Top Things to Do in Israel
Old City, Jerusalem
The golden stones are saturated with Jerusalem's millennia of history. Explore the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, mingle with Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall, and stroll the Temple Mount to admire its Muslim shrines. Time spent exploring the winding alleyways, bustling markets, and storied buildings of the Old City is both a fascinating history primer and a lesson in the challenges of coexistence.
Masada and the Dead Sea
The view and the ancient remains of King Herod's mountaintop palace-fortress are reason enough to climb Masada, as a predawn hike or by swift cable car, but the echoes of the Jewish rebellion against Rome make Masada what it is. Float in the hyperbrine of the nearby Dead Sea, and then frolic in Ein Gedi's fresh waterfalls. It all makes for a memorable day of contrasts and superlatives.
The Sea of Galilee
This shimmering freshwater lake, known in Hebrew as the Kinneret, is linked to many events in the life of Jesus. Pilgrims flock to its shores, sail its waters, and gather for baptism at the River Jordan where it leaves the lake.
In the heart of the Negev desert, the Ramon Crater—formed when an ancient ocean above it migrated northward—includes multicolored rock formations, breathtaking hills and valleys, wadis (mostly dry river beds), fossil formations, and many flora and fauna unique to the region. It's great for a guided hike, a Jeep tour, or some camel riding.
Baha'i Shrine and Gardens
Adherents of the Baha'i faith, which believes in the unity of humankind, built this showpiece in Haifa, combining a show-stopping acre of manicured grounds with an ornate, gold-domed shrine sure to impress visitors and true believers alike.
King Herod built the great port city over 2,000 years ago, naming it for Caesar Augustus. The renovated Roman theater is back in business; scuba enthusiasts can see elements of the Herodian port; and an ancient aqueduct slices across a pretty beach. Crusader fortifications mix with latter-day restaurants and galleries to create a serene, picturesque getaway.
Jews the world over flock to the only remaining relic of the complex that housed the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Every day, hundreds of handwritten paper notes covered with personal prayers are stuffed into the wall's cracks.
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Five of the fourteen Stations of the Cross—including the site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial—are found within this Crusader-era church in Jerusalem's Old City. Six denominations of Christianity are represented here, each with distinct chapels and religious rites.
Dome of the Rock
In Jerusalem an enormous plaza, on the site of the Temple Mount, holds the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam and an active house of worship, and the gold-topped Dome of the Rock. Exploring the plaza is well worthwhile, although the shrines are currently closed to non-Muslims.
Old City, Akko
The picturesque port city has seen it all: Canaanites and Greeks, Crusaders and Napoleon, Turks and Brits. Visit the excellently preserved medieval quarters; browse the copperware shops; eat hummus and seafood; explore the small port, the Turkish bathhouse, and the British prison from which Jewish resistance fighters broke out in the 1940s.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $2599 -- Israel: 8 Nts. w/Hotels, Tours & Airfare, $300 Off Friendly Planet Travel
- Mystical Israel IExplore
- Israel Experience — $3,835 IExplore
- Mystical Israel — $5,995 IExplore
- Mystical Israel — $5,995 IExplore