For a country that's barely the size of New Jersey, Israel travel offers an experience of Biblical proportions — literally. As the prime destination for religious pilgrimages, the Holy Land offers, among many sacred splendors, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock — and that's just inside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City. Israel offers diverse experiences, both religious and secular, from the home of the Baha'i faith in Haifa to the glittering high rises and beaches in Tel Aviv. Explore our Israel travel guide to start building your own Holy Land itinerary.
Things Not to Miss in Israel
Among the many historic and cultural experiences to pack into your Israel travel plans, some of the most popular tourist activities include:
• Seeing the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City
• The Coenaculum of the Last Supper on Mt. Zion, which is also home to King David's tomb
• Floating in the Dead Sea
• Strolling through Mea Shearim, Jerusalem’s Hassidic Jewish quarter
• Exploring Haifa for sea views and the Baha'i Gardens
• Admiring the 1930s Bauhaus architecture of Tel Aviv
When to Go to Israel
The combination of weather and holy days can help you determine the best times to visit Israel. The most popular time to travel to Israel is in the late spring and fall, when the weather is warm but not oppressively hot, and fairly dry. Summer brings plenty of tourists, despite the extreme heat (as in, over 100 degrees), especially in July and August. Israel's winter consists mostly of rain, and can last from late October to February or March.
Jewish and Christian holidays heavily influence the high seasons (and hotel rates), especially in Jerusalem and Galilee: the peak times include Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot in September and October, Chanukah and Christmas in December, and Passover and Easter in March or April. A nice shoulder season, in terms of weather, rates and crowds, is May.
Be sure to keep in mind, when you make your Israel travel plans, that many businesses around Israel close on Saturday for the Jewish Sabbath.