Great Israel Itineraries: How Many Days to Spend?
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As a travel destination, Israel not only promises big, it also delivers on its promises by the bucket load. Bookending the eastern Mediterranean, the Israeli city of Tel Aviv boasts a plethora of excellent beaches, while Eilat, located on the other side of the country, is home to exquisite Red Sea coral reefs. In addition to its natural landmarks, Israel is also home to some of the world’s most important historical and religious sites, be it Masada’s an ancient fortress, or Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
The Negev Desert, yet another highlight of the country, provides an insight into the region’s traditions, while first-rate museums all around the country are filled with internationally important collections, not least the Dead Sea Scrolls. You can experience each of these wonders and more while in Israel. All you need to do is choose the Israel itinerary that suits you the best.
How much time should I spend in Israel?
A small country with excellent infrastructure, Israel is not at all a difficult destination to explore. Even with an Israel itinerary lasting one week or less, it is possible to take in many of the country’s top destinations like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the Dead Sea. Go for a 12-day itinerary if you wish to visit lesser-known destinations like Megiddo, located in the Lower Galilee region, and the breathtaking Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.
Extend your stay in Israel to two weeks and you can spend a night or two with the Bedouin of the Negev Desert. With three weeks at hand, you can even add Jordan to your itinerary and include destinations like Petra and Wadi Rum. However, if it is just the highlights you are interested in, we recommend a one-week trip to Israel.
Israel in 12 days
Jerusalem should be the first port of call for travelers yearning to dive into Israel’s history and culture. With a history spanning over 5,000 years, the city’s ancient streets wind among low hills where almost every corner has something of note. Plus, its long history is on display in several unmissable museums such as the Israel Museum and the Museum of Islamic Art.
Head east from Jerusalem to see the Dead Sea, whose waters are so saline that no life can survive in them. However, that does not mean the Dead Sea is dead of sight, with its shores home to Ein Gedi Reserve.
Follow the Dead Sea’s shores to its southern end and the road eventually leads through the bone-dry landscapes of the Negev Desert to Eilat. Spending a night in the desert with Bedouin tribes is a truly unforgettable experience. At the same time, Eilat should not be missed by anyone who enjoys beach escapes and diving opportunities.
Israel in 1 week
As with our 12 days or less in Israel itinerary, we suggest that you kickstart your one-week Israel trip from Jerusalem. Spend a day exploring its Old City and uncover the thousands of years of history that seep from its golden-hued stone. The must-see sights here include the stunning Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The latter is said to stand on the location of Christ’s crucifixion and burial.
Less than an hour to the northwest of Jerusalem is Tel Aviv, which combines beach vibes with smooth-lined Bauhaus architecture and a range of museums that will have culture buffs swooning in delight. These include the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the archaeological collections of the Eretz Israel Museum. But for something a little different, do not miss the chance to visit the city’s Carmel Market. Here you will find a wonderful array of foods to sample, from freshly-baked falafel to sweet halva.
End your time in Israel with a sunrise tour of Masada fortress. The early start is well worth it since it gives you the chance to experience this magnificent hilltop bastion in the first light of dawn. Offering spectacular desert landscapes, the site is also a testament to both the strength of the Jewish people and the might of the Roman Empire that came to occupy them.
Israel in 2 weeks
A two-week Israel itinerary ensures that you can take in all the wonders of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and still have enough time to visit other destinations without feeling like you are endlessly rushing from place to place.
Having covered both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in four days, there is perhaps nowhere better to head than the Sea of Galilee. Intricately linked with the miracles of Jesus, it is also a beautiful place to walk or cycle. Spend another day exploring a kibbutz (a collective farm), tasting the produce that are ready to be harvested.
Then journey across the country to the shores of the Red Sea in Eilat, where numerous pristine beaches compete for your attention. A prime snorkeling and scuba diving location, you can look out for clownfish, lionfish, and even dolphins while exploring the underwater world off the coast of Eilat.
Israel in 3 weeks
Extend your stay in Israel to three weeks and you can really do this country the justice it deserves. Not only does this amount of time allow you to visit the historic sites in Jerusalem and experience the nightlife of Tel Aviv, but you will also have the chance to take a dip in the Dead Sea. The lowest point on the Earth’s surface, its mineral-rich waters are the perfect excuse for slipping on your swimwear.
Feeling refreshed, continue to Bethlehem, located in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. It is home to the Church of the Nativity, which is built over the grotto where Christ is said to have been born. This makes it the oldest continuous site of Christian worship in existence.
Another site of interest is Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city and an ideal base to spend some time on the country’s Mediterranean shores. In addition to this, the city is close to Mount Carmel, a national park, and a Unesco biosphere reserve. The mountain is dotted with more than 250 small archaeological sites connected by zigzag footpaths and off-road bicycle routes. A further attraction is the beautiful gardens of the Baha’i World Center, a rarity in arid Israel.
Having soaked up the sights and sounds of Israel, you can then cross the border into Jordan and spend the last few days of your trip exploring the majestic Petra and driving through the stunning lunar landscape of Wadi Rum.
Planning a trip to Israel?
If you are planning a trip to Israel, get in touch with one of our travel experts who will be happy to customize any part of your trip for you. Alternatively, if you prefer to book a package tour or join a group, make sure you check out our fantastic tours in Israel.