When it comes to cities to visit in Israel, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem usually get all the fame and glory. Tel Aviv is known for its beautiful beaches, trendy nightlife, and vibrant food scene. Jerusalem, on the other hand, is a spiritual hotspot known for its incredible history, religious importance, and cultural significance. However, if you have enough time on your tour, there are plenty more cities to visit in Israel than just these two. Learn more about some of Israel’s hidden gems and all they have to discover.

Acre

things to do in israel_acre

Acre, or Akko as the locals call it, is one of the more unique cities to visit in Israel. This is because it’s one of the few places that boasts a truly mixed population. Acre is home to Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Baha’i people. This makes it a diverse city full of culture and history perfect for either a day trip or to spend a few nights. You can walk along parts of the old city walls for a panoramic view, stroll through the old town, and visit historic sites like the Hospitallers Fortress or the Templars’ Tunnels. Tourists favorite part of visiting Acre is the classic Middle-Eastern food. The city’s diverse cultural background comes alive in the flavors on your plate. In fact, many locals agree that the best hummus in Israel can be found in Acre.

Tzfat

tzfat

Tzfat is one of the most magical cities to visit in Israel. It’s also considered to be one of the most holy cities in the country. So if you are looking for the special feeling you get in Jerusalem without all the crowds, head here. In Tzfat you can get an introduction to the interesting secrets of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism. The city itself is beautiful and offers the opportunity for a lovely stroll through the ancient streets. Be sure to also visit the artist’s colony in Tzfat where you can purchase some unique Judaic artwork. Tzfat is a great place to spend a few nights, as you can also use it as a base to discover nearby landmarks, like Mount Carmel and Nimrod Fortress.

Tzfat Day Tour

Beersheba

beersheba

Known primarily among locals as a student’s town due to the university there, Bersheeba (or Beer Sheva) is an up-and-coming city in Israel. The city itself was built by the Ottomans, and you can still see some relics today. The Negev Museum of Art is a popular stop, as is the Turkish railway built during WWI. There is a weekly Bedouin market in Beersheba that has been taking place for decades. Bedouins from surrounding villages congregate to sell authentic Bedouin items. Here, you can find unique gifts like glassware, jewelry, crafts, and a lot more. Don’t miss out on the Bedouin food at the market either! If you want to venture out of the city, the Israel Air Force Museum is a great nearby stop.

Ashkelon

ashkelon

Ashkelon is one of those cities in Isreal that is often left off of most itineraries. However, if you’re looking for something a little less touristy to do, head here. Ashkelon is home to a national park that contains ancient ruins, medieval walls, and beautiful beaches. It also contains sand dunes you can explore and interesting desert vegetation. The beach here is also lovely, and a popular spot with surfers when its the season. The marina is ideal for an evening sunset stroll, or you can also hire a sailboat for an unforgettable day on the Meditteranean Sea.

Mitzpe Ramon

mitzpe ramon

Aside from the crater that gives the town its namesake, Mitzpe Ramon is another one of those special cities to visit in Israel that remains a little more undiscovered. Many visitors simply pass through and stop at the crater’s lookout point without giving the town a second thought. However, the town of Mitzpe Ramon is a great stopping point on its own right. Those who stay here longer can enjoy embarking on some fantastic desert hikes or jeep tours. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try abseiling down the cliffs of the crater. It’s also a beautiful place for stargazing at night, as the small town and vast desert offer little light pollution. Nearby, there’s an alpaca farm that’s fun for the whole family. There’s also an interesting Spice Quarter that has been transformed into a bohemian wonderland, complete with galleries, clothing stores, and chic restaurants.

Looking for other things to do in the desert? Check out the top things to do in The Negev!

Netanya

netanya beach

Netanya is one of the bigger cities in the country and home to many new immigrants. It’s quite modern and offers a variety of activities for all ages. The beach here is unique since it sits at the base of cliffs, so to access the main beach you need to take an elevator located near the city’s main square. Like Ashkelon, it’s also a popular spot for surfing, and a great place for young children to learn. The Planetanya Planetarium is a perfect rainy-day activity with children (or a great way to escape the heat). You can also enjoy a nice picnic by the stream at Hof Bet Yanai National Park.

