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There is no destination on Earth like Israel. Over millennia, this tiny bit of land, located on the warm shores of the Mediterranean, has cast a giant footprint on the world that belies its size.  It is the birthplace of the three major monotheistic religions, whose epicenter, Jerusalem, is a beloved and coveted capital. Deep within the Judean desert lies the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth, whose mud is considered a cure for some illnesses and whose water is so buoyant that everyone can happily float.  The fertile hills of the Galilee are resplendent with Arab and Jewish villages and ancient archaeological sites that reveal previous civilizations, as archaeologists work to peel back the layers of rock, soil and time. And today, modern cities have risen from the desert attracting the trendiest travelers with a world-class foodie scene, high-end shopping and incredible innovations in science and technology! Whether you wander the land with the Bible as your guidebook, or you gravitate to the frenetic nightlife, beautiful beaches and restaurants of Tel Aviv, you will discover for yourself that this old-new country truly lives up to its nickname, the Miracle on the Mediterranean. 

Tours & Packages

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2 matching packages
Independent Package Athens & 7 Day Three Continents Cruise
Athens, then voyage to 3 continents: Asia, Europe & Africa. Visit Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Rhodes & Turkey; independent travel with flights & hotel
from $2999 w/ Flights from $2599 Tour Only 12 days
per person, double occupancy*
Value Vacation Discover Israel
Tel Aviv and the ancient Jaffa seaport, Galilee, the Golan Heights, Masada, ancient and modern Jerusalem, opportunity to visit Bethlehem; Optional extension: Eilat & Petra
from $2999 w/ Flights from $2399 Tour Only 10 days
per person, double occupancy*

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Highlights

  1. Old City Jerusalem

    At the heart of the Jewish, Islamic and Christian religions, Old City is a must-see destination for all travelers alike. Surrounded by ancient walls, this region is home to the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine. Old City is full of biblical history that is divided into four quarters; The Jewish Quarter, The Armenian Quarter, The Christian Quarter, and The Muslim Quarter. Each quarter holds its own significance with unique atmospheres, sites, smells, and experiences. Old City is full of a variety of shops and markets where vendors sell prayer shawls, rosaries, ornate ceramics and more. In addition to the shops dotting the streets, there are also numerous food stalls serving up fresh-squeezed juice and some of Israel's favorites: falafel, hummus and pita.
  2. The Dead Sea

    Known famously as one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world (8.6 times saltier than the ocean), the Dead Sea is a salt lake that lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, bordered by Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank. This hyper-saline lake is the lowest elevation on land, situated over 1,400 ft. below sea level. Its waters and mineral-rich mud are known for many health benefits, and many travelers to this area take advantage of these benefits and indulge in mud treatments and salt baths. Because of the high salinity, people can easily float on the surface with natural buoyancy. The Dead Sea got its name for its harsh conditions where animals and plants cannot flourish, even though some bacteria and microbial fungi are present.
  3. Tel Aviv

    Sitting on Israel's Mediterranean coast, Tel Aviv is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. This thriving and bustling metropolis is the second largest city in Israel, following Jerusalem, and its greater metropolitan area has a population of 3.1 million people. Composed of sandy beaches, electric nightlife, desirable cuisine and an active cultural scene, Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 by a group of Jaffa residents. Tel Aviv is home to the "State of Mind" Innovation Center, the ancient port city of Jaffa, UNESCO recognized architecture, 50 distinctive neighborhoods and more. In the heart of Tel Aviv lies Rothschild Boulevard, a strip full of the most prominent collection of Bauhaus built in the early 1900s. 
  4. Yad Vashem

    Yad Vashem is Israel's official memorial to the Holocaust victims. This prism-shaped memorial is dedicated to honoring those who fought against the Nazis and preserving the memory of those who lost their lives. Yad Vashem is the second most visited tourist site in Israel, following the Western Wall. The museum hold 9 galleries of interactive historical displays including photographs, films, documents and letters that represent the Holocaust in numerous ways, giving its visitors a true understanding of the impact of the tragedy. Some of these galleries include the Hall of Names, an area containing over 3 million names that families have submitted to honor those fallen; Hall of Remembrance, where ashes are buried and an eternal flame burns in remembrance; Yad Layeled, the memorial that honors the children who perished in the Holocaust; and the Memorial to the Deportees, which consists of a railroad car that honors those who were deported. 
  5. Shabbat Dinner

