Things to do in Israel

Things to do in  Israel

Head into the Holy Land

Nowhere is the “traditional meets modern” cliche more relevant than in the diverse and vibrant melting pot of Israel. Whether you’re looking for Holy Land sights in Jerusalem; taking a surreal, weightless dip in the Dead Sea; hitting the beaches in Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus-style White City; or exploring the canyon-filled Negev Desert, you will find no end of things to do in Israel—and no end of differing viewpoints on the country’s legacy. A day trip to Ramallah, Bethlehem, or Hebron can give travelers a chance to listen to Palestinian perspectives.

Top 15 attractions in Israel

Western Wall (Wailing Wall)

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An open-air synagogue where worshippers recite prayers, Israel’s historic Western Wall (Wailing Wall) is where travelers come to kiss pale gold stones the color of the Negev desert and to stuff paper prayers between the stones. The beating heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, this is a must-see sacred site in the Jewish Quarter.More

Old City of Jerusalem

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The ancient winding streets of Jerusalem’s Old City house some of the world’s most sacred religious sites for Jews, Muslims, and Christians, including the Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Via Dolorosa, Dome of the Rock, and the Western Wall. Plus, each of the district’s four quarters has a unique character well worth experiencing.More

Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa)

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The Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) is an ancient path in Jerusalem’s Old City, where it’s believed Jesus carried the cross to his crucifixion. Also known in Catholicism as the Stations of the Cross, it’s a pilgrimage that’s been followed going back to the fourth century. The route has changed over the years, and today there are 14 stations along the path, each marked with a plaque detailing what took place at that location.More

Caesarea

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With a huge Roman-era theater, an ancient aqueduct framing a golden beach, and more, Caesarea is home to some of Israel’s most striking ruins. Built by Herod the Great around the time of Christ, the remains of this once-thriving port extend beneath the ocean, while waterfront restaurants and bars let you soak up the views in style.More

Kidron Valley

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Set on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem, the scenic Kidron Valley is an ancient burial ground renown for its religious significance and natural beauty. The valley divides the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives and is prominently featured in both the Old and New Testaments, making it an important stop on many religious pilgrimages.More

Neve Tzedek (Neve Tsedek)

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Tel Aviv’s original neighborhood, Neve Tzedek (also written Neve Tsedek) was the first Jewish settlement outside the ancient port of Jaffa when it was created in 1887. After a period of decline, it’s now roared back to life as a bohemian district replete with boutiques, galleries, craft stores, and cafés, all focused around its epicenter, Shabazi Street.More

Dead Sea

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The Dead Sea, home to the lowest point in the world at 1,269 feet (383 meters) below sea level, also ranks as one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. This hyper-salinity that is so unique to the Dead Sea attracts visitors from all over the world who come to experience the unusual buoyancy, as well as access the nutrient-rich mud on its banks.More

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City sits on what is thought to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Christianity’s holiest site, the church stands at the end of the Via Dolorosa—the route Jesus is believed to have taken on the way to his crucifixion.More

Garden of Gethsemane

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According to the Christian faith, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his arrest. Today, the Church of All Nations guards this sacred site at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where Franciscan friars stroll past gnarled olive trees alongside pilgrims from around the world.More

Rosh Hanikra

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Perched 210 feet (64 meters) over the Mediterranean Sea in northwestern Israel, the Rosh Hanikra kibbutz is part of the Achziv Natural Reserve. The area is known for its interesting geological formations—namely sea caves and limestone grottoes made over millennia by the sea washing over rocks and creating tunnels and caverns in the cliffside.More

Jerusalem Jewish Quarter

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Home to the Western Wall, Judaism’s most sacred site, as well as synagogues, religious schools, and a Byzantine-era stretch of the ancient Cardo thoroughfare, the Jerusalem Jewish Quarter is one of the Old City’s traditional four quarters. Rabbis, scholars, and ritually clad Orthodox Jewish believers still stroll its ancient streets.More

Christian Quarter

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Home to religious landmarks such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa, the Christian Quarter—one of four districts in the Old City of Jerusalem—is popular with pilgrims and tourists alike. You’ll find about 40 important sights in this neighborhood, including archaeological attractions, shrines, and monasteries, plus vendors selling everything from fragrant spices to rosary beads.More