Nahariya

rosh hanikra_cities to visit in Israel

Nahariya is located in the north of Israel, this unassuming city by the sea offers some great attractions. The Achziv National Beach Park is a loved destination by both locals and tourists. Here, you can see sea turtles in their natural habitat and you can also go camping here. Nahariya is also home to a botanical garden and a zoo as well as a gorgeous Byzantine Church. Nature lovers will also enjoy basing themselves out of Nahariya, as you can explore the Rosh Hanikrah grottoes, the Keshet cave, or go on a leisurely hike by the shaded Nahal Kziv river.

There are plenty of cities to visit in Israel besides the obvious. If visiting tourist hotspots isn’t your thing, then these seven cities make for fantastic options. If you’re looking to build an itinerary for your visit to Israel, contact us for help getting started. We’re happy to add these cities to your itinerary or recommend others that are more your style!

You’ve covered yourself in mud and floated on the Dead Sea, climbed Masada before the sun came up, explored the enchanting old city of Jerusalem and the vibrant beaches of Tel Aviv, devoured your bodyweight in hummus, and maybe even innocently fell victim to the charm of a beautifully bronzed Israeli. Now that all the ‘must-dos’ are out of the way, you ask yourself what is left to see in this tiny Middle-Eastern country. As it turns out, you’ve only just scratched the surface of things to do in Israel. From the northernmost border to the edges of the Red Sea in the south, there’s no lack of adventure to satisfy every kind of traveller.

1. Enjoy two seasons in a day

Skiing isn’t the first activity that comes to mind of things to do in Israel. Though the country is primarily desert, during the winter months you can hit the slopes on Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, a mountain which straddles the borders of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. Since Israel is so small, you can spend your morning enjoying the winter wonderland and still have time to relax by a Mediterranean sunset on the beach as your après ski.

In Tel Aviv for the winter? Here are 8 cool things to do on your visit.

2. Kayak through the grottoes

On the border with Lebanon you’ll find Rosh Hanikra, a huge white cliff with impressive views of the Mediterranean coastline. The short cable-car ride to the foot of the cliff is the steepest in the world. It’ll bring you to a plateau where you can learn more about the history of the place and take a walk through caves overlooking picturesque turquoise grottoes. For a unique viewing point, you can organize an excursion to kayak to the grottoes and explore them from the sea.

3. Visit the fortified city of Acre

things to do in israel_acreAcre, or Akko, is unique within the country because it’s one of the few places that boasts a truly mixed population. It is home to Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Baha’i people. This makes it a diverse city full of culture and history perfect for a day trip. You can walk along parts of the old city walls for a panoramic view, stroll through the old town, and visit historic sites like the Hospitallers Fortress or the Templars’ Tunnels. Arguably the best part of the city is the classic Middle-Eastern food. The city’s diverse cultural background comes alive in the flavours on your plate, and many Israelis agree that the country’s best hummus can be eaten here.

4. Wind down with some wine tasting

Israel’s wine industry is some serious business. The northern region of the country boasts dozens of wineries that distribute internationally. A good place to begin your self-guided wine tour is at Tishbi Winery. It’s the first modern winery in Israel, where you can participate in a wine and chocolate tasting. At the Golan Heights Winery, you can take a tour of their vineyards and guzzle down some of their award winning selections.

5. Spend the day in the Garden of Eden

Gan Hashlosha, also known as Sachne, is one of the most beautiful places in the country. The local Israelis have dubbed it “The Garden of Eden.” This national park has natural pools that are constantly at 28 degrees, in other words, perfect for swimming year-round. Pack a picnic and spend your day among the lush greenery within this real-world paradise.

