We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip to Israel - where to start!

London, United...
Level Contributor
416 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Trip to Israel - where to start!

Me and the other half really fancy a trip to Israel and I have done a fair bit of reading on this forum and on the net, however I am still a little overwhelmed and stuck. Be really appreciative for any responses you can give to my initial queries:

1. We plan to come for around 8 nights. I assume maybe 3 nights in Tel Aviv, a couple in Jerusalem and a bit of a road trip for the other 3 nights would be a good mix?

2. Which places/sights would be a must do outside of Tel Aviv/Jerusalem (considering we have will around 3 or 4 days to explore the other these via a car)

3. Is a hotel budget that averages out over the whole stay of around 350 shekel per night realistic?

4. West Bank - worth going to? I assume takinga hire car into there is a bad idea (and doubt many hire companies allow it?)

5. Is September a good time to visit, or will it be too hot for anything but the beach?

In terms of our interests, we are two guys in our early 30's. No religious at all, and love eating out and bars, but also love culture and ancient history - plus natural beauty. Plus the occasional trip to the beach.

thanks everyone

Tel-Aviv
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
8,813 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

Welcome to the Israel forum.

First of all, I suggest that you email Douglas, one of our experts, at Labatt@fuse.net and ask him for his non-commercial travel guide to Israel. He has traveled to Israel ten times and compiled his observations and recommendations into one excellent document.

For an 8-9 day trip you should divide up your time between Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, and the Galilee, with a side trip to the Dead Sea. You do NOT need a car in Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv, in fact it is a liability because of the parking and traffic problems.

The standard itinerary is -

- arrive at airport and take taxi to Tel-Aviv

- after several days in Tel-Aviv, rent car and drive up to Galilee for several days

- drive to Jerusalem via Jordan Valley and Dead Sea, return car.

- several days in Jerusalem. Take "Sherut" (shared taxi) to the airport.

Regarding some of your specific questions:

4. It is easy to take day trips to Ramallah, Jericho or Bethlehem, but with only 8-9 days you must decide what your priorities are.

5. September is still hot, but the main problem in that month is the Jewish holidays, which this year run from Sept 16 to Oct 7. I recommend coming in October: it will be cooler, cheaper and less crowded.

Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
4,334 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

Congratulations on your decision to visit our fascinating country. An 8-night program should work, but make sure you leave Israel BEFORE 16 Sept 2012 - otherwise you'll be running into the Jewish High Holiday season when prices will skyrocket and crowds prevail. You can visit during the first half of that month. It will, however, be quite hot around the country, but touring is possible.

On an 8-night program, I suggest the following bases for touring and in the following order, making sure to leave Jerusalem for last:

2 nights Tel Aviv

2 nights Galilee

4 nights Jerusalem

Your hotel budget is not realistic. For moderately priced high-quality hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, consider the Atlas Group properties: www.atlas.co.il. If your budget is very slim, consider staying in the network of official youth hostels/guesthouses where you can receive a private room: www.iyha.org.il/eng/. In Galilee, if budget allows, stay in one of our kibbutz guesthouses, such as Pastoral Kfar Blum, HaGoshrim, or Nof Ginosar.

You cannot enter the Palestinian Authority territories with an Israeli rental car. But you can do a half-day trip to Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

Do NOT use a rental car in either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Rent your car when you are about to leave Tel Aviv and return it in Jerusalem. You'll use it for Galilee and the Golan Heights and, perhaps, in the Judean Desert as well (Masada and Dead Sea).

Belfast, United...
Level Contributor
818 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

Adam, Ref No 3: I am a lot older than you and will be staying in a Hostel in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israel is not a cheap country - think England prices!! However the hostels get excellent write ups and they have twin en-suite rooms with AC and WiFi.

I am staying at the Abraham hostel in Jerusalem and The Beach Front Hostel in Tel Aviv, both are within your budget.

abraham-hostel-jerusalem.com/en-us/home.aspx

hotels.com/ho387906/…

Brighton, United...
Level Contributor
39 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

I agree with heler_8...the independent hostels in Israel are excellent and not all geared towards young backpackers (although you'll find plenty of those there too!). They cater to travellers of all ages as well as families and almost all offer private rooms with en-suite bathrooms - they tend to work out much cheaper than the hotels too. Check out the Israel Hostels website for a full list http://www.hostels-israel.com/

For inspiration and ideas Tourist Israel (www.touristisrael.com) and iGoogledIsrael.com have loads of really nice articles about travelling in Israel.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
14,055 posts
243 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

Your hotel budget might do for some of the hostels, but you may need to increase this budget.

Places not to be missed in Tel Aviv, Neve Tzedek, Carmel Market, The Tahana, Tel Aviv port, Palmach Museum, Independence Hall.

Jerusalem

Western Wall, Church of Holy Sepulchre, Yas Vashem, Israel Museum, City of David, Gethsemane, Mt of Olives.

Other places:

Caesarea, Akko, Rosh Hanikra, Mt Bental, Baniyas, Tel Dan, Mt Tabor.

Of course these are just a select few, others will add more.

Chama

Israel

London, United...
Level Contributor
416 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

Wow thanks for all the advice so far, much appreciated.

If I was to come in mid October following the religious holidays, would the weather still be generally warm and sunny? Be nice if it was still beach weather in Tel Aviv for example. Am a bit concerned that early September might be a bit too hot for walking around the sites, especially the desert based ones.

Also do car rental firms usually charge a drop off fee if I say hired a car in Tel Aviv then dropped it off at the airport or Jerusalem?

Finally I've heard eating out is generally pretty reasonably priced in Israel, and generally delicious. Confirmation of this would be great!

Tel-Aviv
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
8,813 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

The weather in October is very good - cooler than the summer, but only a slight chance of rain towards the end of the month. You can still go swimming in the Mediterranean and the water temperature will still be about 70F.

There is no drop-off fee for locations anywhere in the center of the country (only in Eilat).

There is a wide selection of food in Israel, from cheap street food to expensive gourmet dining - and everything in between. You won't have any problem finding restaurants that will suit your budget.

"Time Out" has a Tel-Aviv edition, and similar to the London version, it has recommendations for dining, entertainment shopping and sightseeing:

http://digital.timeout.co.il/english/

Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
4,334 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

Mid-October is still warm and sunny in Israel. You'll consider it summer weather. Make sure to arrive no earlier than 10 October 2012.

It's NOT a good idea to rent a car for use in either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. You rent the car when you leave Tel Aviv to head north and return the car immediately upon arrival in Jerusalem.

Food in Israel is wonderful and diverse. If you're a foodie, the 'capital of Mediterranean cool' (Tel Aviv) is definitely for you. In terms of "reasonably priced," that's all relative. Coming from London, you'll probably feel that that's so. But for our American readers, you can expect higher restaurants prices than what most of you are used to (unless you happen to live in Manhattan).

London, United...
Level Contributor
416 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

Thanks again. My only concern about going in October would be that I assume it starts getting dark fairly early in mid October, meaning that any sightseeing/hiking etc would need to finish by around 6pm?

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
34,775 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Trip to Israel - where to start!

According to beach personnel the water in the middle of the winter in Netanya is 75F. I am sure that the same is true for Tel Aviv and that means it is warmer in October.

You are correct in saying that in October the clocks have already been turned back and it gets dark earlier.

In response to your first question re: rental cars. There is a surcharge when you pick up or drop off the car at the airport. Other than that if you take it from one place and return it in another there is no surcharge EXCEPT in Eilat where there is a minimum rental ( varies from company to company)