Israel has much more to offer than the beaches of Tel Aviv and religious sites of Jerusalem. This is a country full of beauty, from curious yet wondrous sites in the desert to urban landscapes and diverse, fascinating cultures waiting to be explored. For those keen to escape the proverbial beaten track, this collection of unique Israeli experiences is for you.
Ready to experience Israel for yourself? Join Culture Trip’s specially curated seven-day trip to this fascinating destination. Guided by our Local Insider, you’ll take a boat cruise on the Dead Sea, camp in the desert and go on a foodie tour around Tel Aviv.
Attend Midburn festival
The Israeli offshoot of Burning Man – perhaps the craziest, most unique festival in the world – Midburn takes place annually in the Negev Desert. A five-day event where all social norms are abandoned and creativity and self-expression pursued without limits, it is sure to be an unforgettable (and at times overwhelming) experience.
Explore beneath Jerusalem
So you’ve seen the Western Wall, wandered through the Arab markets and stood over Jesus’s tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – now what? Well, underneath the Old City in Jerusalem, away from the relentless heat of the intense atmosphere and scorching sun, lie ancient tunnels, remnants of a 2,000-year-old Jewish city. Weaving through the Western Wall Tunnels and Zedekiah’s Cave will leave you mesmerised.
Visit the Rosh HaNikra grottoes
In the northwest, just a stone’s throw from the border with Lebanon, these enchanting geological formations are one of the most unique sites to visit in the country. Take the steepest cable car in the world down and explore on foot the mystical grottoes and caves surrounding pools of turquoise water.
Camp under the stars at the Makhtesh Ramon crater
Labelled the Israeli Grand Canyon, the Makhtesh Ramon Nature Reserve is the largest protected area in the country and one of the best for stargazing. For the more adventurous, activities such as hiking, cycling, horse riding and abseiling – not to mention sunrise Jeep tours – are also available.
Abseil down Mount Sodom’s salt caves
These salt caves – one of the best-kept secrets in Israel – are reached by abseiling down more than 60m (197ft). Inside, you’ll duck, crawl and slide through narrow gaps and be awestruck by the stunning salt stalactites and stalagmites.
Take a night jeep safari in the Negev Desert
Lovers of nature, rejoice! This is the desert adventure for you. Take a jeep tour with an animal behaviour expert and keep your eyes peeled for wolves, hyenas, desert foxes, porcupines, ibexes, bats, owls and, if you’re very lucky, one of the few remaining Arabian leopards.
Float in the Dead Sea
A trip to the Holy Land is incomplete without floating in the Dead Sea. Not only is it the lowest point on earth, it is also one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world. Lather yourself in its natural, skin-smoothing mud and replenish yourself with the water’s supposed healing properties.
Take a tour of the Judean Desert
Between Jerusalem and Jericho, the Judean Desert is smaller than the Negev but nevertheless contains numerous hidden gems. From ancient monasteries built into jagged cliffs, such as St George and Mar Saba (still inhabited by 20 Greek Orthodox monks), to the stunning Wadi Qelt nature reserve, home to the oldest synagogue in the world, this desert is a must for those looking to head off the beaten track.
Camp like a Bedouin in the Arava
In the east of the Negev Desert, the Arava region has a diverse and fascinating range of attractions: breathtaking hiking trails; a farm with hundreds of African Nile crocodiles; and Timna Park, home to the oldest copper mine in the world and beautiful natural rock formations. Make your visit to the Arava a unique experience by staying in Bedouin accommodation.
Visit the Beit Guvrin Caves
This Unesco-listed site in Ashkelon, central Israel, is home to 480 caves. Throughout their 2,000-year history, they have been used for a wide range of reasons, ranging from burials to stables to hideouts.
Wander through Mea She’arim, Jerusalem
A stark contrast to the aforementioned desert adventures, wandering the streets of Mea She’arim is nonetheless a unique experience. Upon entering this neighbourhood, one of the oldest in Jerusalem and home exclusively to ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews, you’ll be greeted by a bold sign asking visitors to dress modestly. This area feels like a different world; certainly worth exploring if you’re curious about the ultra-religious Haredim.
Visit the Dialogue in the Dark exhibition at The Israel Children’s Museum
For those curious to know what being blind is like, this remarkable exhibition in Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, is a unique and meaningful experience. Upon starting your tour, the door closes behind you and you enter darkness. A visually impaired guide then leads you through a series of real-life simulations, from walking through a park to riding on a boat, finishing in the cafeteria where you can buy and eat snacks in total darkness.
Tour the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv
Not many people know about this intriguing and, at times, eerie building in southern Tel Aviv. Originally built as a mall, it consists of an eclectic mix of shops representing a melting pot of cultures, from Filipino to Eritrean to Russian, along with quirky and surprising features including a theatre, a Yiddish museum home to more than 50,000 Yiddish books, a bat cave and a graffiti exhibition.
Lose yourself in a nature party
Nature raves are a unique Israeli experience with a history going back decades. Comparable to underground raves in the UK and USA, they take place in forests, secluded beaches and deserts, with revellers dancing the day or night away to psychedelic trance music.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip 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 — and this is still in our DNA today. 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 certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.