First time in Israel, tips?

Old Nov 3, 12, 3:17 pm
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First time in Israel, tips?

I'm going to Israel for the first time, this winter, with family.
We're going to be there for two weeks. Should we do 1 week in Tel Aviv, and one week in Jerusalem?
Any tips for a first time visitor?
I studied hebrew for a few years, and am brushing up on it now.
Todah Rabah!
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Old Nov 3, 12, 7:53 pm
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If you are going for 2 weeks I would go to Tel Aviv for 2-3 days, then rent a car and go up north to the Galilee for another 3 days and then go to Jerusalem for the balance. There are a huge number of day trips that are made from Jerusalem.
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Old Nov 3, 12, 11:46 pm
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Originally Posted by adrouault View Post
I'm going to Israel for the first time, this winter, with family.
We're going to be there for two weeks. Should we do 1 week in Tel Aviv, and one week in Jerusalem?
Any tips for a first time visitor?
I studied hebrew for a few years, and am brushing up on it now.
Todah Rabah!
First, I would learn how to use the Flyer Talk search function as there are in depth discussions on that question a couple of times a year.

That being said, I would consider a full week within Jerusalem, and then use a second week with Tel Aviv as a base.

If you are going to be in those two cities the entire time, you might need a map to find people who do not speak english.
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Old Nov 4, 12, 12:50 am
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What are your interests - history, religion, nature, food, etc, etc? Do you want to spend all of your time only in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem ? They are not good bases for seeing the Galilee & Golan and the Negev. Are you considering renting a car ? A car is a liability in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv because of the parking and traffic problems, but it is highly recommended for touring the north and south. For the Galilee and Golan, I recommend booking a place for at least three nights in Rosh Pina, Kfar Blum or similar.
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Old Nov 4, 12, 6:13 am
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FWIW, we're doing our first trip to Israel also. After MUCH planning, research and deliberation, we extended our trip from 2 to 3 weeks - longest trip we've ever taken!

Here's our schedule:

* 3 nights in Tel Aviv (staying in an apartment in Neve Tzedek)
* fly to Eilat and spend 4 nights there in the Cactus B&B - but one of those nights will be spent at Petra (in Jordan) - (inexpensive air-fare - $36/pp)
* Rent a car in Eilat and drive to the Dead Sea area where we're staying at Belfer's Dead Sea Cabins in a Moshav for 3 nights
*drive to the Galilee area and spend 4 nights in a Moshave area at Barbakfar
* drive to TLV airport and drop off the car and get transportation to Jerusalem (don't want to drive anywhere near Jerusalem!)
* spend 6 nights in Jerusalem at the Harmony Hotel before heading home

The only difference from most of the "advised" itineraries is spending time in Eilat and Petra. Frankly, the only reason we're going to Eilat is to see Petra - if you haven't seen pictures of it, you should check it out. There are some great pictures here: http://blog.kenkaminesky.com/2011/06...-world-wonder/

bert

Last edited by bertsirkin; Nov 4, 12 at 6:24 am
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Old Nov 4, 12, 7:53 am
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I think that you are spending too much time in Eilat (unless you are a diving fan) and the Dead Sea. Eilat is just a standard beach resort and you don't need more than 2 days at the Dead Sea: Massada, Ein Gedi, Qumran and a spa do not require more.

I would rent the car in Tel-Aviv and drive down via Mitzpe Ramon, stopping at Bet Guvrin, Sde Boker, Avdat, the Ramon Crater, Timna on the way. I would also add two nights in the Haifa area and tour Akko, Rosh Hanikra, Haifa, Zikhron Yaakov and Caesarea.

Don't exaggerate Jerusalem traffic; I don't like driving in the city either but you only have to get to your hotel and then return the car. It is a minor inconvenience (and much cheaper) compared to returning the car at the airport. What hotel are you staying at ? They can give you detailed driving instructions or you can ask for directions here.
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Old Nov 4, 12, 8:02 am
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Our interests include good food, Judaism ,and history.
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Old Nov 4, 12, 8:46 am
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Originally Posted by mbgg View Post
I think that you are spending too much time in Eilat (unless you are a diving fan) and the Dead Sea. Eilat is just a standard beach resort and you don't need more than 2 days at the Dead Sea: Massada, Ein Gedi, Qumran and a spa do not require more.

I would rent the car in Tel-Aviv and drive down via Mitzpe Ramon, stopping at Bet Guvrin, Sde Boker, Avdat, the Ramon Crater, Timna on the way. I would also add two nights in the Haifa area and tour Akko, Rosh Hanikra, Haifa, Zikhron Yaakov and Caesarea.

Don't exaggerate Jerusalem traffic; I don't like driving in the city either but you only have to get to your hotel and then return the car. It is a minor inconvenience (and much cheaper) compared to returning the car at the airport. What hotel are you staying at ? They can give you detailed driving instructions or you can ask for directions here.
Thank for the feedback.

