the Mediterranean, it processes more than 60%...

Bar'am National Park

In an otherwise deserted spot lie the ruins of Bar'am, one of the best-preserved ancient synagogues anywhere. Like most other synagogues uncovered...

Kibbutz Ginosar

Many Israelis know Ginosar, a kibbutz founded in 1937, as the home of the late Yigal Allon (1918–80), commander of the crack Palmach battalions...

Hula Lake Nature Reserve

These wetlands were drained during the 1950s after a malaria outbreak, which drove away the unique wildlife. In recent years, the lake was reflooded...

Korazim

Built on a basalt bluff a few miles north of the Sea of Galilee, the town of Korazim has long been renowned for its high-quality wheat. It's...

Capernaum

A must-see destination for many Christian travelers, Capernaum is one of the places most often associated with Jesus. Many of the sites mentioned...

Cana

Near the large, modern Arab village of Kfar Kanna is the site of the ancient Jewish village of Cana, mentioned in the New Testament. Here Jesus...

Tel Dan Nature Reserve

Full of biblical-era ruins, the nature sanctuary of Tel Dan has three trails running through about 120 protected acres dotted with laurel trees. ...

Metulla

Israel's northernmost town, Metulla, is so picturesque that it's hard to believe this tranquil spot is just a stone's throw from a contentious...

Mount Hermon

Israel's highest point is not to be missed for the pleasures the mountain provides, including flower-lined hiking trails in the summer and ski...

Hermon Stream (Banias) Nature Reserve

The country’s most impressive waterfall is fed from the spring at the foot of Mount Hermon, which flows powerfully through a canyon before cascading...

Timna Park

A lunarlike desert landscape interspersed with amazing geological shapes and ancient archaeological sites, Timna Park is surrounded by beautiful...

Tabgha

With a name that’s an Arabic corruption of the Greek Heptaegon (Seven Springs), Tabgha is a cluster of serene holy places associated with...

Beit She'arim

...

Tel Megiddo National Park

This ancient city was built on foundations dating back to the biblical era. Today called Tel Megiddo National Park, it's one of the region's...

Good Samaritan Museum

A popular spot for many tours, this site just east of Jerusalem is steeped in New Testament lore. ...

Masada

The isolated flattop rock of Masada commands the surrounding desert, its ancient remains bearing witness to long-ago power and conflict. One...

Merom Golan

Kibbutz Merom Golan was the first settlement built in the Golan after the Six-Day War. Its fields and orchards are typical of local kibbutzim...

Benyamina

Picturesque Benyamina, the youngest settlement in the area, was founded in 1922 and has several wineries. It was named after Baron Edmond de...

Hammat Gader

Built around three hot springs, the impressive complex of baths and pools at Hammat Gader attests to its opulence during the time of the Romans...

Zippori National Park

Lush beauty and fantastic archaeological finds make this place worth a visit, especially if you have an interest in Roman culture or Talmudic...

Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve

Jesus is said to have preached and performed miracles at the foot of Mount Arbel, which is now a popular nature reserve. The reserve has few...

Nimrod's Fortress National Park

Don’t pass up a chance to explore the medieval castle called Nimrod’s Fortress, which sits near Mount Hermon. Set in a strategic spot, it was...

Tel Hatzor National Park

On the Via Maris—the major trade route linking Egypt and Mesopotamia—Hatzor is referred to several times in documents from ancient archives...

Mount of Beatitudes

Tradition identifies this tranquil hillside as the site of Jesus's most comprehensive teaching, recorded in the New Testament as the Sermon...

Avdat National Park

The name Avdat is the Hebrew version of Oboda (30 BC–9 BC), a deified Nabatean king who may have been buried here. The prominent local dynasty...

Mukhraka

You can't miss Mukhraka, a site on the southeastern peak of Mount Carmel that is marked by a tall white statue of Elijah the Prophet with his...

Rosh Hanikra

...

Belvoir

The Crusaders chose the site for this fortress well: the Hebrew name Kochav Hayarden (the Star of the Jordan) and the Arabic Kaukab el Hauwa...

Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve

In the southern Arava Valley, this nature preserve makes a good day trip from Eilat and can be combined with a visit to the Timna Park. It was...

Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a city suspended between heaven and earth, East and West, past and present—parallel universes of flowing caftans and trendy coffee...

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, Israel's ever-growing metropolis, would be unrecognizable to its founders, a small group of Jewish immigrant families in what was...

Eilat

A legend says that after the Creation, the angels painted the earth and when they got tired, they spilled their paints: the blue became the...

Haifa

Spilling down from the pine-covered heights of Mount Carmel to Haifa Bay, Haifa is a city with a vertiginous setting that has led to comparisons...

Tiberias

As the only city on the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, with a population of 40,000, has become the region's hub. The city spreads up a steep hillside...

Nazareth

The Nazareth where Jesus grew up was an insignificant village in a hollow in the Galilean hills, but today's city of 65,000 pulses with energy...

