There's no other experience in Israel like witnessing the sunrise from the top of Masada, an ancient fortification with breathtaking views of the Dead Sea. During my last day in Israel, I climbed the 450m hill while the sun was rising to observe one of the most impressive spectacles of nature that I've ever seen.
Not far from Masada I also visited the Ein Gedi Natural Reserve, an oasis in the Judean Desert and one of Israel's main hiking spots with stunning waterfalls and landscapes, ending the day with one of my bucket list things to do in Israel: floating and getting covered in mud in the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.
Hebron, located in the West Bank, is the second holiest city of Judaism as well as one of the four holy cities of Islam. Split since 1997 in two sectors, one controlled by the Palestinian Authority and the other one by Israel, Hebron is one of the most troubled areas of the Middle East.
During my visit, I got the chance to visit both sides of the city with a local guide that would tell me their own view of the conflict: a Jewish settler on the Israeli side, and a local Palestinian from the other sector of the city. Find out what it is like to live in the most divided city of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict!
Temple Mount, with the imposing Al-Aqsa Mosque and the striking Dome of the Rock, is one of the most sacred and disputed areas of Jerusalem. During my fourth day in the Holy City, I queued up during its limited opening hours to ensure that I could access this unique place.
Its location was perfect to combine my visit with the nearby biblical sites of the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives, where some of the most important events of the New Testament took place; as well as the City of David, the archaeological site where the city of Jerusalem originated over 3000 years ago!
The Via Dolorosa (Latin for "Way of Sorrow") is a street in the Old City of Jerusalem believed to be the path walked by Jesus on his way to the cross. Today, it is one of the most popular places of Christian pilgrimage in Israel, where you can follow the nine Stations of the Cross before reaching the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the remaining five stations are located.
Locating some of these stations in the winding streets of Jerusalem is not always an easy task, so find out how to follow this fascinating path through some of the most important events of the New Testament!
The land of Israel has one of the most extensive and complex histories of today’s modern world. From the birth and growth of the 3 main monotheistic religions to the recent Arab-Israeli conflict, a visit to Jerusalem is the perfect occasion to learn about Israel’s ancient and recent past.
During my second day in the Holy City, I visited the Tower of David, a museum that covers over 4,000 years of history in Jerusalem, as well as Mt. Zion, burial place of King David and the site where the Last Supper took place. Keep reading to discover Israel’s fascinating past!
A holy city for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, no other city in the world means so much to so many people. With over 4000 years of history, Jerusalem has not only witnessed some of the main events that have shaped the course of humankind, but it also keeps some of the most sacred sites on earth for all the 3 main monotheistic religions.
During my first day in the Golden City, I explored the narrow twisted streets of its Old Town to discover all four quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian. During my visit, I would visit the Western Wall, a sacred site for the Jews; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where it is believed that Jesus was crucified, anointed and buried; as well as the souks and covered markets of the Muslim quarter. But is Jerusalem really as special as they say?
The north of Israel is a region with a very high religious, historic and natural significance. During my stay in Nazareth, I spent one day visiting the main sites around the Sea of Galilee, including Capernaum, an ancient fishing village where Jesus preached; the Mount of Beatitudes, the biblical site of Jesus' sermon on the mount; the Banyas Natural Reserve with its beautiful waterfalls; as well as Mount Bental in the disputed region of the Golan Heights, overlooking the Syrian border and the ceasefire line created after the region was annexed by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. Discover what it was like to talk about the conflict in the zone with a UN peacekeeper!
On the north coast of Israel and approaching the Lebanese border hide two of the most picturesque sights of the Middle East: the city of Haifa with its Bahá'í Gardens, a holy site for the Bahá'í Faith; and the city of Acre, a settlement continuously inhabited since the Phoenician period and famous for the incredible remains of the Crusader town, preserved almost intact since the 13th century. Check out how to combine a visit to both cities in a single day!
Everybody has heard of Nazareth before. Famous for being the hometown of Jesus, this Arab city located in the northern district of Israel has nothing to do with the small provincial town described in the scriptures. Today, Nazareth is bustling with tourists and pilgrims travelling from the seven corners of the world to visit its main attraction: the Church of the Annunciation. During my trip to the Holy Land, I spent a full day exploring the capital of the Galilee. Check out what I found during my visit!
Jaffa is an ancient port city that belongs to the Te Aviv-Yafo region and from where modern Tel Aviv has now grown. Inhabited by an Arab majority, this quiet, charming city contrasts with the skyscrapers and hectic lifestyle of Tel Aviv. With thousands of years of history that date back to the Old Testament, you can't miss a visit to Jaffa during your trip to Israel!
As the saying goes: 'while Jerusalem prays, Tel Aviv plays'. And Tel Aviv is certainly an exception in the Middle East: with one of the best nightlife in the world, a great tolerance no matter what is your style or sexual preference, and an incredible Mediterranean beach, this city in constant movement is a place like no other. Check out what this incredible destination has to offer!