Must-Visit Attractions in Israel

Jerusalem, with the Old City and Temple Mount, is a key site for visitors to Israel
Jerusalem, with the Old City and Temple Mount, is a key site for visitors to Israel | © Sean Pavone / Alamy
Ben Jakob

Israel offers a rare mix of delicious food, warm people and an endlessly diverse list of sites. So no matter if it’s the culture, faith or curiosity that caught your eye, here are the attractions you just must see once you’ve arrived.

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Tour ancient and new in the Old City of Acre

A rarely visited site, this amazing old city offers the best of the old and new worlds: great restaurants perched on seaside cliffs alongside all the fun of a classic Arab market.

Admire the mountain fort of Masada

This mountaintop fortress in the Israeli desert was the last stronghold for the members of a Jewish revolt against the Roman empire. Their fate was a bitter one – after a lengthy siege they took their own lives rather than surrender – but visiting the site is anything but bitter. Wake up extra early and go for a hike or take the tram and enjoy this amazing historical site. You can visit Masada on Culture Trip’s action-packed seven-day Israel tour, led by our Local Insider.

Gaze at the Bahá’í Gardens

The Hanging Gardens of Haifa are an absolute beauty. Holy to the adherents of the not-widely known Bahá’í faith, the gardens are a temple to their god Bah. Come for the view or to learn about the faith – just don’t miss it.

Tour the Old City of Jerusalem

Winding streets and alleys; home to the holy sites of the three main monotheistic faiths – the Old City of Jerusalem is steeped in history. The area also has amazing food and countless secrets for those willing to brave its maze of shaded streets. Join a guided walking tour as part of our specially curated small-group Israel trip.

Discover the Western Wall in Jerusalem

The exterior wall of the long-destroyed Jewish Temple, the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) is one of the most holy sites in Judaism, so holy that ultra-Orthodox Jews won’t even step beyond the wall to where the temple actually sat for fear of desecrating the land. An open plaza accommodates both women and men for prayer. Regardless of your faith, follow the local custom and put a note in the wall.

See the religious sites of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Via Dolorosa

Follow in the steps of Jesus by walking the Via Dolorosa, or head to his final resting place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The tomb itself has been renovated and is a popular site for pilgrims and tourists alike.

Admire the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock, next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque within the Temple Mount complex, is one of the holiest sites in Islam. Though a flashpoint for tensions between Jews and Arabs, it is safe for tourists per a few caveats: don’t go on Friday, Israelis might be barred from entering and women are required to dress modestly, meaning long skirts extending below the knee and no cleavage or exposed shoulders.

Feast at Tel Aviv Port

Tel Aviv Port, recently revamped, is now an urban powerhouse of cafes and restaurants. It’s a great place to see the sea without having to pass through a beach, while the farmer’s market offers great local food in its produce and restaurants.

Enjoy the sea air at the Old Port of Jaffa

One of the oldest port cities in the world, Jaffa is one of the most vibrant spots in Israel. Head to the port for sea breezes and fresh fish.

Marvel at architecture in the White City of Tel Aviv

Home to an internationally acclaimed collection of International-style houses (sometimes called bauhaus) the so-called White City is actually part of the central Lev Ha’ir district in Tel Aviv. The homes are beautiful even for those usually not interested in architecture.

Explore Jaffa Flea Market

Kimberley Grant /

Trendy and stylish, Jaffa Flea Market is home to strange antique stores alongside new restaurants and cafes, a symbol of how Jaffa’s old meets Tel Aviv’s new to create something amazing.

Get lost in Mahane Yehuda (Jerusalem Markets)

The central market in Jerusalem is a bustling Middle Eastern bazaar offering the best local delicacies. Take a chance and get lost within the alleyways.

Join hipsters at the Big Synagogue in Tel Aviv

The epicentre of the hipster side of Tel Aviv, the Big Synagogue plaza on Allenby Street, is home to a bar, a restaurant and two places that fall somewhere in between. The Port Said and Santa Catarina are the places to eat contemporary Tel Avivi cuisine, while the Otzar is the place to get a drink if you’re young and trendy.

Relax on the Tel Aviv beaches

The multitude of beautiful beaches in Tel Aviv needs no introduction and remain some of the most famed and popular tourist attractions in Israel.

Dive among coral reefs near Eilat

In the southernmost tip of Israel sits the resort town of Eilat. Perched on the head of the Red Sea peninsula, its waters open to Egypt to the south and Jordan to the west. On good days, Saudi Arabia is visible between them and across the water. Eilat has great coral reefs, a few dolphins and even a bird festival, so go south and enjoy the sun. Discover the natural wonders of the Arava Desert

Discover the natural wonders of the Arava Desert

This tall stone towers and dry landscape in this desert, reminiscent of Nevada’s, offer something ethereal. Check out the amazing cabins at Bamidbara to spend the night.

Get fresh skin in the Dead Sea

The lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea is said to have healing powers while its mud is said to help reinvigorate your skin. So take a splash in the murky, mineral-rich waters and dip yourself into some high-grade mud (mud-faced selfies are mandatory).

Chill out by the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret)

Called the Sea of Galilee by Israelis, Lake Kinneret is the site where Jesus is said to have walked on water. It’s also the main reservoir in Israel and a favourite attraction for locals, who can regularly be found basking along its beaches.

Cool down in the Golan Heights

The Golan Heights, on the northernmost tip of the country, offers respite from the Israeli heat. There is a ski site and a cafe called Cafe Anan – a play on the name of former UN chief Kofi Annan and the Hebrew word for cloud (anan).

Uncover Roman ruins in Caesarea

Caesarea is arguably the most affluent community in Israel, but the adjacent national park offers some of the most exciting ruins in the country. Built by Herod the Great around 25BCE, the Caesarea Maritima port city includes the ruins of a hippodrome, a Roman theatre, an impressive collection of Crusader-era fortifications, a temple and an impressive aqueduct. It also offers an amazing view of the old harbour, which was once the largest on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

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