This fast-paced itinerary covers all the heavy-hitters in Israel, though it only allows you to scratch the surface of these diverse, fascinating sights.
Day 1: Tel Aviv
Head from Ben-Gurion Airport to a hotel close to the sea. Walk along the Tayelet seaside promenade and if it’s warm enough (if you visit any time outside the winter months, chances are it will be) go for a swim. In the evening, take in the lively mix of cafes and restaurant scene along Dizengoff Street or Rothschild Boulevard. For a quieter evening out try a restaurant in the posh Neve Tzedek neighborhood.
Day 2: Jaffa
Use your second day in the bustling Tel Aviv to explore the city’s ancient side in Jaffa. The Old City of Jaffa with its medieval streets, galleries, and eateries overlooking the sea is a must, but so is the flea market area behind the iconic Clock Tower. Tucked among the souvenir stalls and purveyors of everything from vintage maps to furniture are contemporary restaurants and shops featuring the wares of Israeli designers. In the afternoon, soak up Tel Aviv’s phenomenal Bauhaus architecture, either on your own or by taking a guided walking tour.
Day 3: Jerusalem
On day three, head for the hills: the Judean Hills, that is, which surround the Holy City of Jerusalem. The atmosphere of Jerusalem is completely different from that of Tel Aviv. It’s the meeting point of many faiths and there’s truly nothing else like it on earth. Most of the holy sites, including the Western Wall, are located in the Old City.
Day 4: Jerusalem
Use your fourth day to continue your exploration of Jerusalem. Visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s exhaustive, emotional national Holocaust memorial. Then journey back in time at the fantastic Israel Museum, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls and an array of impressive archaeological finds. By this point in your journey, you’ll begin to see how truly varied Israel is.
Day 5: The Dead Sea and Masada
For your next stop, put the concrete behind you and float away, literally at the Dead Sea. This geological wonder is close to Jerusalem but figuratively it’s a million miles away. The lowest point on earth never fails to amaze. You will get a sense of how human and natural history intertwine by visiting the ancient Jewish fortress of Masada. Take the cable car up for spectacular views of the desert and Dead Sea, and leave ample time to investigate the well-marked ruins on the summit.
Day 6: Sea of Galilee & Tiberias
From the stark landscapes of the Dead Sea head north to the Sea of Galilee—which is actually a freshwater lake that Israelis call the Kinneret. The region is one of beautiful green scenery and is rich in biblical associations. Consider an indulgent overnight at The Scots Hotel, the best hotel in Tiberias and one with amazing views over the Sea of Galilee.
Day 7: Caesarea
On the morning of your last full day in Israel, visit the ancient Roman ruins of seaside Caesarea, or if you’re short on time, the smaller ancient site of Apollonia which is closer to Tel Aviv. Either way you can be back in Tel Aviv by late afternoon with enough time for some cafe-hopping, shopping, or even a quick swim at the beach. If you have an extra day, consider an overnight visit to Akko after Tiberias prior to a final night in Tel Aviv before your flight.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.