MUST SEE IN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE [Updated 2020]
Israel and Palestine combined have an unending list of attractions and must-see places you have to see during your visit. Israel and Palestine will take you to a completely different world, from the mountainous North of Israel that offers a great winter to the desert that will leave your jaw dropped for it’s beyond the real beauty.
Despite the political and issues that Israel and Palestine face together, the number of tourists who are thirsty to get a sip of answer for the questions that are growing every year is unstoppable.
I was told not to visit these two countries, for safety reasons, but I tell you myself, it is safe here, I feel safe here. However, just like every other country, they have their ups and downs, but these are not enough reason to miss the beauty that Israel and Palestine offer to its travellers.
Related Article: Important Things You Need To Know Before You Enter Israel
Tracing Israel & Palestine – Must See In Israel and Palestine
The hometown of Jesus, travellers are being drawn to this city for its rich history of the Holy Family. Indeed a small city, it should not take you a lot of time to explore its corners.
However, from here, you can also reach the intriguing Sea Of Galilee, stunning port of Haifa, the famous Golan Heights and Mount Bental, and even the two famous borders; to Syria and to Lebanon.
If you find yourself drowning with the huge number of religious and political topics, take a breath and lie by the beach of Tel Aviv.
One of the wildest, most open-minded, and chilled out the city I’ve ever been. Tel Aviv is a young city but full of life. Home for young people, liberation, welcomes the LGBT community, epic nightlife, and stunning beaches, Tel Aviv will make you forget that you are in the Holy Land for a bit.
Don’t forget to take a stroll at the Carmel market and the Old Jaffa. Check out these things you can do in Tel Aviv.
Would you ever come to Israel without taking a peek at Jerusalem? The capital city of Israel, the holiest city of all the holy city. Jerusalem gathers different religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islamic.
Coming from Tel Aviv where you can easily dress up as liberated as you want, make sure you cover your shoulders and knees when walking around the city of Jerusalem.
Get ready in the morning and take a long walk around the Holy City. Where you will see how all the religions fell in the same place, witness why people with different religious views are attracted to set their foot in this Holy City.
One of the biggest Holocaust Museum in the world is also located in Jerusalem, it’s called Yad Vashem. How about a day trip from Jerusalem?
Masada is one of the oldest fortresses in Israel. I cannot rave enough why this is one of the best places to watch the sunrise. The fortress is sitting on the flat top of the hill, most travellers come here early in the morning and start the hike up to watch the sun coming up from the mountains of Jordan.
If you are not a fan of early mornings and hiking, a cable car is possible too! Hear what my friend over at The Winged Fork can say about Masada.
- Fun tours: Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi, and Dead Sea Tour
Ein Gedi is a naturally reserved park which also serves as the home for wild animals like Nubian Ibex and Rock Hyrax. Ein Gedi is also popular for its two waterfalls.
Visitors are allowed to swim here and have a good dip when the sun is too hot. However, during the winter season, the water is too low to be able to swim at. This is located at west of the Dead Sea, near Masada.
I’m pretty sure that you are aware of the story that you can float in the Dead Sea without even trying or the mud here will make you feel young again.
As strange as it sounds, these two stories are real! I lost count how many times I’ve floated in the Dead Sea and scrub my skin with its mud and this is something you definitely must not miss when visiting Israel and Palestine!
- Fun tours: Dead Sea and Masada Tour
Palestine – West Bank
Jordan River and Jericho
The Jordan River where Jesus was baptised is definitely a must see in Palestine, the same river also serves as the border between Palestine and Jordan which is only two meters width at this very point. A lot of religious groups also head her to conduct some group prayers, masses and pilgrims.
The unofficial capital of Palestine, located only 15 km from Jerusalem, Ramallah is reachable by a public bus that will drive around 30 minutes or more depending on the checkpoints and traffic. This city is also known as the political city, as it serves as the home of Palestine’s Prime Minister.
