My first trip to Israel...

Discussion in 'Middle East' started by joanek, Feb 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. joanek
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    joanek Silver Member

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    It looks like I'm finally going to visit Israel. I've got an appointment in Ireland this September, and was planning on burning some miles for the trip. And I decided if I'm going to use miles, I might as well make another stop or two. So (at this moment), it's Israel---I've got 9 or 10 days. All suggestions welcome. I'll probably arrive on a Sunday and leave on Wednesday, a week later.
     
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  2. yonajon
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    yonajon Active Member

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    Wow, where to start! With 10 days, you can really accomplish a lot. Highlights would be: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Dead Sea. I love the Golan Heights as well. In Tel Aviv, the markets, the Yemenite Quarters, the restaurants, and the bars are all great. Have a great time and if you need more specific info - PM me.
     
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  3. yosithezet
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    yosithezet Silver Member

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    There is a ton to do in Israel for as many days as you want.

    1. Jerusalem Old City for a day
    2. Museums: Jerusalem: Holocaust Museum, Israel Museum, Bible Lands, Museum, Holyland Second Temple Model
    3. Museums: Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Disapora Museum, Irgun Museum
    4. Jerusalem Mea Shearim neighborhood, Mt of Olives
    5. Tel Aviv: Neve Zedek, Jaffa, Beach
    6. Dead Sea & Massada (up for hiking in the dark to watch the sun rise over the mountains of Jordan?)
    7. The Ramon craters
    8. Eilat - Red Sea... not a fan personally...
    9. Hop over to Jordan for a day trip in Petra from Eilat
    10. Caesara
    11. Safed
    12. Nimrod's Castle
    13. Tiberias
    14. Tons of nature
    15. Stuff in the West Bank like Hebron and Bethlehem if you want.
     
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  4. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    You'd also need to consider logistics. Are you willing to get a car and drive around? That would make touring the Galilee and Golan much more interesting/convenient for example.

    Are you traveling alone or are there 2+ of you? What about budget concerns if any? The range of accommodations in Israel is great, ditto the price range. Hotels? B & Bs? Kibbutz hotels?

    Special interests? Ancient history, cultural tourism? Photography? Or hang out at the beach?

    More details will help.
     
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  5. joanek
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    joanek Silver Member

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    Thanks all for your advice! Yes, I'm planning on renting a car and driving. As of this moment, I'm alone---but that may change. I'm a good traveler, I'm interested in everything----food, history, photography. Maybe some beach or spa time...but it's not a deal breaker.
    Specific questions will follow as I do a bit more studying.
     
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  6. Emos-closet
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    Emos-closet Silver Member

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    I will be in Israel in three weeks. I have all my hotels booked but what a challenge that was! The reviews on most places are dissappointing....saying the standard and quality of most hotels are below par. I did not want to shell out $500 a night for a 4 star hotel so decided to cash in points at Crown Plaza in Tel Aviv City center location. Also staying a few days at boutique style Brown Hotel . In Jerusalem I am shacking up at the Lutheran Church Hotel which is inexpensive but has atmosphere.

    Except for three nights in Jerusalem, we will be spending most of the time in Tel Aviv. Renting a car, we will take day trips to Haifa, Jaffa, Sea of Gallilee.

    Not going to even go down to Eiliat (not interested in diving or beach type resort) and will visit Dead Sea on the Jordan side ( Hotels look so much nicer and the area looks less developed in Jordan).

    Cheers and have a great trip!
     
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  7. yosithezet
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    yosithezet Silver Member

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    I've heard the Kempinski on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea is very nice with a great spa. But I would say that any visit without a visit to Masada is a missed opportunity unless you've been before. I don't know that they have anything similar on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.
     
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  8. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    Tzfat (Safed) for some Jewish mystical history and experiences
    Rosh Hanikra on the northern coast and the grottos there
    If you like hiking check out Ein Ovdat in the Negev
    Latrun tank museum

    If you'd like a recommendation for a nice boutique hotel in Tel Aviv PM me.
     
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  9. joanek
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    joanek Silver Member

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    Masada is, of course, on my list. But I don't think there's time to include Jordan on this trip.

    Have a great trip, and please report back!
     
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  10. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    If you are going to Safed feel free to PM a few days in advance if you would like to visit a kibbutz as well. Mine is only 20 kilometers from the city.
     
  11. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Is that offer open to anybody else, even if their physiological composition is not like that of the OP? I am planning a trip later this year and Mrs. jb has never visited a kibbutz.
     
  12. joanek
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    joanek Silver Member

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    Thanks---you may hear from me!
     
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  13. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    Of course Mrs. jb is welcome!

    Oh...err...you mean that you will be coming with her. Well, err, uh, y'see...

    (Just kidding, you would be very welcome. All I ask is a couple of days notice and if I don't have plans to get into an aluminum tube and fly somewhere would be very happy to show you around.)
     
  14. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    As soon as you deign to visit my fair city I will be pleased to reciprocate. Looong aluminum trip, but we are worth it. Thanks for your generosity.[​IMG]
     
  15. yosithezet
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    yosithezet Silver Member

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    Reciprocal trip in your fair city? If that ain't letting the cat loose in the crystal store I don't know what is.

