24 Dec Israel Travel Guide
Welcome To Israel
Israel is a diverse landscape of Biblical sites, deserts, mountains, and lush greenery with a pleasant climate, where Jerusalem is the historical capital. A country of immense beauty and thousands of years of history stirs emotions but is also a paradise for travellers and history lovers. And, despite the ongoing conflicts in the country, you will only notice it if you stay in the big cities or tourist areas.
With war and political turmoil being the norm here for thousands of years, Israel is a very controversial country, so travelling to Israel can be intimidating. But if you know what to expect, you’ll have a great experience when visiting Israel.
How To Get To Israel
Most international visitors arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel by air into Tel Aviv. EL AL is the national carrier of Israel, but you do have options of Etihad Airways and Wizz Air, to name a few.
The Best Time To Visit
Generally, the best time to travel to Israel is during the cooler months between November to March, especially if you want to explore the religious areas. We travelled to Israel in December for Christmas and enjoyed Christmas Day in Bethlehem at Manger Square. The weather was a perfect temperature, with some rain and sometimes some humid days.
We found Israel one of the safest countries we have travelled to worldwide, based on our feelings when exploring cities and the countryside. It’s the unknown when things will turn, from terrorist attacks to political turmoils and civil unrest. Any of these situations can happen every day and sometimes in seconds. No one can guarantee nothing will happen in Israel during your visit; no matter how much advice, warnings, and safety tips you read, no country is 100% safe.
Exercise a high degree of caution to Israel, the Gaza Strip, the border with the Gaza Strip, and West Bank, as the security situation may change rapidly. So while planning and before booking your flights, please check the current travel warnings issued by several states, such as the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia.
We highly recommend hiring an official local tourist guide.
Israel is diverse in their attire, so please always be mindful and respectful. In Tel Aviv, we were surprised by how casually everyone dressed. Still, the contrast between Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem couldn’t be more significant with all the holy sites and solid religious communities.
Avoid wearing sleeveless shirts or dresses, short skirts, or shorts and cover your shoulders and knees; However, some sites might have stricter regulations; I recommend keeping a scarf in your daypack, especially for female travellers and dressing conservatively.
Stay Connected - SIM Cards
Israel is NOT a cheap country, but getting prepaid sim cards for Israel is reasonable! So to avoid high roaming charges, get yourself a prepaid sim card for Israel. Click here. You can also buy a SIM card directly at the Ben-Gurion Airport, which is slightly more expensive than in the city. Alternatively, mobile phone shops can be found around the city, and buying an Israeli sim card in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem is easy.
Currency - Shekels
The official currency denomination of Israel is the Israeli Shekel. While most restaurants and stores accept debit or credit cards, having cash with you is necessary, especially for smaller stores, eateries, or markets. There are many ATMs in Israel, and we were fine finding one when needed. Remember to inform your bank about your upcoming trip to prevent card block. Tipping is very much part of the culture in Israel, similar to the Western world, so carry some USD dollars with you as back up.
While in Israel, you may find yourself in the middle of “Shabbat”, the day of rest that happens each week from sunset on Friday to sundown on Saturday, which plays an essential role in Jewish life. During Shabbat, the rail and bus system shut down on a Friday. Note buses will stop after an hour before sunset, and the light rail shuts down some hours before that, resuming after sunset on Saturday.
Getting Around Israel
Israel is an incredible country with bustling cities, ancient sites, stunning landscapes, and natural wonders and best explored on a road trip. Driving in Israel is easy as the roads are in good condition, and road signs are in English. Click here to find the best deals on rental cars in Israel.
Note Israel has many national parks and nature reserves, and Israel Pass will help you save money on entrance fees. The easiest way to buy the Israel Pass is to go online on their official website. You can get more information about the pass at Ben Gurion International Airport and Ramon Airport.
Day 1 – Tel Aviv & Jaffa
Tel Aviv is renowned for its high-quality restaurants, superb nightlife, and world-class cafe culture, a splendid city filled with energy, art, culture, and great food.
Day 2 – Caesarea
Caesarea, a town on the Mediterranean coast known for its archaeological site, the Caesarea National Park, which has a large Roman amphitheatre and a historic harbour.
Day 3 – Nazareth
Stop at the Basilica of the Annunciation, where you will witness an impressive Gallery of Madonnas.
Day 4 – Jerusalem
The capital of Israel located between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea and is considered amongst the oldest city in the world for the major religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Day 5 – Bethlehem
A Palestinian town south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. It is the biblical birthplace of Jesus and a major Christian pilgrimage destination.
Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.