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Israel Tourism

Continent: Asia

Ideal Duration: 7 - 10 days

Best Time: December - April Read More

Currency: New Israeli Shekel (ILS)

Budget: Moderate

"Where the history comes alive"

Israel Tourism

Israel is a considered as a Holy nation bordered by Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. It is also home to Jerusalem ( the birth place of Lord Jesus). It has a vibrant history and culture . It has ties to diversified religions, and this makes it a interesting place to visit for travellers . It is also a highly modernised country, and the regions are divided into cities which are further sub-divided into towns. Israel-Palestine conflict is an ongoing issue, and after the peace negotiations fell apart in 2014, the countries are working on a two-state solution.

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Regions in Israel

Israel is a country with varied landscapes ranging from deserts to hill stations. The major divisions are Galilee (hill ranges), Shephelah ( highland), Negev (desert area), Golan Heights (mountainous area) and Israeli coastal plains. The major cities include - Jerusalem ( holy city for Jews, Muslims and Christians), Akko (UNESCO heritage town), Eilat (dubbed as "Goa of Middle East"), Safed (city known for artists and mystics ), Tel Aviv (a lively metropolitan city where many foreign embassies are present), Beer-sheba (largest city in Negev), Ashdod (largest port in Israel) and Ashkelon ( coastal city).

Best time to visit Israel

December - April is the best time to visit Israel

December to April is the best time to visit Israel. This Middle Eastern country is beautiful and overflows with tourists during the peak season. The year starts with spiritual Hanukkah and its treats and customs. The colder months in the peak season from November to March are the best to experience the tranquillity of the Dead Sea. June, July and August are also crowded in Israel with tourists looking forward to experiencing the best of the country without much crowds around. However, if you wish to enjoy Israel at its calmest and loneliest, book your tickets for May or September. During these off months, you will have the magnificent chance of witnessing the abandoned cities of Israel in context of the holiest days of Yom Kippur.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Cheap bus fares. Kosher vegetarian food. Kind and hospitable people. Pleasant climate during spring. Aromatic coffee. 

What's Not So Great?

Visa complications. Time-consuming security checks. Not so friendly taxi drivers. High food expenses

For Whom?

Eco travellers, divers, religious tourists and ancient history lovers.

Stay options in Israel

Israel provides varied accommodation options from inns to five-star rated hotels. Rooms get sold out, and the prices are high during July, August, and on major Jewish and Christian holidays. Israel Hotel Association is an organisation for hotels, and it consists of 350 hotels, Israel Youth Hostel Association provides a range of hostel accommodations. Bed and breakfast is also quite common . Famous hotel chains include - Kibbutz hotels, Zimmers and Good Morning Jerusalem.

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Currency of Israel

Shekel or Shakh is the currency of Israel. 100 agorots make one Shekel. Notes denomination - 20 (green), 50 (violet or green), 100 (brown) and 200 (red). Newer notes are made of plastic and it is untearable. Coin denominations are - 10 Agorot (copper), 1/2 Shekel (copper), 1 New Shekel (nickel), 2 New Shekel (nickel), 5 New Shekel (nickel), 10 New Shekel (copper core, nickel rim). 18 INR ~ 1 ISL . Credit cards are accepted in most of the places and it is better to pay by cash for purchases amounting to lower prices . 1 shekel ~ 18 INR.

Exchanging Money in Israel

Exchanging money at post offices will not incur any extra charges but be ready to wait in a long queue and it might leave you standing for hours together. Banks generally provide lower exchange rates so it is better to avoid . ATM's do not charge withdrawal fee. However, it is better to check with your bank if they will charge for transaction which might range from 1-3 %. CASPOMATS are ATMs which let you draw even foreign currencies. Bureaux De Exchange centres are also available in all market places. Suggested exchange centre - Capital one

Nightlife in Israel

Tel Aviv is known for its flourishing nightlife scenes and parties .The clubs in this city are spread all over, and it is considered to be one of the most ideal party destinations . Most of the bars get filled up after mid night, and the age limit for drinking is 18. Likewise, Jerusalem - the capital city also has many bars which are known for their lively,Êlaid back atmosphere. Live music is also standard in these clubs.

