Enjoy the late afternoon and evening by taking in a walk along the Tayelet (Boardwalk) along the beach. Stop in at Mike's Place for a cocktail. Make your way to Sarona Market for an easy meal.
Day 2 - Tel Aviv
Wake up in Tel Aviv and enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast head over to Carmel Market (Shuk Ha'Carmel). The Carmel Market, or Shuk HaCarmel, is the most famous of all Tel Aviv’s marketplaces. In recent years, it’s even joined the ranks of Tel Aviv’s trendy spots for bars, restaurants, coffee shops and chef-owned food stalls. It’s no wonder Shuk HaCarmel is Tel Aviv’s largest and most-centrally located shuk: From hand-made Jachnun, a traditional Yemenite dish, to boutique cheeses, and from one-off cotton clothes to designer threads, HaCarmel has it all. Plan your visit around your tastebuds and food preferences - salted fish, cured meats, Middle Eastern fare, fresh baked French pastries, and local-roasted coffee or fresh-pressed fruit or vegetable juice blends to wash it all down.
In the afternoon drive to the Old City of Yafo (Jaffa), the ancient port city out of which Tel Aviv has now grown. Jaffa has, in recent years, like much of South Tel Aviv, been regenerated with the old narrow streets and courtyards becoming a another highly desirable part of Tel Aviv’s urban tapestry. Jaffa flea market is a well known attraction of the area, with vendors selling a diverse range of interesting and unique products. Meanwhile the narrow passageways and ancient buildings in the Old City of Jaffa are worlds away from modern Tel Aviv. Enjoy a nice walk along the Port, and then explore the sites and sounds of Jaffa at night as you enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants before heading back to your hotel.
Day 3 - Tel Aviv to Dead Sea
Wake up in Tel Aviv and enjoy breakfast at your hotel. You will then visit any number of 11+ museums. Here's a sampling:
You may also want to take a walk along Dizengoff Street for great shops, galleries, eateries. Stop and see the memorial to Ytzak Rabin memorial which stands on the place where he was shot in the plaza. Enjoy lunch at Delicatessen, or If you like Mexican Food, be sure to dine at Mexicana.
Afterward, you will drive across Israel to the town of Ein Bokek on the Dead Sea and check into Isrotel Ganim Hotel. I especially love this hotel because the spa there is amazing and has a free indoor/outdoor "dead sea" pool along with steam rooms and saunas.
Day 4 - Masada and Ein Gedi to Jerusalem
After enjoying breakfast at your hotel and check out, drive approximately 20 minutes to Masada, a place of gaunt and majestic beauty that has become one of the Jewish people's greatest symbols as the place where the last Jewish stronghold against Roman invasion stood. Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular destination of tourists visiting Israel. More than two thousand years have passed since the fall of the Masada fortress yet the regional climate and its remoteness have helped to preserve the remains of its extraordinary story. Many people will choose to climb Masada during the early morning hours to watch the sunrise. Others will take their time and ride the tram up to the top, which takes less time and energy. Should you choose to to an early morning climb, the hotel will offer you a breakfast box to go.
Once you have departed Masada, you will continue along the same road for about another 15 minutes until you reach Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. En Gedi is the biggest oasis in Israel. It has springs and waterfalls, and flowing brooks at the foot of the cliffs, home to ibexes and rock hyraxes.
It is now time to drive to Jerusalem, about an hour, depending on traffic. Check into your hotel (TBD), and enjoy a magical dinner in this magnificent city.
Day 5 - Jerusalem
How amazing is it to wake up in Jerusalem? Today will be spent exploring the Old City of Jerusalem, marveling at the Western Wall, and the shops in the alleyways. Walk through the various quarters for a true taste of history and culture.
Late in the afternoon, take a drive to Ein Karem, a beautiful little suburb of Jerusalem known for the birthplace of John the Baptist.
And enjoy the views of the city at night.
Day 6 - Jerusalem
After breakfast at your hotel, today will be spent visiting Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Memorial Center, and the Israel Museum, home of the Shrine of the Book (Dead Sea Scrolls), and a fantastic scaled model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, along with many other exhibits. Enjoy your evening at your leisure.
Day 7 - Jerusalem to Tiberias to Tzfat
After breakfast at your hotel, you will check out and begin driving north to the Golan where your first stop will be in Tiberias for lunch and then take a cruise on the Sea of Galilee.
After you have left the Sea of Galilee, you will head toward Mount Bental, one of Israel’s favorite mountain peaks to visit, partly due to the great panoramic views of the Golan and even Syria but also because Mount Bental was the site of a courageous battle fought during Israel’s war for the Golan. A short drive up, the mountain-top provides both scenic beauty and a glimpse back at the past – with bunkers open to visitors. Be sure to visit Coffee Anan, a wonderful cafe with tea, cakes, sandwiches, etc.
Day 8 - Tzfat
Welcome to your day in Tzfat (Safed), the birthplace of Kabbalah. Safed is one of the four holy cities in Israel, together with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias. The old part of town consists of narrow cobblestone alleys revealing artists' galleries, shops, restaurants, wineries, medieval synagogues, private homes and small guest houses. This town had the most amazing aura!
Day 9 - On Your Way To Haifa
Today after your wonderful breakfast you will be heading all the way back to the Mediterranean coast on your way to Haifa - but on the way, you will stop in Acre (Akko), where you have time to explore the waterfront and the market. Here you will enjoy a great lunch at Uri Buri . The city's fascinating historical heritage, rare blend of East and West, authentic glimpses from the past, and unique mix of religious beliefs and remnants from different cultures, have all turned Akko into one of the most vital Ancient World cities.
It has been an amazing day, but there's still a little more driving to do before you arrive in Haifa where you will check into your hotel (TBD) and enjoy dinner at one of the many wonderful restaurants in the area.
Day 10 - Haifa
Welcome to Haifa, where today after breakfast you will explore all the city has to offer. Be sure to check out the stunning gardens by the Baha'i Shrine (not a temple). Then enjoy your evening at leisure. Haifa is Israel’s third largest city, beautifully set on the slopes of Mount Carmel facing the Mediterranean Sea, likened by some as ‘Israel’s San Francisco’. Although traditionally a working city, there are a number of great things to do in Haifa including the Bahai Gardens, German Colony, as well as a number of top museums. The city is also known across Israel for its mixed population of Jews and Arabs who peacefully coexist and the result is some amazing fusions of Arabic and Jewish cultures across the city.
Day 11 - More Sites to See Before Heading Home
After breakfast, you will check out of your hotel, but before you head back toward Tel Aviv and the airport, there's another place you still need to see. About an hour south of Haifa you will stop at Caesarea National Park and see the remarkable ruins. You can also enjoy a wonderful lunch at the National Park where they have a couple of great restaurants. The city and harbor were built under Herod the Great during c. 22–10 BC near the site of a former Phoenician naval station known as Stratonos pyrgos. It later became the provincial capital of Roman Judea, Roman Syria Palaestina and Byzantine Palaestina Prima provinces. The city was populated throughout the 1st to 6th centuries CE and became an important early center of Christianity during the Byzantine period, but was mostly abandoned following the Muslim conquest of 640. It was re-fortified by the Crusaders, and finally slighted by the Mamluks in 1265. The ruins of the ancient city, on the coast just about 2 km south of modern Caesarea, were excavated in the 1950s and 1960s. The site was incorporated into a new national park in 2011.