Israel – Emerging Travel Destination of 2017

A land straight out of a history book,

A land where three religions meet,

A land where culture and nature blend seamlessly at every nook,

A land where there are people so sweet.

As travel bloggers, we do have our small list of must-visit places and no doubt with each passing day,  the more we travel our list keeps growing.

Israel has been on Sam’s list for some time now as he reads a lot of books and has always been fascinated by the rich cultural history associated with Israel.

The country is replete with holy sites, deserts, and offers some stunning beaches off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.It is not just a holy land but also a story-land where every corner speaks volumes about the past and history that span close to four thousand years.

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From floating in the Dead Sea to skiing in Golan heights, from the street food of Haifa to the posh restaurants of Tel Aviv. Israel offers something for everyone.

In the last few years, there has been a lot of interest among Indian tourists to travel to this beautiful country. So, if you too are planning a trip to Israel then this post is definitely going to help you plan your trip.

We’ve listed here the top reasons to visit and places to visit in Israel

– Cultural Hub –

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Israel is the melting point of three religions of the world namely Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The seamless blend of these religions can be easily seen in the old city of Jerusalem. The Western Wall is considered sacred by the Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is an important pilgrimage site for the Christians and the Dome of the Rock is a 7th-century Islamic shrine.

The Old City of Jerusalem is a walled city which was built by King David and is divided into four quarters, which are the Jewish Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter and the Muslim Quarter. Each quarter is unique architecturally and has a lot of history around it. There is a lot to do and see in Jerusalem if you have a knack for history. Taking a walking tour and exploring the different quarters inside the old city is an experience in itself.

You can even retrace Christ’s footsteps along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

– Culinary Heaven –

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Israel boasts of some of the best Mediterranean cuisines across the world. Some of the cities known for food are Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv.

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In Israel, many of the restaurants prefer home-grown stuff. Restaurant menus are loaded with cuisines based on the season’s produce. Be it a fresh catch from the Israeli waters or the home-grown vegetables. There is plenty on offer to satiate both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian taste buds. You will definitely be spoilt for choices that you get. One dish or to say side dish that goes with every meal is the Hummus.

Make sure to order either Hummus Masabacha spread (made from crushed chickpeas and mixed with tahini sauce, lemon, olive oil, salt and garlic) or Kawarma (Hummus topped with chopped lamb). Mouth-watering falafel (mix of chickpeas, fava beans and loads of spices) is another interesting dish that you can find on every menu in Israel.

Shawarma is also quite popular as a street food, minced lamb/chicken tossed up with spices and rolled up with salads and served with hummus or pickle.

If you love eggs, then you should not come back without sampling Shakshooka – deadly combination of tomatoes, garlic, spices and onions topped up with a poached egg. Every meal in Israel is laced with various types of bread, special mention for Lechem bread which is considered to be the finest of all bread. Israelis also love Aubergine or Eggplant and hence it finds its way into many cuisines — Baba Ghanoush being one of the favorites. For dessert, don’t miss Kanafeh — a Levantine Arabic dish to sample.

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( For more authentic local experience, check out the website eatwith.com and join the locals as they share their meal with you. )

– Beauty Everywhere –

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Israel is bestowed with beautiful beaches and picturesque landscapes that will captivate your mind and soul equally. No doubt these places are every photographer’s delight.

Golan Heights

Golan Heights offers some breathtaking views of the mountainous landscape with a backdrop of the sea. There are many nature reserves which could be explored by the inquisitive traveler.  It is also famous as a ski destination during the winters.

Haifa

Haifa is a port city and is a great place for surfers. You can also explore the famous Bahai garden at Haifa or spend time mingling with the multicultural crowd in the city.

Tel Aviv

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Tel Aviv is one of the favorite destinations among tourists, all thanks to the diverse and open-minded society, a vibrant nightlife, amazing food scene, and laid-back beaches.

From street art to museums, from street food to expensive restaurants the city has something for every type of traveler.

Jerusalem

Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, is one of the oldest cities in the world with a history dating back close to 4000 years.

Get lost in the cobblestone alleyways or give into the urge of being Indiana Jones and explore the old city which is accessible 24/7 in Jerusalem.

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Negev Desert

Occupying more than half of Israel’s land area, the Negev desert is a beautiful and magical place that one should not miss. The desert is home to some of the largest craters on earth that were formed by extreme water erosion, the most famous of the craters being the Ramon Crater.

