What to know for a trip to Israel

Who I am
Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

A country of contrasts, pristine desert areas and sacred places among the best known in the world, Israel is without a doubt one of the most fascinating destinations to visit throughout the Middle East. This country is a tourist destination that has acquired more and more importance in recent years, thanks to the presence in the territory of city ​​of unparalleled historical-religious charm, But also ultramodern metropolis of strong appeal for young people and naturalistic scenarios of great beauty.

If you are thinking of making your trip here, don't waste any more time and start planning your adventure thanks to all our tips! Here's what to know for a trip to Israel!



Index

  1. Best time
  2. Required documents
  3. How many days
  4. How to dress and what to bring
  5. To see
  6. Getting around
  7. What to book in advance
  8. Accomodation
  9. Where to eat
  10. How much
  11. How to pay
  12. Safety
  13. Useful advice and rules of conduct
  14. User questions and comments

Best time

The climate varies depending on the area of the country under consideration, even if the climate tends to be warm and sunny for most of the year.
However, the best time is during the intermediate seasons, between April-May and October.

On the west coast (the one overlooking the Mediterranean), the climate is more humid but mild with temperatures between 14 ° in winter and 28 ° in the summer months.
In the most desert areas the climate can become more arid but continental thanks to the numerous reliefs present. In this case, the temperatures average between 9 ° and 25 °. The only exception is the Jordan Valley where, due to the significant depression (over 400 meters below sea level!), summer temperatures are extreme, can exceed 40 °!



Required documents

First, to enter Israel you will need a passport with residual validity of at least 6 months. A tourist visa is not required, unless your stay does not exceed 90 days in the country, however, at the time of your entry into Israel you will be given a temporary permit which you will have to keep until the time of your return to Italy. Remember that the Israeli stamp has not been issued for some years on the Italian passport, to avoid problems in entering other countries. Also, remember to have the health insurance card (even better, take out insurance before departure!) and that you can travel with the Italian driving license up to a maximum of 3 months in the country.

How many days

  • Minimum travel time: at least 6 days
  • Recommended duration of the trip: at least 16 days

How to dress and what to bring

In the recommended period, that is the intermediate seasons, it is good to bring a comfortable and light clothing, possibly with breathable fabrics and / or natural fiber and shoes suitable for walking. Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen. A denim jacket or sweatshirt / sweater for the evening, as well as a light scarf for when visiting sacred places. Also, if you are planning to spend time on the beach, don't forget your swimsuit, flip flops and snorkel gear.


To see

Although not a very large country it is full of attractions that is worth visiting whether you are interested in a more "religious" type of holiday, whether you are looking for nightlife or out of the ordinary naturalistic spots.

Obviously, the more days you have available, the more you can fully discover the contrasts of this wonderful country: for those who are planning a week, we recommend two large population centers of the country, or Jerusalem and Tel Aviv respectively the religious / spiritual soul and the most modern and lively soul, loved by young people and the LGBT community. Moreover, on a first trip to Israel it is impossible not to visit the Dead Sea, the saltiest lake on the planet!

If you have a longer period, however, you can extend the exploration to many other interesting locations, including Nazareth and Bethlehem, Lake Tiberias, the scenic Negev Desert, etc.


  • If you are visiting the destination for the first time: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Dead Sea and Jordan Valley
  • If you are returning to your destination: Nazareth, Bethlehem, Haifa, Negev Desert, Sea of ​​Galilee, Safed, Ancient Jericho

Getting around

Considering the above, the best way to travel is by car which will allow you to travel around the country in total freedom. However, in many places the road signs are written only in Arabic (with rare exceptions for English), so we suggest you always have an efficient navigator or at most a detailed road map with you.

Inside the two big cities, however, you can move comfortably by bus of the national company EGGED, efficient and economical. A single journey costs approximately 7 ILS (€ 2,00) per person and payment can be made either directly on the means of transport (paying in cash) or through a special service card that works like a prepaid card. The connections between the main cities, on the other hand, are managed by both buses and trains, more suitable for traveling long distances.
Remember, however, that transportation is not guaranteed on Shabbat, the religious holiday of Saturday, when traveling by public transport can be a real problem!