Tzfat

This magical town on a hill attracts artists searching for inspiration, travelers charmed by its cobblestone alleys, and religious people in...

Bethlehem

Even from a distance, it's easy to identify the minarets and steeples that symbolically vie for control of the skyline of Bethlehem, home to...

Beersheva

Although Beersheva has often been overlooked by visitors, in recent years Israel’s fourth-largest city (population 200,000) has managed to raise...

Akko

The Old City of Akko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an enchanting mix of mosques, markets, and vaulted Crusader ruins (many of them underground...

Netanya

The lively resort city of Netanya (literally, "gift of God") has a pretty seaside promenade along the cliffs, endless sandy beaches, a pleasant...

Mitzpe Ramon and Makhtesh Ramon

Israel's most spectacular natural sight, and one of the largest craters in the world, the Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater) in the heart of the...

Rosh Pina

The restored village of Rosh Pina is a gift-shop-and-gallery-browser's delight, and the dilapidated wooden doors and stonework of some still...

Kiryat Shmona

The major urban center in the Upper Hula Valley, Kiryat Shmona is known for the scenic cable car up Manara Cliff and as a practical base for...

Nahariya

This seaside recreation spot, Israel’s northernmost coastal town, was built along the banks of a river lined with eucalyptus trees. (The town...

Zichron Ya'akov

Zichron Ya'akov, the country’s first moshava, or cooperative farming community, was founded in 1882 with the help of Baron Edmond de Rothschild...

Caesarea

The Phoenicians discovered it, and the Romans fell in love with it: Caesarea is most famous for its intriguing Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader...

Ein Hod

A charming village nestled in ancient olive groves on the western slope of Mount Carmel, Ein Hod is home to some 500 residents, most of them...

Jericho

The sleepy oasis of Jericho—full of date palms, orange groves, banana plantations, bougainvillea bushes, and papaya trees—is aptly called Ariha...

Ein Bokek

The sudden and startling sight, in this bare landscape, of gleaming, ultramodern hotels surrounded by waving palm trees signals your arrival...

Beit Shemesh

The modern town of Beit Shemesh, Hebrew for "House of the Sun," takes its name from an ancient city now entombed by the tell on a rise on Route...

Mount Gilboa

Visit Mount Gilboa in February or March, and find yourself surrounded by people enraptured with the delicate purple iris native to these slopes...

Latrun

Latrun is the ridge that projects into and dominates the western side of the Ayalon Valley. A natural passage between the coastal plain and...

Arad

Breathe deeply: Arad sits 2,000 feet above sea level and is famous for its dry, pollution-free air and mild climate, ideal for asthma sufferers...

Majdal Shams

Majdal Shams may not look like much, but the Druze town is a hub for skiers in the winter and berry pickers in the fall. It's also a year-round...

Katzrin

Katzrin, founded in 1977 near the site of a 3rd-century town of the same name, has a suburban feel, despite its strategic location. The water...

Mount Meron

For many centuries, Mount Meron has drawn thousands upon thousands of Orthodox Jews to pay homage to the great rabbis of the Roman era who are...

Qumran National Park

If you’re interested in archaeology, Qumran definitely should be on your itinerary. This is where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were unearthed...

Nahsholim-Dor

The beautiful beach at Dor is fit for a king—not surprising since it has a royal history. Founded 3,500 years ago, biblical Dor was once the...

Ein Gedi Nature Reserve

After miles of burned brown and beige desert rock, the green lushness of the Ein Gedi oasis leaps out in vivid and unexpected contrast. This...

Abu Gosh

The Arab village of Abu Gosh is said to be the biblical site of Kiryat Yearim, where the Ark of the Covenant rested for 20 years, out of the...

Mount Tabor

Now covered with pine trees, Mount Tabor has a serene look that belies its strategic and historical importance. Here you find the Church of...

Ella Valley

The Ella Valley is one of those delightful places—not uncommon in Israel—where you can relate the scenery to a specific biblical text and confirm...

Beit She'an

At the intersection of the Jordan and Jezreel Valleys, the modern town of Beit She'an has little to offer visitors, but the past beckons at...

Daliyat el Carmel and Isfiya

Daliyat el Carmel (Vine of the Carmel) is Israel's largest Druze village, and its weekend market, oil press, and hilweh (house of worship...

Side Trip to Ashdod

Busy Ashdod is one of Israel's fastest-growing cities as well as its largest port. Perched on the Mediterranean, it processes more than 60%...

Amirim

...

Degania, Kinneret, and Yardenit

Degania and Kinneret, two historic kibbutzim founded in the early 20th century, contain museums and historic graveyards worth a visit. Also...

Kibbutz Ginosar

Many Israelis know Ginosar, a kibbutz founded in 1937, as the home of the late Yigal Allon (1918–80), commander of the crack Palmach battalions...

Cana

Near the large, modern Arab village of Kfar Kanna is the site of the ancient Jewish village of Cana, mentioned in the New Testament. Here Jesus...

