Some years ago we accepted an invitation from a dear family member and flew to Israel. It’s only under three hours away from Cluj, but the conflicts there made us postpone going. But finally, in 2019, we made the flight and for about 200 euros got tickets and found ourselves at Ben Gurion Airport in the capital of Tel Aviv.
Some things may be changed in the meantime, but the places we can recommend and the experiences are for sure there and wait for you.
NOTE> Right from the start, prepare for the insane heat. In Israel, there is no winter and barely any rain. We traveled at the end of June and coming off the plane I really thought we stepped in the back of the plane engine and that explained the heat. It’s making me lose breath. So remember> water, sunscreen, glasses, a hat, and a jacket. The jacket is for all the times you go inside places, like the Mall or the train station and the air conditioning is on to the maximum and then some and the difference in temperature made my teeth click.
How to spend 5 days in Israel
Here we go: first, we recommend spring months and maybe autumn too. Just be cool when the airport security may be a little more inquisitive than you are used to. As a country near conflict areas, they are more careful with travelers and the image of heavy-armed soldiers should not shock you.
The biggest two reasons people choose Israel
1. The religious spots: Jerusalem, Nazareth, Mount Tabor or Mount Zion.
2. The seas: the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Dead See, all completely different experiences.
10 Things to Do and See on a trip to Israel
Some of these are researched, as we didn’t get to enjoy them.
1. Discover Tel Aviv and The white city, a collection of over 4,000 buildings in Tel Aviv built in a unique form of the International Style, commonly known as Bauhaus, by Jewish architects). Make a stop at the mall in the Skyscrapper, The Azrieli Center, the largest shopping mall in Tel Aviv.
2. Get lost in Old Jaffa. Touch your zodiac sign on the calendar bridge for luck, wander the narrow streets and get inside the workshops of the artist here. It was one of the highlights for me and my husband. The feel and the look of this small neighborhood made our day one to be remembered. The graffiti are amazing in this country.
3. Discover Jerusalem, an ancient world and a place of worship surrounded by a grand wall. You’ll probably see kids there coming with families to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah at the Wall. And from the Western Wall (aka the Wailing Wall) you take a stroll inside the Bazar, with narrow alleyways filled with merchandise, to the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the four quarters: Muslim, Armenian, Christian and Jewish.
4. Haifa is a must-see in the north, and the pics below can hardly make it justice. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Baha’i Gardens there and ride the cable car up Mount Carmel to the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery to admire the views. Wave to all the ships passing by and get to the beach to admire the windsurfers. We loved it!
5. Capture every opportunity to get that important Vitamin Sea…I mean D. Trust me, all the different seas are amazing and if not for the sandy beaches, then the waves and the blue can make you want to get to all. Try to dip your feet into the water in Tel Aviv, then in Eilat, in the Dead Sea and near Haifa. You’ll get the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Dead Sea in the same country.
6. Bargain and explore a shuk (we recommend Carmel Market in Tel Aviv – basically city markets full of food, trinkets and color). These are amazing places with so many different people and foods, voices and art, you can get lost in it.
After shopping and eating, go to the beach to cool off. Careful because in some seasons there are jellyfish warnings.
If you’re more of an adventurer type, get to one of the many adventure parks and try a ride there.
7. Endure the heat at the Dead Sea and be ready to see a landscape as I imagine you can only find on Mars. With a little more water, but the same temperatures. haha. Realy, the heat is atrocious and the sea is almost boiling hot. But the way it makes you feel like on another planet and the sensation of being suspended on the surface of the water make it all worth it for a couple of hours. Stay hydrated, let your shoes on and never get out into the sea without company, as it’s very dangerous and you can’t swim. Do your research.
8. Meditate in one of the iconic religious sites. Just the energy there can make for a perfect place to gather and focus your thoughts.
9. Participate in an authentic Shabbat dinner, taking place on Friday nights. We were lucky to have a host like Alina, Schlomi and her family so we got to experience it firsthand. Dress with care and be ready to participate. Traditional customs, lovely people and lots of good food…what more can you ask from a visit to another country? Try and find an experience to book, it is worth it!
10. Endulge yourself with all the local foods: Khachapuri, Shakshuka, babka, Tabbouleh, humus, falafel, and the local donuts, sfenj and the great local bread> pita. You can also look for restaurants catering to other cultures because the cities is vibrant and you can find every experience you want. We even found a Romanian restaurant with our country’s famous ”mici” at Haim Nello Grill House in Tel Aviv.
Traveler tip: Eilat is also a must-see experience, as most of Israelis go there for the weekend recharge on the beach. This and much more can be done in Israel and surely just one visit can barely accommodate all the sights.
Thank you for reading, toda Israel and Alina, for a great trip and the cultural immersion!
Any suggestions for us are always welcomed! Like and follow for more trips, tips and tricks! Happy trails,
The GALs, Catalina&Florin
”We’re a couple in love with travel and research. We hope to give you some good tips from experience so that you can have the best of times.”
Decide on a trip to Israel:
- Make sure you don’t forget a list of a few essentials: sun screen (just be advised that it’s better not to bother then and be careful where you venture), and the perfect headscarf that will save your skin and make you decent in some religious places, and also a pair of linen pants for the visit to Haifa and Jerusalem.
- Read a book by a local, about Israel. I recommend Eshkol Nevo and his awarded books. You can find some here.
Legal disclosure: *These links are affiliate links. If you buy a product through these links, we get a small share of the price (without the product being more expensive for you). It’s up to you if you use them, thank you for reading!
Follow my Instagram for more travel pics.
PS: And a little song that the kids sang so I guess NETTA was famous in Israel (this was 2019 and she was at Eurovision 2018).