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3 Days in Israel in March 2018

Hello Friends:
I will be staying Israel for 3 days on Friday March 9, Saturday March 10, and Sunday March 11, 2018. It is the end of a business trip, so I will start from Haifa, and can travel anywhere overnight from there. I am wondering if anyone has suggestions on how to best spend 3 days in Israel to see some of the highlights of this historic and breathtaking area? Travel by bus or short-hops by plane are fine.
Thank-you!
-Cynthia.

Posted by
122 posts

Hi. I loved Israel (and it's 100% different from what you see or read from the news). Assuming you have already seen the sites in Haifa (Haifa is a great city), you could for sure go to Tel Aviv as by bus it's only slightly over an hour. Jerusalem can be done too but it's around 2 hours each way. Is it set in stone for you to sleep in Haifa? If not I would do something like 1 night in Tel Aviv and 2 nights in Jerusalem.

Posted by
4 posts

Hi Boba! Thank-you for your reply. Haifa is my starting point, I can leave and stay elsewhere, I do not have to return to Haifa. My travel will be by bus (or short hop plane). Thank-you! -Cynthia

Posted by
122 posts

When you are leaving Haifa would this be after you have already seen the sites?

Sounds like a great trip :) If you are into snorkeling or diving I would suggest Eilat too but since you don't have much time, I would skip that.

Posted by
11232 posts

The two logical options are Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. From Haifa to Tel Aviv, there are frequent and easy trains. From Haifa to Jerusalem, there is frequent bus service.

Since it's only an hour from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by VERY frequent bus service (every 15 minutes all day, except Shabbat) and since the airport is between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and can be reached equally easily from either, you could even split your time between the two, but on a short trip I'd stick to one or the other. Planes take longer than land transportation, except if you're going from Haifa to Eilat.

Highlights of Jerusalem (for me) are the Old City, the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum), and Machne Yahuda market, as well as its history as a center for three major religions. Highlights of Tel Aviv (for me) are the Bauhaus architecture (take a walking tour), the beach-side promenade (and I'm not a beach person), the Museum of the Diaspora, Rothschild Boulevard (you'll think you're in Paris), the general high energy and cosmopolitan vibe of the city, as well as its role as the center of secular modern Israel. The two cities couldn't be more different, and are both highly worth seeing. Most would say a first trip should focus on Jerusalem, but it depends on what you want out of the trip.

Posted by
4 posts

Hello Boba & Harold!
Thank-you both for your thoughtful replies. Boba, yes I will try to see the sights in Haifa by Friday March 9, but if you have any to recommend I see, please advise! I will spend the week working in Haifa, so I hope to see sights in the evening. However, I am wondering about Shabbat--- does everything close on Saturday? -meaning no tours run, no markets are open, etc? ---Perhaps I better off taking a bus to the Dead Sea since Tel Aviv & Jerusalem venues will be closed until Saturday evening? Please advise. With much thanks, -Cynthia

Posted by
9187 posts

Much of Israel shuts down from Friday night to Saturday night. This includes pubic transportation, most stores and most restaurants. Tours will operate as will the bus from Haifa to Jerusalem. The Dead Sea and Masada will be open .

Personally, I would suggest going to Jerusalem. So much to see and experience.

Posted by
14225 posts

Hi Cynthia. Since you'll be in Haifa and have at least a little opportunity to see its sights, you should head somewhere else for the rest of your time. So I'll start with transportation. Trains and most buses stop running on Friday afternoon, 2-3 hours before sunset at 5.45 and resume 2-3 hours after sunset on Saturday. Taxis are readily available. For travel to other cities, you can also take a "sherut", a shared taxi, from a central point in one city to a central point in another city. That is a much less expensive option than a taxi. You can take the #940 bus from Haifa to Jerusalem. The ride takes 2 hours, and there are buses about once an hour from early morning till 8.30 pm. So you could get to Jerusalem as early as Thursday night. Or you could take the train from Haifa to Tel Aviv. The ride takes about 1 hour and there's at least one train an hour 24 hours a day (until Friday afternoon). Between TA and J-m, the bus is about a 1 hour ride (according to the schedule, but it's probably more if you hit rush hour traffic on Sunday). So you could go to TA for a day, then spend the next 2 days in J-m. Or go to J-m and end in TA. It's about 20 minutes faster to get to the airport from TA than from J-m by taxi and a lot cheaper - but that depends on your budget. There is a cheaper way to go to the airport from J-m, using a shared taxi but that can add as much as an hour to your travel time.

How much you can see depends on whether you need to spend Thursday night in Haifa and when your flight out is - Sunday night or Monday morning. With that info, I can give you more suggestions and advice.

This time of year, I'd probably want to spend all 3 days in Jerusalem - the beach is not a big draw, but you could go to TA on Saturday night and day trip to Caesarea by train & taxi, then visit the ancient port of Jaffa in the late afternoon/early evening. J-m has plenty to occupy you for 3 full days. The Old City alone can fill up a day or two. You can take a this day trip to the Dead Sea & Masada - I recommend it even though it's not guided tour because it's easy to see the places on your own - get the audio guide at Masada, Ein Gedi is a nature hike and the Dead Sea is bathing. It's all you need. If you decide to take a dip in the Dead Sea (water will be chilly but not icy), let me know and I'll give you some very important tips. There's plenty more to see and do in J-m.

If you don't want to share specifics on the forum, you can PM me.

Posted by
14225 posts

I should add more info on Shabbat. Many restaurants, especially in J-m, are closed and nearly all shops are closed everywhere. Some sights are closed, but many are open. The Old City of J-m is very lively, with nearly everything open except for the sights in the Jewish Quarter - which are not the most highly recommended sights in the city anyway.