Unusual Holiday Destinations: Israel

Holidays can get very…samey. You seem to travel to the same part of the world year after year, see the same sort of things – sandy beach, clear blue waters, large hotel complex with a pool and even the departure lounges look the same. This can be enough to put a lot of people off going away, leaving them somewhat disgruntled with spending their hard-earned cash on “the trip of a lifetime” to come home disappointed.

The same can be true with cruises and city breaks, they all become very similar especially if the weather is poor. Nobody wants to be out on deck if it’s chucking it down with rain and you don’t get to see the part of the world you’re paying to see in all its glory.

The cities can be just as bad – road works, closed buildings for “maintenance” and paying over the odds to see some of the attractions. Like London, what’s the point in going on “The Eye” on a cloudy day that means you can only see a few hundred metres – it can be so disappointing because it’s brilliant on a sunny day.

So what else can you do to try and improve your all-round holiday experience? Well, why not try somewhere a bit different, off the beaten track, not your traditional “tourist hotspot”, but somewhere packed with sights, culture, weather, everything else you would look for in a holiday. In recent years, parts of Eastern Europe have become increasingly popular for tourists, with countries such as Croatia, Turkey and Bulgaria flourishing in particular, but Israel has also been popular.

On the very edge of Europe, Israel is actually the link between Asia and Africa, situated between Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea. Of course, plenty of people go to Israel for religious reasons with famous cities such as Jerusalem and Nazareth, but it’s even popular among the younger generation with many looking to study abroad in Israel rather than taking their year out in America or travelling around the continent, such is its appeal and the quality of the education on offer.

So what is there to see, and where is there to go? Here’s a quick guide to help you decide if Israel could be your next destination.

 

Jerusalem

In the centre of Jerusalem is the “old city” which is divided into four quarters – Christian, Jewish, Armenian and Muslim. Surrounding the Western Wall are a number of important Jewish sites which provide a beautiful, cultural and religious experience for visitors. It’s inevitable that many will find religious links in the city as it is notorious for being the city in which Jesus lived and died.

It isn’t just a religious city, however, with a number of traditional markets, promenades and the “New City” which is thriving with vibrant night-life and amazing views especially from the city walls.

 

Nazareth

Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, Nazareth is another city of religion and faith but also featuring a rich history combined with modern culture and architecture. The best way to see and learn about the city is by a guided tour, with each era lending a new chapter to the story of Nazareth. A lot of the main tourist attractions are located in the “old city” as you might expect with churches and architecture that will take your breath away, but traditional markets, the views over Galilee and the Turkish bath houses will appeal to all visitors, as will the Sea of Galilee.

 

Tel Aviv

One of the most modern cities in the country, Tel Aviv shows that Israel isn’t all about religion. Featuring a rich blend of restaurants, night clubs and culture, Tel Aviv is growing in popularity among the young, old and everyone in between.

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