Excursions from Tel Aviv: the best day trips around Tel Aviv

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Among the cities of the Middle East, Tel Aviv certainly stands out in that state of the art tourist destination, suitable for both lovers of big cities and fun and for those who want to spend relaxing days on the beach.
However, Tel Aviv is only one of the many wonders present in the Israeli territory: that's why more and more people are using it city ​​as a base for all excursions in its surroundings in search of attractions and points of interest.
So here's what they are the best day trips around Tel Aviv: not only cities, but also naturalistic spots that will take your breath away and make your stay in Israel truly special!


  1. Jerusalem and Bethlehem
  2. Masada and the Dead Sea
  3. Negev desert
  4. Sea of ​​Galilee
  5. Haifa
  6. Nahariya
  7. Nazareth
  8. Magdala and Cana
  9. Qumran
  10. West Bank: Day Tour from Tel Aviv
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Jerusalem and Bethlehem

If it is true that Tel Aviv is Israel's entertainment capital, they are just a few kilometers away important centers of religious tourism: primarily Jerusalem, the City of Peace. If you are short on time, we recommend that you head without hesitation to the Old Town area, where some of the city's most famous attractions are located: the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Temple Mount (with the beautiful golden dome visible from miles away) and the Souq area with labyrinthine alleys full of stalls and spartan restaurants serving traditional cuisine.

If you can, from Jerusalem then go to nearby Bethlehem, the city where Jesus Christ was born according to the Christian religion. These are places with a strong spiritual charge and we are sure that even those who are not believers will be able to perceive their intense vibrations.

  • from the Tel Aviv bus station, take bus 405 or 480 to reach Jerusalem in just over an hour, the cost of a single ride is 6 NIS (approximately € 1,50); if you want to reach Bethlehem, just take the 231 bus from the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, in this case, the ticket costs 8 NIS (about € 2,00) per person and the journey takes 30 minutes - Get directions
  • the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is open from April to September every day from 5:00 to 21:00, from October to March every day from 4:00 to 19:00; Temple Mount is open Thursday to Sunday from 7am to 30am and from 11pm to 00pm
  • the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is free, as is that to the Temple Mount
  • Jerusalem & Bethlehem: Full-Day Small Group Tour From Tel Aviv: Jerusalem, Dead Sea & Bethlehem Tour Jerusalem: Full-Day City Tour

2 - Masada and the Dead Sea

Another excursion not to be missed if you are in Tel Aviv is the visit of the Dead Sea, the lake with the highest concentration of salt in the world, and the fortress of Masada, which overlooks it at an altitude of 400 meters.

With walls more than 5 meters high and over forty watchtowers, this ancient fortress apparently impregnable was conquered by the Romans in 74 AD, at the end of the First Jewish War. To get to the fortress, you can take the Path of the Snake walking for about 45 minutes uphill or take advantage of the comfortable and scenic cable car (available both round trip or one way). In any case, once you get to the top you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley below and the shores of the Dead Sea.

Going back, you can also decide to stop and swim in the Dead Sea by pointing to the nearby public beach: however, be careful not to get your eyes wet and not to immerse yourself completely, or you will regret it bitterly!

  • if you have a private car, it is quite easy to reach the destination starting from Tel Aviv, about 2 hours by road following Route 90 and then Route 1; if instead you travel by public transport, you will need to reach Jerusalem and then take bus 486 which from the central city station will take you to the foot of the fortress, the cost of the single ride is 42 NIS (about € 10,90) - Get indications
  • the fortress is open every day from 8:00 to 16:00, on Fridays until 15:00
  • the ticket costs 75 NIS (around € 19,50) including cable car, or 47 NIS (around € 12,20) without cable car
  • Masada and the Dead Sea: Full-Day Tour from Tel Aviv En Gedi, Dead Sea and Sunrise in Masada: Tour from Tel Aviv Dead Sea: Full-Day Tour from Tel Aviv

3 - Negev Desert

Less famous than neighboring Jordanian Wadi Rum, but still stunning, the Negev Desert is the largest Israeli desert expanse located in a southern area of ​​the country, bordered by the border with Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Populated since ancient times by nomadic tribes, the Negev Desert is today inhabited mostly by semi-nomadic Bedouins, many of whom survive as escorts for visiting tourists. If you dream of spending a night in the desert, hiking in the dunes on the back of a dromedary or taking part in a jeep safari, this desert is the place that is absolutely for you. Remember to always bring sunglasses, a hat and a few liters of fresh water with you ... We can assure you that you will need it!

