7 fun things to do in Israel

Carolyne Parent By Carolyne Parent / 19 August 2018

7 fun things to do in Israel

Carolyne Parent By Carolyne Parent

Looking for new experiences? You won’t be disappointed in Israel.

The term “Holy Land” is often used to describe Israel. While it may be accurate, it might also give you the idea that there’s not much fun to be had. But think again, when you venture off the biblical track, you’ll find there are (also) lots of exhilarating things to do. Let’s take a closer look.

Desert treks

The Judean Desert is known for its high plateaus, plunging canyons and chalk hills with black and white streaks. Among the highlights: Masada, a fortress built on a rock plateau by Herod the Great. And who can say no to cooling off in an oasis?

Forteresse de Masada, désert de Judean, Israël
Photo credits: Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida

The Negev features the Red Canyon and its rock formations, a “work in progress” sculpted by Mother Nature. Through it runs the ancient Incense Route, once used to transport the aromatic resin between Yemen and the Mediterranean. Ruins of the caravanserai, or roadside inns, remain along the way. 

Mud therapy

The Dead Sea is not a sea at all—it’s actually a huge lake, best known for having so much salt you can’t help but float. To go with this rather unforgettable moment of feeling unsinkable, we recommend a Dead Sea mud bath, with its therapeutic effects for your skin.

Man reading in the Dead Sea, Israel
Photo credits: Arian Zwegers

You should also try the Mediterranean beaches of Tel Aviv, such as Jaffa and Caesarea, as well as a dip in the Red Sea in Eilat.

Incredible diving

The words “Red Sea” hold special meaning to freediving enthusiasts, and with good reason. The diversity of brightly coloured fish and coral reefs of Eilat, the only seaside resort in southern Israel, are accessible from the shore.

Poissons dans les eaux de la Mer Rouge, Israël
Photo credits: iluxave

Dolphin Reef is a research centre where you can not only see dolphins in their natural habitat, but you can swim with them as well. Once you dry off, get ready for Eilat by night. It’s especially festive in the summer, with nightclubs and, even, desert raves.

Life in a kibbutz

Around since the early 1900s, the kibbutz is a collective farm where guests help out in exchange for food and lodging. The very definition of sustainable tourism, wouldn’t you say? What’s more, these operations are always looking for volunteers to lend a hand.

Mouth-watering shuks

Photo credits: Joe Goldberg

Of course, hot sun nine months out of the year means fresh fruit and vegetables galore and, by extension, markets too. The Machane Yehuda shuk in Jerusalem and Ha’Carmel shuk in Tel Aviv are two of our favourites. Along with growers’ produce, you can find spices, incense, clothing, handicrafts and a lively atmosphere on Fridays, before the Shabbat.

Epicurean delights

All of this fresh produce, not to mention fish from the Mediterranean, inspires chefs with a cornucopia of ideas for their dishes. As a result, delectable eateries are sprouting up everywhere in trendy centres such as West Jerusalem, and Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv. In Jaffa, your best bets are by the sea.

Fish tartar in the restaurants of Israel
Photo credits: StateofIsrael

Nightlife

Cool cafés? Yup. Rooftop bars? Check. Speakeasies? Most definitely. This may be the “Holy Land,” but that doesn’t mean young Israelis don’t know how to have fun.

Sortie dans les bars de Tel Aviv, Israël
Photo credits: Israeli Ministry of Tourism

Cover photo credit: Israeli Ministry of Tourism

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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