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3 week holiday to Israel and Jordan

Dublin, Dublin...
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3 week holiday to Israel and Jordan

Hi All, my 2 friends and I from Ireland are making our first trip to Israel in just over a week. We are going for 3 weeks are are hoping to see as much of Israel as possible with a mix of culture, entertainment and food. I have a rough itinerary made up but would like to see if you think there are places I'd be missing and if you think it is all feasible.

Our budget is roughly €75 a day.

We plan to spend the first couple of days in Tel Aviv, sampling the local delicacy's, chilling on the beach, wondering around Jaffa and enjoying the social scene. From here we plan to spend the next 2-3 days in Jerusalem, seeing all the sights, visiting the local markets and sampling the street food. From here we plan to go onto the Dead Sea area for a day to get the all important photo reading the paper floating in the sea and hopefully catching the sunrise in Masada. Next we go for a day hiking in the desert in Mitzpe Ramon. Finally before moving into Jordan we plan to spend a couple of days in Eilat, chilling on the beach and snorkling.

After a week in Jordan we plan to re-enter Israel in the North and visit Nazareth for a couple of days to see where Jesus grew up and have some fusion food. Next we move into Haifa for a couple of days to visit a vintage winery and the walled city of Acre. Finally we spend the last couple of days back in Tel Aviv visiting Caesarea's Roman ruins and relaxing on the beach.

Would you say we are trying to do too much or is there anything big we are missing? Would it be possible to do all this by public transport or would renting a car for at least some of it make more sense? We only have accommodation arranged for Tel Aviv (Beachfront) and Jerusalem (Abraham's) so we are still very flexible. As you may have been able to tell, we very much enjoy our food and drink.

Apologies for the length of the post but any feedback would be hugely appreciated.

Israel
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1. Re: 3 week holiday to Israel and Jordan

Renting a car for part of the time would give you a lot more flexibility. Caesarea is difficult to reach by public transport. Floating in the Dead Sea* and visiting Masada on the same day by public transport is logistically difficult because the buses are not very frequent on that route. (The closest bathing beach to Masada is 17 km away, at Ein Gedi.)

*Don't try it with a newspaper that you haven't yet read and want to keep! It's virtually certain that as you get into the water you will lose your balance and anything you are holding will have a dunking. I killed a camera that way, even though it didn't leave my hand.

Note also that there will be several days during the time of your visit when there is no public transport. Buses and trains don't run on Shabbat (the Sabbath) from about an hour before sunset on Friday (meaning they reach their destination then) until after dark on Saturday. In addition there is the Jewish religious holiday of Shavuot, which starts on the evening of May 14 and ends when it gets dark on May 15 - likewise no public transport. Car rental offices (except at the airport) close at about 1 p.m. on Friday and reopen on Sunday morning (Sunday is a normal workday in Israel). They will also close at about 1 p.m. on May 14 and reopen on May 16.

Haifa, Israel
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2. Re: 3 week holiday to Israel and Jordan

Your plan sounds good, but I would book your accommodation as soon as possible. We are edging towards high season and accommodation fills up quickly. Unfortunately Israel is not a great place to be spontaneous in travel plans. IYHA hostels are good: iyha.org.il - and you can see availability online. Also check tripadvisor listings.

I would do a day trip from the Abraham hostel to the Dead Sea unless you are going straight to Mitzpeh Ramon from the Dead Sea, in which case I'd rent a car in Jerusalem and return it in Eilat. Also a car is very much recommended for travelling around the north especially if you want to stop at wineries. One day will be sufficient in Nazareth, but I'd add other sites around the Galilee area. You can visit Caesaria on the way back to Tel Aviv, and return the car in Tel Aviv. NB Haifa is not necessarily the best base for seeing the North, as you have to get in and out of the city, which is a hugely confusing place to drive (even for locals!) and is prone to traffic jams. I would perhaps stay one night in the Tiberias/Galilee area (try Karei Deshe IYHA hostel) and one in Akko (there is also a hostel there).

Definitely at least 3 days in Jerusalem. There is a lot to do (and eat) here!

israel
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3. Re: 3 week holiday to Israel and Jordan

I suggest you book your hotels now! Israel is not a country where you walk in a hotel and find a place. Also you have 13-14 May that is a holiday and places will be packed. Dead Sea is another place where you MUST book in advance. Otherwise you plan is feasible. For visiting the Dead Sea join the tours offered by Abraham's hostel.

I hope the 75 Euros do not include acommodation.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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4. Re: 3 week holiday to Israel and Jordan

Your idea of starting in Israel, entering Jordan from the south near Eilat and re-entering Israel from the north, near Beit Shean is a good one.

Recent guests of mine have toured Jordan first. Then they entered Israel via the Allenby Bridge where we started touring Israel from Jerusalem. In retrospect, this was not an ideal plan.

I suggest avoiding the Allenby Bridge crossing entirely and do as you are planning.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: 3 week holiday to Israel and Jordan

Sounds like a great plan. Do book your accommodations as has been suggested. Israel has great street food at good prices. As far as good food goes, don't judge a book by its cover. Some of the tiny little restaurants attached to gas stations, or open air spots with rough seating have amazingly good food. Upon re-entering Israel I would spend one day in Nazareth to see the sites and then stay up in the upper Galilee area where you can see the many Christian sites around the Sea of Galilee as well as tour the wineries in the area. The Golan Winery is probably the most famous but there are a few in the region including Galil Winery on Kibbutz Yiron which has our favourite Israeli wines (and some of the best Pinot Noir anywhere) which you could visit on the way to Haifa from the north. There is also a notable winery in Zichron Yaacov near Ceasarea that you could work into your schedule on the way back to Tel Aviv. You do need a car to effectively see this region of Israel.

Dublin, Dublin...
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6. Re: 3 week holiday to Israel and Jordan

Thanks for all the great advice folks, I've spoken to my mates and we're going to get cracking with booking accommodation. I was looking for places in the Dead Sea last week and couldn't find anywhere so think I may do the day trip to the Dead Sea from Jerusalem as recommended. Also think we'll rent a car for the Northern part of the trip now.

Very excited now.

7. Re: 3 week holiday to Israel and Jordan

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