Israel - one of the Middle East's most beautiful pearls
The land of Canaan, the promised land, the holy land – dear land has many names. One thing is certain, however: Israel is something all by itself.
Just as Israel has many names, the country also has many reasons to travel there. Here you get culture, history, nature and an out-of-the-ordinary folk scene. The reasons to put Israel at the top of your list bucket list can be many, but here we give you 10 of the kind.
The Bahá'í Gardens
Israel is a treasury of history and cultural experiences, and one of the places that most clearly shows this is the Bahá'í Gardens in the city of Haifa.
Consisting of no fewer than 19 terraces on the northern slope of Mount Carmel, the Gardens are a holy site for Bahá'í pilgrims. The gardens are open to everyone and offer a fantastic view over the city and the nearby bay, if you can detach yourself from the gardens' own beauty.
On the middle terrace you will find the Temple of the Bahá'í Prophet Báb; the final resting place of the founder of the Bahá'í religion. The temple is a beautiful building, you can easily recognize it by the golden dome. In 2008, the Bahá'í Gardens achieved the title of UNESCO World Heritage along with the Bahá'í Shrine in the sister city of Akko.
Galilee - from the peaks of the mountains to the shores of the lake
If you are up for more heights, continue the journey in a north-westerly direction towards the Galilee mountains. The historical kingdom of Galilee is divided into Upper and Lower Galilee, and here you will find some of Israel's most magnificent nature.
Especially in the Upper Galilee, you will find mountains several thousand meters high, which also makes the region a popular place for hiking, cycling holidays, ATV safaris and other forms of active holidays.
In 2011, Israel opened what they call the 'Jesus Route', which supposedly follows the path Jesus and his disciples were supposed to have taken, and which connects many of the miracles and events you can read about in the New Testament. The route is 65 km long and starts in Nazareth and ends at the Sea of Galilee.
Israel's vibrant cities
Now that we have Nazareth, it is important to point out that Israel not only has beautiful nature to offer, but also fantastic cities.
Nazareth is supposed to be Jesus' childhood town, and here you will also find a lot of history from the Bible. If you go further south, you will find Jerusalem, which also offers a sea of cultural treasures from several religions and peoples all the way back to the ancient Romans and Egyptians and up to the present day.
Finally, we must not forget Israel's modern metropolis Tel Aviv, which offers both modern high-rise buildings in glass and metal, and at the same time hides cultural gems such as the old Carmel market, where you can haggle over the price of spices and food in the best Middle Eastern fashion.
Beit She'an – Israel's ancient times at your feet
A city that many overlook in the competition with the more well-known, Beit She'an is close to the border Jordan. The city is among Israel's oldest, which is impressive enough in itself, but what really makes Beit She'an stand out are the city's amazing many ruins all the way down through history.
The city is a true paradise for history and archeology geeks, as Beit She'an contains ruins from, among other things, the Byzantine Empire. You will find remains from the time when the Canaanites and Egyptians settled here, and baths, amphitheatres and temples from the Romans. The city has existed for more than 6000 years, and there are excavations down through as many as 22 layers that tell the story of the people who have lived here over time.
The Dead Sea - wellness in the salty lake
In the middle of the Jordan River on the border between Israel and Jordan we find the Dead Sea, which is actually a lake. Most people probably know the lake with its slightly macabre name, and for good reason. Over time, the Dead Sea has been one of the world's first wellness destinations due to the properties of the very salty water. Among other things, it is fabulous against certain skin diseases.
The water in the Dead Sea usually consists of 35 percent salt, which takes the feeling of floating to new heights. The salt content has contributed to the naming of the lake, as the salt level means that there are neither fish nor underwater plants in the lake, and the only form of life is bacteria. However, the nearby mountain areas are home to a rich wildlife with the opportunity to see both hares, jackals, ibex and leopards.
Masada fortress - visiting King Herod
If we go up into the mountains near the Dead Sea, we find another for life; namely signs of people in the form of the fortress Masada. The fortress is located on top of a rocky plateau overlooking the Dead Sea and the Judean desert and was built between 37 and 31 BC by King Herod the Great. The fortress is among the most visited attractions in Israel and attracts around 750.000 people annually.
If you want to experience more of Israel's beautiful nature, you can go all the way down south and visit Timna Park 25 km north of the seaside resort of Eilat. The park is located in the Negev desert and offers some of the most distinctive, but also the most beautiful sights imaginable.
The park houses the world's first copper mine, smelting furnaces from the heyday of the Egyptian pharaohs, a lake in the middle of the desert and Solomon's Pillars; a natural formation of solidified magma. Timna also offers several types of hiking trails for all levels and ages.
Red Canyon – Israel's surreal beauty
If you really want to experience a hiking route out of the ordinary, you just have to go a little west from Timna Park. Here you will find the spectacular Red Canyon or 'Den Røde Kløft'. The hiking trail is possibly one of the most photogenic places in Israel, where wind and weather have carved footpaths between the red sandstone cliffs. When the light hits just right, the red color flares out intensely – hence the name Red Canyon.
Underwater in Eilat and a trip on Coral Beach
After sweating through the desert and hiking trails, it's time for a cool dip in the blue waves. Eilat faces the Red Sea, and here you have ample opportunity to explore the sea and the beautiful coral reefs that are relatively close to the city. Eilat's Coral Beach is an underwater nature reserve where you can dive and snorkel with colorful fish and squid.
If you are one of those who prefer to stay dry, fear not - Eilat has you covered. The underwater observatory is Israel's largest public aquarium, where you can get up close to the wildlife that the Red Sea hides with its more than 800 species and a glass bridge with a direct view of the coral reef.
Whatever you're into, there are plenty of reasons to explore Israel - nice trip!
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