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What is the best guide book for Israel?

I have come to depend on Rick Steves guide books when I travel to Europe. He doesn't have one for Israel and I find myself at a loss. His books have such practical information and travel advice. I'd really appreciate your help.

I have checked out a few guides from my library and so far, Fodor's Essential Israel is the best I can find to date. Are there any Israel guide books out there that provide at least a little of what the RS books do? Thanks.

Posted by
2858 posts

In Jun Lonely Planet has a 2nd edition coming out for Pocket Jerusalem & Tel Aviv that contains a chapter on the Dead Sea. Rick Steves uses Lonely Planet and like Rick Steves guidebooks, you know when the next edition will be available.

Posted by
1301 posts

The Lonely Planet book is comprehensive and I relied solely on it while in Israel in 2019. It covered everything and then some.

Posted by
20 posts

I will be in Israel for a month, any recommendation on where to centrally base to check out the place slowly and a sample itienerary would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
15548 posts

I hope this link works A Personal Travel Guide

This is a an ongoing "work in process" written by a midwesterner who started writing this "guide" a number of years ago. He's been to Israel on his own as a tourist many times and updates the booklet after every visit. In many ways it's a backdoor look into the country that Douglas has traveled extensively and in depth. Over the years he's made many close friends here and probably knows as much as most tour guides, but his approach is that of an American tourist and he writes mainly for the first-time visitor somewhat like Rick's books, that is, full of practical advice and insights.

His Guide will help you plan a trip and have a good idea of what you'll find when you get here. But it's NOT a typical travel guide, it doesn't detail sights, there are no walking tours and while he lists his favorite places to sleep and eat, it's not meant to be at all comprehensive. I think it's probably what you're looking for - a supplement to the standard guide books.

Israel is just beginning to reopen to tourists. Many sights have been open for most of the last two years as locals visit them often - like museums and national parks (where most of the archaeological sights are). They all have websites and if one doesn't offer English, google translate works pretty well. Do check times and prices and any Covid restrictions close to your travel dates as they can change. All the sights I've been to have signage and explanations in English. The tourist sights that have been closed since the onset of Covid are mostly churches and other Christian holy sights because there were no visitors. Hopefully they will reopen soon. The churches that also serve the community have of course remained open - like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (and many others) in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Posted by
20 posts

thank you Chani, I was able to get in touch with Doug as I came across his info on TripAdvisor forum. he was very kind and responded right away to my request and send me his guide.

Posted by
6742 posts

I love Bradt guides so much, I started buying them just to read them, even if I have no intention of going anytime soon...or ever.
I do not have the Israel one, but it looks reasonably recent - 2018 (some Bradt guidebooks aren't updated very often unfortunately) - so I would go for it.

Posted by
1 posts

Fodor's Essential Israel is really the best. I have been looking for such a guidebook for my dissertation on Israeli culture for a very long time and have not found anything. I turned to a special service for help and what do you think I found in the list of references?
Correctly! Fodor's Essential Israel.
So buy and use it.

Posted by
165 posts

I agree with Chani about Douglas Duckett's helpful PDF on Israel. May I also state that, IMHO, Israel is not that easy to travel to if you are a first timer, do not speak Hebrew, and aren't familiar with the culture. For example, now that I have experienced Shabbat this past November, I'd be better equipped on planning for it. Essentially, things closed down at 2:30 PM on Friday and stayed closed until 7:30 PM on Saturday. I stayed in a great area that had a coffee shop and McDonald's open. I noted the anxiety of locals at the pharmacy around 1:30 PM waiting in line. We walked to the Israel Museum on Saturday, and that was fine (took an hour), but Google maps was showing us walking off a cliff at one point. It was really showing that we should take the elevator, which was locked and not working because of Shabbat laws. Local ultra orthodox women refused to help us because they couldn't use a cell phone on Shabbat. We found our way eventually.

Locals and expert travelers might dismiss this and give us advice, but we WERE reasonably prepared. Just not for the intensity of Shabbat rules.