10 Best Places to Visit in Israel

10 Best Places to Visit in Israel

Category : Israel , Middle East

For a country the size of New Jersey, Israel is startlingly diverse. Almost anywhere you travel in this Middle Eastern country, you’re sure to come across historic religious sites mentioned in the Bible. You’ll also come across ancient Roman ruins as well as other archaeological ruins dating back thousands of years. If old things aren’t your cup of tea, Israel has some great beaches, good outdoor opportunities, and a sophisticated cultural scene. An overview of the best places to visit in Israel:

10. Nazareth

Nazareth

 

Nazareth, the largest city in Galilee, is known as the Arab capital of the country because its residents are predominantly Arab citizens of Israel. Nazareth is a pilgrimage destination for Christians because the Bible says it was the home of Joseph and Mary and hence the childhood home of Jesus. This ancient city is where the angel Gabriel appeared to tell Mary she would give birth to Jesus. Because of this, Nazareth is sometimes called the cradle of Christianity. Its Old City boasts the Church of the Annunciation, the largest Catholic church in the Middle East. Take time, too, to walk the picturesque streets and visit the colorful local market.

9. Caesarea

Caesarea

 

Caesarea is both ancient and new. It was founded by Herod the Great in honor of Caesar Augustus, who gave him the city. In 1952, it became the only city in Israel to be governed by a private corporation. Antiquities park is where you’ll find ruins from Herod’s extensive building campaign. You’ll also find more ruins by walking through the old city or maybe you’ll want to take in a re-enactment of horse races in the hippodrome. The new Caesarea is modern and upscale. Maybe you’ll want to sunbathe on the sandy beaches, play golf or take in the annual jazz festival.

8. Ramon Crater

Ramon Crater

 

Ramon Crater is the largest of three erosion craters found in the Negev Desert. The geological landform is believed to have started forming millions of years ago when the ocean began receding. It was a few more million years before it became the crater it is today. Ringed by mountains, the colorful crater is more than 450 meters (1,500 feet) deep and nearly 40 km (25 miles) long. The world’s largest erosion crater is accessible to the public; you can ogle the varying terrain as you hike, bike or drive through it. Campers may enjoy staying at a campsite run by Bedouins.

7. Haifa

Haifa

 

Israel may be a Jewish state, but it is another religion that draws visitors to Haifa, the country’s third largest city. Located on the Mediterranean, this pretty city’s biggest tourist attraction is the Baha’i World Center with its shrine of the Bab and beautiful gardens. Haifa is primarily a port and industrial city, but it offers a variety of things to do. The Israel Museum of Science, Technology and Space is its most visited museum. The arts are important, too, with Ein Hod, home to about 100 artists and craftsmen. Haifa has nice beaches and is a good place to surf and sail.

6. Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

 

The Sea of Galilee of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake on earth, and the second lowest lake in the world – the lowest being the saltwater Dead Sea. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was supposedly given on a hill overlooking the sea. It’s a popular destination for Christian pilgrims who want to see where Jesus walked on water. The 65-km (40-mile) long Jesus Hiking Trail that visits places where Jesus worked his ministry is another draw. People also come from all over the world to be baptized at the spot the lake flows into the Jordan River.

5. Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

 

Tel Aviv, Israel’s second largest city, is the country’s financial hub. But that doesn’t mean you should skip coming here because there’s lots see and do, especially if you’re into nightlife. Tel Aviv is known as a party city, as one that doesn’t sleep. The city is home to the national opera and philharmonic orchestra. Several travel publication surveys rank the city among the best place to visit in Israel; it’s also famous for being LGBT friendly. Its Mediterranean beaches are some of the world’s best. The city has several outstanding museums, including Beth Hatefulsoth that tells the story of Jewish persecution over the ages.

4. Eilat

Eilat

 

Eilat is an ancient city on the Red Sea that’s served as a port city since the days of King Solomon. Eilat is Israel’s southernmost city. Its sumptuous beaches and an arid climate contributes make it a major resort city. It has some of the best diving in the world, likely due to the beautiful coral reef located here. If you dive, expect to see an astounding array of sea life. Other attractions include King City, a high-tech Bible-based family theme park; bird watching – Eilat is on the main migration route between Europe and Africa; and Timna Valley Park, home to Solomon’s Pillars and the world’s oldest copper mine.

