Bright and noisy, austere and persistent, hospitable and cautious - it's all about Israel. A country with an amazing history, famous for its shrines and the healing Dead Sea, awaits guests all year round. This article will provide you all the reasons why you should visit Israel!
WHY YOU MUST VISIT ISRAEL?
People go to Israel to visit world-famous sights and visit the holy places where the Lord himself walked, to improve their health or to plunge into the incomparable atmosphere of Middle Eastern cities. Holidays in Israel will appeal to families with children, elderly tourists, and young people will also find something to do with themselves.
The Dead Sea resorts receive tourists all year round. Healing water, mud, and even air can heal many diseases - from skin problems to rheumatism. Also, people come to Tel Aviv and Haifa for quality medicine in Israel.
Eilat is the only Israeli resort on the Red Sea. You can come here all year round to sunbathe and swim, and in between, go diving - the underwater world here is simply fantastic.
In addition to tourists, pilgrims go to Israel to visit the holy places, which are abundant in the country. Most pilgrims try to arrange their visit for major religious holidays - Christmas, Easter, and others. Consider this when planning your trip to avoid the giant lines at the attractions.
HOW CAN YOU VISIT ISRAEL?
Israel has four international airports, the most famous is the Ben Gurion international airport in Tel Aviv. The plane flies from Moscow to Tel Aviv for 4 hours, from Dubai for 3 hours, from London for 5 hours, and Florida for 9 hours. Transfer from the airport to Tel Aviv, which is just 25 km away, will take about half an hour.
A bus transfer from Tel Aviv to Netanya will take about an hour, to Jerusalem - about an hour and a half. From Jerusalem to the Dead Sea can be reached in about 40 minutes, from Tel Aviv in 3 hours. private transfers in Israel from the airport will be much more comfortable and fast.
From Moscow to Eilat the plane flies for about 3 hours and 45 minutes and from Dubai to Eilat only 2.5 hours. Eilat Airport has located 20km from the city center, so the transfer will take no more than half an hour.
The transfer time may increase or decrease depending on the traffic situation and the number of hotels on the bus route map.
THE WEATHER IN ISRAEL
Any month is suitable for a vacation in Israel - it is always warm in this country. The swimming season lasts all year round: in summer you can swim in the Mediterranean and winter in the Red Sea or the Dead Sea.
The best time for excursions in Israel is spring and autumn. Summer months are considered to be the low season, the air temperature at this time is about +39 ° С.
It is better to go to Eilat in autumn or early winter, and to the Dead Sea in autumn. In Netanya or Tel Aviv, whose shores are washed by the Mediterranean Sea, it is worth going from May to October.
Click here to read more about the weather in Israel.
DO YOU NEED A VISA TO VISIT ISRAEL?
Many people planning a vacation in Israel are wondering if tourists need a visa to Israel? Due to the bilateral agreement between Israel and other countries, it is unnecessary with most of them.
Note that the visa-free regime applies to Russians and Emirates citizens visiting Israel solely for tourist purposes, for treatment, or visiting relatives. The requirements for business travelers traveling to Israel for profit are stricter.
The analog of a work visa in Israel is a religious visa. It is issued to members of the clergy who are invited to serve in Israel.
Visa to Israel
Despite the visa-free regime between Russia/UAE and Israel, the requirements for travel documents are very strict. Standard set:
1. Passport valid for the next 6 months
2. Round trip tickets
3. Confirmation of hotel reservation
4. The fact of confirmation of solvency (for example, a bank statement)
5. Medical insurance
It is believed that the presence in the passport of "Arab" visas (for example, the UAE, Lebanon, or Iran) makes it difficult to obtain an Israeli visa. Experienced travelers recommend going on a trip to the Holy Land with a passport empty of stamps.
A visa-free regime with Israel is also valid for citizens of Ukraine and Belarus. Citizens of other CIS countries apply for a visa on their own through the Israeli Consulate or Visa Application Center.
The best passport will be definitely the American or swiss and the entrance for American citizens to Israel is the fastest.
THE CURRENCY IN ISRAEL
The national currency of Israel is the Israeli new shekel (ILS). They call it new because in 1985 it replaced the old currency of the same name.
1 shekel is equal to approximately 70 Rubles or 3,5 USD.
In circulation, there are banknotes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 shekels, coins - 0.5, 1, 2, 5, and 10 shekels.
WHAT CURRENCY TO TAKE WITH YOU TO ISRAEL?