We don't like to spend less than 3 or 4 nights at a location if possible - it's more restful, plus we get to spend more time with the "locals" to get a better flavor of an area. Our time in Eilat is mainly to go to Petra. That will take 2 days (1 night) - the other days will be for day-trips into the desert.

We really wanted to go to Mitzpe Ramon and the crater, but just didn't have the time - Israel may be a small country, but there's a LOT to see!

We're returning the car at TLV because we're getting back on Saturday, and the rental counters are closed in Jerusalem! Parking at the hotel is "iffy", so we figured is was easier to return it at TLV and take a bus or taxi into Jerusalem.

bert

Last edited by bertsirkin; Nov 4, 12 at 9:09 am
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Old Nov 4, 12, 11:29 am
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What sort of public transportation exists between TA and Jerusalem?
From my understanding, we won't have a car.
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Old Nov 4, 12, 12:21 pm
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Bertsirkin:
We really wanted to go to Mitzpe Ramon and the crater, but just didn't have the time - Israel may be a small country, but there's a LOT to see!
That was my point : your itinerary is inefficient. Of course you don't have time for Mitzpe Ramon, etc, if you spend four nights in Eilat and three nights at the Dead Sea ! Very few tourists come for three weeks, yet they manage to see more in two weeks. There are no "locals" at the Dead Sea. Are you planning to visit Akko and Rosh Hanikra ?

There is no bus from the airport to Jerusalem, even during the week. You will have to take a taxi (about 300 NIS + luggage fee) or a sherut (62 NIS per person).
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Old Nov 4, 12, 12:27 pm
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Adroualt:

Are you referring to TA airport or the city of Tel-Aviv ?
From the airport you can take a regular taxi (about 250-300 NIS) or a shared taxi (62 NIS per person). Both will deliver you to your destination.

From Tel-Aviv (the city) you can take a bus : either the 405 from the Central Bus Station or the 480 from the Arlozorov Terminal in North Tel-Aviv. Both go to the Jerusalem CBS. There is also sherut service from the Tel-Aviv CBS to the center of Jerusalem; it does not take you to your destination. The bus costs 18 NIS and the sherut is approx. the same.
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Old Nov 4, 12, 12:54 pm
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I meant the city of Tel Aviv.
Thanks for the information. I'm greatly appreciative.
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Old Nov 4, 12, 5:19 pm
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although Israel is in the Middle East, its winters can be cold and wet and up North even snow, at times it snows in Jerusalem as well. So have alternative plans just in case you hot some bad weather
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Old Nov 4, 12, 7:39 pm
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Originally Posted by mbgg View Post
Bertsirkin:

That was my point : your itinerary is inefficient. Of course you don't have time for Mitzpe Ramon, etc, if you spend four nights in Eilat and three nights at the Dead Sea ! Very few tourists come for three weeks, yet they manage to see more in two weeks. There are no "locals" at the Dead Sea. Are you planning to visit Akko and Rosh Hanikra ?

There is no bus from the airport to Jerusalem, even during the week. You will have to take a taxi (about 300 NIS + luggage fee) or a sherut (62 NIS per person).
Our itinerary is inefficient by design. We tend to like to do the non-touristy things in addition to the more common sites, and we like to spend at least 3 nights at a location. There may not be "locals" at the Dead Sea, but there will be some at the Moshav we're staying at.

I suspect the taxi or sherut will be close, or less than, the cost of renting the car for an additional day and having to pay parking in Jerusalem, since we won't be able to return the car on the day we arrive in Jerusalem (Saturday), so it's not that much of a concern.


<<Are you planning to visit Akko and Rosh Hanikra >>
I've not heard of these places before, but will do some research. We really only have one extra day in Eilat, as two-days will be devoted to going to Petra. The one day we have free will be for trekking into the desert (we love the American Southwest desert, and want to do some photography in the Negev). Likewise, when in the Dead Sea area, we'll want to spend a day in the desert, along with time at Masada and the Dead Sea. We'll also be doing day trips out of the Galilee area - we don't have anything planned in that area yet.

Appreciate the comments!
bert
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Old Nov 4, 12, 9:55 pm
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Bert:
What month of the year will you be doing this trip?

Hiking in the desert: you should check out Timna near Eilat. You should visit it on the way to the Dead Sea; why go back to Eilat? At the Dead Sea you can hike in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve which has marked trails. If you like the American SW then you should definitely be looking at Mitzpe Ramon.

Upper Galilee: look at the National Parks web site for ideas.
Akko: one of the highlights of everybody's trip.

Let me stress again: In a three week trip you should easily be able to see ALL the regions and highlights of the country. Do one night less at Eilat, two less at the Dead Sea, one less in Jerusalem and then you will have time to visit the cost north of Tel Aviv and Mitzpe Ramon!
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