The intrigue of its ancient past, the peaceful hum of its inhabitants' religious devotion and the tantalising aromas of its souks all make Israel a feast for the senses.
Despite its small size, being just marginally larger than Wales, Israel offers an exceptional and wonderfully diverse array of sights and experiences to those who visit. From fabulous beaches and vibrant cities to otherworldly deserts and forest-covered parks, it can be quite easily said that Israel has it all. Whether you have a penchant for exploring culturally rich cities or admiring stunning views atop majestic peaks, Israel holidays are sure to delight and surprise you.
With an exceptionally rich history and equally plentiful culture, the country certainly isn't short of captivating sights and experiences. Ancient ruins, imposing fortresses and the remains of long-destroyed cities are all on display throughout the region. Equally as diverse are Israel's large number of religious sites and buildings. Beautiful churches, mosques and synagogues, all dating back hundreds of years, can be found dotted all over the country, in testament to the devotion of the Christians, Muslims and Jews who all call it home. One of the best places to become immersed in both the culture and history of the country is Jerusalem. This beguiling ancient city is of significant importance to all three of the monotheistic religions, with landmarks such as the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven; the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected; and the Western Wall; the most important Jewish pilgrimage site.
Another city with ample religious significance is Nazareth. Most Israel tours include a visit to the Old City, home to sights such as the domed Basilica of the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel is said to have visited Mary; and St. Joseph’s Church, which some believe to have been the site of Joseph’s carpentry workshop. Once you've had your fill of religious landmarks and ancient history, a visit to cosmopolitan Tel Aviv is a must. This vibrant beachside city has all of the art galleries and museums, open-air markets and superb eating and drinking options you could wish for. Modern and effortlessly cool, you'll find trendy bars and coffee shops and chic boutiques set against modernist Bauhaus architecture.
Israel is home to breathtakingly beautiful nature, too. From Ramon Nature Reserve, home to a 25-mile-long crater and an array of wildlife, to the golden beaches of Eilat, it is certainly not difficult to find an enchanting respite from the city. Our Israel escorted tours also provide the chance to take a dip in the famous Dead Sea. Located at the lowest place on earth, this expansive salt lake allows you to float as if lying on an invisible inflatable.
Israel is full of incredible sights. Here are just a few of the highlights.
Wondering where to start? Here are some of the must-dos for tours of Israel.
With influences from all around the globe, high-quality ingredients and a buzzing cafe scene, foodies will find plenty to appreciate about the Israeli culinary scene.
The food here is centred primarily on traditional dishes that have been brought to the county by Jewish immigrants, though there are plenty of Arab influences thrown into the mix.
With such a diverse range of inhabitants, it's possible to find everything from tagines to bagels on offer. Vegans and vegetarians will feel right at home here, with meat-free restaurants in almost every town and plenty of plant-based options on every menu. Meat eaters are certainly not left out, though. While pork is still something of a taboo, you'll find a wide range of meat and seafood dishes to choose from, from traditional grill restaurants to the popular street food of shawarma.
When it comes to sampling the local flavours on Israel holidays, there are too many delicious dishes to mention. However, a good place to start is falafel, a traditional Middle Eastern food made from deep fried chickpeas, either eaten in a pitta or as a mezze dish. Shakshouka is another important local dish, consisting of poached eggs served on a bed of tomato sauce and topped with various spices, and usually eaten at breakfast. For sweets, look no further than popular baklava, made from layered filo pastry and nuts, soaked in syrup.
Thinking of visiting Israel for the first time? Here are some popular questions.
Our escorted tours provide the chance to see the very best of the country, including:
The weather in Israel can vary significantly from region to region. The hilly north can sometimes see snow in winter, though generally remains warm for the rest of the year. The middle of the country enjoys a Mediterranean climate and is therefore hot and dry during the summer with wet but mild winters, while the south is largely desert and therefore remains hot and dry all year round. Temperatures often reach the mid-30s during the summer months, while spring and autumn usually see temperatures of between 15 and 25°C.
July and August are the peak months for tourists, so attractions can be busy, and some visitors can also find the heat uncomfortable at this time of year. Spring and Autumn provide the chance to enjoy pleasant, warm weather and fewer crowds, and winter can also be a good time to visit, particularly if you are visiting Eilat, which often sees temperatures remaining in the low 20s in December and January.
Israel can be a rather pricey destination, and accommodation can be particularly expensive in the high season of July and August or during religious holidays such as Passover. The low and shoulder seasons offer better-value Israel holidays, along with fewer crowds.
Tours of Israel offer warm weather, fantastic food and beautiful nature, though the country is undoubtedly most famous for its fascinating history. With ruins, monuments and architecture spanning thousands of years, and some of the world's most significant religious sites, many people are drawn to the country to experience its rich and important past.
You'll find a unique blend of Jewish and Arab influences in the dishes here, with plenty on offer for both meat lovers and vegetarians, as well as those following a healthy diet. Staple ingredients include lentils, chickpeas, beans, couscous, vegetables, goat's cheese, olive oil and herbs, as well as spices such as turmeric, cumin, ginger, mint and oregano. Traditional yet tantalising dishes include falafel and beef, chicken or lamb shawarma.
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