  • by public transport it is practically impossible, so we recommend you to reach it with a private car in about an hour and a half; as this is an area still little invaded by mass tourism and many areas are under the control of the Israeli army, it is highly recommended to take part in an organized tour where a local guide can show you the wonders of the area in total safety - Get directions
  • the costs of the organized tour obviously vary depending on the agency to which you will refer; keep in mind that, on average, two days in the desert including a tour guide, transport from Tel Aviv, meals and overnight stay in a tented camp can cost you at least between € 90,00 (346 NIS) and € 110,00 (423 NIS) per person
  • From Eilat: Timna Park Highlights Tour

4 - Sea of ​​Galilee

Still speaking of places of great biblical importance, the Sea of ​​Galilee, also known as Sea of ​​Galilee, is the largest freshwater lake in Israel. Fed by the waters of the Jordan River, this lake was long disputed during the period of the Jewish wars, when the Romans wanted to have control of its natural resources.

In the Gospels it is said that Jesus used to preach near the lake or directly on a boat so that he could be heard by all. At the lake of Tiberias, some important episodes in the life of Jesus are also linked, like the choice of Peter, Andrew, James and John as apostles and the miracle of the storm subsided.

Today, it is possible walk or take a nice ride along the shores of the lake enjoying the landscape in total tranquility or you can opt for a beautiful one cruise on a wooden boat that will make you take a romantic step into the past. Finally, if you want to treat yourself to a day of pure relaxation while traveling, there are numerous spas in its vicinity where you can fully recharge your batteries!

  • if you have a private car, the duration of the journey is about an hour and a half (a little longer if you intend to stop in Nazareth) along Route 77; by public transport it will be necessary to take bus 836 or 840 departing from Tel Aviv, paying about 42 NIS (about € 10,90) - Get directions
  • half-day admission to a spa overlooking the lake costs on average around 42 NIS (about € 10,00); a boat ride on the lake can cost around 7 NIS (about € 2,00)
  • From Tel Aviv: Nazareth, Tiberias, and Sea of ​​Galilee Tour From Netanya / Herzliya / Tel Aviv: Biblical Northern Israel Tour Jordan, Nazareth & Lake Tiberias: Tour from Jerusalem

5 - Haifa

Apart from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, another rather important city in the State of Israel is Haifa. Located to the north, in the beautiful bay of the same name, Haifa is one of the main ports of the country, as well as being a respectable industrial center and the core of the Iranian Bahai religion in Israeli soil, of which there is a beautiful sanctuary characterized by a golden dome and lush gardens.

From a tourist point of view, the city is a 'interesting multi-ethnic destination, partly similar to nearby Tel Aviv: Among the must-see attractions, we recommend you visit some of the many museums / theaters present including the Haifa Theater, the Krieger Center for the Performing Arts and the New Haifa Symphony Orchestra. Furthermore, if you have some time left and you are not afraid to do some physical activity, you might consider taking a walk on Mount Carmel from which you can admire the entire city at your feet.

  • we advise you to take bus 910 which from Tel Aviv will take you to Haifa in about an hour and a half; the cost of the ride is 42 NIS (about € 10,90) - Get directions
  • the city is always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • prices vary according to the attractions
  • Tour to Caesarea, Haifa and Acre from Jerusalem Caesarea, Haifa and Acre: excursion from Tel Aviv From Tel Aviv: tour of Caesarea, Haifa, Acre and Rosh Hanikra

6 - Nahariya

Located along the coast in the northern part of the country, Nahariya is also one rather popular destination of Israeli tourism. Small, characterized by elegant streets full of trendy bars and shops, and not far from a very popular naturalistic area, especially for the presence of white stone caves, Nahariya is a gem that it is often ignored in traditional tourist routes but it is really worth it.

What makes the city even more picturesque is the fact that the urban fabric is divided in half by a river, the Gaton River, which ends its journey directly into the sea, throwing itself next to people intent on relaxing on the beach or practicing a little 'of surfing.
Among the main attractions of the city, in addition to the waterfront, we recommend the Lieberman House Museum.

  • to reach the city by car it takes an hour and 45 minutes, unfortunately there are no efficient connections to get to Nahariya by public transport - Get directions
  • the city is always accessible; the Lieberman House Museum is open Thursday to Sunday from 9:00 to 13:00, on public holidays from 10:00 to 14:00
  • free access

7 - Nazareth

Also known as the Capital of the Annunciation, Nazareth is definitely one crucial destination for religious tourism in Israel: according to the Gospels, in fact, it is precisely in this city that the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce the future birth of Jesus. Walking through the city, you will realize the strong spiritual charge that one breathes: in the blue sky they stand out the spiers of churches, minarets and mosques (it is estimated that in Nazareth alone there are more than 30 churches and sacred places!).