3. Dead Sea

Desert landscape of Israel, Dead Sea

 

The Dead Sea got its name for a reason. It’s almost 10 times as salty as the ocean, making it a harsh environment for anything to grow in. And at 400 meters (1,400 feet) below sea level, it’s the lowest elevation on land. For thousands of years; the salt and minerals from its water are used in cosmetics. Dead Sea water and mud have medically proven benefits, putting severe skin diseases and joint problems into long-term remission. All the luxury hotels along the coast have health spas, which are often booked solid for months ahead.

2. Masada

Masada

 

Situated on a high plateau in southern Israel overlooking the Dead Sea, Masada was the last Jewish holdout to fall to Rome at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War. Masada was first fortified by Herod the Great in the late first century BC. In 66 AD, Sicarii Jewish patriots captured the fortress from the Romans, who tried to take it back seven years later. Rather than live under Roman rule, the 900 Sicarii opted for mass suicide. Today Masada is a symbol of ancient Israel and one of the best examples of Roman fortifications remaining. There’s a cable car for those who don’t fancy taking one of the various different paths that lead up the hill.

1. Jerusalem

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Israel

 

The heart of Israel beats strongly at Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world. Though it’s known as the City of Peace, it has a violent history. It’s been attacked 52 times, destroyed twice and besieged 23 times. It is considered a holy city by three major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Its historic Old City is divided into four quarters: Jewish, Christian, Armenian and Muslim. Here you can walk in Jesus’ footsteps on the Via Dolorosa’ pray at the Western Wall; see the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Christians believe Jesus is buried, and tour the Tower of David, a medieval citadel.


10 Best Places to Visit in Oman

Category : Middle East , Oman

On the edge of the Arabian Peninsula, you’ll find the Sultanate of Oman. Often overlooked by travelers, Oman is an exotic destination filled with incredible attractions and cities. The capital of Muscat is by far the most popular destination, but it only contains a small part of what makes Oman great. If you’re thrilled by desert landscapes, incredible mountain ranges, historic forts and warm beaches throughout the year, then make Oman the next destination on your travel bucket list. An overview of the best places to visit in Oman:

10. Misfat al Abryeen

Misfat al Abryeen

 

While larger cities in Oman can appear very contemporary, smaller villages like Misfat al Abryeen help capture a more traditional atmosphere. This mountain village is made up of stone buildings in shades of orange and brown, and it can look more like an Italian mountain village than something you might expect to find on the Arabian Peninsula. Misfat al Abryeen, however, is a beautiful example of mountain life in Oman. A steep road leads up the mountain, and you can walk among the buildings to admire banana trees and lush greenery. There’s an ancient watchtower above the village that you can climb to see Misfat al Abryeen as well as the surrounding fields and dams filled with water.

9. Masirah Island

Masirah Island

 

Just off the coast of Oman is Masirah Island, a unique destination for travelers in search of sun, beaches, wildlife and history. Masirah Island is home to an Omani air base, but the towns are relatively small. That means few crowds and lots of secluded spots to explore. Regular ferries are available to get you to and from the mainland. On Masirah Island, the top pastimes include swimming, checking out the abundance of shipwrecks just off the coast and watching the more than 30,000 turtles that appear annually in hatching season.

8. Bahla

Bahla

 

Another incredible destination in Oman is the city of Bahla, located in Northern Oman. Bahla is a kind of oasis in the desert, and it has been a stopping point of travelers for centuries. Bahla is just 40 km (25 miles) from Nizwa, and it also boasts a spectacular and historic fort. The Bahla Fort dates back to the 13th century, when it was widely under the control of the Banu Nebhan tribe. In addition to exploring the fort of Bahla, you can see the walls of the city, which are made from adobe and stretch for nearly seven miles in length. If you’re in the market for souvenirs, Bahla is widely known for its impressive selection of local pottery.