Here you can take in the sweeping views of the landscapes or just rappel down the crater. An amazing place to capture the Milky Way as the desert is thinly populated making it devoid of light pollution.

Let yourself loose while sand-boarding on the sand dunes of the desert or sample some wine in one of the many wineries in the desert.

Dead Sea

Imagine this – reading a newspaper floating in the sea or reading your favorite book on a Kindle while floating 🙂

If you do fancy doing any of these, then the Dead Sea is the place to be. At 427 meters below sea level, Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth. It has the saltiest water in the world which makes drowning impossible due to natural buoyancy. The water and the mud also have healing properties.

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No doubt the Dead Sea is one of the Seven Wonders of the world.

– Adventure Awaits –

Be it skydiving to floating in the dead sea, rappelling in Nachal Rachaf to camel safari. Israel offers a plethora of activities to keep your adrenaline pumped up.

And wait, if you had always considered Israel as a hot and a humid country like the Middle East then it is time to change your notion and head to Mount Hermon for skiing.

Place to visit in Israel

Love water and everything related to it then just grab your swimwear, snorkel gear and hop on a sailing trip or a Catamaran Tour along Israel’s Mediterranean Coast.

You can also dive and snorkel in the Red Sea which offers an amazing marine world or Kayak on the Jordan river. If caving or spelunking interests you then don’t forget to add it to your itinerary as well. There are various caves offering spectacular stalactites and stalagmites to marvel at.

For us, it has to be glamping in the Negev Desert, spending a night beneath millions of stars shining bright and hot-air ballooning in the Jezreel Valley that tops our list.

– Night Life –

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If you had your share of culture, adventure, and food, then it is time to embrace yourself to the most happening and vibrant nightlife scene of Tel Aviv – the party capital of the Middle East that houses the best of pubs, bars and dance clubs. As the sun sets the beachy town of Tel Aviv morphs into Israel’s – CITY that never sleeps. It is sprinkled with enough entertainment spots to keep you occupied all night long.

We recommend to gobble down a sundowner at any of the beach bars while your feet are busy playing with the sand or scrub up and hit the dance floor tapping to the tunes of a DJ at a hippie bar or a live band’s performance. Venture on a bar hopping spree at the southern end of Rothschild Boulevard and explore the surrounding streets or head to Wine Sory and Jajo Vino for a wine fix.

Or just call it a day sampling one of the best brews of Israel. The three great brews are Alexander Brewery’s IPA, the Dancing Camel’s Olde Papa, and Jem’s 8.8, as recommended by none other than Lonely Planet.

– Shopping in Israel –

The markets are loaded with trinkets and souvenirs to carry back home and you cannot resist from picking one or two as you amble the streets of Israel. We share few must pick or keepsake items to bring back from the holy land.

 Jewellery

 Hamsa

 Israeli Olive Oil – Olive Oil from company  Eretz Gshur is one of the best olive oils in the world.

 Bedouin – Woven Rugs and Cushions

 Home Décor Items – Ceramics or hand painted paintings

 Metalace – Lace fabrics patterns in the form of metal

 Ahava Skin Care products or Dead Sea mineral products for your home spa

( Note: Don’t forget to claim your value added Tax rebate at the airport for purchases over a $100 from the participating stores. )

If you are still not able to make up your mind, then watch this amazing video and take a call for yourself, we are pretty sure Israel will amaze you.

Note: One can travel to Gulf Countries after having Israel visa stamp on their passport.

Do let us know by commenting below if Israel is on your bucket list too? 

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PS: This post is written in collaboration with Israel Tourism India.

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58 Comments

  • Reply
    Cori
    December 21, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    I loved visiting Israel and had an amazing time, but it might not be the best destination for anyone with too many stamps in their passport! You’ll want to get a fresh passport just for Israel and replace it after your trip, or traveling will be a nightmare.

    I entered Israel with a passport stamp from Turkey, which meant hours of being interrogated and my luggage being searched — they took apart my shoes and searched through my email accounts. I’ve heard enough stories to know I had an easy time of it.

    Once you’re there, it’s amazing. But traveling there is a huge hassle.

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      We hadn’t heard about these kind of stories, but it is really good that you have shared your experience here. Hope your visit was worth the trouble.