It makes no difference whether you take dollars or euros with you. The maximum amount allowed for import into Israel is $ 10,000 or equivalent in another currency. Even though Israel is an expensive country to live in, experts do not recommend taking a large sum in cash. There are plenty of ATMs and exchange offices here.
In Israel, you can pay with a debit or credit card for almost everything - from lunch to souvenirs. Some stores set a minimum price for cashless payments. If the purchase is cheaper, you will have to look for cash.
ATMs AND EXCHANGE OFFICES
There are no problems with exchange offices and ATMs in Israel. There are especially many of them in large cities, for example, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The most profitable way to exchange money in Israel is in banks, post offices, and exchange offices marked "Change".
If you plan to use the services of a bank, remember that most banks are open from Tuesday to Thursday from 8:30 to 18:00, and on Monday, Friday and Sunday from 8:30 to 12:00. Banks are closed on Saturdays.
Some tourists say that even Dollars are accepted at kiosks in old Jerusalem. If you do not want "surprises", we do not recommend going shopping without shekels. Dollars and euros are also in use in Israel.
THE ISRAELI HOTELS
Despite Israel's popularity among tourists, there are few hotels here. Most of them are small, with a compact territory.
The most comfortable hotels in Israel are located in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - the cities are popular among businessmen and diplomats.
Dead Sea hotels are distinguished by increased attention to the health and comfort of tourists. Needless to say, the most famous spa-complexes with a huge selection of beauty and health treatments are located right here.
Most of Israel's hotels for families with children are located in Netanya. It is much quieter here than in neighboring Tel Aviv, and the sea is no worse, so local hotels are "tailored" for family vacations.
There are hotels for every taste in the major cities of Israel. For example, in Jerusalem, you can find both a modest hostel for youth holidays and luxury apartments for business travelers. The rooms of local hotels are decorated in a classic style, hi-tech is not held in high esteem here - the status of the city obliges.
But in the never-sleeping Tel Aviv, there are many ultra-modern boutique hotels. The city is a magnet for a party and shopping lovers from all over the world, so it is better to book rooms in local hotels in advance.
The hotels in Israel on the Mediterranean coast do not always have swimming pools (the exception is five-star hotels). But in Eilat, despite the proximity of the warm Red Sea, there are swimming pools in almost every hotel. The beach season here lasts all year round, tourists arrive constantly, so the pools are a competitive advantage in the battle for customers.
THE FOOD IN ISRAELI HOTELS
Food in hotels in Israel is kosher. Since eating dairy and meat products together is considered unacceptable, the buffet in local hotels is specific. For breakfast - only dairy products, for lunch - meat and fish.
If you expect an abundance of delicacies, I will disappoint you: in Israel hotels, you will not be offered seafood, pork, some types of fish, caviar, and other products.
THE BEACHES OF ISRAEL
Apart from its cultural and religious heritage, Israel is famous for its magnificent beaches. In a country with four seas, it simply cannot be otherwise!
The Mediterranean coast in western Israel stretches for as much as 200 km, so most of the popular beaches are located here. They are all very different, with different audiences, but they have one thing in common - good infrastructure.
Tel Aviv's beaches are most in-demand on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. For tourists, the entrance is usually paid, for residents, it is free upon presentation of documents.
Hof Hatzuk Beach is the northernmost beach in Tel Aviv. It is famous for its cleanest territory and developed infrastructure. In the city center, there are several "noisy" beaches, which are very popular among young people. For example, Banana Beach and Gordon are the undisputed leaders in hosting parties and other mass events.
RED SEA BEACHES
Israel's main resort on the Red Sea in Eilat. Its coastal strip stretches for almost 12 km, all the beaches belong to hotels, so they are distinguished by exemplary cleanliness and well-groomed. In the central part of Eilat, not far from the Lagoon, there is the snow-white North Beach. Thanks to the good infrastructure and the proximity of comfortable hotels, mainly families with children rest here.
If you like active rest, then it is a crime not to visit Coral Beach. It is considered the best diving destination in all of Israel.
DEAD SEA BEACHES
Most of the Dead Sea beaches are owned by hotels, so entry to their territory is prohibited. The best local beaches are located in the city of Ein Bokek. Here you can not only swim and sunbathe but also visit the first-class spa-salon. We can say that Ein Bokek is a huge health complex specializing in the treatment of various diseases, and offering guests a whole range of cosmetic procedures.
