If in times past it was not always safe to travel to Israel, now is definitely the time to be there. Not only is it safe to travel around (no where will you see more security!), it is a country rich with historical significance and exciting things to see, from the ancient city of Jerusalem to the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv and the shores of the Dead Sea.
Read ABout Israel
WHEN TO go
High season in Israel is from July to August, and during major holidays like Passover, Rosh HaShanah and Sukkot. Traveling during those times will have you paying top dollar for hotels and competing with the crowds in muggy and hot weather. The better time to visit Israel is during October, November, and March to June. This is the shoulder season in Israel. The weather is nice and mild and there are less tourists overall. Just keep in mind the holidays mentioned above that are best to avoid.
WHERE TO GO
Where to stay
Use any of the links below to read reviews, check prices or book a stay at the following hotels. They are affiliate links, which help us continue to provide free content on the site.
In Jerusalem, you may want to stay right in the Old City to get the feel for what it’s like in such a holy and ancient place, but many of the really great, modern hotels lie just outside the King David gate.
- Mamilla Hotel: Trip Advisor | Expedia
- David Citadel Hotel: Trip Advisor | Expedia
- SPLURGE: Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem: Trip Advisor | Expedia
One of the best places to stay in Tel Aviv is along the waterfront, so you can soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful beach. One of the best ways to experience Tel Aviv is by bike, which you can easily rent along the waterfront.
- Royal Beach Tel Aviv: Trip Advisor | Expedia
- David Intercontinental Tel Aviv: Trip Advisor | Expedia
Dead Sea: Herod’s Hotel Dead Sea: Trip Advisor
Nahariya: Sea Life Hotel: Trip Advisor
What to Eat
There are many culinary delights to experience in Israel. To fully experience the culture through food, you would need to spend quite a bit of time tasting different regional foods and talking to locals about the influences that have made an impact in the food, throughout the ages. In Israel, nothing is unaffected by the fact that the inhabitants of Israel have different political, geographical, and religious identities. This no doubt has an affect on the food.
A good way to start to understand the food culture of Israel is to go on a food tour. In Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, you can use the BiteMojo app to go on a self-guided walking food tour, where you’ll come in contact with the shop owners and have a chance to interact with the locals as you walk from place to place. In Haifa you can take a more structured private walking tour of the city and try many local and regional dishes.
Some popular foods to try in Israel are:
- Hummus – this popular dip is smoothly ground chickpeas mixed with tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon and salt, plus a few other proprietary ingredients. It is eaten with pita and sides of vegetables and pickles. You’ll find it everywhere.
- Falafel – Falafel is a deep fried ball made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans. You can eat them alone, or put them into a pita with some salad and tahini sauce.
- Tabbouleh – A salad traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
- Shakshouka – this is an egg dish – the eggs are poached in a tomato, pepper, onion sauce. If you eat breakfast at the hotel, you’ll definitely see this dish on the buffet.
- Za’atar – this is a Middle Eastern herb that grows in the spring in Israel. It is often turned into a dried spice that includes sesame seeds, dried sumac, salt and other spices. It is used on and in many dishes.
What to drink
There are many wineries throughout Israel, both large companies and small boutique makers, some of which you can visit as a tourist. You can join a tour out of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, or just drive around the northern part of Israel to the wineries yourself. They are making all types of wines and are very successful at their craft.
Craft beer is beginning to take off in Israel, as well. You’ll find a handful of brewers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, plus surrounding cities, who are beginning to experience with making their own beers. There are craft beer bars where you can sit and taste some of the local beers, or take a few bottles with you to try at your hotel.
A popular liquor in Israel is Arak, an anise-flavored distilled liquor. You can find it on its own as a shot, or mixed into cocktails. Definitely give it a try if you have a chance.