What to book in advance

To experience your trip in total tranquility, without worrying about not being able to see everything you have promised to visit, we suggest you book some unmissable activities in advance, including the excursion to the Masada Fortress in the nearby the Dead Sea, but also a sunset jeep adventure to Mount Joash, a guided tour of Nazareth, Tiberias and the Sea of ​​Galilee and a small wine tour north of Israel from Tel Aviv.

Furthermore, if you want to discover all the secrets of a cultural / religious center of the caliber of Jerusalem, we recommend that you book a walking tour with a local guide, so as not to miss a corner of this incredible open-air museum.


Accomodation

You will be spoiled for choice regarding the accommodations where to stay overnight. They exist in fact solutions suitable for all tastes and all the economic possibilities: from simple hostels (chosen above all by young people and surfers interested in life on the west coast of the country) to apartments, from b & bs to large hotel chains up to the most luxurious lofts of the large skyscrapers of Tel Aviv . If you decide to venture into the Israeli desert, however, don't miss the experience of sleeping in a tented camp under the stars ... A real dream! - Hotel and b & b from € 15,00 per room -

Where to eat

Israeli cuisine is colorful, multi-ethnic, open to the flavors of other cultures without forgetting the more traditional recipes. This is especially evident in large cities like Tel Aviv where you may come across one huge variety of venues. Regardless of what you want to eat, you will find solutions for all budgets: from the cheapest restaurants (where you can eat for a few euros) to the most luxurious places in terms of location and culinary proposal (in this case, it will be easy to get to spend too € 60,00 per person).

Also very popular with locals are the food markets, where you can immerse yourself in typical atmospheres and scents: one of them all? The Carmel Market, ideal if you like to taste the delicious local street food and more.
Generally, the lunch and dinner times coincide with the Italian ones.

How much

  • Cost of flights and travel: from Italy flights depart from € 45,00. Trains and buses are ideal for internal travel, costing around ILS 5 (€ 1,50) for a single journey; taxis instead 12 ILS (€ 3,10) for the call and approximately 3,80 ILS (€ 1,00) per kilometer.
  • Cost accomodation: hostels cost between ILS 38 and ILS 58 (€ 10,00 / 15,00); mid-range apartments and hotels between ILS 136 and ILS 213 (€ 35,00 / 55,00) per night; the most luxurious hotels from 330 ILS (€ 85,00) upwards.
  • Minimum daily budget for meals and attractions: The minimum for two main meals and a breakfast is approximately ILS 147 (€ 38,00) per day. Also consider a budget of ILS 97 (€ 25,00) for day attractions.

How to pay

The country's currency is the Israeli New Shekel or Shekel (ILS): € 1,00 = ILS 3,88.
In the big cities like Tel Aviv, like arriving at the airport, it is not difficult to find ATMs to withdraw cash or change money to be able to exchange euros with local cash.
We advise you to always change a small amount, since moving away from the metropolis or simply in the small shops / popular markets they do not accept payments by credit card but only by cash, even better if a local.

Safety

Contrary to what one might think, the security situation in Israel has improved compared to many other countries in the Middle East, especially since some tensions in the Gulf have subsided.
However, we still recommend that you move around the country with caution and attention, avoid the Gaza Strip area, avoid travel in the immediate vicinity of Syria and Lebanon. Consult the appropriate section on the Farnesina website to always have updated information.

Useful advice and rules of conduct

  1. Do not express political views or name past and present conflicts between different factions of the country or with other neighboring states.
  2. Always be polite and polite, even when it seems to you that your interlocutor is not so: Israelis are known for being a little brusque, but that doesn't mean they are being hostile towards you.
  3. Remember that it is always necessary to bargain prices in popular markets.
  4. Don't forget about tips: in restaurants they talk about 15%, as well as in bars. Very often, the tip must also be left to the tour guide, according to the indications that will be provided by the reference agency.
  5. Dress appropriately to visit places of worship. In major religious centers, you will be required to cover your legs and shoulders. In case, always carry a light scarf with you that you can use in any situation.
  6. Travel / health insurance: recommended.


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