 

7. Salalah

Salalah

 

In Southern Oman is Salalah, a destination sometimes known as the second city to Muscat. Salalah is particularly important today because it is the ancestral home to the Sultan Qaboos, the reigning sultan in Oman since 1970. On a visit to Salalah, you can admire the incredible Qaboos Palace, and you can appreciate older architecture in the Old Town, known as the Haffa. Step even further back in time by visiting the Al Baleed Archaeological Site. Salalah is known for its frankincense trade, so be sure to pick some up as a souvenir from the souk in the Haffa. From June to August, monsoon clouds from India bring a constant rain to the area and, as a result, the coastal region around Salalah is transformed into a green oasis with seasonal waterfalls and streams.

6. Jebel Akhdar

Jebel Akhdar

 

Jebel Akhdar can be translated to Green Mountain, and it is a part of the Al Hajar Mountains. Don’t expect a traditional mountain top, and don’t let the green misnomer fool you. The Jebel Akhdar region is a primarily limestone, and contains the highest point in the entire country of Oman. While not covered in lush forests, the elevation makes for cooler temperatures and more agricultural growth than in the desert below. The area is now protected, and you can hike through beautiful terraces and even spot trees laden with fruit. Hiking might not seem like an appealing activity in the deserts of Oman, but it is the perfect pastime in Jebel Akhdar.

5. Ras al Jinz

Ras al Jinz

 

On the easternmost tip of Oman is Ras al Jinz, a turtle reserve that helps to populate and protect the sea turtles of the Indian Ocean. If you visit during the summer, or between the months of May and October, you can see turtle nests along the beach and even watch the baby turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean. Visiting the turtle reserve is possible as a day trip to Muscat, but most visitors opt to spend the night at the resort and check out other attractions like the Turtle Visitor Center and Museum.

4. Musandam Fjords

Musandam Fjords

 

The Musandam Peninsula is the northernmost portion of Oman, and it is separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates. Parts of this region are very isolated, and they have long served as the home to residents in mountain villages and coastal communities. The Musandam Fjords stretch north and offer spectacular views. If you visit the Musandam Fjords, the highlights can include things like boat trips to explore the coasts and peaks rising up from the water, spotting dolphins from a Dhow, or traditional Omani boat, and scuba diving out at sea. Population is sparse and wildlife in abundant, making this region one of the best places to visit in Oman for nature lovers.

3. Wahiba Sands

Wahiba Sands

 

In the center of Oman, desert dunes stretch for miles and create what is called the Wahiba Sands. This is where the Bedu people live, and it is a popular travel destination for those in search of the true, authentic and traditional Oman. Experience the nomadic way of life in the Wahiba Sands by joining a tour that lets you ride on the back of a camel and camp in the desert under the stars. The city of Ibra serves as the major gateway to the Wahiba Sands, and this is where many guided tours begin.

2. Nizwa

Nizwa

In the sixth and seventh centuries, the city of Nizwa served as the capital for Oman. Today, the city is best known for its incredible fort, which was built in the 17th century under the direction of Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’ribi. However, some parts of the fort date all the way back to the ninth century. The highlight of the Nizwa fort is the enormous cylindrical tower. The fort also has some interesting defense mechanisms, including honey traps and unusually shaped windows for shooting approaching enemies. The fort is also a museum, showcasing 17th century life in Oman. While you’re in Nizwa, you can also check out the souk, or outdoor market, as well as the unusual goat market held two days each week in the city center.

1. Muscat

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Oman

 

If you only visit one place in Oman, it is likely to be Muscat. This city is home to forts, palaces, museums and markets, offering something for everyone. While you can’t visit the interior of the Qasr Al Alam Royal Palace, you can head to the harbor to get a close view of the amazing structure. Standing guard over the palace are the twin forts of Al Jalali and Al Mirani, which have been converted to museums and are open to the public. Non-Muslim travelers can also visit the breathtaking Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque on most mornings, admiring features like an enormous crystal chandelier, marble wall panels and the second largest Persian carpet in the world.


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