Israel is a small country with a big personality – bursting with intoxicating scents, intense flavors, and buzzing energy. With so much to see and do, it’s worthwhile to plan your time efficiently to maximize your experience – especially if you’re limited on time. Our Itinerary: One Week in Israel offers an insider’s guide for the ultimate 7-day adventure in the Holy Land. But don’t worry if you can’t squeeze it all in this time – Israel has a way of enchanting it’s visitors – transforming all who explore its mystical sites and landscapes and practically guaranteeing their return.
Day 1: Soak Up The Culture (Tel Aviv)
Fall in love with the essence of Israeli culture as you wander the city, stopping by Tel Aviv’s outdoor markets, alive with colors, flavors, and the iconic shouts of vendors advertising their wares. Begin your Itinerary: One Week in Israel with the undisputed queen – the Carmel Market – where you’ll experience a bustling mix of locals and tourists shopping for fresh produce and souvenirs. Don’t miss the less popular but more authentic Levinsky Market, for a traditional experience with less hustle and kitsch. This is where the locals go to stock their shelves with tahini, spices, and cardamom-laced cafe shahor (black coffee). If you’re searching for antique keepsakes and souvenirs to bring home with you, head to Jaffa’s Hapishpishim flea market to admire the sea of knickknacks and sample some of Israel’s best hummus.
Day 2: Indulge In Some Sea And Spa (Jaffa)
Israel is renowned as a relaxation destination, and after your extensive travels you’re sure to be in need of some R&R to prepare for adventures ahead. Day 2 is the perfect time in your Itinerary: One Week in Israel to indulge in a spa day at one of Israel’s best spas. The Setai Hotel and Yoko Kitahara Japanese Spa, both in the ancient port city of Jaffa, are the epitome of indulgence. If you prefer to relax with some vitamin sea, head to the port and hop on the Sababa 5 boat to admire the Tel Aviv skyline with the wind in your hair. In the evening, wander the artsy streets on Old Jaffa to admire the abundant galleries, live music, and turquoise Mediterranean views. Head to one of the city’s best restaurants, or visit the BlackOut Dark Restaurant for a truly transformative experience.
Day 3: Travel Through Time (Northern Israel)
Rent a car or join a tour – either way you’ll think you’re in a time machine as you explore the historical gems of northern Israel. Nazareth’s Basilica of the Annunciation will leave you in awe with it’s impressive Gallery of Madonnas, adorned with stunning mosaics of Madonna and Child – each representing its country of origin and envisioned through the respective cultural lens, this site is both historically important and aesthetically captivating. Then head to the Sea of Galilee, one of the top destinations in the world, which welcomes pilgrims each year by the hundreds of thousands. Stop by Cana and Capernaum along the way and soak up the lush greenery and panoramic views of northern Israel.
Day 4: Have A Spiritual Awakening (Jerusalem)
Whatever your faith may be, its sure to experience a revitalization as you walk through history and explore the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City. Visit the Western Wall, walk along Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, admire the view of the Dome of the Rock, and immerse yourself in the energy of the winding outdoor markets that connect the four quarters. Walking through the Old City is a humbling experience that will stay with you beyond your one week in Israel – whether you prefer to explore on your own or join a guided tour. Make sure to visit the iconic Machane Yehuda market for a harmonizing blend of old and new, and some of the best food in the world.
Day 5: Explore Nature (Masada, Ein Gedi, & Dead Sea)
No One Week in Israel itinerary would be complete without visiting these important sites! The best way to squeeze them all in is by joining a group tour – hikers won’t want to miss the chance to hike to Masada at sunrise to take in the breathtaking views. If you prefer to hit the snooze button, an afternoon tour will have you ascending in comfort via the cable car. Either way, this bucket list favorite is a must! Then head to Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea to bathe under lush waterfalls, slather yourself in mud, and bob in the buoyant waters while taking in the view of Jordan.
Day 6: Swim With The Dolphins (Eilat)
Getting to Eilat is easy! Hop on a shuttle, rent a car, or fly – regardless of how you get there, don’t miss out on this gem! The Red Sea is home to some of the best aquatic life in the world – even in ankle-deep water you’ll be in awe of the colorful fish offering a sneak-peek into the vibrant underwater world of Eilat. Go snorkeling or swim with the clowns of the sea at Eilat’s Dolphin Reef, then relax on the Red Sea beaches as you take in the views of Jordan, Egypt, and even Saudi Arabia! Shopaholics will delight at Eilat’s duty-free shopping and high-end stores – if your idea of relaxation includes some retail therapy, you’re in for a treat!
Day 7: Fall In Love With The Desert (Arava)
The Arava Desert is home to the Timna Park desert reserve, a horse-shoe shaped valley that houses one of the world’s oldest copper mines. Join a guided tour to discover the sites ancient history and connections to Egyptian mythology, then experience the kibbutz life while you learn about the agricultural developments that have contributed to Israel’s flourishing agriculture industry. After finishing your one week in Israel adventure, if you’re lucky enough to have more time to explore the region, this is a great place to cross the border into Jordan or Egypt. Otherwise, return to Tel Aviv, soaking up the desert scenery and dreaming about your next visit.