Israel is a small but beautiful country filled with natural landscapes, wonderful beaches, and a fascinating history. With so many destinations, you may think planning a trip can be an overwhelming task. Don’t worry, though. We came up with this comprehensive travel guide to help you make the most of your visit to this wonderful country.
From Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, from deserts to beaches, we list down the main places to visit in Israel.
This city is the heart of the Holy Land. It’s where Jesus Christ died and came back to life, and where the Prophet Muhammad rose to heaven to receive the word of God. A visit to Jerusalem, for many believers, is a pilgrimage to one of the most sacred sites around the world. When you’re checking out this major Israeli destination, check out the following attractions:
1. Wailing Wall
Also known as the Western Wall, this tourist spot is the surviving retaining wall of the first temple of Jerusalem. People wailed in this wall to grieve the temple’s loss in AD 70. Today, it’s the holiest site for the Jewish people and a place of pilgrimage.
2. Via Dolorosa
Many Christian visitors see Via Dolorosa, also known as the Way of Sorrow, as a highlight of their visit to Jerusalem. The walk follows the route of Jesus as he carries his cross towards Mount Calvary. If you visit on a Friday, you may join the procession led by Italian Franciscan monks.
3. Temple Mount
Lauded by Muslims, Christians, and Jews, Temple Mount (or Haram Al-Sharif) is one of the holiest sanctuaries on Earth. This is where Abraham, the father of the three monotheistic faiths, offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. It’s also where the Prophet Muhammad rose to heaven during his early years of preaching Islam.
4. Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Many Christian pilgrims view this Israeli tourist spot as the holiest site in Jerusalem, as they identify the site as the place of Jesus’ crucifixion. Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, chose the site as the main location of the church during her tour of the Holy Land. When you enter the church, you’ll find quarters owned by different Christian denominations as well as various holy relics.
5. Tower of David
King Herod erected this ancient citadel to protect the palace he built around 24 BC. When you enter the Tower of David, you’ll find a museum, which relays the story of Jerusalem. You can also enjoy a Sound and Light show during the evenings.
6. Mount Zion
This small hill situated south of the Zion Gate is home to Muslim and Jewish shrines. It is where you’ll find the tomb of King David. If you go up the stairs from the courtyard of the tomb, you’ll come across the Last Supper Room, which served as both a mosque and a church throughout its long history. Apart from the tomb, you can visit other historic One of these is the Church of the Dormition where the Blessed Virgin Mary passed away. Another is the Church of St. Peter of Gallicantu, where Peter denied Jesus.
7. Mount of Olives
Religious pilgrim travelers will find this Israeli tourist attraction filled with churches. At the top of the mount, you’ll see the Church of the Ascension, which offers spectacular views across Jerusalem. Walking down the slope, you’ll find the Church of the Pater Noster, erected near the site where Jesus instructed his disciples. Walk further down and you’ll come across the Church of Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept for Jerusalem. Besides the churches, you’ll find other major attractions, such as the Tomb of the Virgin Mary and the Gardens of Gethsemane, where the temple guards of the Sanhedrin arrested Jesus Christ.
8. Israel Museum
Different sections of the museum feature sacred Jewish art, a collection of works by Israeli painters, and exhibits from the early days of settlement. The museum also has a Shrine of the Book building that displays the country’s portion of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
9. Monastery of the Cross
Legend says that the Prophet Lot lived on the site where the medieval monastery stood. Additionally, people believed that the trees planted by Lot had provided the wood for the cross carried by Jesus Christ.
10. Mount Herzl
You’ll find the remains of Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, on this site. This tourist attraction also features the Herzl Museum with a reconstruction of Herzl’s library and study.
11. Latrun Monastery
French Trappist Monks built the monastery in 1927. UK authorities had a reinforced police post during the British Mandate period. This post stood on the armistice line between Israel and Jordan. Today, living quarters and a large church sit on the monastery grounds.
12. Hill of Remembrance
Also known as Yad Vashem, the hill is home to the Hall of Remembrance, the first Holocaust commemoration site. The hall’s main building lists the names of Nazi death camps as well as an “eternal flame” to honor the memory of the dead. Opening off the main hall is a photo exhibition, children’s memorial, the names of the Holocaust victims, and works of art made by inmates from the concentration camps.
This city is Israel’s most modern metropolis. Many tourists visit Tel Aviv to soak up the sun, shop in a cutesy boutique, and enjoy delicious food at the city’s renowned restaurant and café scene. If you’re heading to Tel Aviv, drop by these destinations:
13. Yemenite Quarter
This tourist spot is one of the city’s most atmospheric neighborhoods. It’s full of alleyways lined by old-style architecture that withstood the gentrification of the area. If you’d like to enjoy an affordable meal, head to Carmel Market, a place that’s colorful, busy, and full of fresh produce.
