A road trip in Israel offers a unique opportunity to experience the rich history, cultural diversity, and natural beauty of the country. From the bustling cities to the remote deserts, a road trip allows you to see it all at your own pace and create your own itinerary.
One of the key reasons to take a road trip in Israel is to explore the historical sites that dot the landscape. You can visit ancient cities like Jerusalem, Jericho, and Nazareth, and see firsthand the monuments and buildings that have played a significant role in the world's religious and cultural history. These sites are rich in both religious and secular history, and offer a fascinating insight into the country's past.
Another reason to take a road trip in Israel is to experience its natural beauty. The country is home to a diverse range of landscapes, from the rolling hills of the Galilee region to the rugged cliffs of the Dead Sea. There are also beautiful beaches along the Mediterranean coast and the Red Sea, making it easy to find a place to relax and soak up the sun.
Finally, a road trip in Israel is a great way to experience the country's rich cultural diversity. The country is home to a diverse mix of people, including Jews, Arabs, Christians, and Bedouins, each with their own unique cultural traditions and customs. As you travel through the country, you'll have the opportunity to meet local people, try traditional foods, and visit markets and festivals that showcase the country's diverse cultural heritage.
In conclusion, a road trip in Israel offers an unforgettable experience that combines the country's rich history, natural beauty, and cultural diversity. Whether you're interested in exploring ancient cities, experiencing the country's natural beauty, or discovering its diverse cultural heritage, a road trip in Israel is the perfect way to do it all.
Many travellers who choose Israel as their holiday destination start with Jerusalem, the country’s capital. The city is a perfect showcase of Israel’s culture and religion, with such attractions as Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Mahane Yehuda Market.
Northern Israel offers a panoply of diverse attractions. Travel to such cities as Nazareth, Acre, or Hajfa to explore the country’s cultural potential. You can always spend a few hours on one of the beaches along the coastline. Most seaside resorts can boast impeccable tourist infrastructure and great bathing options.
If you are into the exploration of the region around the Dead Sea, you can try some of the more peaceful settlements, like Ein Geni, which will be a perfect starting point for trekking trips to the Masada National Park as well. Another interesting body of water is the Sea of Galilee where many miracles occurred according to the New Testament. The region is rife with water activities and sightseeing options.
Those who are into more mountainous regions should travel to the Golan Heights. These are an equally perfect holiday destination in the winter time as the area is skiers paradise. For more natural jewels, you can consider a visit at the Ramon Crater located in the Nagev Desert. Around the crater, there is an opportunity to participate in jeep tours.
Suggested Road Trips in Israel
The Dead Sea and Masada Road Trip: This is a popular road trip in Israel that starts in Jerusalem and takes you to the Dead Sea, one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, and to Masada, an ancient fortress and symbol of Jewish resistance. On the way, you can stop at Ein Gedi, a lush oasis in the desert, and visit the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
The Northern Coast Road Trip: This road trip takes you from Haifa to Acre, along the beautiful Mediterranean coast. You can stop at the Bahai Gardens in Haifa, visit the ruins of Caesarea, an ancient port city, and explore the Crusader city of Acre, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don't forget to take a dip in the crystal clear waters of one of the many beaches along the way.
The Negev Desert Road Trip: This road trip takes you through the beautiful and rugged Negev Desert, starting in Be'er Sheva and ending in Eilat. On the way, you can visit the Timna Valley, a stunning desert park with rock formations and ancient copper mines, the Bedouin city of Dimona, and the Ramon Crater, one of the largest erosion craters in the world. You can also stop at the ancient city of Avdat and the Ein Avdat National Park, with its beautiful springs and pools.
Israel follows right-hand traffic and many standard European traffic regulations. The minimum driving age is 17, but the minimum driving age if you want to rent a vehicle is 21. Unfortunately, some car rental companies tend to apply extra charges in case of young drivers.
In the country, there are strict regulations concerning seatbelts so be sure to always have them fastened. Other restrictions concern drinking and driving. Israel has a blood alcohol limit of 0.024% so even a larger sip of strong alcoholic beverage can take you beyond the imposed limit.
What’s more, avoid driving and talking on your mobile phone. Instead, invest in a hands-free set or make sure that the car rental company provides you with one.
The documents that you should carry while travelling around Israel are: driver’s licence, certificate of insurance, passport, and vehicle registration documents.
The speed limits in Israel are as follows: 50 km/h in built-up areas, 80-90 km/h outside built-up areas, and 110 km on motorways. Speed cameras in Israel are a common phenomenon and are becoming even more prevalent. Additionally, police officers often use mobile speed traps so it’s recommended to simply stick to the speed limits.
There are three roads that are paid in Israel. Toll Highway 6 is operated electronically and there is no toll booth there so prepare yourself beforehand and plan ahead. Your licence plates will be scanned and the bill will be sent to your home address. It’s advisable to ask about more information on toll roads at the car rental company of your choice.
Here are some things to keep in mind when planning a road trip in Israel:
Road conditions: Be aware that roads in Israel can be narrow, winding, and hilly in some areas, particularly in the north and central regions. Make sure you drive carefully and keep a safe following distance from other vehicles.
Speed limits: Observe speed limits carefully, as speed cameras are widely used in Israel and speeding fines are steep.
Driving style: Israeli drivers are known for their aggressive driving style, so be prepared for sudden lane changes and be extra cautious.
Road signs: Most road signs in Israel are in both Hebrew and English, but it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local road signs before you start driving.
Right-side driving: Israel drives on the right-side of the road, so if you're used to driving on the left, this may take some getting used to.
Fuel: Make sure to refuel your car regularly, as petrol stations can be few and far between in rural areas.
