Few countries evoke so much excitement, controversy, and promise as does this tiny middle eastern nation placed at the intersection of three continents and two seas. It is also historically placed at the intersection of three of the world’s great religions. Where else in the world could you in just one day witness the Muslim Dome of the Rock, the Jewish Western Wall and the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulcher?
Israel is alive with history. Practically every road, hill, valley, or path you take has its own story, as told in tradition or described in the Bible or Koran. Just walking down a street in Old Jerusalem you may encounter an excavation site turning up major archeological finds. This expansive blend of the ancient and modern is what gives Israel its vibrancy.
But the antiquity of this land also plays out in broad, sweeping panoramas. Travel to the sheer cliffs of the mountaintop of Masada. Stand on this wind-swept monument of epic sacrifice where a thousand Jews, the Zealots, took their lives rather than surrender to the Roman legions.
For a more relaxing view of history, try a dip in the buoyant Dead Sea, the lowest spot on the planet. Because of the sea’s high salt content, you’ll be floating on the water’s surface, an eerie but unforgettable experience. The black mud from the sea is rich in minerals, and you can experiment with a therapeutic mud bath at the many resorts and spas in the area. You won’t be the first – it’s said Herod the Great visited the world’s first health resort here 2000 years ago.
To immerse yourself in a more freshwater approach to the biblical record, the Sea of Galilee offers beaches, cycling, hiking trails, and even camping. In the Bible, much of Jesus’ ministry occurred on these shores. This is where he gave his Sermon on the Mount, and it is believed he performed several of his miracles such as walking on water at this very place.
But Israel also has a hip, urban, and modern side for those looking for beaches, nightlife, and culture – all found in its other main city, Tel Aviv. You don’t often hear about Israeli beaches, but in Tel Aviv they are world-class, stretching down its Mediterranean shores. The sunsets, too, are spectacular.
The city’s nightclub, partying and music scene are non-stop, and you’ll find every sort of club, bar, or nightspot to suit your taste. But there’s plenty of high culture to keep you occupied with well-appointed museums, theater, music, and ballet.
Imagine an experience, historical or modern, sacred or… lively – Israel is ready to provide it.