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, 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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!