Roadblocks and checkpoints: There may be roadblocks and checkpoints in some areas of Israel, especially near the borders with Palestine or Lebanon. Make sure to carry your passport and other relevant documents with you at all times.
Car rental insurance: Before you rent a car in Israel, make sure you understand the terms of your rental agreement, including any insurance coverage you have in case of an accident.
GPS navigation: It's a good idea to bring a GPS device or download a navigation app for your trip, as not all roads in Israel may be well marked.
The best time of year for a road trip in Israel depends on personal preference and the specific destinations you plan to visit. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Spring (March to May): Spring is a popular time to visit Israel, as the weather is mild and many of the country's parks and nature reserves are in bloom. This is a great time for a road trip if you're interested in seeing the countryside and hiking.
Summer (June to August): Summer can be hot in Israel, especially in the coastal areas, but it's also a great time to visit the beach and enjoy the Mediterranean coast. However, it's important to note that some roads may be congested with tourists during this time of year.
Autumn (September to November): Autumn is a mild and pleasant time of year in Israel, and it's a great time to visit the country's vineyards and wineries. This is also a good time for a road trip if you're interested in visiting historical and cultural sites, as the crowds will be smaller.
Winter (December to February): Winter can be cool and rainy in Israel, but it's still a great time to visit if you're interested in exploring the country's cities and cultural sites.
Ultimately, the best time of year for a road trip in Israel will depend on your interests and the specific destinations you plan to visit. Just be sure to check the weather and road conditions before you go, and pack accordingly.
Planning a road trip in Israel can be an exciting and fulfilling experience, with the country's diverse landscapes and historical sites providing plenty to explore. However, the cost of such a trip can vary greatly depending on several factors.
One of the biggest expenses on a road trip in Israel is transportation. Renting a car is a popular option for tourists, and the cost can range from around 200-400 shekels per day, depending on the car's size, brand, and rental location. It is also important to note that fuel prices in Israel can be quite high, so you should factor in the cost of gas when budgeting for your trip.
Accommodation costs can also add up quickly, especially if you opt for higher-end hotels or resorts. However, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available, such as hostels, camping grounds, and short-term apartment rentals. Depending on your preferences and budget, you can expect to spend anywhere from around 150-500 shekels per night on accommodation.
Food is another cost to consider, and it is worth noting that dining out in Israel can be expensive, especially in major cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. However, there are plenty of more affordable options available, such as street food, local markets, and grocery stores. Depending on your eating habits and preferences, you can expect to spend anywhere from around 50-150 shekels per day on food.
Additional costs to consider include admission fees for museums and other attractions, as well as any souvenirs or other items you may wish to purchase during your trip.
Overall, the cost of a day/week/month per person on a road trip in Israel can vary greatly depending on your preferences and budget. As a rough estimate, you can expect to spend around 1000-2000 shekels per day for two people, including car rental, accommodation, food, and other expenses. However, with careful planning and budgeting, it is possible to enjoy a memorable and affordable road trip in Israel.
here are some popular guidebooks and road maps that you might find useful for planning your road trip in Israel:
Lonely Planet Israel & the Palestinian Territories: This guidebook covers all the major cities and regions of Israel and provides detailed information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, and practical travel tips. It also includes a section on Palestinian Territories and their attractions.
Fodor's Essential Israel: This guidebook offers comprehensive coverage of Israel's major cities and regions, as well as practical information on travel logistics and cultural customs. It also includes maps, photos, and recommendations for dining, lodging, and sightseeing.
Michelin Israel Road and Tourist Map: This map is designed specifically for road trips and covers the entire country, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It includes detailed road information, scenic routes, tourist attractions, and suggested itineraries.
National Geographic Israel Adventure Map: This map features detailed topographic information, including elevation profiles, contour lines, and major trails. It also includes information on cultural and historical sites, as well as outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and skiing.
Israel National Trail Guidebook: This guidebook is geared specifically toward hiking the Israel National Trail, a 620-mile trek from the southern tip of Israel to the Lebanese border. It includes detailed route descriptions, maps, and trail notes, as well as practical information on gear, supplies, and logistics.
These are just a few examples of the many guidebooks and maps available for planning a road trip in Israel. Be sure to research and compare different options to find the ones that best suit your needs and preferences.
If you're planning a road trip in Israel, there are many great books that can help you gain a deeper understanding of the country's history, culture, and people. Here are some suggestions:
"My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel" by Ari Shavit: This book provides a sweeping history of Israel from its early days as a Zionist settlement to the present day. Shavit's personal stories and insights into Israeli society offer a unique perspective on the country and its people.
"A Tale of Love and Darkness" by Amos Oz: This memoir tells the story of Oz's childhood in Jerusalem during the early years of Israel's statehood. The book offers a vivid portrait of the city's diverse communities and the challenges of building a new nation in a politically fraught environment.
"Jerusalem: The Biography" by Simon Sebag Montefiore: This epic history of Jerusalem spans thousands of years and explores the city's rich religious, cultural, and political history. It is a fascinating read for anyone interested in understanding the complex dynamics of one of the world's most contested cities.
"The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God & Other Stories" by Etgar Keret: This collection of short stories provides a whimsical and often humorous perspective on life in contemporary Israel. Keret's writing is both poignant and funny, offering a unique lens into the country's culture and society.
"The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East" by Sandy Tolan: This non-fiction book tells the true story of a Palestinian family and a Jewish family who lived in the same house in Ramla. The book offers a nuanced and compassionate look at the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and the human stories that underlie it.
These are just a few examples of the many books available that can help you prepare for a road trip in Israel. Reading about the country's history, culture, and people can enhance your experience and deepen your understanding of this complex and fascinating place.