UNUSUAL BEACHES OF ISRAEL
In addition to the classic beach holiday in Israel, you can find an unusual beach holiday. For example, Nordau Beach is a beach in Tel Aviv intended for religious orthodox people. On even days of the week it works for women, on odd days for men, only on Saturday can families rest here in full force.
Another unique beach in Israel is Hilton Beach in Tel Aviv. This is the only beach in the city where it is allowed to walk and bathe animals, so there are always many "dog lovers" with their pets. They create thematic circles of interest and actively spend time together.
ISRAEL LANDMARKS AND AMAZING SITES
Probably everyone has heard about the sights of Israel. The famous Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Yad Vashem are shrines for thousands of people around the world, so there are always many pilgrims in Israel.
The most popular type of excursion in Israel is a pilgrimage, but besides shrines, Israel has a lot to see.
THE DEAD SEA
The Dead Sea is perhaps Israel's most unusual natural landmark. The concentration of salts here is so high that doctors do not recommend swimming in the sea for more than 30 minutes a day - there is a high risk of dehydration and burns on sensitive parts of the body.
Diving in the Dead Sea is strictly prohibited, so this is not the best place to relax with small children. Many bring cosmetics and bath salts from the Dead Sea as a gift to friends. According to tourists, the quality of the products is excellent.
Jerusalem is not only the capital of Israel but also the religious center of the country. It is called “the city of three religions” because it is here that the most sacred places for Christians, Muslims, and Jews are located. The city lives according to religious laws: most local restaurants are kosher; on the eve of religious holidays, many establishments are closed.
Jerusalem is home to the main religious sites of Israel: the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Western Wall is the main Jewish shrine, a symbol of faith and hope for many generations of Jews. It is crowded both day and night. To leave a prayer note on the wall, you need to stand in the line of those who wish, it is not for nothing that this is the most visited religious attraction in Israel.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the main Orthodox shrine in Israel. It is believed that it was here that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and then resurrected. Due to its religious significance, the temple belongs to six Christian denominations at once, and the keys to it are kept in an Arab-Muslim family.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is not only one of the most beautiful sights of Israel, but also the third most important shrine of Islam. It is with this place that the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad is associated. The striking Dome of the Rock, proudly towering over Jerusalem, is a landmark for thousands of believers. Seeing it in photographs, you will be surprised how just one building can transform the landscape of the city.
Despite the huge number of religious sites, Israel is interesting not only for pilgrims. A beach holiday attracts thousands of tourists, including the most demanding ones.
Tel Aviv is a modern bustling metropolis with great beaches. From the seaside, it resembles Dubai or Sharjah: huge skyscrapers, a wide strip of white sand, and azure blue waves look very attractive to tourists. Don't yawn - there are a lot of people who want to swim against the background of such beauty from early morning.
Netanya is another notable resort city in Israel. It looks more modest than neighboring Tel Aviv, but the beach holiday is also good here. Netanya is famous for a huge number of museums and monuments (there is even a memorial dedicated to the victory of the Red Army in World War II).
MEDICAL TOURISM IN ISRAEL
Treatment in Israel is a guarantee of high-quality manipulations and almost always a positive result. Most of the medical centers of a very different nature are in Tel Aviv and neighboring Haifa, there are also clinics in Ramat Gan, Beer Sheva, Jerusalem.
Israeli doctors work with almost the full range of diseases; they often come to them if others have already refused. The clinics successfully fight against cancer, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, kidneys, joints. People often travel to Israel to perform complex operations. Treatment in Israel is quite expensive, but very high quality.
PILGRIMAGE TOURS IN ISRAEL
Every year millions of pilgrims come to Israel - Christians, Muslims, and Jews alike. Almost all the shrines mentioned in the Bible are located here. Pilgrimage tours are most often group tours, which include visits to all iconic attractions, as well as services in temples and accommodation in small hotels at monasteries or temples. Pilgrimage tours are made all year round, most tourists come on big holidays - Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, and others.
TRANSPORTATION IN ISRAEL
Taxis in Israel are very expensive, there are day and night fares, and they operate on Shabbat. The night rate (from 21:00 to 5:30), as well as the rate on Shabbat and other holidays, is 25% higher than the day rate. There is also a surcharge for travel to/from the airport. The passenger pays a fixed amount for boarding the taxi, and then for the distance.
In large cities, some buses and minibusses are used by both tourists and locals. Traveling by public transport in Israel is not easy: it runs rarely, in all cities except Haifa, it does not work on Shabbat.
2021 will be a great year to visit Israel, start planning your vacation to the promised land whether you come alone or will be traveling with a private tour guide.