Shopping in Israel

Being a famous religious site, the most commons items that travellers buy are trinkets, paintings and various other products like art pieces, pomegranate wine, spices, jewellery, Silan (honey), pottery, souvenirs and t - shirts. Famous marketplaces are - Mahane Yehuda market, Nachyat Binlamin Mall, Sarona market, Shuk Ha'Carmel, Adina Plastelina. Art and Craft markets are open on Tuesday and Friday in Tel Aviv. Buy items in a shop where they provide VAT refund. Note: VAT included in your purchase can be refunded when you leave the country, but it is often a long queue at the airports. However, a minimum purchase of 400 shekel or more is required to be applicable for VAT refund. Eilat is a famous tourist city with no VAT charges, but the items are quite costly to buy here.

Festivals of Israel

Israel celebrates many festivals throughout the year. Major festivals include - Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur ( celebrated eight days after the new year), Sukkot (involves a pilgrimage to Jerusalem ), Hanukkah, Shavuot ( another pilgrimage festival). Yearly events include-  Contemporary art fair, DocAviv film festival, The Israel Festival, Pride week ( In support of LGBT community ), Red Sea Jazz Festival.

History of Israel

Jews trace their origin to Abraham, who established the belief that there is only one God, the creator of the universe. 

Zionism, A Jewish national movement, emerged in the late-19th century. Israeli independence in 1948 was marked by migration of Jews from  Europe and  Muslim countries to Israel and Arabs from Israel. This was followed by the ArabÐIsraeli conflict. About 43% of the world's Jews live in Israel today, the largest Jewish community in the world.

Hygiene in Israel

Hiking in mountainous regions requires good immunity, and it is advisable to keep yourself hydrated by drinking a lot of water, and it is necessary to take proper precautions. Tap water is completely safe for consumption and travel health insurance is highly recommended for those who travel. Summers can be scorching so drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen lotion. The street food is completely safe and clean, so there is nothing to worry about.

Customs of Israel

Tipping is almost non-extant outside food industry. Not giving tips to waiters is usually frowned upon and tipping can be avoided if the service is not satisfactory. Wear modest clothes when visiting religious sites. Do not speak in such a way that offends the locals sentiments. Locals are very friendly, and they will help you to have a pleasant stay. Remove shoes before entering religious sites, and a calm atmosphere should be maintained.

Tips for visiting Israel

Shabbat is usually observed in Jewish towns where shops will remain closed from about 2 pm on Saturday and will open at 7 pm on Saturday during winters and 8:30 pm during summers. Public transportation, restaurants are also shut down during this period. But, in Arab towns, it is usually open. So, it is better to buy necessary items before or after this time. Do not discuss sensitive topics like Holocaust or any conflicts between countries. Do not enter any disputed regions without proper knowledge.

Culture of Israel

Israel is home to mixed nationalities. Immigrants from various countries are employed in different sectors. However, Jews make up the majority of the population followed by Islam. The official language of Israel is Arabic and Hebrew . Hebrew is the most commonly spoken language. English is also widely spoken because English is the second foreign language taught at schools. Older people understand Hebrew better. Common phrases - Walla (Is that so), Yalla (common, let's move), Sababa (great ), Akhla (good), Sachbak (friend), Shalom - hello & bye, todah- thank you, lama - why, mis'ada - restaurant.

Food of Israel

Israel has an assorted cuisine. Arabic, Mediterranean, Asian dishes, and flavors are also incorporated, and the food here is of high quality, and the cost is also high which might be a huge setback for tourists. Traditional foods include - Falafel ( fried chickpeas balls), Hummus ( cream of chickpeas, tahini, lemon and olive oil), Pita Bread, Shawarma (sliced meat with pita and hummus chips), Sabich ( eggplant, hummus, hard boiled egg) and Krembo ( chocolate snack). Finding Vegan food joints is not difficult as most of the restaurants in Israel are Kosher. Kosher refers to Jewish religious laws concerned with food. It states that dairy and meat products should never be cooked or eaten together and in addition to it, it is also against the consumption of pork, shellfish, and rabbit. So, mostly dairy products are sold during breakfast and coffee; milk will be unavailable during lunch and dinner because of the menu which involves meat dishes. Most of the supermarkets are Kosher and non-kosher stores have emerged substantially over the recent years. Amirim is a vegetarian village in Galilee with an array of restaurants. Aroma is Israel's famous coffee chain, and other notable chains are Arcaffe, Cafe Hillel, etc., Note: Tel Aviv has few kosher restaurants whereas it the opposite in holy cities like Jerusalem.

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