Deal Experts' Favorite Travel Memories: Israel
As Israel celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, we’ve collected some of our Deal Experts' favorite tips and memories for traveling this country. More itinerary suggestions -- and exclusive travel deals -- can be found within our Featured Destination: Israel page.
- To really get the full experience, travelers should attempt to visit different regions of the country to absorb the complex landscape. If time is of the essence, spend a couple of days in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and quick trip to the Dead Sea (stopping at Masada, an ancient mountaintop fortress, along the way). This itinerary gives you a taste of modern, cosmopolitan Israel (Tel Aviv) and thousands of years of history (Jerusalem). -- Matt Ring, senior associate producer, Fly.com.
- Reaching the summit of Masada in time for sunrise was a spiritual experience. Not only is it the view stunning, but the hike is much cooler -- and therefore easier! -- at that time of day. The journey is short, but tough. Pack water and snacks and take breaks along the way. -- Caroline Eber, producer, entertainment
- Pre-book the Western Wall Tunnel Tour [where visitors travel ancient tunnels underneath Jerusalem’s Old City]. On this tour, you can stand in the closest spot to the Holy of Holies (the holiest room/spot in the temple). -- Barrie Kosberg, senior producer, travel
- Float in the Dead Sea. But ladies: Don’t shave right before going, otherwise it will burn like a *&$%. It is however great for healing wounds, despite the burn. Also, take off your jewelry, the salt can ruin it. -- Joanna Richler, senior associate producer, travel
- One of my favorite experiences was walking the Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Way of Grief”). This weekly procession led by Franciscan friars takes place every Friday at 3 p.m. It follows the last steps of Jesus Christ, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. You needn’t be Christian or Catholic to appreciate this time-honored tradition; all are welcomed to join and observe, as the procession weaves through the labyrinth of small alleys and plazas of Jerusalem’s Old City. -- Erica Bray, senior producer and director of destinations
- Explore the Old City of Jerusalem. Last time I was there, as dusk neared, I quietly made the pilgrimage through the uneven stone streets of the old city. I passed countless Orthodox families as they amassed themselves, young and old, for the trek to the Western Wall. After wandering narrow passages and crossing paths with children playing in open squares, I turned a corner and suddenly found myself before the Wailing Wall. This wide-open space was filled with a sea of black Kippahs and crisp white button downs. As the sun set, I stood in silence and observed the weekly ritual until it was time to meander back through the old city to catch my ride to Tel Aviv. -- Veronica Crews, associate producer, travel