Top 8 Places to See and Things to Do in Israel

Marie-Claire De Villiers
By Marie-Claire De Villiers
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published December 30, 2021.

 A view of Haifa Bay at sunset overlooking a large area

Israel brims with attractions. The country is famous for its religious significance but is also known for its fascinating landmarks, diverse cultures, ancient treasures, exquisite natural scenery, and thriving cosmopolitan cities filled with entertainment opportunities.

It’s said that if one spends five days in any destination, it only whets the appetite and leaves one wanting more - with the numerous draw cards that Israel offers, we’d suggest you stay longer if possible.

Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, a romantic partner, a group, or even if you are on a journey of self-discovery, the incredible landmarks and unforgettable activities that await you in Israel will inspire you.

1. Jerusalem

Jerusalem is arguably the most famous and the most sacred city in Israel. Tourists who like to visit sacred, historical sites have a chance to see most of the major ones here.

Top landmark

If one of the many incredible Jerusalem landmarks must be picked, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is our top choice, as it is here that Jesus was crucified, and where his tomb is located. Visiting this beautiful and atmospheric building is a truly other-worldly experience.

Things to do in Jerusalem - top choice

Make sure to spend the day browsing foods, crafts, and much more at the vibrant Mahane Yehuda Market, the largest and oldest in Israel. The area is also known for its colorful wall murals and lively nightlife scene.

If you're traveling to Jerusalem and looking for more to do, read our post about the top things to do in Jerusalem.

2. Tel Aviv

The second most populous city in Israel after Jerusalem, situated on the Mediterranean coast.

Top landmark

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, with its iconic and modern 'envelope' roof, is an important landmark for art enthusiasts, containing works by the great masters including Monet, Picasso, and more.

Things to do in Tel Aviv - top choice

This is Israel’s 'party capital' and also boasts some gorgeous beaches. Spend a leisurely day on the golden sands (Gordon Beach is a top choice), followed by an exciting night out on the town.

3. Haifa

Israel's third-largest city, Haifa rests on the slopes of Moun Carmel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Top landmark

The 12th-century Carmelite Monastery, set at the summit of Mount Carmel, should be at the top of your itinerary in laid-back Haifa. This magnificent church is decorated with enthralling murals and provides jaw-dropping sea views from its position.

Things to do in Haifa - top choice

The world's longest hillside gardens sprawl across the Baha'i Complex, perfect for a day of walking and picnicking, while several fascinating museums offer more to see.

4. Eilat/Elat

The southernmost town in Israel and lies at the south tip of the Negev and at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba.

Top landmark

The resort town of Eilat is home to a remarkable underwater observatory, as well as a spectacular, orange desert within a nature park. Photographic opportunities abound.

Things to do in Eilat - top choice

Families will enjoy the chance to swim with dolphins or go snorkeling, diving, swimming, or kitesurfing in the stunning blue waters here.

5. Bethlehem

The site of the Christian Nativity scene, Bethlehem sits in the Judean Hills around 5 miles south of Jerusalem.

Top landmark

Christians who are lucky enough to visit Bethlehem will be able to see the Church of the Nativity - the birthplace of Jesus Christ. One of the oldest churches in the world, this ancient basilica is a truly awe-inspiring place and an absolute bucket-list item.

Things to do in Bethlehem - top choice

Spend an afternoon walking along the grassy slopes of Shepherd’s Field, where it is believed that the angels appeared to the three shepherds to announce the birth of Christ. Visit the cave-like chapel.

6. Golan Heights

Historically, Golan Heights is the border region captured from Syria by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967. While it may be a tourist location, foreigners are advised to be wary due to the frequent fighting between Syria and Israel.

Top landmark

The sparkling pools of the beautiful Yehudiya Nature Reserve are at the top of the things to see in the mountains known as the Golan Heights.

Things to do in Golan Heights - top choice

The area is dotted with some intriguing historic sites, and the Golan Archaeological Museum is the perfect place to gain insight and see artifacts from thousands of years ago.

7. Caesarea

An administrative city of Palestine, Caesarea sits on the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa.

Top landmark

Caesarea is a captivating ancient city filled with breathtaking ruins including a Roman amphitheater, palaces, and bathhouse from various time periods; the Caesarea Maritima area is not to be missed.

Things to do in Caesarea - top choice

After a day exploring the area and its past, dine at one of the exclusive restaurants along the chic beachfront area, or browse in the upmarket boutiques.

8. Galilee

The Galilee region is the northernmost region of ancient Palestine between the Litani River in modern-day Lebanon and the Jezreel Valley.

Top landmark

The Sea of Galilee, Israel’s largest freshwater lake, combines sacred significance and idyllic splendor beautifully and is a must for Christians and nature lovers.

Things to do in Galilee - top choice

The Upper Galilee area has been nicknamed "Israel’s Little Tuscany." Book off a day for some wine tasting and culinary adventures.