This story was created in partnership with: Israel Ministry of Tourism
Israel is a treasure trove for historical attractions, landmarks, and sites — and it’s an absolute dream for travellers craving a closer look at the traditions and heritage of this Middle Eastern region.
Some of its most fascinating places to visit are destinations like Nazareth and Jerusalem, and both cities are top-notch for diving headfirst into the unique legacy of this county. However, most visitors begin their Israeli adventure in Tel Aviv, the country’s vibrant capital.
Tel Aviv is best known for its beaches, nightlife, eclectic art scene, and architectural heritage, but it’s also a place that’ll satisfy your craving for adventure. It may come as a surprise to know that Israel is as rich in activities that get your heart racing and blood pumping as it is in experiences that involve history, spirituality, and food.
While you could spend a lifetime getting to know Israel’s unique landscapes, seven days is the perfect amount of time to get a taste of what this country has to offer travellers who enjoy their vacations with a side of adrenaline. The regions highlighted below are packed with plenty to do and essential additions to your itinerary — discover how to spend a week in Israel if you’re an adventure lover.
Travel to: Israel
Try cycling in Tel Aviv
If you’re looking for a more active way to explore Tel Aviv’s sights – and you simply must explore it – just hop on a bike! This trendy city has embraced cycling in a big way, and you’ll find over 100km of dedicated bike lanes throughout Israel’s capital.
Tel Aviv enjoys pleasant weather throughout the year, and because the city is relatively compact, you can easily explore its diverse neighbourhoods on two wheels with ocean spray on your face and the wind in your hair.
Go hiking in Israel’s national parks
For a small country, Israel packs a punch when it comes to natural wonders. It’s home to more than 60 national parks — many of which are prehistoric archaeological sites. And, thanks to Isreal’s diverse landscapes, you can explore everything from desert plains to green valleys with flowing rivers.
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, the following national parks are well worth a bookmark:
- Beit Shean National Park: This is one of the largest archaeological sites in the world and lies in a significant location between the Jezreel Valley and Jordan River Valley.
- Masada National Park: This ancient fortress is located on the top of a solitary cliff right on the edge of the Judean Desert. The climb is worth it for the epic views over the Dead Sea alone.
- Gan Hashlosha National Park: Located near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, this national park is where you can bathe in natural springs and was crowned one of the most beautiful parks in the world by TIME magazine.
- Yehudia Forest Nature Reserve: This protected park has a number of trails hikers can choose from, both long and short. While you’re here, you can wind your way through three of Israel’s most picturesque streams.
See Also: Visiting the Dead Sea: Jordan or Israel?
Trek the Israel National Trail
Over 900-kilometres long, this breathtaking national trail — Shvil Israel — is one of the best ways to experience the country. While you can explore the superb nature along this trail on foot, there’s also the option of cycling parts of it as well. It was named by National Geographic as one of the 20 best “epic hiking trails” in the world.
Spanning across the entire country from north to south, one end of the trail begins in Kibbutz Dan near the Israel-Lebanon border and stretches all the way to Eilat in the south down by the Red Sea.
This national trail passes through desert landscapes and rarely seen Middle Eastern wilderness. The real beauty of hiking here is that, along with impressive scenery, you can also explore the country’s ancient history and stop off in cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The trail is divided up into 12 sections; avid trekkers can choose longer itineraries but for those who prefer softer adventures, there’s also a one-day hike to the top of Mount Tabor. The best time to visit is during spring, from February to May.
Hang ten in Israel
Did you know that surfing actually came to Israel before Europe? In 1956, a Californian by the name of Dorian Paskovitz showed up on the shores of Tel Aviv with a surfboard and introduced the country to this exciting water sport.
The Mediterranean Coast offers plenty of opportunities to catch some waves in this part of the world, and surfing is an incredibly popular activity in Tel Aviv. There are a number of beaches prime for hitting the ocean with your board; Hilton Beach, Maravi Beach and Dolphinarium Beach are some of the top spots. Beginners that want to give the sport a try will find the coastline is dotted with lots of surf schools.
Outside the capital, Herzliya, Netanya, Caesarea, and Haifa are other popular destinations for surfers. Wave height and sea temperatures vary depending on the season, but — thanks to the country’s relatively mild year-round climate — you can hang ten in Israel no matter what time of year you visit.
Once you’ve had your fill of surfing, try your hand at other thrilling water sports like kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Discover adventure in the rolling hills of Galilee
There are two parts to Galilee: the lower region where visitors can go hiking and cycling through archaeological sites and ancient buildings, and the upper region alongside the Golan Heights — which is known for white-water rafting, horse riding, and even skiing.
Both regions of Galilee are popular with locals and tourists alike. Alongside outdoor activities and history, in Lower Galilee, visitors can enjoy Israel’s gourmet dining scene. Likewise, there’s no shortage of activities in Upper Galilee, but you’ll find plenty of cultural adventures to be had as well. Here, visitors can sample wine from boutique vineyards, take advantage of birdwatching, and indulge in an equally delicious culinary experience.
See Also: Should I Visit Israel?
Explore the Negev Desert
There’s something unreal about the vastness of desert sand stretching out beyond where the eye can see. The Negev Desert in the south of Israel feels almost mythic, a place that still echoes with the stories of days gone by.
For those that love the outdoors, it doesn’t get much greater than this. Along with hiking, cycling, geological wonders, and ancient landmarks, sunsets that leave you speechless and safaris through sand dunes, the Negev Desert is a place that’s filled with stirring adventures you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
There’s certainly no shortage of things to see and do in this starkly beautiful region, but here are a few experiences to inspire your action-packed Isreal itinerary:
- Midburn Festival: Israel’s version of Burning Man. This six-day extravaganza celebrates art, community, and the joy of self-expression.
- Camping with the Bedouins of Israel: Spend time learning more about the unique ways of this indigenous nomadic tribe by travelling and staying with them.
- Break bread with the Culinary Queens of Yeruham: In this unique project, women from Yeruham host tourists and share their amazing skills in an unforgettable local food experience. As you break bread with these culinary queens, you’ll get to hear their stories, a window into Israeli traditions.