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10 Days in Israel mid-April 2018

My husband, 25-year-old daughter, and myself are planning a 10-day trip to Israel to visit our college daughter, who is spending a semester at the University of Haifa. We will arrive Friday April 13 and depart Monday April 23. I expect to spend Fri-Tues in Haifa, seeing local sights and doing day trips (Caesarea, Akko, wineries) and then the 4 of us will go to Jerusalem Wed-Sat or Sun, with day trips from there (Masada). We'd also like to see Nazareth & Galilee (we are Catholic and interested in Christian sites), either as day trips from Haifa, or in between.
Can we manage without a rental car? If we rent a car, will we have trouble parking or finding our way? Should we hire private tour guides for parts of our trip? How do we find good ones? Also, I'm looking for hotel recommendations.
Thanks for any advice!

Posted by
10953 posts

I took a couple of day tours with Rent a Guide. I enjoyed both.

One tour I had planned to take in Jerusalem had to be cancelled due to low signups. They offered me an alternate day but it was the day I was traveling from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. They said if I switched to the new date, they'd drive me to Tel Aviv at no additional cost. There were others on that tour on a day trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem so the guide had to drive back anyway.

Posted by
14777 posts

Most wineries are kosher and won't be open on Friday afternoon or Saturday. Also, trains won't run then. Akko is best accessed by train. To get to Caesarea, you can take the train to nearby Binyamina and then taxi to the sight. But you'll have to arrange with the driver to pick you up or have some means to order a taxi back to the train - there's no public transportation to the sight itself. You need a tour, private guide with a car, or a rental car to see the Galilee sights - there's really no public transportation to most of them, but there are parking lots. You may get a sherut (shared taxi service) from Haifa to Nazareth. A guide would be a good idea so you don't waste time trying to find your way around. Parking is near impossible to find there.

Wednesday is Memorial Day. It begins on Tuesday evening (the 17th), and is quite solemn, so most places of entertainment, restaurants, bars, etc., will be closed. Independence Day is on Thursday (18th) and begins on Wednesday evening - lots of gaiety, fireworks, organized street music and even dancing in the streets. Some sights may be closed on Thursday, anything that's open will be full of locals enjoying the holiday. I would expect all the Christian sights to be open every day, though on Sunday in the Galilee some may be closed to tourists in the morning because of masses.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi - I just got back from my first trip to Israel. It is totally amazing and a life changing adventure. I am an adventurer, and I have driven all over the world and I don't think I would want to rent a car in Israel. There are plenty of road signs that are only in Hebrew and Arabic (with not English). Even if you have GPS, it is odd to not be able to read signs. I'm sure while you are in the North - it wouldn't be much of an issue as it is mostly country lane driving - going to and from Galilee and or Nazareth from Haifa is doable. It is super helpful though, to connect yourself with local touring companies. They do an excellent job of getting you around and will tell you the Biblical perspective if that is what you are interested in understanding. Private guides for the day are very expensive - so local tours on big or smaller buses (max of 16 people) work well if cost is a consideration. There are so many options each day from local tour companies (day trips, etc.) - I so highly recommending you connecting yourself to them. Your hotels will have their brochures. I am a big 'independent' traveler and have planned many trips with just a Rick Steve's guidebook. But in Israel I was so grateful for having those with the historic knowledge and itineraries that helped you maximize your time. You will love old Jerusalem (definitely no need for a car there). Also, Tel Aviv is very much worth seeing and near the old port of Jaffa. We stayed at Hotel Gilgal in Tel Aviv and also the Sheraton (stunning property.) The Mediterranean beaches there are wonderful. I felt safe my entire trip, I can't wait to go back, I wish I had been there earlier in my life. Israel is a beautiful country with beautiful people. What an experience that will definitely connect you deeper to God and your own roots of faith. Super excited for you!