    (Too many years in Israel has really killed my idioms)
     
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  16. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    nice list yosithezet! We had a short 4 days in Jerusalem with one day (Christmas Day) devoted to Dead Sea, Masada & Bethlehem, the latter beign PACKED with Filipinos. We'd like to get back and see other parts of Israel on our next trip.
     
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  17. kupman

    kupman Silver Member

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    I think you wouldn't need a car in Jerusalem - get there from the airport by taxi and rent a car just before leaving Jerusalem. If you take a hotel near the old city (King David st. area) you can walk from there or use taxis to the western side of town. you may find the chats with the cab drivers quite interesting (avoid politics though). I highly recommend hiring a guide to show you around the old city. The guide can also tell you where you can find the best hummus in the old city market (the smallest shop with the longest queue). a dinner on the terrace of King David Hotel can be a pricey but a very pleasant experience (or you can just have coffee/tea if budget is an issue)
    If you want to save some money on hotel in Jerusalem you might want to try Bet Shmuel hostel - it is just across the road from the old city and if you'll get a room facing the north, you would get the full Jerusalem experience.

    From Jerusalem the best would be to drive to the dead sea. Take a day spa in one of the hotels, or just get down to the beach. The water has a high salt concentration so it feels a bit oily. It doesn't matter if you choose a hotel spa or the beach - it is absolutely fantastic (and some say addictive). You will leave there feeling 8.5 years younger.

    Drive to Massada for a few hours tour, either for sunrise or normal hours, and continue to Tel Aviv. 4-5 hours drive the first 2 are in the desert. In Tel Aviv take a hotel near the beach. The beach is fantastic but crowded on weekends Tel Aviv is fun. During the day visit Jaffa or the museums, take a guided tour around town or other touristic stuff. In the afternoons stroll along Dizengof St. or Rotchild St. For dinner sit in one of the cafes facing the street and enjoy the excellent food. If you are interested in theatre - some plays have English subitles. The movies are not dubbed, so if you are into cinema - you can enjoy it as well. Or you can just get into one of the many bars and try some of the local beers (or the better option is to stick to the European brands).

    Drive to Haifa. If you are a history buff you might want to visit Ceasaria on your way from Tel Aviv to Haifa. The site is super interesting and is worth the 2-3 hours visit.
    Haifa is worth a day - The Bahai temple, the German colony, Carmel. You can take a day tour to Akko - a mostly Arab city north to Haifa with an interesting old city and ancient port. You might want to try any of the fish restaurants in the old city or just try a falafel or some of the Arab sweets (try not to get there during the Ramadan).

    From Haifa the drive to Nazareth is fairly short. If you want you can stop for a visit at Megiddo, known better for its Greek name - Armageddon. For now it is still an archeological site. In Nazareth after visiting the church and the market you might want to try the famous sweets. I think you can buy them at Daud Sweets near the main square, but you should ask someone local when you're there.
    From here - if you have time, you can drive to Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee, Rosh Pina, Safed, the Golan Heights and more, If you don't have time, you should drive back to Tel Aviv for a last day before leaving.

    The idea on visiting a kibbutz is a very good one. The idea of a side trip to Petra in Jordan is excellent (but would cost you two days of extra driving - one to Eilat and one back).

    enjoy your trip. Sorry for the long post
     
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  18. yosithezet
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    yosithezet Silver Member

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    Excellent post! Why apologize?

    Just one point, you can always fly to Eilat.
     
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  19. kupman

    kupman Silver Member

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    Thanks Yosithezet. :)
     
  20. joanek
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    joanek Silver Member

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    Long? Not at all---full of wonderful ideas. Thanks very much.
     
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  21. jwsky
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    jwsky Silver Member

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    Would anyone like to renew this thread?
    I am thinking about taking this trip on my own, as my wife can not make it this time. So, I am interested in a budget trip with short tours, since going alone in a car seems lonely and expensive. Any ideas?
     
  22. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    Try the ministry of tourism. I think they may offer some packages. If not I will try to remember to fid out anything else for individual travelers. How long would you be going for?
     
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  23. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    Look at 3 star hotels in Tel Aviv. Then, take public transportation in the city and also to Haifa, Acco, and, of course, Jerusalem.
     
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  24. kupman

    kupman Silver Member

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    If it was me going there alone on a budget and indepently - I would have focused on the big cities - Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. The best way to travel between these cities would be public transportation (not on a Shabath or holidays though) and in the cities and their surroundings you can take short tours - I am sure your hotel will be happy to assist with that.
    From Jerusalem I would take a two day trip to the Dead Sea and Masada. and if time permits a short trip to Latrun and Mini Israel.
    From Haifa (or Jerusalem, as the options are presumably better) I would take a day tour to Akko and a 2-3 day tour to the Galilee (Nazareth and the sea of Galilee). You might find a short trip to a druze village near Haifa (Daliat el-Karmel) interesting as well (if you go there - go at lunch time)
    If you wish to book the hotels in advance you might want to book the overnight trips at the same time because their schedule might be irregular.
    Here are a few links that you might find useful (I don't have experience with any of these personally)

    http://www.city-discovery.com/jerusalem/
    http://www.visit-tlv.com/?CategoryID=191&ArticleID=479&Page=1
    I am sure there are more options out there somewhere along Google Blvd.

    Drink lots of water and enjoy your trip
     
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