14. Tel Aviv Beaches
Banana Beach, Frishman Beach, and Gordon Beach are just some of the popular sandy stretches that draw both tourists and locals. You’ll find excellent facilities, such as sun loungers, freshwater showers, and sunshades for rent.
15. Yitzhak Rabin Center
Named after former minister Yitzhak Rabin, this tourist spot is home to the Israel Museum. Visiting this center and museum lets you learn more about the history of Israel. You’ll also discover the life of Rabin from his early years right up to his assassination by Jewish terrorists.
16. Beit Hatefutsoth
This museum illustrates the culture and life of the Jewish people across the globe throughout history. It displays a wide range of exhibits, including models and film recordings, to record the world’s Jewish population through the centuries. It also features a Bob Dylan exhibit as well as exhibits devoted to the Ethiopian Jewish community.
17. Eretz Israel Museum
This attraction houses the Tell Qasile archaeological site, a planetarium, and pavilions with displays on folklore, ethnography, science, history of writing, glass, and ceramics.
18. Tel Aviv Museum of Art
This art museum contains works by Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Henry Moore, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, and the world’s biggest collection of artwork by Israeli artists. Its sophisticated architecture perfectly showcases and highlights its artworks.
19. Bialik Street
This street has three historical houses that will pique the interest of individuals who love culture and history. First is the Beit Ha’ir, which displays the history of Tel Aviv. Second is the Bialik House, which highlights the life and works of poet Chaim Nachman Bialik. Last is the Rubin Museum, which used to be the house of artist Reuven Rubin. The museum houses paintings and old photos of Tel Aviv.
20. Dizengoff Circle
This tourist attraction features a Fire and Water Fountain, a peculiar modern art designed by Israeli artist Yaacov Agam. It’s also home to the Habima Theater, the cultural center of Tel Aviv, and the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion of Contemporary Art.
21. Rothschild Boulevard
If you’re looking for a great place to stroll in the early evening, visit this central city street. Along the road, you’ll come across the Independence Hall, the former residence of the first mayor of Tel Aviv. You’ll also find the Haganah Museum, which documents the activities of the Haganah guerrilla force.
This seaside resort city has a golden sand beach that extends for more than 10 kilometers. Locals flock to this major attraction during sunny weekends to have a good time with friends and family. If you don’t like Tel Aviv’s big-city vibe and prefer a quieter alternative, Netanya is for you.
Considered as the undisputed holiday capital of Israel, Eilat offers visitors with a spectacular combination of a beautiful bay and a mountainous desert landscape. It’s also home to dozens of shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, clubs, and bars. When you’re stopping by this city, here are some of the attractions you can check out:
23. Coral Beach Underwater Observatory
Science and aquarium lovers will love this tourist spot, as it includes 40 fish tanks, a shark pool, a stingray and sea turtle pool, a nature museum, and underwater observatories. There’s even a darkroom designed specifically for the flashlight fish, a bioluminescent animal that has glowing bacteria under their eyes.
24. Mount Zefahot Trail
This circular hiking trail is an opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views over Eilat, the Sinai Peninsula, and the town of Aqaba. If you plan to hike this trail, it’s best to do so early in the morning to avoid the day’s scorching heat.
25. King’s City Theme Park
If your kids are getting bored of the sand and sun, visit this theme park with a unique Holy Land twist. The rides have a historical theme.
26. Ice Space
This wacky tourist attraction throws you from the desert into the freezing Arctic. As you check out the ice sculptures on display, you’ll find that the temperature inside is at a constant -7°C. This blissfully cold treat may be just what you need after exploring the desert.
27. Dolphin Reef
This tourist spot is the place to go if you feel like snorkeling with dolphins. You can interact with a group of bottlenose dolphins that live just offshore by signing up for a tour. Alternatively, you can watch the dolphins from dry land through one of the observation decks.
28. Red Canyon
Nature lovers and hikers who want a taste of adventure but have no time to explore the desert scenery further may visit the Red Canyon. It has a well-marked trail that leads to the canyon’s red-tinged rock.
29. Hai-Bar Nature Reserve
This expansive 10,000-acre park is home to various wildlife, including ostriches, hyenas, antelopes, and other creatures of the desert. The goal of this reserve is to populate the area with animals that lived here since ancient times.
This location is popular with pilgrim travelers, as Jesus Christ carried out much of his ministry work in this area. It’s also popular with tourists who want to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea. When going to Galilee, don’t miss visiting these tourist sites.
