Just a hop, skip and a day trip from Jerusalem
Some of Israel's finest tourist attractions are easily accessible from the Holy City. Whether it's history, nature or luxury you're seeking, GoJerusalem.com has some tips.
Year in and year out, scores of tourists visiting Israel from overseas choose Jerusalem as their base of local operations. The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies recently released some new statistics which indicate that the Holy City outranks the other two top Israeli hotel booking destinations, Eilat and Tel Aviv, by around 20% in recent years.
But this is hardly a major surprise. After all, Jerusalem is a polyglot city boasting top-notch museums, cultural institutions and restaurants — as well as holy and historical sites stretching back more than 3,000 years. And for those seeking to explore the wealth of everything else Israel has to offer, Jerusalem's central location means that the city is the perfect hub for day trips.
From here, the rest of the country is easily accessible by hired car, public transportation or package-deal day excursions with guides. The capital is less than an hour from the Dead Sea and its delights, the natural treasures of the Judean Hills, or the richly historical cities of Bethlehem and Jericho. Jerusalem is the central city closest to the Negev region, and all points on the Mediterranean coast and the Galilee are within three hours from the Holy City. Building holistic Israel travel experiences based on hiking, wine-tasting, archaeology, luxury and/or history is easy from here.
The Dead Sea region, the lowest spot on the planet, offers unique health benefits both in and out of the water. The salts from the sea and mineral-rich mud alongside have spawned an entire pocket of the cosmetics industry.
Travel through the dramatic vistas of the Judean Desert to reach the Dead Sea, and you'll find before you a plethora of nature, history and luxury. You can take in the waterfalls at the Ein Gedi nature reserve, float in the salty waters of the sea itself, tour the ancient Herodian fortress of Masada, see the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, explore the dunes from atop a jeep or camel, and be pampered in the spas of Ein Boqeq or Kibbutz Ein Gedi.
At GoJerusalem.com, we offer a variety of day-long tour excursion packages, with options including Masada, a swim in the Dead Sea and a spa visit, or an alternate package which skips the fortress. It's also possible to hire a private car tour, which allows for an even more extensive and customizable glimpse into the region.
Just a few kilometers to the south of the capital is the town of Bethlehem. Heralded as the birthplace of Jesus, the centuries-old churches clustered here are architectural marvels and popular tour destinations. Starting in Jerusalem, a tour of Bethlehem takes only a few hours. Or, for a full day of Christian history, it is possible to add on a tour of Jericho, the Old Testament-referenced city at the edge of the Judean Desert.
As the landscape unfurls from the city of Jerusalem, the high-altitude, generously sunned soil offers some of the best grape-growing conditions in the world. Boutique wineries have sprouted up almost within sight of the capital, and tasting-tours of vineyards in the region are highly recommended. If you just want to taste, the Winery, at the Mamilla hotel, can set you up with some of the finest local vintages. If you prefer just to take in the beautiful sights and hike the hills, you can arrange to go by bus. Fully customizable private tours of the area can also be efficient ways to visit several destinations within one day.
Less than an hour’s drive from Jerusalem brings us to the hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv, with beaches, Bauhaus architecture, luxury shopping, vibrant nightlife and museums abound. A not-to-be-missed destination is Beit Hatefusoth — The Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, documenting the rich variety of Jewish communities from around the world. For a good overview of the city's many sights, book a bus tour; audio guides in many languages ensure that you don’t miss a morsel of Tel Aviv trivia.
A fun way to experience Tel Aviv’s flat coastal plain is by bike. EcoBike’s “Bike and Beer” tour wends its way through the streets of the city, offering history and refreshment (beerless and/or electricity-propelled bicycle versions of the tour are also available).
From Jerusalem, it's also possible to take advantage of Israel’s small size and travel northbound, up the Mediterranean coast just for the day. Whether you prefer Crusader temples, Second Temple-era ruins, or nature’s wonders, you can fit one or more of them — plus Haifa’s breathtaking scenery — in a day trip. Go from the Roman-era port of Caesarea, making stops along the way to the grottoes of Rosh HaNikra. Or choose an Akko-centered package deal of admission to historical attractions.
GoJerusalem.com draws upon its connections with tour operators to offer you an unprecedented experience at an unbeatable price. We work with only the best, most proven tour operators, and offer a wider variety of tours and attraction tickets available for online booking than any other site. Many of these tours include hotel pickup and drop-off, and all can be booked with instant confirmation.
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