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Visiting Israel (Tel Aviv & Jerusalem)

I just found a great price to get me to Israel.
So I jumped on it.

NOW - I need to figure out what to do there and what to see ...... Kinda crazy I know, but the price was to good to pass up.

I'm arriving in Tel Aviv next Tuesday and will depart the following Tuesday.

My initial plans are as follows.

Arrive in Tel Aviv airport
Take bus to Jerusalem
Stay a few day's
Take bus to Tel Aviv
Stay at least 1 night
Fly out.

As you can see my itinerary has a few holes in it.

Anyone do this trip in the past and still have your itinerary I can review.

What am I interested in???
- I'll be traveling alone
- I love photography and YES I will be bringing (and using) my camera equipment
- I'll be a tourist so absolutely everything is of interest (history, architecture, landscape, food, monastery, Wall, Free walking tours).
- I told my wife I think I can do this trip (including flight) for really cheap - so I'm not going to splurge on something UNLESS its a MUST SEE).

Thanks for the help, I know this is last minute --- But seriously - what is life without a surprise trip to Israel.

OH - I'm traveling on a USA Passport - incase that makes a difference.
OH Also, If renting a car is a good idea to visit other places, I'm good with driving.

Posted by
11292 posts

First, the busiest online Israel forum is at TripAdvisor. Start reading the posts there, and you'll learn almost everything you need to know: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g293977-i1733-Israel.html

Second, one of the frequent posters there, Douglas Duckett, has written his own travel guide to Israel, which he distributes free as a PDF. You can download a copy here: https://amateurtraveler.com/travel-guides/israel%20travel%20guide.pdf

From TLV airport to Jerusalem, it's easier to take the Nesher Sherut. This is a shared van service; it leaves as soon as it fill up (10 passengers). It then takes you to your exact address, so it's better than the bus which will require a connecting bus, tram, or taxi.

Do you have accommodations? If not, get these nailed down YESTERDAY - hotels in Israel, at all price ranges, fill up fast. And don't expect bargains - hotels in these two cities are expensive.

I stayed at the Hotel Maxim in Tel Aviv (fine) http://www.telavivmaxim.com/and the City Center in Jerusalem (basic and not "pretty" rooms, but worked OK) http://www.citycentervacation.com/. These are some of the less expensive hotels in these cities.

For the Maxim, I had a smaller room which was less expensive, but would have been perfectly fine even for two (I was solo). Note that with the City Center you get a kitchenette or kitchen, so you can save money that way. The website pictures are of renovated rooms; mine was definitely not renovated, but it was a few years ago, so maybe all the rooms now look like the one in the pictures.

That's all I have time to post now, but this should get you started.

Posted by
10344 posts

There are literally several hundred fascinating things to see in Jerusalem (95% in the Old City of course)--so your task is to prioritize these and then start at the top of your list. You'll
The sources Harold has pointed you to will give you the overall list, then prioritize. You'll be back to see the ones you didn't have time to see this time.
Jerusalem is a place where guided tours will make sense, unless you are quite knowledgeable already. This is so you have a better understanding of what you're seeing, which won't be obvious many times and there are not often enough interpretive signs in English.
Some travelers, including me, use Tel Aviv basically as an airport to fly in and out of. Yeah, I'm sure I'm missing something worthwhile in Tel Aviv, but you have to compare it to the world class sights you'll see in the Old City.
You're going to LOVE Jerusalem, if you are interested in Biblical or historical things: key sights of 3 of the Western religions.

Posted by
916 posts

Well, a lot of it depends on what angle you're looking for. Are you looking for a Christian Holy Land experience? A Jewish birthright experience? A secular approach more focused on history? If #1 or #2, I would suggest looking at the itineraries of tours that focus on the religious sites, e.g. https://www.americaisraeltours.com/christian-tours-israel/ for the Christian one and https://www.americaisraeltours.com/jewish-tours-israel/ for Jewish-focused trips.

I have not been to Israel yet but it's definitely on my to-do list!!

Posted by
10344 posts

fredandkell: Good point, glad you added that. On my trip, I was interested in all 3 religions' holy sites so Jerusalem was absolutely fascinating. But on the same trip I'd also gone, first, to the Galilee and spent a week there to experience the many places there associated with Jesus' ministry.
Recently a friend went to Israel with his Protestant church group and they spent a bit more time in the Galilee than in Jerusalem, but visited both locations as well as others between the Galilee and Jerusalem that were primarily Jewish or generally historical (Hellenistic, Roman, etc).

Posted by
15 posts

Definitely go beyond the airport in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is a unique city on the sea blending ancient history with 21st century business, education, culture and entertainment.

Things to do in a day in Tel Aviv:
- Go to the beach, walk on the soft sand. Watch the sun set over the Mediterranean if it's evening.
- Explore the ancient city of Jaffa on the souther border of Tel Aviv.
- Walk through the center of the city and stop into some of the many eclectic and excellent art galleries, shops and restaurants.

Note that most of the city of Jerusalem shuts down for Shabbat, from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday. There is no public transportation, almost no cars on the city streets, and you will be hard-pressed to find a restaurant open. So plan ahead. Tel Aviv is much more relaxed on Shabbat.

As with visiting anywhere, in my opinion, see the popular spots in Jerusalem, but your best memories will probably come from venturing off the beaten path.

Posted by
15066 posts

IMA Sorry I missed your post - I was in France. I hope you enjoyed my country and will come back to visit again.

Moss The OP wrote on March 21 that the trip would be "next Tuesday" - presumably he arrived a week ago and is now on his way home.