The government offices are located here as well. Remember to take a stroll in Ramallah’s local market and get a great view of Palestinian’s everyday life.
I was honestly surprised when I get to Bethlehem, most travellers would expect a Christian Centred city, however, I was welcomed with the two praying places, Christian Church and Muslim Mosque facing each other.
Although mostly, Muslims are living here, the number of Christians is still strong. Christian followers coming from everywhere in the world unite here together to learn about the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
You can visit the Church of Nativity and get to touch and see the exact location where Jesus was born and the manger that the Virgin Mary nursed him right after giving birth. The Church of Nativity is also divided into three section, the area for Armenians, Catholics, and Christian Orthodoxes.
The Milk Grotto Chapel is something that you should not miss as well. This is the place where the Holy Family found refuge during the “slaughter of the innocents” before they could escape and hide to Egypt.
The name Milk Grotto was derived from the story that a drop of the milk of the Virgin Mary fell on the floor of the cave and changed its colour to white.
The Separation Wall (Bethlehem) – Israeli West Bank Barrier
This is the wall in the West Bank or along the Green line. This wall was built up during the Second Intifada that began in September 2000 and was defended by the Israeli Government to stop the wave of violence inside Israel.
Despite that the wall supposed to serve as a temporary security measure during the heightened tensions, it has been rapidly pointed as a political border between Israel and Palestine.
The wall attracts visitor for its political graffiti that has been done by the locals and foreign graffiti artists. Tourists are also open to writing their own graffiti on the said wall.
The North of Israel
Sea Of Galilee
The Sea Of Galilee has been and still one of the biggest attractions for Christian Pilgrims who visit Israel. It is stated in the New Testament that this is where Jesus performed miracles. Such as His walking on the water, calming the storm, and feeding the multitude.
In April 2011, Israel opened a 64 km (40-mile) hiking trail in Galilee for Christian Pilgrims which is now known as the “Jesus Trail”. The trail ends in Capernaum, the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Also known as Syria Golan, today, the western 2/3 of the Golan Heights is occupied and administrated by Israel, whilst the eastern third is controlled and monitored by Syria. However, UNDOF maintains a buffer zone in between, to make sure that the implemented ceasefire of the Purple Line.
I was in Mount Bental (Israel side) where visitors could talk openly with the UN guards about the current situation and their jobs there. Israel took over the part of Golan Heights during the Six-Day War.
Haifa is famous for their stunning port and the beautiful Baha’i Garden. This is the third largest city in the State of Israel. This is also home to the Baha’i World Centre, a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site and a popular destination for Baha’i pilgrims.
The border to Lebanon, Rosh Hanika is one of the top destinations in Israel for the fact that visitors could easily get close to the border of Israel and Lebanon, which is currently closed.
Rosh Hanika is also popular for its jaw-dropping grottoes that are formed by sea action on the soft chalk rock. In the past, only the experienced divers have access to visit these grottoes. Today, a service cable car is open to its visitors.
South Of Israel
The southern point of Israel, Eilat is well-known as a busy port and a popular resort. Tourist and locals visit Eilat to get the chance to experience to dive in the Red Sea.
Eilat is considered a great destination all year round for its sunny weather. During winter expect the temperature around 21 °C (70 °F) whilst it exceeds 40 °C (104 °F) during summer.
- Where to stay: Booking.com, Agoda, HostelWorld
- Fun tours: Snorkelling, Sunset Jeep at Mount Joash, Timna Park, Sunset Sail and Snorkel
Related Article: Scuba Diving in Eilat
Am I going to wrap up this article without the mention of the desert? Israel draws a lot of attention for its magnificent mountainous desert as well. The Judean desert lies to the east of Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea. The Judean Desert is crossed by numerous wadis from the northeast to the south-east and has many ravines.
I hope these suggestions will help you plan your trip to Israel and Palestine. If you have any other questions, feel free to message me, leave your comment, or send me an email. Safe travels!