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Too much time up North?

Arizona
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Too much time up North?

This will be our second trip to Israel. The last trip was in Spring 2006 and we went with an organized tour for 10 days. We hope to travel a little more independently this time, but with that come decisions which may not be the best use of our time. I usually plan a lot of our trips searching various forums on TA and asking an occasional question when needed. I understand that ultimately it’s our trip, but thought folks here might offer some perspective on our itinerary since I’m unsure at this point.

Our tentative schedule for late April 2012:

5 nights- Tel-Aviv

3 nights-Haifa

2 nights- Moshav Amirim

4 nights-Tiberias

7 nights-Jerusalem

I slated quite a bit of time in the north and am now questioning if we’re spending too much time in this area that could be better spent elsewhere. We have been to Caesarea, Nazareth (briefly), Har Megiddo, Lake Kinneret area, Bet She’an and visited an IDF tank base up in the Golan. Being on a tour, everything seemed a bit rushed and quite frankly we wouldn’t mind revisiting any or all of these places again. We’d probably like to see Tzfat, Zippori and the Hula-Valley. Are there places that you would recommend we would get more benefit from seeing with a guide as opposed to visiting ourselves?

We’ll be renting a car for a week out of Tel-Aviv and returning it in Tiberias. We also are enlisting a tour guide for 3 days in the north using Tiberias as a base and 3 days in the Jerusalem area. We have seen Masada/ Dead sea area but wonder if we are missing out on a good part of Israel that is south of Jerusalem. Any thoughts on whether we’ll have plenty to see for 9 days in the north or should we split some time up and head south. We do live in the desert, so have seen many shades of barren desolate landscape! Sorry for the long narrative, but will be thankful for any input.

Israel
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1. Re: Too much time up North?

I would suggest the following itinerary:

3 nights Tel Aviv

3 nights Haifa

6 nights Amirim or Tiberias

6 nights Jerusalem

3 nights Negev (Mitzpeh Ramon and/or Eilat).

This way you will not move around as much and be able to explore other areas of the country which you have not mentioned. Being here for 3 weeks allows you to visit many new and exciting spots that you would not have visited on your guided group tour.

Chana

Israel

Tel Aviv, Israel
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2. Re: Too much time up North?

I normally suggest avoiding Tiberias as a base for touring Galilee. I believe you're better of replacing that city with a kibbutz guesthouse, such as Nof Ginosar, Kfar Blum or Hagoshrim. Another possible alternative is the Ramot Resort above the eastern shores of Lake Kinneret.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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3. Re: Too much time up North?

April is a great time to be in the north, lots of greenery and wild flowers usually. It's also a good time to visit the south.

I like Chana's allocation. Perhaps take a day off Haifa and maybe one day off the Galilee and add them to the south, especially if you are prepared to keep the rental car for more than 1 week. I also agree that it would be better to have one base for the north - nothing is really far away. Amirim is pleasant, but it does mean some extra driving in and out every day. I'd suggest either somewhere on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, but north of Tiberias, or Rosh Pina, as being more central for a single base.

Even though we will be on daylight savings time in April, it will be quite dark by 7 or 7.30 pm. Rosh Pina has a good selection of restaurants. So does Tiberias, a short drive if you are staying on the lake shore. There is little else to do in the Galilee after dark.

If you decide to split your time in the north, then staying at one of the kibbutz guesthouses Dave mentions would be good for a couple of nights to explore the Golan and the northern reaches of the Galilee, then the rest of the time nearer to Tiberias.

Arizona
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4. Re: Too much time up North?

Thank you folks for your replies. I am looking forward to our travels. I appreciate that suggestion on Tiberias, Dave. I had been looking at places to stay there but kept feeling there must be better places to stay. I've decied to stay at a moshav in the area instead of the city...so thanks for that.

Thank you too Chana and Pitzkat for your suggestions. I still wonder if I want to take away from my planned itinerary to head south. I was wondering if I had too much time in the Haifa area. Maybe I should just take a day trip over there from the western Galilee area and take 3 days and head south from Tel-Aviv. We were planning to only have a rental car for a week. Thanks again though for your thoughts.

israel
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5. Re: Too much time up North?

3 nights in Haifa and 6 in Amirim or somewhereelse in the north are too much. Add days for the south of Jerusalem-Tel Aviv line. What would you like to see? What interests you? The Jueda Hills have wineries and several historical sites like Biet Guvrin. The coast has Ashkelon and Ashdod. You could visit Beer Sheva, Avdat, Ben Gurion's hut and graveyard. Visit wineries in the negev too and cheese farms. The list is endless, give us some indications what you would like to see. You could stay in Tel Aviv more, do day trips and in the evenings go to the theatre or a concert, visit galleries.

One place that certainly needs a guide is Safed. I was there last week and will post a trip report in a day or two.

Arizona
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6. Re: Too much time up North?

Hi Shoshi,

After a few suggestions to head south, we thought we might travel south for 3-4 days and explore the Negev on our way to Eilat. We would drive rather than fly to see a little of the landscape. My wife wanted me to scuba dive, since I enjoy doing that. I then realized it might be worthwhile to do a day tour to Petra since we are in the area. I guess we could see Haifa and Akko from our base in the Galilee area and still have plenty of time in the north (6 days). I may have realized that with my wife being in a wheelchair, Haifa may have not been the best base for us with it’s less than level profile. Thank you for suggesting that there is a bit of Israel to see in the south. I think I would have eventually regretted not seeing some of the south when being in the country for three weeks. We live in the desert and sometimes just want to see green hills and blue ocean when on vacation. But, then again, we do love the desert :)

We do have an interest in Science and Technology. I’ve heard that Rehovot has some sites that would highlight the advancements that the Israeli people have contributed to the world in that regard. Any suggestions on the way to Eilat?

Edited: 26 September 2011, 22:13
NYC area
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7. Re: Too much time up North?

Sorry, I meant to send that as a personal message.

Edited: 26 September 2011, 22:37
8. Re: Too much time up North?

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