    A Shabbat Dinner is a traditional time that focuses on resting, enjoying the company of family and being with your inner self. For this dinner, the table is set with a Kiddush cup, challah, salt shaker, white table cloth, Shabbat candles, and Jewish books. Rather than the food, the series of events are what makes a Shabbat dinner so special. Prior to dining, Jewish women light candles to welcome the Shabbat as the sun sets, and a blessing is recited. After, a poem -- Shalom Aleichem -- is sung to address angels that accompany the family on their return home from Shabbat prayers. The husband then shows admiration for his wife by serenading her with a poem, and the parents both take time to bless their children. The head of the household then recites a blessing, called "Kiddush", over wine to sanctify the Shabbat, and then all participants follow in tasting their own wine. The meal begins with participants washing their hands before enjoying challahs dipped in salt. The remainder of the Shabbat dinner is spent enjoying cuisine influenced by the many foods eaten from around the world.
  6. The Western Wall

    Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Western Wall is an ancient limestone wall that stands as the most religious site in the world for the Jewish people. Thousands of people travel to the wall every year to visit and recite prayers that are either spoken aloud or written down and placed in the cracks of the towering wall. The Western Wall once enclosed and supported the Second Temple built by King Herod in 20 BCE, which was later ruined by the Roman invasion. The wall was the last remnant of the temple that survived, which is why it has also been called the "Wailing Wall" due to Jewish having gathered here to lament the loss of their temple.

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to Israel? See everything you need to know before you go.

Overview

Capital: Jerusalem
Population:  8.38 million
Currency: Israeli new shekel (ILS)
Languages: Hebrew and Arabic
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: IST (UTC +2)

Entry requirements

U.S. citizens traveling to Israel must have a passport which should be valid for at least 90 days after your return trip.  Friendly Planet Travel strongly recommends having at least six months validity on your passport following your return date for ANY international trip.  Israel grants tourist visa's upon arrival for U.S. citizens. you should have at least 2 free pages in the Visas section of your passport for any country you will be visiting.

Passengers who hold dual citizenship (U.S. and Israel) are required to enter and exit Israel using an Israeli passport. Please remember to take both passports with you when visiting Israel.

More information about passports & visas.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

More information about passport, visa & entry requirements.

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for travelers to Israel.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

Israel's climate varies from the northern region to the southern region. Recommended months to travel are March thru April which is wildflower season and September thru October. The peak summer months of June through August are usually too hot to enjoy, especially in the Negev desert. Winters are wet, cold, and occasionally snowy.

Tipping

When tipping, pay cash, not credit. In restaurants tip 12-15%, however some automatically include a 12.5% service charge.

Money & Credit Cards

Most banks have ATMs and are open every day except Saturday.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card while traveling.

Shopping

Israel is famous for its exclusive lines of bathing suits (Gottex, Gideon Oberson), skin-care products made from mineral-rich Dead Sea mud, silver jewelry, diamonds, glass, art, leather coats, painted tiles, embroidery, religious items and antiques. 

Electricity & Power Adapters

230 volts. Plugs H & C. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Israel is home to the highest number of museums per capita in the world.
  • Israel is the only country in the world that has more trees today than it had 50 years ago.
  • The Dead Sea in Israel is the lowest place on Earth.
  • Life expectancy in Israel is among the highest in the world, averaging at 82 years!
  • The cell phone was developed in Israel, as well as voicemail technology.
* Advertised prices may include an "Instant Savings" discount and/or sale discount, available for a limited time. Prices reflect these discounts. Advertised prices are per person, based on double occupancy; single occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge. Advertised prices are the best available based on the least expensive travel dates, departure city, and other options, and do not include optional excursions or other optional items. Your total price will vary based upon the dates, flights, and other options you select during the booking process. For packages including flights, prices include Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee, but do not include excess baggage fees or advance seat reservations. Prices and availability subject to change. More about our prices.

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