  • Reply
    Alyssa Ramos
    December 21, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    I LOVE this! I totally agree that Israel is going to be a popular travel destination next year, and am really hoping to go! This is such an amazingly helpful, complete guide, and your photos are absolutely breathtaking!

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you so much, Alyssa, we hope that you get to visit Israel soon. Glad you found the article useful.

  • Reply
    Shane
    December 21, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Israel has never been on my radar but after reading this post I’m intrigued! I would love the unique shopping and cuisine. Beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    Laura Nalin
    December 22, 2016 at 4:14 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit Israel since some friends of mine visited on their birth right and told me about it. This guide is excellent for those who will be traveling through – love how you provide all the details! Loved that video, too!

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you so much, Laura, glad you liked the article and found it useful. Hope it helps you to plan your trip to Israel.

  • Reply
    Claire
    December 22, 2016 at 4:44 am

    I hadn’t really considered Israel as a destination before, but more people I know are going and it is getting my wanderlust excited! The photos look amazing and I am dying to try all that delicious food!

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Thank you Claire, glad you liked it. The food trail is in Israel is interesting. And yes, a lot of people are traveling to Israel of late.

  • Reply
    Sonali Chauhan
    December 22, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Wow… Thanks for sharing the first post about 2017 “EMERGING TRAVEL DESTINATION” Traveling is amazing & making new traveling plans for 2017 is too awesome. I’m also making a new year plan which will be my first traveling of 2017 !

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      Hope you are able to plan and travel soon. 🙂 🙂

      Glad you liked the post, Sonali.

  • Reply
    Sally
    December 22, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Great photos! It seems like there is a ton to do in Israel and it does seem to be on everyone’s lists for next year so I’m sure your prediction is right!

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks Sally, glad you liked the pics. True, there are too many things to do in Israel.

  • Reply
    Lydia@LifeUntraveled
    December 22, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Israel is definitely on my bucket list – I hope to make it there soon! It seems like such a mystical place with an endless variety of things to do and see.

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      Lydia, hope you can travel to Israel soon. 🙂 🙂

      It is definitely a mystical place.

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    December 22, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I would love to go to the Dead Sea. Sounds like a dream destination. I have many friends who have traveled to Israel, but I am still nervous to venture to that part of the world. Hopefully one day!

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Hope you can travel to Israel soon. It is a truly a dream destination. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply
    Natasha
    December 23, 2016 at 1:48 am

    I’ve been reading so much about Israel lately, and your post sure makes it look and sound like an amazing destination. I would love to visit the Dead Sea someday.

  • Reply
    Megan Jerrard
    December 26, 2016 at 11:32 am

    I would love to visit Israel in 201 – thanks for this fantastic list. I think people associate the country with culture and history, and with religious significance, but don’t realize there’s incredible natural attractions here too!

  • Reply
    D of Love C and D
    December 26, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Yes! Great post guys, an over-arching guide to a country we would love to visit. Swimming, or rather floating, in the Dead Sea is on our bucket list and seeing Jerusalem would also be brilliant. Thanks for sharing this and your photos are beautiful.

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you so much David, for your kind words. I think 2017 might be the right year for you to tick off Israel from your bucket list. 🙂 🙂

  • Reply
    Shobha
    December 26, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Israel has so much to do for such a small country! I’m all about the food which looks great in the photos!

  • Reply
    Naomi
    December 26, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I had never thought of visiting Israel but the amazing pictures and the description of food really makes me want to go! Great post.

  • Reply
    luxurybackpacking | Emma
    December 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Israel is actually top of my list! Just seeing these beautiful pictures and that video makes me want to book a flight today! I think its such a beautiful country that so many people disregard so thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      Emma, we completely agree with you, Israel is a very beautiful country. Hope you travel to Israel soon.

  • Reply
    Candy
    December 26, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I have been hearing and reading so much about Israel lately, and feel like it’s calling me to visit! I would really love to visit the spice markets. I’m more of a day person, so I’ll probably skip the nightlife activities 🙂 Did you hear that one of the big travel conferences will be in Israel next year?

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      December 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Yup Candy we know about it but thanks for sharing it here. 🙂 You should definitely this place.

