I have been reading posts to this forum as we plan our trip starting in mid-May 2008 for roughly 30 days. The enthusiasm and general sharing has increased our anticipation! We have wanted to make this trip for a very long time & only now has the time freed up so that we can finally go. We would appreciate any comments on the following:
Flights: Is there a best day to arrive in Israel?
Order of itinerary? Where go first, second, etc.
How many days at each location? Please take a look at our general interests & ideas of what we’d like to see and do!
Lodging – on the areas of interest below, what makes sense in terms of where to stay and how many nights? Take day trips out of a location? Based on our interests described below, what locations/lodging would be suggested?
We are thinking of 30 days in Israel (could be a few more) + travel to/from
Regions to visit: Tel Aviv, Mediterranean Coast, Galilee, Dead Sea, Petra & Wadi Rum, The Negev, Jerusalem
AREAS OF INTEREST - BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR DETERMINING ITINERARY & # DAYS
Don’t like to rush – leisurely – less is more - don’t try to see too much!
Don’t like large groups
Travel independently – have a private guide or join small group where advised
Schedule 1-2 days every now & then for down time – nothing to do – just hang. Choose a special kibbutz or location for these days
Music! Really interested in this…if there are any music festivals, we’d like to go
Cultures & religions
Natural landscape & gardens: desert, oases, wadis, mountains/hills/cliffs, cultivated agricultural land
Science & Technology
A day on an archaeological dig
Also interested in learning about water sources, agriculture in the desert
Lodging: In general, we like to stay places with some ambience, sense of history or in a special location. We prefer not to go to a hotel that has primarily tour groups or only other Americans. On each property, we choose the quietest section of the hotel and if possible, a view. In cities, location is especially important so we can walk to most places on our itinerary. Outside cities, we’re fine staying in kibbutz or small hotels. The program offered by Kibbutz Hotel Chain looks interesting in that it includes car rental and kibbutz lodging: www.kibbutz.co.il/en_discover-israel.cfm
In the areas of interest below, I’ve listed some lodging possibilities that I’ve been told about or read about.
Car rental: I’m thinking we would rent at end of Tel Aviv visit and return when we arrive in Jerusalem.
Walk around – beaches, promenade
Old Jaffa – walk around
Interesting: Russian Orthodox Church of Tabitha: If you arrive for services (Sunday at 7:00 A.M., and most Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:00 P.M*) you may be treated to a celestial choir of unseen women chanting the liturgy a capella.
Bet Hatfutzot: The Diaspora Museum
Eretz Israel Museum
Rehovot – Weizmann Institute of Science – walking tour
Caesarea National Park, Jewish Quarter & Roman Aqueduct
Wine Country & Mt. Carmel
Zichron Ya’akov , Mukhraka & Carmelite Monastery, Druze villages of Isfiya, Daliyat el Carmel. Hurfeish & museum of Druze culture, Gush Halav (Christian Maronite community), Ein Hod artist’s village, Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve & Carmel Caves , a winery or two
Possible Lodging: Carmel Gardens Hotel
Akko (Acre)- also walk around at night
Possible Lodging: Nes Ammim Guest House, www.nesammim.com
Baha’I Shrine and gardens
View from top of Mt Camel, Mt. Carmel National Park
Clandestine Immigration Museum
National Maritime Museum
Mitzpoor Ha-Shalom (Peace View Park)
Check out folk dancing schedule at Haifa University & Technion
Yizreel Valley: Zippori Nat’l Park, Megiddo
Tiberias: Beit She’an Nat’l Park, old Tiberias, hot springs, Hammat Tiberias Nat’l Park, Kibbutz Nof Ginossar has the Yigal Alon Museum of the Galilee
Lodging possibility: Scots Hotel
Sea of Galilee: Tabgha, Mount of Beautitudes, Capernaum, Korazim, Ein Gev, Hammat Gader
Lodging possibilities: Ein Gev Resort Village, Kibbutz Nof Ginossar Hotel, Vared HaGalil Guest Farm
Safed: take a guided tour
Jewish National Fund tree planting center
Lodging possibility: Ruth Rimon Inn
Nat’l Park at Bar’am - Bar’am Synagogue
Upper Galilee: Tel Hazor Nat’l Park (Kibbutz Ayelet Ha-Shahar), The Hula Valley Nature Reserve (Kibbutz Kfar Blum Hotel) , Tel Dan Nature Reserve, Gamla Nature Reserve, Ya’ar Yehudiya Nature Reserve
South of Galilee: The Jordan Valley: Bet She’an, visit vast Roman-Byzantine ruins, Crusader castle of Belvoir, , Bet Alpha Synagogue, swim at the springs of Gan Hashelosha
Bat Ya’ar – hiking, kayaking
DEAD SEA region
•East thru Judean desert to Qumran, where Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
•Ein Gedi Nat’l Park – archaeological site
•Ein Gedi Reserve’s Nachal David & Nachal Arugot canyons – are these areas safe to hike in? also, need guide to waterfalls & through canyons?
•Float in Dead Sea – Mineral Beach (?)
•Masada – hike at sunrise or cable car
•Lodging possibility: Kibbutz Ein Gedi Guest House
•Beersheva: Bedouin market (Thursday morning), Joe Alon Museum of Bedouin Culture
•Sde Boker, see David Ben Gurion’s house, Museum of Desert Sculpture
•Ein Avdat, a wilderness oasis with steps and ladders leading to white chalk canyon; also, Hebrew University operates an experimental farm using Nabatean agricultural techniques uncovered by archaeologists – need appt 08/948-1211
•Mitzpe Ramon, edge of Ramon Crater
•Explore Ramon Crater – camel ride/overnight (?)
•Lodging possibility: overnight in Negev/camping, Succah in the Desert (www.succah.co.il)
Petra: 2 full days + Wadi Rum(2 days)?
•Try to be there on Monday or Thursday night for candlelight tours, or on a full moon when they also have night tours – must be reserved in advance!
•Hot air balloon ride at dawn through Desert Eco Adventures
Consider overnight in Wadi Rum
Combination of jeep and hiking, overnight in Bedouin camp
•Lodging possibilities: Movenpick Resort Petra or Taybet Zeman (transportation to Petra? it’s 5 miles away)
•Timna Park for hike and view of Solomon’s Pillars
•Arava Valley – stay in kibbutz & take trip to Timna Park from here
Lodging possibility: Kibbutz Lotan
•Hai Bar Nature Reserve (late afternoon)
•Not really interested in going to Eilat itself
JERUSALEM: 8-10 days
So much to see!!!!!