Israel celebrated 70 years of independence in 2018 - in what is a truly ancient land. The world’s only Jewish and democratic state is home to sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. While these holy places are truly unique attractions, there is more to Israel than religious heritage and complex politics. Jerusalem is the official capital and holy city to three world religions, previously mentioned, while Tel Aviv brims with beaches and bustles with urban vitality. Then there’s the Dead Sea and Masada, the stark, stunning Negev, and fertile Galilee. The number of museums and cultural institutions per relative area is larger in Israel than anywhere in the world.
Home to more than 30 JCI accredited facilities, medical tourists visit Israel for a variety of procedures, but particularly dental and tertiary care. Scoliosis Treatment procedures are also a popular choice.
Popular Parts of Israel
Israel is an alluring destination for those who want to appreciate its astonishing religious sites, stunning natural beauty, and remarkable historic relics.
Tel Aviv is the economic and technological center of Israel, with a population of over 400,000; it is the most populous city in the country. Located on the Mediterranean coastline, the city offers sunny beaches for any sun-chaser. The city has impressive architecture and has a modern cosmopolitan landscape. Tel Aviv Museum of Art houses works by international artists. In addition, it has a nonstop nightlife with a huge party option to fit every taste.
Haifa is the country’s third-largest city and it is one of Israel’s high-technology centers as well as a busy working port. The city may have an industrious image, but with a number of museums, gardens, and shrines, it is an amazing place to travel to. The Baha’i Gardens are possibly the most popular attraction as it is the final resting place of the prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. Tourists can have a bird’s eye view from the platform at the top or take a free Panorama Tour.
Eilat is located at the southernmost tip of Israel and is the only Israeli city on the Red Sea. Families come to the city to have a good time on the beach and party-goers come for its all-night parties. The turquoise waters invite visitors to snorkel, scuba dive, or swim. It is recommended to stay in an Oasis at night to get a chance to stargaze under a clear desert night sky. During the day, visit the Eilat Mountains to have a beautiful view of an ancient desert.
Tsfat or Safed is a quaint mountain-top city surrounded by pine forests. Located at an elevation of 900 meters, the city enjoys warm summers and cold winters. It is a popular summer holiday resort frequented by Israelis and foreign visitors. Here, tourists will find synagogues, art galleries, and unique crumbling stone houses.
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and three major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) considered it as a holy city. Even though it has been destroyed and rebuilt over thousands of year, the city manages to endure its spiritual magnetism. It is overflowing with holy sites, diversity, and layers of history.
Weather and Climate in Israel
Israel is a year-round destination but the temperatures in the city vary widely. The coastal areas such as Tel Aviv and Haifa experiences a typical Mediterranean climate where the winters are rainy and the summers are hot. The area around Northern Negev has a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cool winters. The Southern Negev has a desert climate with extremely hot summers and mild winters. On the other hand, mountainous regions have pleasant summer and cold winters with a little snowfall.
Generally, the winter months from November to March are the coldest months in the country. When mountainous areas such as Jerusalem receives snowfall, the coastal areas experience heavy rainfall. Summer starts in June and ends in August and it is the hottest season in every part of the country, especially in the desert area where the heat can be overbearing. The seasons of spring and autumn have the best weather, with pleasant temperatures and fewer rainy days.
Getting Around in Israel
Ben Gurion Airport is the main gateway to Israel and it is the busiest airport in the country located 20 kilometers southeast of Tel Aviv and 45 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem. The airport is ranked among the five best airports in the Middle East. It serves both domestic and international flights to and from numerous major cities around the world. There is two main passenger terminal at this airport. Terminal 1 serves domestic flights and international budget airlines such as EasyJet and Vueling, while Terminal 3 serves international flights.
Since the distance between one city to another is relatively short, getting around Israel is easy. The quickest and most convenient way is by domestic flights. The tickets are not very expensive and deals are often available online. Sometimes a one-way ticket can cost as little as 89 NIS (25 USD). Buses are also convenient but can be slow during traffic jams. Buses connecting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa depart very frequently. A one-way ticket from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is around 25 NIS (7 USD). Israel’s main bus company is the Egged Bus Company. Trains are also available and very comfortable. They are a lot faster than the bus but the cost can be higher.
Taxis are widely available and can be hailed directly from the streets. Although most taxis are metered, you can agree on a fixed rate and be aware that some drivers are known to overcharge tourists, so you should insist on using the meter and make sure that it is reset to the base fare after you get in. The base fare is normally around 12.30 NIS (3.5 USD). There is also a shared taxi van known as Sherut. It is a good option to travel between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Tourist Visas in Israel
All visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months after the date of departure from Israel. Citizens of 99 countries including the European Union, Canada, Singapore, Russia, and the United States do not require a visa to enter the country for up to 3 months. Nationals not listed on the visa exemption agreement need to obtain a visa and should contact their nearest embassy of Israel. Citizens of 25 countries require a confirmation from the Israeli government before a tourist visa is issued.
Local Currency: The currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS) and 1 USD will get you 3.28 NIS.
Money & Payments: ATMs that accept international cards are widespread (mostly Visa and MasterCard), except at border crossings with Egypt and Jordan. Credit cards are widely accepted and tipping is common but normally not expected.
Local Language: The official language is Hebrew and Arabic has a special status under Israeli law as a semi-official language. Russian is spoken by around 20% of the population. Most of the population can speak English fairly well as it is required in schools and universities.
Local Culture and Religion: More than 70% of the population follows Judaism. There are small groups of Muslim, Christian, and Druze. Muslim is the largest minority group in the country.
Public Holidays: The country celebrates major national holidays as well as Jewish holidays such as Independence Day, Jerusalem Day, and Hanukkah.