The magic of Israel is admirable whether it’s your first or umpteenth visit. Alongside a biblical backdrop, the dynamic landscape is continuously evolving, and, minute in size as it might be, there’s much to tick off your vacation list, whether relaxing, religion, or rugelach (indulgent pastries, in case you’re wondering) are on the menu.
If you’re on the perusal for inspiration before jetting over to the holy land, buckle up as we delve into 20 of the best things to do in Israel.
Beach and Surf
With around 300 days of sunshine annually, feeling the sand between your toes and splashing in the sea is a reality most of the year! Tel Aviv’s 14km of shimmering beaches are flocked to day in and day out by locals and tourists, whether you’re catching a game of ‘matkot’ (paddle ball game), surfing the rolling waves, paddleboarding your way to serenity, or trying your hand at a game of volleyball. Abraham Tel Aviv is a convenient ten-minute dander from your pick of glorious beaches, not to mention, the hustle and bustle of the nonstop city.
Stroll the Streets of Neve Tzedek
The eclectic charm of Neve Tzedek is a treat for anyone who appreciates fine architecture and a boutique shopping experience. The first Jewish settlement built outside of Jaffa in 1887 is one of Tel Aviv’s trendiest neighborhoods, famed for its chic stores around Shabazi Street, galleries for an art lover, delectable eateries, and Antia ice cream (vegan options available!). This branch of the city is an idyllic spot to whittle away an afternoon at a leisurely pace.
Feel Like a Local in the Markets
Purousing a market (that’s shuk in Hebrew) is definitely on our 20 things to do in Israel list! Not only can you rub elbows with the locals, but it’s the most immersive way to soak up that truly authentic Middle-Eastern vibe.
Mahane Yehuda Market is a converging spot in Jerusalem that’s existed since the Ottoman rule, where by day vendors hustle to sell their goods, while at night, a wine and dine hotspot transforms before your eyes.
In Tel Aviv, Carmel Market is the city’s biggest open-air market, selling aromatic spices, fresh vegetables, fruits, and clothing for a bargain since 1920, not to mention, is home to a cluster of trendy eateries. Further south in Florentin is Levinsky Market, developed in the late 1920s by Jewish immigrants from Greece and Turkey settling in the neighborhood. Wind your way through the stalls to sample nuts, dried fruits, cheeses, and olives, as well as foods from the Balkan and Persian regions.
In Jaffa, history converges with the present day at the Flea Market, known as Shuk Hapishpeshim—around since the early 20th century. This spot calls on bargain hunters, vintage lovers, and those with a penchant for unique jewelry, with a diversity of cafes, restaurants, and bars to fill those rumbling tummies—all winding towards Jaffa Port’s breathtaking waterfront.
Get Wild With Tel Aviv’s Nightlife
Tel Aviv has earned its title as the nonstop city for many reasons—in particular its vibrant nightlife scene, which, on any given day of the week, has a glut of bars and clubs for your choosing. Around the southern of Rothschild’s leafy Boulevard are a few of the city’s main headliners, including Kuli Alma, a hipster’s paradise blending art, music, and slushy drinks; Teder F.M’s urban courtyard where beer and chef-made pizza are on tap; and The Block, arguably Tel Aviv’s most supreme of venues for the avid clubber. If cocktails are more your flavor, look no further than the 1920s-themed speakeasy Bellboy, where the waiters are as spellbinding as the drinks.
Explore the Museums
Israel is home to hundreds of museums exploring themes of history, religion, music, art, design, and more! Here’s a roundup to keep you busy:
- Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Tel Aviv)
- The Museum of the Jewish People (Tel Aviv)
- Ilana Goor Museum (Jaffa)
- Israel Museum (Jerusalem)
- Hebrew Music Museum (Jerusalem)
- Herzl Museum (Jerusalem)
- Yad Vashem. The World Holocaust Remembrance Center (Jerusalem)
- Israel National Maritime Museum (Haifa)
- Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space (Haifa)
Experience Shabbat Dinner
Nothing quite matches the vibe in Israel on Shabbat (Sabbath)—the Jewish day of rest on the seventh day of the week, where the holy day is ushered in on Friday evening with an around-the-table ceremony and delicious home-cooked meal. Take a seat at one of Abraham’s Shabbat Dinners (every Friday evening at our Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Eilat locations) to learn more about the rituals of this holy day, and dig into some tasty staples.
Scream at the Amusement Parks
Revisit your youth at one of the country’s amusement parks, including North Tel Aviv’s Luna Park where you can dive, swing, and twirl on its roaster of exhilarating rides. Amusement games and appetizing buffets are on hand for those who prefer to stay upright. Superland in Rishon Le Zion, a 20-minute drive south of Tel Aviv, offers a comparable experience with rollercoasters to set your pulse racing and entertainment for all ages.
Immerse in History at the Old City Jerusalem
Our 20 things to do in Israel list would be incomplete without mentioning the Old City. Wind your way through the cobble-lined streets of biblical history in Jerusalem’s charming Old City, contained within four-quarters of Jewish, Christian, Arab and Armenian. Among these ancient walls are the world’s holiest sites, including the Western Wall (Kotel), the only remaining section of the Second Jewish; Temple Mount, where Abraham brought his son Isaac to be sacrificed at the command of God; and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.
Get up close to Sealife at the Israel Aquarium
Israel’s first aquarium, the Gottesman Israel Aquarium, opened its doors in 2017 with a mission to educate the public on the preservation of aquatic habitats across the country. Get aquatinted with a scope of spectacular sea life, marvel at the eye-catching coral through impressive viewing windows, and stop by the shark tank and sting ray feeding pool to top off your visit.
