Discover the Hidden Gems of Israel: Top Must-Visit Destinations

Are you planning a trip to Israel and looking for something beyond the usual tourist hotspots? We got you covered.

View of city in Israel
View of buildings in Israel. Photo: Haley Black on Pexels.

Are you planning a trip to Israel and looking for something beyond the usual tourist hotspots?

Israel is a country with a rich history, diverse culture, and breathtaking natural beauty. While many visitors flock to popular destinations like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the Dead Sea, there are plenty of hidden gems to explore as well.

In this post, we’ll take you on a journey through some of Israel’s top must-visit destinations that travelers often overlook. From ancient seaside cities to stunning desert oases, these hidden gems are sure to surprise and delight you.

So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the hidden gems of Israel!

Acre: The Seaside City Steeped in History

Located on the northern coast of Israel, Acre is a picturesque seaside city that has been inhabited for thousands of years. A walk through the Old City will take you back in time as you explore ancient fortresses, underground tunnels, and historic markets.

Despite being a small city, Acre has substantially impacted the region’s history by functioning as a significant port and strategic fortress for different empires. Today, visitors can explore the city’s fascinating past through a variety of attractions, including the impressive Hospitaller Fortress.

In addition, Acre is a thriving modern city that provides numerous opportunities for shopping, dining, and nightlife. The city’s picturesque port area is a popular destination for both locals and visitors, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean and a wide variety of seafood restaurants.

Along with it, there are many other adventurous activities to do in Israel, especially if you belong to the Jewish diaspora. For instance, one such program is I BELONG ISRAEL (Masa Israeli). If you’re new to this phrase and wondering, “what is Masa Israeli,” keep reading for the answer.

Masa Israeli, a 6-day Jewish heritage journey across Israel’s landscapes and historical sites, is recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Education as a highly significant Jewish educational program. The program aims to strengthen the Jewish identity of both Israeli citizens and Jews living outside of Israel.

I BELONG ISRAEL, a national organization, has shared that Professor Gad Yair, who is the head of the NCJW Research Center for Innovation in Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has documented and published the program’s successful outcomes.

According to Professor Yair, the integration of unique components in the Masa Israeli journey leads to powerful experiences that can influence and change participants’ perceptions of their identity and their preconceived ideas about their personal and social lives.

With such optimistic words, this program is a must-do for any person belonging to the Jewish diaspora and looking to visit his country in the near future.

Ein Gedi: Oasis in the Desert

Ein Gedi is a natural oasis situated in the Judean Desert, attracting visitors from around the world. The oasis is characterized by a unique combination of water, greenery, and desert landscapes, making it a true hidden gem of Israel. Visitors can enjoy the stunning scenery of the oasis while experiencing a sense of tranquility amidst the harsh desert environment.

Visitors can explore the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including ibexes, hyraxes, and numerous bird species. The reserve also features several hiking trails, including the popular David Stream trail, which takes hikers on a journey through waterfalls, pools, and ancient ruins.

Moreover, visitors can explore the ruins of the synagogue and learn about the rich history of the Jewish people in the region. In addition, the nearby Kibbutz Ein Gedi offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience life in a communal settlement while enjoying the natural beauty of the oasis.

Situated on the western shore of the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi is a desert oasis recognized for its waterfalls, two streams, and pools of water. It is a popular spot for hikers who can appreciate the exotic birds, lush foliage, and diverse wildlife, including leopards, ibex, deer, and rabbits.

As per the Jewish Virtual Library, Ein Gedi was the place where King David hid from King Saul as per the Bible 3,000 years ago. King Saul spared David’s life and announced that he would succeed him as the king, elevating Ein Gedi’s significance as a historical site.

Haifa: The Beautiful City on the Bay

Haifa, the third-largest city in Israel, houses a varied populace consisting of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. With its charming panoramas and magnificent edifices, Haifa has turned into a favored spot for visitors interested in discovering the splendor of the Mediterranean shoreline. It is a charming coastal city situated on the Bay of Haifa.

The Baha’i Gardens in Haifa, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the city’s most renowned landmarks. These terraced gardens are situated on the slopes of Mount Carmel and offer breathtaking views of the city and the sea. They are meticulously landscaped and feature a stunning array of flowers and plants.

Haifa is also home to the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, which sits atop Mount Carmel and is considered one of the most beautiful monasteries in the world. This ancient monastery dates back to the 12th century and has been home to numerous religious orders over the centuries.

Haifa, the third-largest city in Israel, had a population of 282,832 people in 2021, and it is known for being a hub of employment in the region. According to Statista, the number of employed individuals who lived in the Haifa District in Israel was over 506,000 in June 2022, showing a slight increase from the previous month. This growth is a testament to the city’s appeal and popularity as a tourist destination, as well as its status as a major industrial hub in Israel.

Rosh Hanikra: Spectacular Cliffs and Sea Caves

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) has reported that they estimated around 10.71 million paid visitors to visit INPA sites in 2022, an increase from 9.129 million in the previous year. Out of the total number of visitors, 1.469 million were tourists, which is a significant jump from last year’s 75,000.

One of the must-visit destinations in Israel that offers stunning natural scenery is Rosh Hanikra. The site’s spectacular cliffs and sea caves attract many tourists, contributing to the increasing number of visitors to INPA sites.

Rosh Hanikra is a must-visit destination for nature lovers in Israel. It is located at the northernmost tip of the country, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the white cliffs of Western Galilee. The site is known for its stunning natural grottoes and sea caves, which were formed over thousands of years by the sea eroding the soft rock.

Tourists have the option to use a cable car to descend to the grottoes and then explore the caverns on foot. The turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea, the sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs, and the spectacular view from the grottoes make it a breathtaking experience. Moreover, Rosh Hanikra is also rich in history.

Conclusion

Israel is a country full of hidden gems waiting to be explored. From the ancient city of Akko to the stunning cliffs of Rosh Hanikra, there is something for every type of traveler.

This country offers something for everyone, whether you’re captivated by its history and natural wonders or merely wish to immerse yourself in its dynamic culture. The recent increase in tourism to the country is a testament to the unique and unforgettable experiences it offers.