13 Things to Do in Israel in Your 20s

Beach & Friends
Beach & Friends | ©Kimson Doan/Unsplash
Lior Kantor

While Israel is an amazing destination for its history, culture and holy sites, it is also a relatively young, tech-advanced country. It’s full of style, pretty people, great food, attractions and beaches. Check out the things that every tourist to Israel must do in their twenties.

Float in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earthm and the deepest hypersaline lake in the world, at 9.6 times saltier than the ocean. While it is known for its healing and nurturing minerals, there is another cool thing about it: the salt density in the water makes you float on top of it!

Floating in the Dead Sea

Haggle at the market

Israel is a great place to go shopping at the market, especially for food. Tel Aviv’s Shuk Hakarmel is a great place to find fresh produce and knock-offs, and the nearby Levinksy Market is the ultimate destination for spice shopping and other foodstuffs like tahini, olive oil, honey and local delicacies. In Jerusalem, head to Machneyuda Market for staples of Israeli cuisine. Use the phrase “Ma ani Frayer?” (“What am I, a sucker?”) to guarantee you won’t be fooled by the salespeople!

Spice Shopping in Israel

Party in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is one of the world’s best nightlife destinations, with an incredible variety of mainstream mega-clubs, underground alternative/hipster clubs, LGBT wild parties, block parties, beach parties, unique cocktail bars, stylish rooftop bars or elegant hotel pubs. Whatever you can think of, Tel Aviv has it.

Dancing Crowd

Recover from a hangover with shakshuka

After a night of partying you need a full, hearty and comforting breakfast. Luckily for you, you are in Tel Aviv – breakfast heaven. Israeli full breakfasts are great (eggs, a salad, pastries, some small meze plates, orange juice/mimosa, and of course, coffee), or you can choose the locals’ favourite, shakshuka. Eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this is Israel’s signature dish and it will fulfill all of your needs. Instead of making you feel heavy, it will absorb the alcohol and help you recover.

Shakshuka

Hike Mesada at sunrise

Located in the Judean Desert in southern Israel and overlooking the Dead Sea, Masada is an ancient fortification that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. Although you can get to the top via cable car, you won’t regret hiking the trails up and viewing the incredible desert scenery from different lookout points. Start out when the park opens, before sunrise, and witness the incredible sunrise from the top of the cliff. Another reason to start early is to avoid the heat that can, in the summer, easily reach over 40 °C.

Sunrise in Israel

Ride a camel

Contrary to stereotypes, camels are not ridden as a regular form of transport in Israel. Nevertheless, they are an experience you can and should try in the Negev Desert. Camels are available to ride from many farms in the Negev area, and is definitely an experience you won’t forget.

Camel Riding in Israel

Splurge at one of Israel’s best restaurants

Israel’s best restaurants aren’t always the finest, most elegant institutions, but rather the more creative, fun, and laid back ones. The key ingredient to a successful Israeli restaurant is the freshness. Israelis don’t care if the menu is written on a simple paper sheet, as this means the dishes are made from the fresh produce available that day. However, they are very particular about the freshness of the vegetables, strong spices and herbs – as well as the atmosphere. Try Machneyuda in Jerusalem or Hasalon in Tel Aviv to understand what Israeli fine dining is all about.

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Have watermelon delivered to you at the beach

Chilling at the beach is one the most popular ways to pass the boiling summer days in Tel Aviv. If you feel like a cold, freshly cut watermelon, a beer or a popsicle, download the Mishlohof app, which enables delivery across the city’s beaches. That’s right! Lie down on the beach and have your heart’s desire delivered straight to you.

Watermelon at the beach

Befriend a local

Despite what you may have heard, Israelis are some of the friendliest, warmest and most sincere people you can meet. To truly get to know and embrace the local lifestyle, and also to find all the best spots, start chatting a local and you will surely be asked to tag along. If there is one thing Israelis love more than hummus, it is happy and open tourists.

Campfire

Try one of Tel Aviv’s iconic dishes

Almost all Tel Avivians are foodies. The city is full of restaurants, gastro-pubs, street food vendors, and food markets. Another amazing thing about the Tel Aviv foodie scene is that there are some iconic dishes evreryone in the city knows and loves. Hamiznon’s cauliflower, Cafe Noir’s schnitzel, Hakosem’s falafel, or Azura’s Kibbeh – there are some dishes you just can’t miss out on when in Tel Aviv.

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Fall in love with hummus

Hummus in Israel is nothing like hummus you may have eaten anywhere else. It’s not an appetiser but a main, and the dish is almost sacred.

Hummus

Explore Israeli art

The Israel Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Design Museum Holon, and so many galleries, open studios, archives and shops… art is everywhere in Israel. The Israeli art and design scene, both contemporary and old, is as diverse as the people who make up the country. Discover famous Israeli artists (or young up-and-coming ones), explore some of the interesting collections and unique works, and be amazed at the variety of the collections throughout the country.

Holon Design Museum

Wander around the Old City of Jerusalem

One of the most magical cities in the world, Jerusalem is a place full of history, culture, and holiness. Walk along the alleyways of the old city; explore the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian quarters and the sites sacred to each of the religions; discover the history of the city and listen to the stories the city’s walls have to tell. This is a place to truly allow your imagination to take you on a journey through time.

Jerusalem

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