one of the most diverse and misunderstood countries in the world. 50 years before the founding of the young jewish state, Theodor Herzl had already composed the idea of a new but eagerly awaited home country…but he never could have foreseen how much pain and suffering it would cost, an utopian concept with no war…his thoughts about the ‘altneuland (old new land) are way too short and idealistic (The book ‘Jewish State’ had been published 1896).
Today, the media is working hard to take out frightening pictures – many people hate but love Israel at the same time. It’s a place for the ones, no ones and everyone. Tourism never stops caused by the historic and religious background. While politicians, traditions and strictly religious people fight and argue, are the rest of the habitants trying to come along with each other, designing a peaceful atmosphere and hoping the best for everyone.
I have visited and travelled Israel and want to share my favorite places with you. I recommend renting a car and explore the country on your own since streets are good and the country is small. It’s one of the things which are cheap. Have a journey through my camera lens! Enjoy!
10 PLACES TO GO IN ISRAEL
1. TEL AVIV
Vibrant – lots of good energy – beautiful beaches – damn good food – dreamy – ecstatic – party!
Try the fusion kitchen @ DIEGO SAN: asian-mexican dishes are more than delicious!
Recommendation: bun burger and the all the desserts on the menue…really good music!
The place to be: PORT SAID
You have to wait at least one hour to get a table…it’s always packed. But it’s worthy. Amazing food and great vinyls!
Best Breakfast: Cafe Sheleg
Nice outside sitting & staff. Try the breakfast plate for two persons and get THIS!
Best SABIH (on Tchernikhovski St 2 – Tel Aviv-Yafo)
I haven’t tried a Sabih before – but for every vegetarian or non vegetarian it’s a must-try! Sabih is Israeli streetfood, very casual but filled with lots of good stuff – more than satisfying. If you order a Sabih – you will have to wait a while since it’s actually an artful layering of fried eggplant (Tipp: Always try the eggplant wherever you are in Israel. I am not a fan of this vegetable type neither, but here it tastes totally different), two different kinds of sauce (tahini&…), and boiled egg, topped with a cool and crunchy chopped Mediterranean salad, filled with love in a pita (you have the choice between plain or whole wheat).
Must-Go: Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Just when the temperature gets to hot, like it did when I visited Tel Aviv, it’s a good choice to take the chance of doing the art thing at the air-conditioned museum. Great architecture!
MUST VISIT: Carmel Market (Shuk Ha’Carmel)
You can get everything here – food, clothes, sunglasses, fresh fruits, nuts. Close to the beach.
MUST WALK: Sderot Rothschild
Walk around the whole Rothschild area in the evenings.
MUST TRY FOR SWEET LOVERS: MALABI @Hamalabiya
You get the best MALABI on Gedera St right next to the bar called Minzar. Malabi is the creamy, originally milk-based pudding perfumed with rose water–is one of the most popular desserts across the Middle East (in Turkey it is called Sutlach.) This place is special since its all about Malabi with different sirups and toppings. Tipp: order the vegan version with cinnamon-raspberry sirup and all toppings! It comes with a shot of arabic coffee on house.
Very friendly & lovely – best hummus, falaffel, schawarma – fun – smiling district – great arabic vibe.
BEST HUMMUS: Abu Hassan
You have to come here and try the delicious hummus, tahini (sesam paste) and labneh (ultra-strained, lightly salty, Middle Eastern yogurt “cheese”) with lots of pita and a coke. The get what you see including arabic atmosphere with loud noises.
MUST VISIT: Jaffa Flea Market
Located in the heart of old town Jaffa, it’s fun to walk around this area. Here you get souvenirs for the best price. It’s weird, but they don’t like to bargain. So the price you get is fixed.
BEST SHAWARMA: No name – Ben Perachyah St. (on the corner Beit Eshel St.)
This hidden shawarma place is a real insider.
BEST BAKERY: Said el Abu Lafia and Sons Pita Bakery
Before you go to the beach, make sure to take your delicious snacks with you. Lots of choice…everything is worth trying.
BEST BARGAIN: Cofix
Tel Aviv is kind of expensive and sometimes you look for just a coffee or a snack for less than 10 shekel – if you see this huge cup on a lamp, follow the sign of COFIX – here you get everything like coffee, sandwiches and drinks for just 5 shekel!
THE CLOCK TOWER
It’s the center of Jaffa.
MUST SWIM: JAFFA BEACH
MUST BUY: FRUITS & VEGETABLES
The fruits and especially the vegetables are very good and cheap.
Try to get an apartment with a rooftop in Jaffa.
PLACE TO BE:
Get some food and drinks at the streets of RABI YOHANAN ST and NAKHMAN ST. Very cool and hip!
BEST BAKLAVA: no name – Yefet St. 13
You have the choice of so many types of baklava – you can try before you buy. Tip: Kenafeh (is a levantine cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup).
You have to order just a variation of pre course dishes and you get enough to eat, like hummus, tahini, different salads, baked cauliflower, tabuleh (this!), grilles aggplant, pastes and as much pita as you want.
MUST CHURCH: Basilica of the Annunciation
4. LAKE OF GALILEE | KINNERET | LAKE GENNESARET
After beaches and salty water, it’s really refreshing to swim in that lake.
MUST BAPTISM: JORDAN RIVER
Get some holy water…It’s enough for everyone!
5. GOLAN HEIGHTS
MUST STAY: KIBBUTZ
Look for a kibbutz to stay. You can connect with the people there and learn about alternative living.
MUST ORDER: SHAKSHUKA
If you drive through the golan heights you will pass many little arabian towns which serve the best shakshuka and arabic pizza!
MUST DO: RENT A CAR
There are miles of trails and parks to discover here. It’s just beautiful and peaceful even though the borders to lebanon and syria are close by.
6. NORTH COAST
MUST VISIT: ACRE
Very nice, arabian town to walk through.
MUST BEACH: ACHZIV BEACH & NATIONALPARK
MUST FALAFEL: Falafel HaZkenim
The first thing when you enter Hazkenim, you get one falafel ball to try for free. You can choose between normal or whole wheat pita. Take your falafel with everything! It’s the best falafel I ate in my life!
MUST SPORT: Kite Surfin’
There are very good conditions for Kite Surfing north of Haifa. If you want to swim or just chill at beaches close to Haifa, I recommend the beaches south of the city.
MUST SIGHTSEEING #1: MOUNT OF OLIVES
MUST SIGHTSEEING #2: WAILING WALL
MUST SIGHTSEEING FOR CHRISTIANS: CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHURE
MUST WALK: GETTING LOST WITHIN THE WALLS OF OLD CITY
MUST HUSTLE: THE SHUK – MAHANE YEHUDA MARKET
Take your time and patience and drift through the hallways of the vibrant shuk with lots of different people to watch. This impressive experience will stay forever. Buy pomegranate tea & have a snack.
9. DEAD SEA
MUST EXPERIENCE – FLOATING IN THE DEAD SEA
Best location: If you come by car from Jerusalem, right after the checkpoint you will see a parking place on the right side. Park your car and just go down to the water, follow the water and you will discover a beach with a spring of fresh water which is absolutely needed after having dipped into the extraordinary salty water. Tip: Get some mud from the ground of the lake and get yourself a healthy and beauty skin treatment. Don’t forget to bring lots of drinking water!
10. MITZPE RAMON
MUST VIEW OF LIFE: MAKHTESH RAMON
This place is just an overwhelming and stunning phenomenon of nature.
MUST EAT – Hadasaar Natural Living Restaurant
Get the most healthy food in town – eco, organic, all home made, delicious.