Israel is a very popular destination at present, and cruise lines which have a few days at Israeli ports on their itinerary have been sold out. People are already booking 2014 and 2015 because there are some fantastic savings. Even if you are not of a Jewish background, I think this is a country worth visiting. There are good cost savings if you put your own group together. This is a way for a large family to help with expenses.
In the North, you have a calming mix of breathtaking landscapes, historic churches, modern marvels and world class spas. In the Galilee, locals and travelers alike often spend the day touring a mélange of holy sites, including Tiberias, Tabgha, and the Mount of Beatitudes. A refreshing swim in the Sea of Galilee is a must do after a day of sightseeing. I was anxious to try floating in the Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea.
Jerusalem, Tele Aviv and beyond has many holy sites for the world’s three major monotheistic religions. Visitors to Jerusalem can witness more than 4,000 years of ancient artifacts and ruins by visiting the City of David and the Old City is home to the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, the holiest site in the world for the Jewish religion. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is one of the holiest sites in the world for Christians, as well as the Via Dolorosa and the Dome of the Rock.
For art lovers, Jerusalem is home to dynamic art and culinary scenes in the buzzing German Colony, (large emigration in the l930’s ) Nahalat Shiva and Mahane Yehuda neighborhoods, and features world renowned Israel Museum, the country’s largest arts and culture institution.
You will be surprised at the high end hotels, world class museums, live music performances, art galleries, festivals, great shopping, and wonderful restaurants. There is also some fascinating modern architecture, mixed with the old.
Israel is home to the Judean and Negev Deserts, popular destinations for both locals and tourists alike. Built by King Herod more than 2,300 years ago, Masada is Israel’s most visited attraction and an ideal place for early risers looking to witness the majestic view of the Dead Sea and Judean Desert. Masada is the mountaintop fortress built and maintained by King Herod and recognized as the last stronghold of the Jewish people against the Roman conquest.
There is excellent scuba diving in the Red Sea, rated one of the top three places in the world. Eilat is a great seaside resort to visit.
If a Mediterranean cruise is not your cup of tea, such as Venice to Athens with a stop at Jerusalem (Haifa), there are three great packages we recommend. One called Mystical Israel an 11 night trip, the Crossroads of History, a 7 night trip, and an elite trip by private car and driver which is for 9 nights.
This is a great destination for people interested in history, religion and culture.
Maureen Jones is president of All Horizons Travel at 160 Main Street. Members of her staff are experts in business travel, cruises, and all types of leisure.