While there so many places to visit in Israel that many people struggle to visit them all in several trips, there are a some popular places to visit in Israel that are considered “must visits”. While this list will be rather small in comparison to what a full list would be, here are five popular places to visit in Israel to include on your Christian Holy Land tour.
Five Popular Places to Visit in Israel
The Western Wall
One of the most popular places to visit in Israel is the Western Wall, also known as the Kotel or “Waling Wall” (though that is actually a derogatory term meant to mock Jews who went to mourn the loss of the Temple). Being the closest place that Jewish people can get to the Holy of Holies to pray, this site is flocked to by visitors from around the world. Prayers are often written and put into the cracks of the stones, being removed twice a year. The prayers are never destroyed, but are bagged and buried on the Mount of Olives.
What to Know?
The welcoming of the Shabbat is a special time to visit the Kotel. You will need to go through security to enter the Western Wall area, so be prepared to go through metal detectors and have bags checked.
Masada is the mountain fortress built by King Herrod. The impressive structures and layout and ingenuity to bring water to such a high plateau is truly a testament to Herod’s knack for building. During the Jewish Revolt, the final stand of the rebels took place here, where they committed suicide to keep from falling to the Romans.
Today you can use the famous snake path trail to reach the top or go down, but be careful to take plenty of water and take your time. Try to avoid the middle of the day to do it if you can. You can also take the gondolas up to the top, which provide stunning views of the desert and Dead Sea (and completes the hour long hike in about 5 minutes).
What to know?
Seeing the sunrise from Masada is beautiful. You will have to get up very early though and hike to the top to catch it, so plan accordingly!
Arguably one of the most significant archeological discoveries in the history of mankind is the discovery by two Bedouin shepherd boys of some clay pots with scrolls in them in some remote caves near the Dead Sea in the area of Qumran. These would come to be known as The Dead Sea Scrolls and provided many manuscripts and one of oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible in the world, dating to sometime between 200 BC and 200 AD.
What to Know?
Now, not only can you see the caves where the scrolls were found (from a distance) you can also tour the grounds of the community where the dedicated scribes lived. A short video introduces you to its history and life there where the dedicated monastic community lived. Tradition holds that John the Baptist may have studied here, as his baptismal site was not far away.
The Sea of Galilee
While this is a bit of a broad jurisdiction that includes many sites around its shores, the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Kinneret is a must see for a visit to Israel. So much of Jesus’ life and ministry centered on this body of water. Many of his disciples were fishermen here. Jesus calmed the storm here. The fish he multiplied were from this body of water. The fish from which Peter found the Temple tax in was from this water. Jesus walked on this water. Peter jumped from his boat and swam to his risen Savior in these waters.
Its significance can not be understated.
What to Know?
Don’t miss seeing a sunrise and sunset around its shores. You will notice that today there are many recreational activities taking place here, including jet skis, as it is now a popular weekend getaway for locals.
The Via Dolorosa walks you through the fourteen stations of the cross, the path Jesus is said to have taken on his way to crucifixion. While on this path, you will also get a wonderful tour through the Old City of Jerusalem. The walk begins inside the Lion’s Gate, which is in the Muslim Quarter. The stations include the traditional locations of Jesus’ Trial, Jesus’ falls, His encounters with people, and the final 5 being within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
What to Know?
This path is very popular, especially around Easter, so it is best to be taken during off-peak times.
These are just a few of the popular places to visit in Israel. There are many more! We are booking tours for 2021, so contact us today to begin constructing your tour!