  • Reply
    Nisha
    December 26, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    We have been to Israel and explored it quite a bit. Before going there I always wondered how the place would be but thank God it’s a amazing place with lots of story.

  • Reply
    Hannah @GettingStamped
    December 27, 2016 at 2:43 am

    We spent a 2 weeks in Israel this March and love it. We know we’ll be back.

  • Reply
    Carlie
    December 27, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Wow! I can honestly say I hadn’t considered Israel as a destination for myself, but I am now! Great post!

  • Reply
    Harsh Gupta
    December 27, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Have been desiring to visit Israel, specifically the Dead Sea since so long. It is so inviting. Though we have already planned our trips for 2017, may be, will add this lovely country to our visit list in 2018.

  • Reply
    EG III
    December 27, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Israel is definitely on my bucket list and I can’t wait to visit in the spring. I’m checking out tel Aviv and Jerusalem for sure, but I think.you’ve sold me on the dead sea as well now.

  • Reply
    EG IIi
    December 27, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Israel is high on my list of places to visit also. In fact, I’ll be going there this spring and after reading this I think I’ll have to add the Dead Sea to my itinerary!

  • Reply
    Vicki Louise
    December 28, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Israel is such an interesting destination – and I love that it is up and coming in 2017. The history, the culture, the religion all makes it a place I would love to see, and you’re photos are stunning!

  • Reply
    Indrani
    December 30, 2016 at 8:57 am

    It amazes me how one country is holy for 3 religions! I am really curious about its history. The food of course is among the top in my list of things to experience. Found the post very informative and interesting.

  • Reply
    Jackie Taylor
    December 30, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Wow, I never realized how beautiful Israel is!!! I definitely will be adding it to my bucket list! Thanks so much for sharing!! 🙂

  • Reply
    chanelle
    December 31, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I have never been to Israel, but it’s been a destination I have been fascinated with. The Psy trance scene is really big there too, there are some great DJ’s from Israel.

    I would love to see the four quarters of the old city, it must be such an experience. I have always been a fan of Hummus, I literally eat it with everything, so I would love to taste the ‘real stuff’.

  • Reply
    Bella WW
    January 1, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    You wrote such a complete article about all the things you can do and see in Israel; therefore, now I feel the need to travel to this destination as soon as possible. I think that what attracts me most is the Dead Sea. I find it truly a wonder of nature that should not be missed under any circumstances. Very beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    Andrea Thompson
    January 2, 2017 at 2:27 am

    I’ve wanted to go to Israel for years! Many of my friends growing up travelled there and would come back with amazing stories and experiences. I think I’d really like it there and your photos make it look even more incredible!

  • Reply
    Punita Malhotra
    January 2, 2017 at 6:36 am

    The Negev desert really took my breath away. And I’m keen on trying all the mouth-watering dishes, because I’m a big foodie. Is it safe to visit Israel, though? I thought I read something about unrest very recently.

  • Reply
    Marina
    January 2, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Amazing post! I truly loved it! I guess it’s a mix between your perfect and clear writing and my growing interest in Middle East countries.
    Two of my 2017 goals are to volunteer and to visit the Jordania and Israel, so I’m just into a selection procces to volunteer in Jordania 🙂
    Hope I can make it and spend 6 months working with locals, traveling around and discovering places such as Negev Desert, which I have never heard about before (although it looks that occupies half of Israel, you kidding me??? hahhaha)

    Great post, congrats! p.d.: I have pinned a couple of post to my “bucket list” board and followed you around social media!

  • Reply
    Maria
    January 2, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Great guide and amazing photos! I also have this dream of visiting Israel and your post added some more places to my plan. Have a great year!

  • Reply
    Angie (FeetDoTravel)
    January 4, 2017 at 1:57 am

    Israel has been on my bucket list for quite some time and I found this to be a fantastic guide to all the different things you can see and do here so thank you! I am particularly drawn to the white sand beach, for some reason I didn’t think they would look as beautiful as that (in fact I hadn’t even considered there would be any beaches in truth). Thank you for taking the time to put this post together, I have pinned it for future reference.

  • Reply
    Suz
    January 15, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve been wanting to visit Israel, and this post has some of the best information about the country! My mouth is watering from thinking about all of the delicious food and I would love to visit the Dead Sea. I’m going to have to use this as inspiration to plan my trip, thank you so much for sharing!

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