Visiting the Holy Land, Israel is an eclectic and beautiful country – Not only are there museums, monuments of history and stunning architecture there are also beach resorts by the ocean.
You can go skiing or snowboarding in the mountains, go diving in the Red Sea and see the corals.
That’s Israel – is not just deserts, ancient temples and ruins – it’s a civilized country with fantastic infrastructure and modern cities, hotels, beaches, cinemas, and night clubs.
How long should I Travel?
The average time I would recommend one should tour Israel is 1-2 weeks, but it is completely dependent on what you see yourself doing during this time . Fortunately, Israel is a small country and the places that are worth a visit are all easily accessible without wasting too much time on commute.
The capital of Israel is Jerusalem. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, founded over 3500 years ago.
Its not for nothing that its called the center of three religions, as Jerusalem is the founding ground of three religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
‘Way of the Cross’ is the most popular route for tourists in Jerusalem. Mount of Olives – from which one gets a magnificent view of the city – is at the beginning of the route, and Golgotha – the place of execution of Christ – is at the end of the route.
In Jerusalem, is the famous Holy Sepulcher – a massive beautiful architectural complex.
Meet The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, the pearl of the desert, is an unusual place where you can bask under the rays of hot sun and swim in the warm, healing water at a time when the rest of Europe is facing a raging winter.
On the shore of the Dead Sea you will find comfortable hotels and hospitals of Israel to satisfy the most demanding tourists.
Luxury is of no compromise here – shell out the bucks and you will get world class 5 star treatment.
Many clinics, hospitals and health centers offer treatment based out of the special mineral waters and mud which can be found only here at the Dead Sea.
The sea level constantly reduces because of the active vapors that emanate from the bottom leading to an increase in the salt concentration.
Scientists theorize that over time the Dead Sea will dry up altogether.
So make it a point to visit here while its still there! The density of water is so high that you can lie on his back and not sink – just effortless floating!
Eilat is Israel’s jewel resort.
This town is situated on the shores of the Red Sea and is the southernmost city of Israel.
The Red Sea is a paradise for divers and lovers of marine recreation. Gambling is banned in Israel, but in the port of Eilat one can find dozens of luxury yachts equipped with casinos.
They don’t fall into the purview of the country because they are on international waters.
Israel if one of the few small countries to have such an eclectic mix of landscape and activities.
Its tourist friendly, albeit many Arab countries may not be happy to see an Israel stamp on your passport.
Do your research if you are a business traveler to other middle eastern countries.
But otherwise, it’s a great destination for individuals and families.
Israel – a Land of Surprises
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Israel and it was everything I expected and more.
The first thing I noticed was the feeling of antiquity.
As soon as my feet touched the ground, I knew I was in an ancient land. The ground felt different – it felt old.
Not old the way we in the United States think of old, but really old; ancient beyond comprehension. The next thing I noticed was that the airport in Tel Aviv was ultra-modern.
It was very strange to have this feeling that you were on ancient ground in a beautiful, modern airport.
The group I was with was on a New Testament pilgrimage, so we spent our time visiting the places mentioned in the New Testament; the River Jordan, the Sea of Galilee, the Church of the Nativity.
The Holy Sites
It was incredibly profound to actually be standing in places that I had known of, and read about in the Bible.
As a practicing Catholic Christian, it brought to life stories I had heard all my life and made them real.
It is truly remarkable to be able to say that I renewed my Baptismal vows in the River Jordan, walked in the Sea of Galilee, renewed our wedding vows at Cana, and stood where the Sermon on the Mount was delivered.
Driving in Israel is not a problem as all road and traffic signs are in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
A few times, my wife and I went off on our own and found the people to be very friendly.
Some shopkeepers spoke no English and we speak no Hebrew, so we had to resort to pantomime and gestures, but we managed to get along.
You may not know it, but there is a universal draft in Israel. Upon graduation from high school, males are drafted for 3 years and females for 2 years.
Since they bring their weapons with them when on leave, it created a surreal experience to see young men and women, dressed in jeans and tee shirts, carrying automatic weapons; and no one but the tourists gave them a second glance.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I wouldn’t have missed for anything and I have only one regret – I should have learned at least a few words in Hebrew.