Masada

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The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Masada, an ancient fortress built by King Herod the Great, dates back to 37 BC. It’s location on a cliff overlooking the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea is a spectacular spot from which to watch the sunrise.More

Church of the Nativity (Basilica of the Nativity)

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The Church of the Nativity encompasses a grotto where, according to Christain scripture, Jesus was born. Situated in Manger Square in Bethlehem, on the West Bank of the Palestinian territories, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed church is one of Christianity’s holiest places.More

Coral Beach Nature Reserve

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Home to some of the world’s most northerly tropical coral reefs, Coral Beach Nature Reserve offers Eilat’s—and likely Israel’s—best snorkeling. Seagrass patches draw hawksbill turtles, seahorses, and more; hundreds of different coral species lure aquarium favorites including lionfish, angelfish, and clownfish.More
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Top Destinations

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All about Israel

When to visit

Israel is a country of microclimates, meaning no matter when you decide to visit, you’ll always have somewhere to go. Oven-hot in summer, southern Eilat is ideal in winter. Jerusalem is visitable year-round but most temperate in spring and fall. Tel Aviv has mild, rainy winters and hot Mediterranean summers. Just keep your eye on the Jewish calendar, because most businesses close and public services stop during major festivals such as Passover and Rosh Hashana.

Getting around

The national Egged bus line goes just about everywhere and is comfortable and climate-controlled. More intrepid travelers can opt for a sherut, or shared minibus, which keep irregular schedules and only depart once the vehicle has filled up. Car rentals are also easy and affordable, with pickup and drop-off available in Ben Gurion Airport or major cities. And you’ll find plenty of tours for all-inclusive options to popular destinations such as Masada or the Dead Sea.

Traveler tips

Visiting the West Bank is easier and safer than many travelers realize, and it has many worthwhile attractions. From Jerusalem, buses and shared minibuses depart regularly from Damascus Gate to Ramallah and Bethlehem. Many group day trips are available. Bear in mind that car rentals in Israel are usually forbidden from crossing into the West Bank. And it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the latest security alerts.

Local Currency
Israeli New Shekel (₪)
Time Zone
IDT (UTC +2)
Country Code
+972
Language(s)
Hebrew
Attractions
63
Tours
1,123
Reviews
17,809
EN
f8faa3b2-25bd-485c-8070-4a45dc06615e
geo_hub

People Also Ask

What is Israel famous for?

Long referred to as the Holy Land and site of fierce crusader battles, Israel is most famous for its ancient, biblical-era history. Its spiritual capital—Jerusalem—is filled with religious landmarks such as the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, making it sacred to three faiths.

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What are the main types of attractions in Israel?

Many people flock to Israel for its religious history, from ancient landmarks within Jerusalem’s Old City to sights in Tiberias, Nazareth, and Bethlehem within the Occupied West Bank. But you’ll also find desert canyons, a sparkling Mediterranean coastline, and minority communities and faiths, such as the Baha’i, Druze, and Circassians.

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How many days do you need in Israel?

Plan on spending at least a week in Israel, if not 10 days or more, to see the main sights. Israel is a tiny country—only about the size of New Jersey—but it’s filled with attractions and diverse landscapes. You’ll need a couple of days in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

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What is the most beautiful part of Israel?

Israel is known for its natural landscapes. Most visitors prefer the Mediterranean coast, the canyon-filled Negev desert, or Golan Heights, an area captured from Syria in 1967 and annexed in 1981. Don’t miss entering the West Bank, particularly the ancient city of Nablus or South Hebron Hills.

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What is the most visited city in Israel?

Drawing more than 3 million tourists a year, Jerusalem is the most visited city in Israel. With its atmospheric, history-filled Old City and first-rate museums—the Israel Museum and Yad Vashem both warrant visits—it’s not hard to see why. Other runners-up include Tel Aviv, Haifa, Acre, and Tiberias.

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Is it safe for tourists to visit Israel?

Israel is generally safe. Locals are friendly and welcoming, and violent crime is statistically low. That said, it can be uncomfortable to visit during times of political conflict, such as during conflict with Gaza or when there is an uptick in protests. Even then, though, you’ll likely remain safe.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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