When people visit Israel, they often think that there is nothing but historical and religious things to do. While there are many of those to be sure (and they should be the focus of your tour), there is a lot more to this amazing country to do while you are here!
Israel has an amazing and diverse landscape and many are very surprised when they arrive to see it. While you visit Israel, we encourage you to find ways to enjoy this beautiful Promised Land!
Here are 10 outdoor activities to participate in while you are in Israel….
- The Dead Sea- The Dead Sea is a bucket list for many and for good reason. Floating in the water is a unique experience, and its waters are said to have great health benefits, especially for your skin. Local Tip: Don’t shave before going in the water; while the minerals may be good for your skin, it’s saltiness is less so for freshly shaven skin! Ouch!
- Hike Ein Gedi- Just because something is fun and beautiful, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have tremendous meaning as well. Ein Gedi is where David hid from King Saul and wrote many of the Psalms. It is also a wonderful place to see wildlife, hike and swim in its springs. A true oasis in the desert, you will read the book of Psalms with fresh eyes and feel invigorated by the beautiful scenery. Local Tip: If you go in the morning or in the evening, you may catch a glimpse of an Ibex, a wild mountain goat. Be sure to look in the trees for these sure-footed climbers.
- Hike Tel Dan- As the saying says “From Dan to Beersheba”, Dan is the northern most point of biblical Israel. Today it is an awe-inspiring nature preserve. You will see the headwaters of the Jordan gush all around you with lush trees and foliage and even catch a view of neighboring Lebanon. Throughout the hike, you will see points of biblical interest, including “The High Places” built by Jeroboam and often spoken of in relation to describing kings, showing that even good rulers wouldn’t remove these pagan alters. You will also see a Canaanite gate from the time of Abraham and Sarah, believed to be the oldest archeological site in the country. It is possible Abraham stood at this very spot. Local Tip: Make sure you take water with you on this hike.
- Jordan River Rafting- The Jordan River is a place of deep meaning for the Christian faith, but it’s also fun to take a raft down. You will get views of the country you won’t get any other way. Local Tip: Plan this for the end of the day. It builds up an appetite for dinner and may make you ready for some rest after.
- Alpine Coaster- A fun thing to escape the heat in Israel is to head to Mount Hermon, the highest point in Israel and go to it’s amusement park that includes a fun alpine roller coaster! Local Tip: If it is winter, you can ski as well!
- Surf – Many may not think of Israel as a surf destination, but there is a vibrant surf community near areas like Jaffa and Netanya. Local Tip: Many of our groups start their tours very near to these points. If this is of interest to you, plan to do it as a way to get over jetlag before your actual tour starts.
- Masada- Masada is essentially the vacation home of Herod the Great, and it truly shows his prowess for construction (the source of his “Great” reputation). It is also where the last stand against the Romans occurred. This mountain top retreat in the desert gives not only a vivid look into history, but also breathtaking views. You have 2 options for getting to the top; cable car or hiking. If you are going to hike, take into account the timing, as it can get very hot. It is possible to hike one direction and cable car the other. Local Tip: Sunrise from atop Masada is known as one of the best sunrises in the world. Get up early, cause you’ll have to hike to the top.
- Snorkel the Red Sea- The Red Sea is teeming with gorgeous fish and people come from around the world to snorkel and dive there. See everything from dolphins, coral, clownfish, and eels to the occasional whale shark. Local Tip: If you don’t want to get in the water, you still have options for viewing the underwater life. There is an underwater observatory you can view them from and glass bottom boats available to charter and purchase tickets for.
- Walk the Ramparts of Jerusalem- While Jerusalem may be a bustling city at the center of the world, there are still great ways to get outside and see if from a different point of view. The Rampart Walk gives you the opportunity to walk on top of the city walls, looking both inside the Old City as well as along the nearby valleys and mountains for a great view of the city and all of it’s historical and cultural gems. Local Tip: Day time and night time views make it like two different tours. During the summer months, the walk is open until 10pm on most nights, but give yourself 3 hours to finish it.
- Jeep Tours- Jump in a Jeep with an experienced guide and find yourself in a true adventure! Tours take place in the Golan Heights, the Negev Desert and many other places around the country. This will give you close up views of wildlife, landscape, and often-unseen areas of the country. Local Tip: If you aren’t able to hike or do other more challenging physical activity, Jeep rides are a great way to experience the outdoors, all while in comfortable seating with air conditioning!
These are just a few of the many things available to get out and active and in Israel. Don’t forget your sunscreen, a hat and water on any of them and we can’t wait to see your pictures!
If you are interested in a tour that includes any of these amazing activities, one of our very knowledgeable tour operators would be more than happy to help you add these into your tour! We hope to see you “next year in Jerusalem!”