For many, visiting Israel is a dream come true. Thus, the importance of maximizing your time while there is something tour operators take into great consideration when creating customized tours. If your unfamiliar with Israel the help of a knowledgeable tour guide is extremely beneficial. And there are so many amazing sites to see it’s hard to choose which ones to make a priority during your Israel vacation itinerary. To help you with that ITAS (Israel Travel Advisory Service) has created a list of some of the top must-see sites in Israel.
Nearly 3 million people visit the Western Wall annually. Around 19 BC King Herod the Great began a massive expansion project, besides rebuilding the Jewish Temple, he extended the platform on which it stood. The Western Wall we see today is part of the retaining walls built during that time. Most of the stones used to build the wall weigh between 2 and 8 tons each, but others weigh even more, with one incredibly large stone located in the northern section of Wilson’s Arch measuring 43 ft. and weighing approximately 570 tons. The Western Wall is approximately 1600-feet-long, most of it is concealed by buildings. Due to restrictions put on Jews from entering the Temple Mount, the Western Wall plaza is the closest connection to the Temple. For this reason, it is the holiest site in Judaism.
Caesarea Harbor National Park
In 31 BCE Augustus Caesar gifted a small Phoenician town to Herod the Great. He renamed it after the Emperor and built a major port, palace, bathhouse, hippodrome, stables and other impressive structures such as the aqueduct and Roman amphitheater. Visitors today can enjoy a breathtaking view the Mediterranean coastline as they stroll amongst the ancient ruins of Caesarea. A new Visitor Center offers a media presentation and rare archaeological artifacts inside one of the original vaults built by Herod.
On the list of World Heritage sites, the Baha’i Garden and Shrine complex is the holiest site for the Baha’i faith. It is also Haifa’s #1 attraction because of its stunning beauty and grandeur. The main garden is comprised of 19 steep terraces full of lovely flowers, fountains and small sculptures. From its base this striking floral staircase extends a half mile up the northern slope of Mount Carmel. Standing on its top terrace you can see the Haifa city and port, Akko, and the hills of Galilee.
The Dead Sea is the lowest elevation on Earth at roughly 1400 feet below sea level. It is one of the saltiest lakes with a salinity of approx. 34%. The Dead Sea lies in the Jordan Rift Valley bordered to the east by Jordan and to the west by Israel and the West Bank. Due to its harsh saline environment nothing can grow in it, however due to it’s high mineral contents, Dead Sea mud has been touted for its therapeutic properties for centuries.
Yad Vashem is Israel’s National Holocaust Museum and the largest of its kind in the world. The museum exhibits provide an accurate historical account, through various media, of the atrocities the Jewish people endured during World War II. Yad Vashem preserves the memory of those who perished and honors those who fought valiantly against the oppressors. It is a site every visitor to Israel should see for themselves to better understand the magnitude of this atrocity.
Our list of the top must-see sites in Israel could be much longer! Other amazing sites to include on your Israel vacation itinerary are: the City of David, Masada (another World Heritage site), Independence Hall, Rosh HaNikra, and the Jewish Quarter to name just a few.
Israel Travel Advisory Service is a highly respected, full-service tour operator specializing in Jewish Heritage tours of Israel. Contact: email@example.com