30. Sea of Galilee
This turquoise and magical body of water is Israel’s greatest national treasure. It holds major religious significance as well as touristic value due to the beauty of its surroundings.
This place once served as the village of Jesus’ youth. Today, it’s a modern city and an important center for the Arab community of Israel. Some of the religious sites you’ll find are the Basilica of the Annunciation, the Basilica of Jesus the Adolescent, and St. Joseph’s Church.
32. Bar’am National Park
This park includes the remains of a 4th- to 5th-century synagogue and the ancient village of Bar’am. You can visit the graves said to be those of Mordechai and Queen Esther at the Bar’am Forest.
33. Safad (Tsfat)
This mountain city located northeast of the Sea of Galilee has been a center for Jewish mysticism and scholarship since the 15th century.
This region offers a lot of beautiful desert scenery and ancient ruins. It’s a prime tourist destination for people who appreciate natural beauty. The attractions you’ll see here include:
34. Sde Boker
The main attraction in this kibbutz is Ben-Gurion’s House. This attraction showcases an interesting collection of black-and-white photos and original documents and letters written by David Ben-Gurion, the primary national founder and first Prime Minister of Israel.
35. Makhtesh Ramon
This geological feature is a paradise for geologists, as it features rock formations and fossils dating as far back as 220 million years.
Ancient Mampsis, along with its remarkable ruins, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A few of the structures you’ll come across here are the West Church, the East Church dedicated to Holy Martyrs, and the ruins of a British Mandate police post.
37. En Avdat
This area has a spring in the middle of a barren upland region. Ibexes, which are wild goats with thick-ridged horns, live in this area to drink water from the spring.
You’ll find the Church of St. Theodore in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is a three-aisled basilica dedicated to a fourth-century Greek martyr.
39. Museum of Bedouin Culture
This museum displays an intriguing ethnographic collection, which includes exhibits of silver jewelry, agricultural and domestic equipment, clothing and other textiles, and various everyday objects. Individuals interested in nomadic cultures should drop by this museum.
40. Be’er Sheva
Known as the city of the Patriarchs in the Old Testament, Be’er Sheva is one of the biggest cities in the country. Some of the main tourist attractions you should visit are Abraham’s Well, the Museum of Negev Art, and the Thursday Bedouin Market.
This Nabataean town has a church with a mosaic pavement. Check out the Nitzana National Park established along the spice route.
This location is home to the well-preserved ruins of a Byzantine city with paved streets, water cisterns, dwellings, and monastic church.
Haifa is a lively port city with steep cliffs that make the area beautiful. It has excellent art museums, holy shrines, beautiful gardens, and fantastic views that you’ll surely enjoy. If you’re planning to have an enjoyable time in Haifa, make sure to visit the following attractions:
This tourist spot is one of the country’s most fascinating ancient sites. Among the attraction’s highlights are the ancient aqueduct, Roman Theater, and the remains of the Crusader city.
43. Elijah’s Cave
Believers say that the Prophet Elijah hid in this cave after killing the Ba’al priests. Remember to dress modestly when visiting this place to give respect to pilgrims who hold the prophet in high regard.
44. Mount Carmel
This area is where you’ll find the Carmelite Monastery of St. Elijah. It’s also where Elijah established an altar during his conflict with the Ba’al priests.
45. Haifa Cable Car
This is an easy and fun way to get to the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery. Riding this transportation lets you enjoy the breathtaking panoramic vistas.
46. Baha’i Shrine and Gardens
The shrine serves as the landmark monument of Haifa. It contains the tomb of Mirza Al Mohammed, the founder of the Baha’i faith. Besides the shrine, you’ll see terraced gardens that show an outstanding example of garden landscaping.
47. University Museums
You’ll find several attractions that make sightseeing enjoyable. One museum is the Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum, which highlights Jewish history in the Holy Land pre-Diaspora. If you’re looking for great views, the Eshkol Tower offers excellent panoramic views across the city.
48. National Maritime Museum
The museum features a collection of charts, maps, and model ships that show the history of seafaring in the Mediterranean. People interested in maritime history will surely enjoy this visit.
49. Beit Shearim
This captivating archaeological site is famous for its impressive catacombs.
50. Ursula Malbin Sculpture Park
If you need to relax from all the sightseeing, this would be the perfect place. The public park has many beautiful bronze statues made by Ursula Malbin.
With so many tourist spots in Israel, you’ll never run out of things to do and attractions to enjoy. So, go ahead and book your next trip to enjoy the beauty that the country offers.
For a detailed information about traveling to Israel, read our page A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Israel.