Three years ago, I had a chance to visit Israel. Like most of my trips, this one came out of nowhere. Never before I had plans to visit Tel Aviv, but – I met some wonderful people from Israel on my previous trip and I couldn’t miss this great chance I had.
Tel Aviv Promenade
Great place to start. I think Israel has the perfect weather during the spring time and walking on this promenade made me want to stay there forever. Palm trees were all around me, great, modern architecture on one side and long beach on the other side. Thing I found interesting was how fast Tel Aviv is developing, but also the fact they are keeping their old architecture – so, next to the huge, brand new building you could’ve seen small house, made of sand and rocks. That’s the beauty of Tel Aviv.
Old Jaffa and Old Jaffa Port
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking how many days is enough to visit Tel Aviv. Well, it does depend on your affinity and interest, but regardless – if you keep walking from promenade, you will get straight to the town of Old Jaffa, place where the great beginnings of Israel can be seen. Long before I came to Israel, I read about Old Jaffa. It’s famous by its association with a lot of biblical stories and it was even mentioned in ancient Egyptian letter from 1440 BCE. It does sound pretty ancient, but it looks even better.
When I was at Old Jaffa port, I noticed lots of old boats, fishermen all over the place and a small market, with fresh food and delicious, freshly squeezed fruit. It looked completely different than the part of Tel Aviv I saw just before that. You can see everything in Jaffa – antique shops, restaurants, old Hebrew theater, parks, fountains and other. I didn’t spend a lot of time there (and I will blame it on jet leg), but you can easily spend four hours there and not get bored at all.
Hatzuk Beach South or Sea and Sun Beach
Like I mention at the beginning, beaches in Tel Aviv left me breathless. I had a chance to visit couple of different places, but this beach was really nice and enjoyable. I’ve seen lots of beaches over the world, but it’s interesting how this beach is changing its colors as the day goes by. And I think I can write about sunsets at Tel Aviv forever. Now, depending on how much money you want to spend during your stay there, there are beaches and bars that are pricey and there are beaches you can use for free. Israel is known to have high life standard, so how much will you spend is only up to you. Regardless, beach was not only a free place to be, but the best place to be.
I truly believe there is no a single person in this world that doesn’t know about this holy place. Let’s go a lil bit back in the history, just to remind you about what you already know: it is one of the oldest cities in the world and during its long, long history it has been destroyed a lot of times. Back in 16th century, sultan Suleiman built the walls around the city and today those walls define the Old City of Jerusalem. The Old city is traditionally divided into 4 quarters – Jewish, Christian, Armenian and Muslim. And yes, the cultural mixture can be seen at every corner. Around those walls I saw the Temple Mount, al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of Holy Sepulchre – and no matter what religion are you, you can feel the energy and importance of those places.
Western Wall is the main attraction in Jerusalem and no wonder there was always a lot of people gathered there. Tower of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnels, Church of All Nations, as well as Mount of Olives were really nice places to see. Everything around me was so ancient that I was excited with every step I took. Honestly, there are so many things out there, so it was impossible seeing it all. But somehow I think I visited the most important sights – but, of course, that always depends of your affinities.
Tourists mostly come to visit the Old City and Western Wall. I don’t blame them, I came to visit the same, but not knowing how beautiful Jerusalem is outside the walls. Places outside walls are still considered as a “must visit” if you ask me – Long walking trails, national parks, promenades, museums.. For me, it was a real surprise seeing Jerusalem as a modern city and maybe the reason why is hiding behind my imagination.
Although I tried to stay focused on main attractions, there is so much things that make Israel perfect destination, anytime. Which my next sight will confirm.
The Dead Sea
I remember myself at 14 years old, at the geography class, listening to my professor talking about the Dead Sea and saying to myself “You will visit this place, sooner or later!”. Of course, after a while, some other things became important to me, but idea of visiting the lowest point on planet Earth was always there. The next interesting thing about it was the percentage of salinity (judging by Wikipedia, it’s 34.2%) and the fact you can float. I’m not talking about trying to float, but it is completely impossible to swim, no matter how hard you try.
Since the temperature outside was over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, we wanted to cool down in the sea but when I came in, I was shocked how warm it was! The only way to cool down was to sit at the bar and have cold drink and also, to take a cold shower every 15 minutes. However, this place is a must visit place, not only because of the fact you can float, but you can also see the sea in the middle of the desert, with camels around you and unique nature. It was a lifetime experience.
Until the next time…
Even though it’s been only three years since I visited Israel, I started thinking about visiting this great country again, since there are lots of places I haven’t seen there and I would also love to discover more of it! Until then, I hope you will find this article interesting and informative enough to choose Israel for your next travel destination.