Also, always here, there are some sacred places for the Crusaders including a spring from which it seems that Maria drew water. Among the unmissable attractions, we point out the Basilica of the Annunciation, the Franciscan Museum, the Church of the Giuseppe Falegnameria, the Source of Mary and finally the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation dating back to the seventeenth century.

  • to reach Nazareth in total comfort, take bus 826 paying about 42 NIS (about € 10,90), you'll arrive at your destination in less than two hours - Get directions
  • the city is always accessible; times vary according to attractions; please consider that visiting hours on Saturdays may be reduced for holidays
  • prices vary according to the attractions, many of which are free
  • From Haifa: Nazareth and Galilee Small Group Tour Nazareth and Galilee: Customizable and Guided Private Tour From Tel Aviv: Christian Galilee and Nazareth Day Trip

8 - Magdala and Cana

Magdala and Cana are also two quite popular destinations from a religious point of view. Both located near the Sea of ​​Galilee, they are quiet towns characterized by green areas and a very relaxed atmosphere.

Magdala is known for being the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, today venerated as a Saint of the Catholic Church, according to the New Testament and the Gospels she was the cousin of Mary and one of the most important and devoted disciples of Jesus. Here a visit to Mount Arbel is really recommended, to enjoy a beautiful view over the whole surrounding landscape. There are various paths to follow of varying difficulty.
Cana, on the other hand, is famous in that place of the first miracle performed by Christ: during a wedding banquet, since the wine was finished, Jesus transformed the water present in six stone amphorae into wine, saving the celebrations and the reputation of the spouses.

  • unfortunately, since the connections with public transport are quite difficult with these two towns, the quickest solution is to get there by private transport which in less than two hours will allow you to reach your destination - Get directions
  • Magdala, Mount of Beatitudes and Cana

9 - Qumran

Qumran is a important archaeological site located in the West Bank. Here the famous Dead Sea Manuscripts were found, more than 900 documents, including biblical texts, as well as the remains of a beautiful monastery inhabited by a community of Essenim, a Jewish group of still uncertain origin.

Furthermore, near the monastery there are the caves of two Palestinian shepherds nicknamed "the wolf" and "the wood": these caves were found in 1947, following the discovery of the Dead Sea Manuscripts, and inside them were found numerous partly intact amphorae and papyrus scrolls preserved from the destruction occurred with the conquest of the site by the Romans. Less famous than other archaeological sites in the country, Qumran still deserves one visit especially if you are passionate about history and archeology.

  • a short distance from the Dead Sea, easily accessible by car along Road 77 and Road 1: in exactly two hours, they will take you to your destination; alternatively, you will have to arrive in Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, then change and take bus 444 towards Qumran, however, due to the low frequency of buses leaving for Qumran we do not recommend this last option - Get directions
  • every day from 8: 00 to 16: 00
  • entrance to the site costs 29 NIS (€ 7,55) per person
  • Bethlehem, Jericho, Qumran and Dead Sea tour from Tel Aviv

10 - West Bank: day tour from Tel Aviv

Finally, if you want to explore a very particular region for history and landscapes during your stay in Tel Aviv, we recommend that you dedicate a whole day to discovering the West Bank.

Geographical area between Israel and Jordan, the West Bank is one a land characterized by a rather troubled past, yet on its territory there are some wonders of great tourist interest: among the most relevant, do not miss Jericho, no less than one of the oldest cities in the world, together with Damascus; the Jordan River, still today the destination of numerous pilgrimages, as Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist; and Ramallah, the "capital" of Palestine, nicknamed the "Paris of the Middle East" for its lively nightlife and beautiful cafes with a vintage soul. If you love to be amazed and want to discover Israel from a different perspective, this tour is just the thing for you!

To visit this area we absolutely recommend you to rely on a tour operator or an organized excursion, as you can see beautiful places in complete safety and you can rely on an expert guide who will tell you everything there is to know. Don't forget to bring your passport with you!

  • meeting point is the lobby of Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv, at Levontin 21 - Get directions
  • all day, departure at 6:30 and return at approximately 18:00
  • 110,00 € per person
  • West Bank Full-Day Tour from Tel Aviv

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