Step Back in Time in Caesarea
Am ancient Roman city initially built by King Herod the Great, Caesarea is an exceptional interweaving of old and new, where remains stretching back to the 3rd Century BC and the 12th century Crusader period are on show. Caressing the Mediterranean seafront is Caesarea’s breathtaking national park where you’ll find the Roman Theater, Hippodrome, and archaeological park. While over at the harbor, restaurants with menus boasting delectable eats serve up just as scrumptious a view. You can also tag on a visit to Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael and fishing village Jisr az-Zarqa with our latest tour!
Savor the Varietals at the Wineries
You may be surprised to learn that Israel is quite the vacation for wine enthusiasts, with hundreds of wineries—including dozens of boutiques— sprawling its length and breadth. It makes perfect sense, given wine drinking is rooted in ancient history and an integral part of Jewish holidays.
Israel has earned its badge of honor for producing award-winning wines across all categories sold both locally and internationally. Indulge in some heady flavors amid calming landscapes at winery hotspots in the Golan Heights (Pelter, Assaf, and Golan Heights wineries), Zichron Ya’akov (Carmel, Tulip, and Somek), and in and around Jerusalem (Flam, Yehuda, and Tzuba).
Take on Masada
If climbing a 2,000-year-old ancient Herodian fortress piques your interest, then Masada, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-see! Sweeping panoramic views framing the wilderness is the only way to witness the desert’s sleepy sunrise. For a more in-depth tour of the region, book one of Abraham’s Masada & Dead Sea Tours which tag on a hike through the beauty that is Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and a float in the mineral-rich salty waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth!
Visit the Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake on earth located in the northeast of the country. Also known as Lake Tiberias or the Kinneret, this region is where Jesus is said to have walked on water. In the vicinity are fascinating biblical sites and towns including Capernaum, Tabgha, Mary’s well, and Yardenit. But the area is also chock-full of attractions—from biking around or sailing across the lake, to a visit of Israel’s first communal settlement at Kibbutz Degania, founded back in 1909. Delve further into history with Abraham’s Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights tour for a taste of culture and a sip of wine at Tel Shifon Winery.
Walk the Jesus Trail
An epic 65-kilometer hiking trail through stunning nature, biblical archaeology, and sites of significant religious interest, the Jesus Trail is an exceptional journey through time. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ himself, you’ll cross terrains spanning luscious greenery, stunning scenery, and navigating rocky cliffs—it’s quite the thrill for nature seekers.
Head North to Haifa
This seaport region in northern Israel is the country’s third most populated city, resting on the slopes of Mount Carmel. Carve out a day to explore its wonderful sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Baha’i Gardens, a blissful beauty tiering above the city with 19 immaculately preserved terraces. Here is where the Shrine of the Báb rests, a prominent religious figure to those of the Baha’i faith. After, lose yourself in the bustle of Haifa’s trendy Talpiot Market. There you can tickle all the senses with foods to satisfy all desires and street art to snap for your social media.
Bathe in the Hot Springs
Israel’s natural thermo-mineral hot springs may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning your visit, but they are a rejuvenating spot when a moment of rest and recuperation calls. Hot spots include Tiberias Hot Springs—a site used for spiritual healing; Ein Gedi Hot Spring, featuring six thermo-mineral pools; Hamei Ga’ash Hot Springs, home to a beautiful spa; and Hamat Gader Hot Springs, also with a large spa complex and massage waterfall.
Lace Up Your Hiking Boots
Outdoor adventures are synonymous with Israel, thanks to its year-round fabulous weather. Make sure to pack your hiking boots if you plan on climbing one of the hundreds of mountains dotted throughout the country. Expect to spot ancient landmarks, untouched nature, and stunning scenery no matter where you go. Here are some useful tips before you venture out!
Explore Mizpe Ramon
If unpolluted views, desert-drenched scenery, and camping under the stars sound appealing, then head right over to the peace and tranquility that is Mitzpe Ramon. You’ll find the world’s biggest geological landform (makhtesh) at the Ramon Crater, a unique geological phenomenon that formed over millions of years in the Negev Desert. Measuring 40km long and somewhere between two to 10 kilometers wide, make sure to stop by the visitor’s center at the edge of the crater to learn about the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.
Beach & Party in Eilat
Eilat is a hedonistic dream in southernmost Israel, chilling on the cusp of the Red Sea. A tax-free shopping, partying and beach paradise, fun in the sun is what it’s celebrated for year-round. By day, get your front-row view of the Coral Nature Reserve, populated by vibrant coral reefs and schools of tropical fish. Or, dive right under to wave at the majestic dolphins that swim under the sea’s surface. If you prefer to prop up poolside, check out Abraham Eilat for its pool parties and more! After a jaunt in the area, or perhaps a desert Jeep tour, warm up Eilat’s electrifying nightlife, where packed dance floors greet you throughout the week.
Eat Delicious Food
The final thing on our 20 things to do in Israel list? Eat, of course! Israel’s budding chefs, bursting with creative flare, have injected new flavor into traditional Middle Easter fare. So much so that the country is home to world-renowned and award-winning restaurants. Hailed as one of the hottest culinary destinations, the food delivers time and time again; whether it’s Tel Aviv’s gamut of chef restaurants, Mahane Yehuda Market’s medley of eateries, or hole-in-the-wall hummus joints that have probably existed for generations. Israel is a foodie’s delight, with freshly picked produce, farm-to-table meals, and a finely tuned repertoire of Asian, Middle Eastern, European, and Mediterranean cuisines (and more) to delight your palette.