For our Israel vacation, we spent 10 days traveling through the country. We ate great food, immersed ourselves in history, and spent time in the outdoors. This Israel itinerary had a great mix of all.
Highs & Lows
The history and learning all the different cultures.
The struggles of the region.
As a lover of history, I have always wanted to take a vacation to Israel and specifically Jeruselum to experience in person one of the oldest cities in the world. We rented a car and drove throughout the country to visit as much as we could. I'm also a lover of sun, and good food and Israel did not disappoint. Also, there are so many amazing food options in this country. I highly recommend an Israel vacation.
We hired a local guide for 2 days to give us a tour of the old city and 4 quarters of Jerusalem. The old city which is surrounded by ancient walls is a mix of multiple religions that all seem to coexist together in the old city. We toured the very busy market, Mahane Yeuda, and then also spent 1/2 a day at the Israel Museum which houses the dead sea scrolls which were discovered in 1947. The scrolls are religious manuscripts that are believed to be dated 125 B.C. Jerusalem is truly a history lovers' dream. So much to learn and see.
With our guide and rental car, we drove about 90 minutes to see the Dead Sea. We didn't swim or get in the water but we did buy some fancy mud from a gift shop. We then headed to Masada National Park which is an ancient fortress in the desert. It's on a huge plateau overlooking the Dead Sea. A cable car and a long, path climb up to the fortifications, built around 30 B.C. We then went on a hike nearby which had views of Jordon and the dead sea. I highly recommend this day trip to get out to the desert from Jerusalem.
We based ourselves in Acre as it's a good base for exploring the area, and the well-preserved old city is a Unesco heritage site. Acre has a history of conquerors including the Romans, Persians, the Crusaders, and the Ottoman Empire for a short time. Acre is also on the meddeterian so definitely check out the local seafood restaurants. We went to Uri Buri which was fun and had great food.
We drove through Israeli wineries over to Golan Heights which was seized Israel from Syria in 1967 during the six day war.
We only had a few days in the busy city of Tel Aviv and I wish had spent more time. The city has a great mix of old history (Jafa), city cosmopolitan, and beautiful sunsets and beaches. There are lots of great restaurants and nightlife. The weather is far warmer than in Jerusalem and was hot in October. I highly recommend a day at the beach followed by a late dinner.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
Our vacation in Isreal was limited on time so I would have reduced our time in Acre to 2 nights and added 1 more night to Tel Aviv. Acre is very small and there is so much to see in Tel Aviv.
Mona in Jerusalem was beautiful and the food was excellent. Uri Buri in Acre had good seafood and was located on the waterfront. The food in Israel is amazing and is a vegetarian dream-hummus, pita, lots of roasted and pickled vegetables.
Tips you would give a friend?
Shops and neighborhoods shut down from Friday at sunset to Saturday sunset for Sabbath. Plan your restaurants and tours accordingly.
Tel Aviv was very warm, but Jerusalem was far cooler. In the mosque in Acre I had to cover my head with a scarf to enter.
Rented a car was very inexpensive and it was easy to get around the country. I'm glad we had it. All the cities were walkable.
How diverse the country is. We saw the desert, shopped high fashion in Tel Aviv, toured ancient ruins, visited the most significant religious sites, drove through wineries, walked the beach etc. There is so much to see and you can really tailor to your interests.
We booked all hotels direct.