Masada National Park, Israel
Masada National Park, Israel

Masada National Park

Masada is an ancient fortress in southern Israel’s Judean Desert. It's on a massive plateau overlooking the Dead Sea.
Photo by Cristina Gottardi

ISRAEL

Middle East

Israel Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Jerusalem, IL

Location:

Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon

Currency:

new Israeli shekels (ILS)

Area:

21,937 sq km

Population:

8,787,045 (includes populations of the Golan Heights or Golan Sub-District and also East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after 1967) (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Hebrew (official), Arabic (special status under Israeli law), English (most commonly used foreign language)

Religion:

Jewish 74.1%, Muslim 17.9%, Christian 1.9%, Druze 1.6%, other 4.5% (2019 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+2

Tel Code:

+972

Weather

Climate

Israel has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The coastal plain, including Tel Aviv and Haifa, has a typically Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The central highlands, including Jerusalem, have a more moderate climate with cooler summers and colder winters. The desert regions, including the Negev and Arava, have hot summers and mild winters with very little rainfall.

Best time to visit

Spring (March-May)

The best time to visit Israel is during the spring, which runs from March to May. The weather is perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities, with mild temperatures and comfortable conditions. This is also the peak season for wildflowers in the desert regions and religious festivals such as Passover and Easter.

Fall (September-November)

The fall, which runs from September to November, is also a good time to visit. The weather is still pleasant, and there are fewer tourists, which can make for a more authentic experience. This is also the time of the Jewish holidays, such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when the country comes alive with festivals and celebrations.

Summer (June-August)

The summer is not the best time to visit Israel for sightseeing, as the weather can be hot and dry. However, it is also less crowded and the prices tend to be lower. If you're planning to visit during the summer, it's best to focus on indoor activities or head to the coast for swimming and water sports.

Transportation

Public Transport

Israel has a well-developed public transportation system, which includes buses, trains, and light rail. This is a reliable and convenient way to travel around the country, especially for short distances. There are also many bus and train stations located in major cities and towns, making it easy to get around.

Car rental

Car rental is a popular option for those who want more flexibility and independence when traveling around Israel. There are many car rental companies in the country, with a wide range of vehicles available to rent. However, it's important to be aware of the local traffic laws and road conditions before renting a car.

Taxis

Taxis are a popular and convenient way to get around in cities and towns. They are widely available, and it is easy to find a taxi on the street or at a taxi stand. However, it's important to agree on a fare before setting off and be aware of the traffic conditions.

Bike rental

Bike rental is a great option for exploring the cities and towns in Israel. Many cities have bike rental services and bike-sharing programs. This is an eco-friendly way to get around and also allows to experience the local culture and see the sights in a different way.

Hitching

Hitching is a popular way to travel around Israel, especially in rural areas. It is relatively safe and easy to hitchhike in Israel, although it is important to be aware of the local laws and customs. It is not recommended to hitchhike in the Palestinian territories.

Accommodation

Hotels

Israel has a wide range of hotels, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses. Many of the larger hotels are located in tourist hotspots such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Eilat, but there are also many smaller, more intimate hotels located in more remote areas of the country.

Guesthouses

Guesthouses are a popular accommodation option for budget-conscious travelers in Israel. These small, family-run establishments offer basic amenities and a homely atmosphere at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. Guesthouses can be found in most towns and cities across Israel, as well as in rural areas.

Campsites

Campsites are a popular option for budget-conscious travelers and adventure enthusiasts. There are many campsites in Israel, which are particularly popular with hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Some campsites offer basic facilities such as toilets and showers, while others offer more luxurious amenities such as private bathrooms and hot water. Many of the national parks in Israel have designated campsites, which are a great way to experience the parks and their wildlife.

Luxury lodges and tented camps

Israel is home to many luxury lodges and tented camps, which offer an upscale accommodation option. These properties are located in prime wildlife-viewing areas such as the Dead Sea, the Golan Heights and the Eilat Mountains. They offer comfortable accommodations, delicious meals, and excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities.

Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals, such as apartments and villas, are becoming increasingly popular in Israel. They offer more privacy and space than a hotel and are often more affordable than a luxury hotel. Vacation rentals can be found in most towns and cities across Israel, and are a great option for families or groups of friends traveling together.

Hostels

Hostels are a popular accommodation option for budget-conscious travelers in Israel. They offer dormitory-style rooms and shared facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens. Many hostels also offer private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Hostels can be found in most towns and cities across Israel, and are a great option for solo travelers and backpackers.

Bed and Breakfast

Bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodations are a popular option for travelers looking for a more personal experience. They offer a homey atmosphere, comfortable rooms and a delicious breakfast. B&Bs can be found in most towns and cities across Israel, and are a great option for travelers looking for a more authentic experience.

Kibbutz Guesthouse

Kibbutz guesthouses are a unique accommodation option in Israel. They are located on communal settlements known as kibbutzim, and offer a chance to experience the kibbutz lifestyle.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Israel Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Israel is a country rich in history, culture, and religion. From the ancient ruins of Jerusalem to the stunning beaches of Tel Aviv, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Israel. Whether you're interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply relaxing on the beach, Israel has something for everyone. Here are the top 10 things to do in Israel:

      1. Visit the Old City of Jerusalem

      The Old City of Jerusalem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important religious sites in the world. Visitors can explore the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Dome of the Rock.

      2. Visit the Dead Sea

      The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth and is known for its high salt content and minerals that are believed to have therapeutic properties. Visitors can float in the sea, apply the mineral-rich mud to their skin and also enjoy the natural hot springs.

      3. Visit Masada

      Masada is an ancient fortress located on a mountain top, and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can take a cable car to the top of the mountain and explore the well-preserved ruins of the fortress, including the palace and the synagogue.

      4. Explore the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa

      The Baha'i Gardens are a series of terraced gardens located in Haifa, and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens offer a beautiful view of the city and the Mediterranean Sea.

      5. Visit the Tel Aviv Port

      The Tel Aviv Port is a popular spot for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Visitors can take a walk along the promenade, enjoy the street performers and also try some local street food.

      6. Visit the Israel Museum

      The Israel Museum is one of the most important museums in the country and is home to a vast collection of artifacts from the history of Israel. Visitors can explore the archaeology, art, and Jewish culture collections.

      7. Take a hike in the Negev Desert

      The Negev Desert is a vast desert located in southern Israel, and it's known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse flora and fauna. Visitors can take a guided hike and explore the desert's canyons, mountains, and oases.

      8. Visit the Bahai Shrine and Gardens in Acre

      The Bahai Shrine and Gardens in Acre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it's a sacred place for the Bahai faith. Visitors can explore the beautiful gardens, the shrine of Bahá'u'lláh and also learn about the history of the Bahai faith.

      9. Visit the Beit She'an National Park

      Beit She'an National Park is a well-preserved ancient Roman city and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins of the city, including the Roman theater, the bathhouse and also the mosaics.

      10. Visit the Caesarea National Park

      The Caesarea National Park is an ancient Roman city located on the Mediterranean coast, and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins of the city, including the Roman theater, the aqueduct and also the ancient harbor. The park also offers a beautiful beach where visitors can enjoy the Mediterranean sea.

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