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Things to Do in Israel - page 3

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Shenkin Street (Sheinkin Street)
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Once one of Tel Aviv’s coolest streets, Shenkin Street (also spelled Sheinkin Street) is now a vibrant thoroughfare, home to an ever-changing array of stores, boutiques, and eateries. Although it’s moved on from its hippie, counter-cultural heyday, it’s still worth a wander while en route from nearby Carmel Market or Nachlat Binyamin.

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Mea Shearim (Me’a She’arim)
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Having a predominantly Haredi and Hasidic population, the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim (Me'a She'arim) is a world of its own within Jerusalem. The insulated neighborhood is one of the oldest Jewish areas in the city and accordingly, life revolves around the many strict religious rules and traditions. Men can be seen wearing the traditional black frock coats with white shirts and stiff black hats to cover their heads. Women usually dress in black, long skirts and blouses and cover their heads with a headscarf or a wig. Additionally, the households in Mea Shearim reject most technology, including computers, televisions and radios as well as newspapers and magazines. Instead, important messages and news are glued onto walls or one of the numerous billboards that can be seen everywhere. Next to the messages, there are also the so called “modesty posters”, big notices with bold print that urge visitors to wear at least knee length clothing as well as tops with sleeves. Since the inhabitants of Mea Shearim also don’t want to become a major tourist attraction, photography is forbidden within the neighborhood and visitors are generally encouraged to blend in.

The residents of Mea Shearim might be suspicious of strangers, but if you make the effort to follow the rules and blend in, you will find the people to be nothing but honest, helpful and friendly. Those looking for bargains and reasonable prices will discover a great selection of interesting goods in the shopping district and it is worthwhile to purchase typical Jewish necessities and clothes, visit one of the bookstores and follow the mouthwatering smells into one of the many bakeries. The bakeries could even be called the main attractions of the neighborhood, so make sure not to miss out on the Sufganiyah, delicious round jelly doughnuts topped with powdered sugar.

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Hezekiah's Tunnel (Siloam Tunnel)
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Walk the ancient stone waterway beneath Israel's ancient City of David, known as Hezekiah's Tunnel (Siloam Tunnel). It's been channeling water into Jerusalem for 2,000-plus years, and today provides a route through the city’s underground history. Expect a wet, caving-like experience thanks to a constant flow of water.

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Jericho
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5 Tours and Activities

Jericho is an ancient biblical town, with early settlements traced back 10,000 years, possibly making it the earliest site of human civilization. Located in the occupied Palestinian Territories, and reached by traveling through the Judean Desert, Jericho is filled with archaeological ruins, monasteries, mosques, and other religious and historical sights.

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Tomb of the Virgin Mary (Mary's Tomb)
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At the base of the Mount of Olives lies the site believed by Eastern Christians to be the Tomb of the Virgin Mary (Mary's Tomb). Her monument there, embedded in rock, commemorates Mary’s Assumption and ascension into heaven. Following a dark, winding staircase down to the burial site, the walls are decorated with historic art depicting Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the crypt itself, hanging lamps and burning candles and incense create a low lit, peaceful atmosphere.

Tradition states that her body was received on the third day following her death, leaving her tomb empty. Traditions following her death here are said to taken place since the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The church that sits above is believed to have been built around the time of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, making it one of the oldest near-complete religious buildings in Jerusalem.

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Mount of Olives Cemetery
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This historic Jewish cemetery dates back some 3,000 years and is among the most ancient and most important burial sites in all of Jerusalem. More than 70,000 tombs of some of Judaism’s most-famous figures exist at Mount of Olives Cemetery.

Visitors say this stunning memorial with incredible views is a sobering destination and a reminder of the religious foundation of this holy city and its inhabitants. Tombs are decorated with small piles of stones that signify visits from family, friends and loved ones of the departed.

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Underground Jerusalem
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Underground Jerusalem is an archaeological site in ancient Jerusalem, located beneath the neighborhood of Silwan. It is said to be where Jerusalem was born. Situated on a narrow ridge south of Temple Mount in East Jerusalem, it is understandably one of the most extensively excavated sites in the city. The underground city is open to visitors, who can use the same underground tunnels that residents would have used 2,000 years ago. The most famous tunnel in the area is Hezekiah’s Tunnel. He constructed tunnels to bring water to the people within the city walls; this is even quoted in the Bible: “the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made the pool and conduit, and brought water into the city” (2 Kings 20:20). There are two other major underground systems in the area: Solomon's Quarries and Solomon's Stables. There is more than a mile (two kilometers) of pathways beneath the city, away from the hustle and bustle of busy Jerusalem, under most of the city’s major historical attractions.

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Ashdod (Jerusalem Cruise Port)
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Ashdod (Jerusalem Cruise Port) is Israel’s largest seaport and a popular stop for cruise ships from lines like Azamara, Celebrity, Silversea, and Oceania. Strategically located along the Mediterranean Sea coast, the Ashdod Cruise Terminal is the gateway to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the Holy Land.

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Palmach Museum

The Palmach, an underground arm of the Haganah (a Jewish paramilitary force that predates the Israel Defense Forces), was founded in 1941 to secure a Zionist settlement in what was then Palestine. Today the innovative Palmach Museum transports visitors back in time with multimedia experiences, a photo gallery, archival library, and memorial.

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Church of St. James
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One of the most significant sites in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter, the walled Church of St. James serves as the cathedral of the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Georgians first built a church on the site — believed to be the location where St. James was beheaded — during the eleventh century. The structure was resorted by Armenians during the twelfth century.

Besides its ties to the martyred disciple, the Church of St. James also houses the tomb of another James, the oldest brother of Jesus and the author of the Epistle of James, who was himself martyred in 62 AD.

The church ranks among the most ornate houses of worship anywhere in the holy land, adorned with hanging lamps, gilded icons and colorful woven carpets. The courtyard of the church features a series of interesting carved stone crosses, called khatchkars.

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More Things to Do in Israel

Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Center)

Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Center)

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The term “yad vashem” comes from the Book of Isaiah and can be translated as “a place to memorialize.” Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Center) in Jerusalem is the world’s most important Holocaust museum — a memorial to the 6 million Jewish lives lost.

The complex comprises two museums, the Holocaust History Museum and an Art Museum, as well as an exhibition pavilion, learning center and a synagogue. The centerpiece is the history museum, housed within a triangular prism-shaped structure running through the center of campus. Nine underground galleries recount the story of the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective through artifacts, survivor testimonies, personal possessions and audio-visual presentations. A visit to the museum ends in the Hall of Names, a place where the names and stories of millions of victims are recorded.

The Art Museum houses the largest and most diverse collection of Holocaust art in the world — some 10,000 works — mostly produced during the Holocaust period.

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Nalaga'at (Nalagaat Center)

Nalaga'at (Nalagaat Center)

Nalaga’at (Nalagaat Center) is a groundbreaking institution in Tel Aviv that’s transformed the lives of deaf and blind people. It’s home to a theater where deaf-blind actors perform award-winning shows, a café where hearing-impaired staff encourage guests to communicate in sign language, a restaurant where guests dine in the dark, and a wealth of workshops.

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Underwater Observatory Marine Park

Underwater Observatory Marine Park

Surrounded by coral reef marine life off the Israeli coast, the Underwater Observatory Marine Park offers a window into the Red Sea's natural aquarium. On a visit to the tower observatory, you descend 40 feet (12 meters) below the surface of the Gulf of Aqaba—without getting wet—to see the underwater world from glass-lined halls.

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