Jerusalem. Bethlehem. Nazareth. Dead Sea. Jaffa. Each of these places is a holiday destination in itself. And here is this one country which brings all of them and more in one package. Israel. Located in the Middle East, Israel is a haven for any traveler, especially if you are historically inclined. It is home to some of the holiest sites of the planet, attracting pilgrims and tourists from all corners of the globe. Here is our pick of the top tourists attractions that Israel has to offer.
Located to the south of the Tel Aviv city center, Jaffa is an ancient port city that is famous for its mention in many Biblical stories. It is today a part of the greater metropolitan area of Tel Aviv, but retains its importance and identity. Take a walk along the harbor area during sunset. The mustard-colored historical houses seamlessly merge with the new age cafes on the waterfront. You can also visit the neighboring flea market to do some souvenir shopping.
The city of Nazareth is located in northern Israel. It is famous from the Bible as being the home of Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus. So, it is no wonder that the city has several holy sites associated with the childhood of Jesus. Visit the Nazareth Village, a meticulously recreated village with live actors recreating life as was 2000 years ago. The Mensa Christi Church is considered to be the site where Jesus Christ dined with his apostles. You can even see the Table of Christ where they dined. If you are looking for a stroll, climb up to the hilltop Basilica of Jesus the Adolescent. It is the highest point of Nazareth with panoramic views of the city.
8. Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is one of the most popular natural attractions in the world, attracting tourists from all over. Tourists flock to the Dead Sea every year so that they can float on it. The very high salt content of the sea water enables this unique feature. It is also the reason why plants and animals cannot flourish in this region, therefore the name Dead Sea. Several resorts located nearby offer the very popular ‘mud bath’ with mud from the Dead Sea. After the mud dries, the tourists go for the famous float.
7. Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee is a large freshwater lake and a major tourist attraction of Israel. At 215 m below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake in the world. It gained prominence for having several Biblical mentions. It is here that Jesus began His ministry. This is also the place where Jesus walked on water. Tours are available where visitors can follow the path Jesus walked. You can also visit the neighboring Lavnun Beach where you can build your own raft and then sail in the sea!
Israel is not only about history and religion. If you are looking for a place to unwind and enjoy the sea, then head to Eilat. It is located on the southernmost tip of Israel, in the Gulf of Aqaba. Here you can try diving, scuba diving, and snorkeling. The coral reefs and colorful marine life are an added bonus. You can go swimming with the dolphins. Eilat also offers one of the most vibrant nightlife in Israel.
5. Bahai Gardens
Located in Haifa, this is certainly one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. This stunning man made wonder is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This terraced garden can be seen on the slope of Mount Carmel spread over almost 200,000 sq m. The gardens have been landscaped on 18 terraces. There are several sections, each with its own theme, that lead up to the magnificent Shrine of the Bab. The beauty and religious prominence makes Bahai Gardens one of the most visited attractions in Israel.
Akko, or Acre, is a coastal city in northern Israel. The city offers several historical and religious sites scattered all over. You should also visit the Old Town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Akko is the ideal place to hunt for spices and souvenirs from its flea markets and traditional bazaars.
3. Tel Aviv
One of the most vibrant cities in Middle East Asia, Tel Aviv is the 2nd largest city in Israel and one of the top-rated tourist destinations in the region. The city is known for its diverse cultural scene, stunning architecture, beautiful waterfront, and a thriving nightlife. Tel Aviv attracts over 2.5 million tourists every year. Tel Aviv is ranked as the 5th most-visited city in Middle East Asia and Africa. The prestigious National Geographic magazine rated it as one the best beach cities in the world. Tel Aviv is also very gay-friendly and is popular with the LGBT crowd. Attractions of Tel Aviv include the Jewish Diaspora Museum, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Bialik House, and Yarkon Park. The Tel Aviv beaches are also a major attraction of the country.
Located about 10 km south of Jerusalem, Bethlehem is a holy city to Christians. This Biblical city is home to the Church of Nativity — considered to be the site where Jesus was born. It is one of the oldest churches in the world and one of the major tourist attractions in Israel. The neighboring Rachel’s Tomb is considered to be the tomb of Rachel — the mother of Joseph. Take a walk around Old Town or a cab to visit Herodium — the man-made mountain by King Herod. Bethlehem is best explored as a day trip from Jerusalem.
Considered to be one of the holiest cities in the world, Jerusalem is flooded with pilgrims and tourists all the year round. The Christian Quarter — near the Jaffa Gate and New Gate — has the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church is the last point of the Via Dolorosa — the final path of Jesus. Many consider it to be the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus. The Muslim Quarter — Lion’s Gate, Herod’s Gate, and Damascus Gate — has the iconic Al Aqsa Mosque. The quarter also has the Temple Mount, a major religious site for Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. It also has St. Anne’s Church, believed to be the site where Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born. The Jewish Quarter — Zion Gate — has the Western Wall. The neighboring Armenian Quarter has the Tower of David.
Originally posted 2017-04-20 11:16:39.