Korazim

Built on a basalt bluff a few miles north of the Sea of Galilee, the town of Korazim has long been renowned for its high-quality wheat. It's...

Capernaum

A must-see destination for many Christian travelers, Capernaum is one of the places most often associated with Jesus. Many of the sites mentioned...

Metulla

Israel's northernmost town, Metulla, is so picturesque that it's hard to believe this tranquil spot is just a stone's throw from a contentious...

Mount Hermon

Israel's highest point is not to be missed for the pleasures the mountain provides, including flower-lined hiking trails in the summer and ski...

Timna Park

A lunarlike desert landscape interspersed with amazing geological shapes and ancient archaeological sites, Timna Park is surrounded by beautiful...

Tabgha

With a name that’s an Arabic corruption of the Greek Heptaegon (Seven Springs), Tabgha is a cluster of serene holy places associated with...

Benyamina

Picturesque Benyamina, the youngest settlement in the area, was founded in 1922 and has several wineries. It was named after Baron Edmond de...

Beit She'arim

...

Hammat Gader

Built around three hot springs, the impressive complex of baths and pools at Hammat Gader attests to its opulence during the time of the Romans...

Merom Golan

Kibbutz Merom Golan was the first settlement built in the Golan after the Six-Day War. Its fields and orchards are typical of local kibbutzim...

Masada

The isolated flattop rock of Masada commands the surrounding desert, its ancient remains bearing witness to long-ago power and conflict. One...

Mount of Beatitudes

Tradition identifies this tranquil hillside as the site of Jesus's most comprehensive teaching, recorded in the New Testament as the Sermon...

Rosh Hanikra

...

Mukhraka

You can't miss Mukhraka, a site on the southeastern peak of Mount Carmel that is marked by a tall white statue of Elijah the Prophet with his...

Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve

Jesus is said to have preached and performed miracles at the foot of Mount Arbel, which is now a popular nature reserve. The reserve has few...

Belvoir

The Crusaders chose the site for this fortress well: the Hebrew name Kochav Hayarden (the Star of the Jordan) and the Arabic Kaukab el Hauwa...

Haifa and the Northern Coast

Stretched taut on a narrow coastal strip between Tel Aviv and the Lebanese border, this gorgeous region has a rare blend of Mediterranean beaches...

Lower Galilee

The Lower Galilee is a history-soaked region where scores of events in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament took place. Blessed with forested...

Eilat and the Negev

With its stark mountains, dramatic wadis, archaeological treasures, colorful Bedouin encampments, and the spectacular Ramon Crater, the Negev...

Upper Galilee and the Golan

Israel's Little Tuscany" has long been a nickname for the Upper Galilee. The green countryside, the growing numbers of both large-scale and...

Around Jerusalem and the Dead Sea

The Judean Hills that encircle Jerusalem, together with the wilderness that slopes precipitously eastward to the Dead Sea, host an astonishing...

Ein Avdat National Park

Ein Avdat (Avdat Spring) lies at the foot of the narrow canyon dividing the plateau between the ancient Nabatean city of Avdat and Kibbutz Sde...

Kursi National Park

Kursi, where Jesus healed two men possessed by demons (Matthew 8:28–32), is today a park incorporating the ruins of a Byzantine monastery. The...

Gamla Nature Reserve

Aside from the inspiring history of the "Masada of the North," the beauty of Gamla's rugged terrain, softened in spring by greenery and wildflowers...

Hula Lake Nature Reserve

These wetlands were drained during the 1950s after a malaria outbreak, which drove away the unique wildlife. In recent years, the lake was reflooded...

Bar'am National Park

In an otherwise deserted spot lie the ruins of Bar'am, one of the best-preserved ancient synagogues anywhere. Like most other synagogues uncovered...

Tel Dan Nature Reserve

Full of biblical-era ruins, the nature sanctuary of Tel Dan has three trails running through about 120 protected acres dotted with laurel trees. ...

Hermon Stream (Banias) Nature Reserve

The country’s most impressive waterfall is fed from the spring at the foot of Mount Hermon, which flows powerfully through a canyon before cascading...

Tel Megiddo National Park

This ancient city was built on foundations dating back to the biblical era. Today called Tel Megiddo National Park, it's one of the region's...

Tel Hatzor National Park

On the Via Maris—the major trade route linking Egypt and Mesopotamia—Hatzor is referred to several times in documents from ancient archives...

Nimrod's Fortress National Park

Don’t pass up a chance to explore the medieval castle called Nimrod’s Fortress, which sits near Mount Hermon. Set in a strategic spot, it was...

Zippori National Park

Lush beauty and fantastic archaeological finds make this place worth a visit, especially if you have an interest in Roman culture or Talmudic...

Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve

In the southern Arava Valley, this nature preserve makes a good day trip from Eilat and can be combined with a visit to the Timna Park. It was...

Avdat National Park

The name Avdat is the Hebrew version of Oboda (30 BC–9 BC), a deified Nabatean king who may have been buried here. The prominent local dynasty...

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