6. Stuff your face in Nazareth

A short stop in Nazareth is just enough time to load up on sweet Arabic delicacies. Though the city is a hot spot for religious tours, some could argue that Jesus of Nazareth is no longer the main event. Foodies love Nazareth for all the tasty street food, that stars of which are the honey-drizzled pastries. Be sure not to leave without trying some homemade baklava, knafeh, and awameh.

7. Take in some local art at Ein Hod’s artist village

Ein Hod is a small artist’s colony near Haifa. Israeli painters, sculptors, musicians, and writers call this eclectic little village home. In Ein Hod you’ll find multiple museums, galleries, and workshops. If you’re the type who prefers exploring on foot, you can wander through the town’s winding streets lined by the artists’ striking work.

What else do you need to know about traveling in Israel? Here’s our top tips.

8. Take a graffiti tour

things to do in israel_tel avivThe street art in Tel Aviv is abundant and part of what makes the city so colourful. You can either sign up for a guided tour, or easily put together a DIY version. While street art can be found almost anywhere in the city, it is a lot more common in the south, particularly in the Florentine neighbourhood.

9. Take a tour of Tel Aviv’s vegan cuisine

Israel has the most vegans per capita. It’s no surprise that Tel Aviv is one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world. Not only does nearly every restaurant have vegetarian or vegan options, but Tel Aviv is home to some of the best vegan restaurants. It’s not just the falafel; you’ll find many adventurous vegan eats such as Ethiopian or Georgian restaurants.

10. Desert road trip

A few friends, a car, and a good playlist are all you really need for this one. Israel’s Negev desert begins about one hour away from Tel Aviv. It stretches all the way down to Eilat in the south. Route 40 is well paved and full of fun stops along the way, like the Mitzpe Ramon crater and Ben Gurion’s grave located in a desert oasis. The drive itself is scenic with endless sand and mountains as far as you can see. Pay attention to the signs and watch out for crossing military vehicles and camels!

12. Visit the desert inhabitants

things to do in israel_hai barThe desert is home for many different animals, and there are a couple great places to observe them. The Hai-Bar Nature Reserve aims to preserve and breed endangered species. Here you can drive through the park and see different breeds of oryx, wild donkeys, large felines, and curious ostriches that like to poke their beaks into cars. Another option is an alpaca farm near Mitzpe Ramon. Here you’ll be able to feed crooked-toothed alpacas as well as camels and horses.

11. Spend a night in the desert

If you’re looking to escape the constant commotion of Tel Aviv, spending a night in the desert is the perfect way to reenergize. Picture this: a calm night spent under a starry sky surrounded by friends and a hookah where the only sound is the crackling fire. There are a few designated campsites and even some rustic accommodations that allow you to take in the incredible spectacle that is the desert at night.

13. Swim with the fish in the Red Sea

The Red Sea is known for it’s spectacular underwater life and diving conditions. The waters are shallow and the visibility is clear. You don’t even need to put on your scuba gear to get up close and personal with the corals and sea life. At the Coral Reef Nature Reserve in Eilat, you can spend your day snorkelling and admiring the colourful world under the sea.

Check out our picks for the best beaches all over the country.

14. Explore the desert highs and lows

things to do in israel_timnaWhen looking for things to do in Israel, it’s a no-brainer to visit the expansive desert. Not far from Eilat there are several great hikes to do. Aside from gorgeous scenic views, Timna Valley Park holds a number of geological and archaeological sites. There are hiking trails to suit different levels and you’ll be able to observe stunning nature and wildlife along the way. The Red Canyon hike is not to be missed. You’ll be running to get your photo-op when the sun hits the red canyon walls to create an eye-catching mix of lights and shadows.

15. Watch the sunrise over 4 countries

Mount Tzfachot is about as south as you can get in Israel. It’s undeniably worth waking up in the pitch black to take in one of the most unforgettable sunrises. A short hike up this mountain will reward you with an incredible peaceful view over four countries. With your feet planted in Israel, you’ll be able to see the sun come up over Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

As you can see, there are no shortage of things to do in Israel. Did we miss something that’s an absolute “must do?” Let us know in the comments below!