“My favourite destination on the TUI Tour of Israel is definitely Tel Aviv,” says Clarissa.
In this lively city, you can get clued up on local culture at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, or pick up handmade goods and fresh local food at the colourful Carmel Market.
“Carmel Market features on the tour, and customers will see exactly why I love it here so much,” she says. “Israel is a real melting pot of cultures and there’s food here from all over the globe. We have so much fresh fruit – like huge pomegranates – as well as vegetables and many types of wheat.”
“Tel Aviv also has a really friendly atmosphere, and people will stop to talk to each other in the street,” says Clarissa. “It’s the sort of place where something’s happening around the clock. It’s a really cultural city, with theatres, cinemas, literary events and shopping at every turn. I just love it, and I know TUI customers will, too. Of course, the beach and the sea make it even more appealing.”
Find out more about our Israel Through the Ages tour
When you think of Israel, the city of Jerusalem is probably one of the first places that spring to mind, and that’s for good reason. From the Wailing Wall – also known as the Western Wall – to the Dome of the Rock, it’s home to some of the most important relics in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Get to the heart of this holy city on a visit to Temple Mount – the third holiest site in Islam – or Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. If you’re a history buff, there’s also the Dead Sea scroll exhibition in the Israel Museum. These ancient manuscripts, found in the Dead Sea, are said to be over 2,000 years’ old.
If you get hungry while sightseeing, you can stop for a snack in the Mahane Yehuda Market. “You must try burekas in Israel,” says Clarissa. “It’s a sort of dumpling, but baked and filled with ingredients like cheeses, spinach, mashed potatoes and aubergine. Everyone in Israeli loves burekas.”
The Sea of Galilee is a must-see spot on any trip to Israel. Why? Well, not only is it where Christians believe Jesus walked on water, but it’s picture perfect, set in the green, mountainous Galilee region in the north.
On the Israel Through the Ages tour, you’ll have a chance to marvel at this sight. Plus, “there’s also a short stop near the Sea of Galilee at the ruins of a first-century synagogue in Magdala,” says Clarissa. “We know from the New Testament that Jesus visited and taught at this synagogue, so it’s a very important stop for Christian tourists who come from all over the world to see the excavations.”
These well-manicured gardens are centred around a UNESCO-protected temple – camera at the ready. Climb to the top and “the panoramic views are truly spectacular,” says Clarissa. “Most people will name the views of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives as the best vista, but for me, it’s always these gardens in Haifa. This holy avenue of 19 garden terraces, each one as beautiful as the next, cascade down the side of Mount Carmel. It really is one of Israel’s most beautiful – and photo-worthy – landmarks.”
If you want to really get under Israel’s skin, visiting a Kibbutz is the best way to do it. These unique farming communities started life in 1910, and are based on the principle that all members are paid the same basic sum whatever their work. There’s still a sense of mystery surrounding them, but on our Israel Through the Ages tour, you’ll have the chance to chat to one of the community members.
Finally, a trip to Israel wouldn’t be complete without trying a traditional Shabbat meal. On day five of the tour, you’ll eat one with a local Jewish family in their home. Typical Shabbat foods include challah, braided bread, and wine, which are both blessed before the meal begins.
Find out more about the things to do in Israel
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
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Author: Jessica Houtby
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