Nestled on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Israel is a land where the new meets the old, the East meets the West, and the religious meet the non-religious. Under the political and religious turmoil many have come to characterize with the area, there is a land that offers a travel experience like no other.
The land of Israel is visited by millions of people yearly, with religion being one of the main motivations behind these visits. Jerusalem is the land most sacred to three of the main religions of the world: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Even though you do not have to be religious to appreciate everything this magnificent city has to offer, visiting the many religious sites of Jerusalem is key to understanding its historical significance. Furthermore, its location between the East and the West has made Jerusalem one of the most important trade cities for millennia. As a trade city, Jerusalem continues to be a melting pot of cultures, and this can be best appreciated when walking through its many narrow streets and markets.
Traveling within Israel is fairly easy, and you can visit many key sites within a couple of days. A quick ride from Jerusalem will lead you to the Dead Sea region. Here, you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Masada; an ancient fortress located on a plateau overlooking the Dead Sea. After, a short drive will place you at the shores of the Dead Sea. It is important to remember two things when visiting these sites. First, hydration is key due to the high temperatures. Second, when visiting the Dead Sea, it is best to do so with someone who has knowledge of the area. Due to the quickly receding waters, sinkholes have appeared all throughout the area, and continue to appear without warning. Nevertheless, do not let this deter you from a quick dip in the waters of the sea, and to smear yourself in its famous mud.
The region of the Sea of Galilee is also a must-visit when in Israel. Besides being a sacred, historic site, the area is also popular as a resort destination. From here, you may also visit the Jordan River; another site of historical significance in Israel. Here, it is truly mesmerizing to witness the power of faith and belief as thousands of people visit the river to be baptized in its waters.
Arriving from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv after a short drive will produce a sense of culture shock. In contrast to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv is characterized by a more relaxed atmosphere. Located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv is a major center of culture and entertainment in Israel. With a thriving nightlife, Tel Aviv has become the “it” destination for partying and fun. It is a city famous for its world-class restaurants, museums, thriving economy, and its spirit of inclusiveness, and acceptance.
Whichever your reason to visit Israel might be, it is a trip you should not hesitate to make. A visit to Israel will offer you an exhilarating experience, whether your reasons are religious, cultural, for entertainment or adventure. Israel is truly the trip of a lifetime. –GM
Camera: Nikon D850
Lenses: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED; Nikon 50 mm f/1.4G