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First time in Israel, advice please

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First time in Israel, advice please

Hi fellow travelers,

I'm a male Singaporean doing my first solo trip for 14 full days in mid-Oct. I've did some light research on the places of interest and would really appreciate if you guys can offer me an advice or two. This trip will be mainly focus on the cultural and historical side of Israel. Although I'm not a religious person(I'm not even from any of the Abrahamic faiths), I'm in love in religions and the historical richness of The Holy Land. Below is a rough skeleton of my itinerary.

a) Do give me suggestions of any places I've missed out(or places that are not recommended),

b) Taking into account of travelling time, are the time allocation visible?

c) Whether I should do this counter-clockwise or clockwise? And why?

d) Other comments are greatly appreciated.

Jerusalem - 4 days

Bethlehem - 1 day

Dead Sea - 1 day

Jericho - 1 day

Tiberias - 2 days

Sea of Galilee - 1 day

Nazareth - 1 day

Akko - 2 days

Tel Aviv - 1 day

Thank you once again!

Israel
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1. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

I would start with Tel Aviv up to Ceasarea and Akko then to Nazareth and the Galilee. Then to the upper Galileei-Hula Valley and perhaps the Golan. No need to stay in Tiberias for more than one night. I propose tge following:

1 day Tel Aviv

1 day Caesarea and Akko

1 day Nazareth and Tiberias

2-3 days Galilee and Golan

4-5 days Jerusalem including a half a day in Bethlehem

1-2 days at Dead Sea including Masada and Ein Gedi.

Can be done from Jerusalem

This will allow you time to travel by Public Transportation or rented car(especially in the north) including religious, historic and nature sites.

Chana

Israel

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2. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

How are you intending to travel around? If you are intending to rent a car, you will have more flexibility to explore the north outside the main cities, which is difficult to do by public transport.

I would add another couple of days to Tel Aviv, and have a total of 3 days in the north. The Dead Sea is easy to visit as a day trip from Jerusalem (in a car or with a tour). Jericho is slightly awkward as it's next to the Dead Sea but it's in an area under full control of the Palestinian Authority which means you can't enter with an Israeli rental car. It might be easiest to visit Jericho on a tour which will take you to the different sites.

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3. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

Hi all, thanks for the reply.

Unfortunately, I don't intend to rent a car so throughout my journey I'll have to go public. What are the places where I do not have accessibility to buses or trains and what are the alternatives?

What are the recommendations in Tel Aviv to justify those few more days?

Do you think Jericho is worth the trouble?

Thank you again for your time.

Edited: 20 September 2013, 02:52
Tel Aviv, Israel
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4. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

One full day is suffiicient to explore Tel Aviv. That usually translates into two nights accommodations.

Jericho is not a high priority in my mind.

Start in Tel Aviv and end in Jerusalem. It's usually best to end with the drama and complexity that is Jerusalem, rather than bombarding yourself with the most fascinating city on earth on Day #1. From Jerusalem, it's easy to get to Ben Gurion Airport via shuttle service for your departing flight.

The Galilee and Golan Heights region will be the area you're going to have the hardest time touring using public transportation. It's best to rent a car to explore Israel's lovely north.

Israel
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5. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

Since you are traveling by public transportation keep Tel Aviv to one day and allow for extra time for traveling in the north. Plan on visiting sites that are easily accessible by public transportation but allow waiting time for buses to arrive and check schedueles in advance. You may want to try thr hop on hop off bus in olanning your trip outside of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Chana

Israel

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6. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

This is the hop on hop off bus for touring the north that Chana mentioned: http://abrahamtours.com/bus/

They also have suggested itineraries on their page. This bus is indeed a good idea as it is has a good range of stops for what you want to do, and will be far easier than taking public transport for your itinerary, as not all of the sites you want to visit are easily accessible by public bus. You could always supplement the bus with bits of public transport in places where it is easy (eg Haifa-Akko) if your schedule doesn't exactly meet that of the bus.

The same company also offers a transport-only day trip to the Dead Sea including Masada and Ein Gedi from Jerusalem which is also a hassle to do by public transport.

Israel
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7. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

For public transport look here:

bus.co.il/otobusim/Front2007/homepage.asp…

The timetables are for only the next seven days, updated daily. Note that because of the religious holiday of Simhat Torah this coming Wednesday evening and Thursday, what you see for Wed and Thurs is not what you will get on a normal Wed and Thurs, which will be like Sunday to Tuesday (Sunday is a normal workday in Israel).

There are several bus companies in Israel, and this website covers all of them, as well as Israel Railways.

Bethlehem and Jericho are in the Palestinian Authority and can be reached by Arab buses from outside the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City. I doubt very much that they have any website in English. They are very frequent so you don't need to worry about a timetable.

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8. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

Thank you all for all the useful information!

I've looked at Abraham Tours bus schedule. Here are some questions.

Tel Aviv – Gordon Inn – 9:10

Caesarea – 10:00 arrival, 11:00 departure

Akko – 14:15 arrival, 16:30 departure

Nazareth – 17:35 arrival

It seems that they only have 1 bus per day? If so, is it too rush to do Caesarea for 1 hour, Akko for 2 hours in order to reach Nazareth at 17:35? I'm the sort of traveler who like to pace myself comfortably.

Nazareth – 7:30

Safed – 8:45 arrival, 10:45 departure

Safed Inn Hostel – 11:00

Capernaum- The Orthodox Church – 11:30 arrival, 12:00 departure

Tiberias Tiberias Hostel – 12:20

Say I want to head towards Tiberias next from Nazareth(not visiting any places in between), its going to take about 5 hours? In this case are there any better alternatives?

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9. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

If you want to go from Nazareth to Tiberias, simply take a public bus (no. #431, runs hourly), driving time is 52 minutes.

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10. Re: First time in Israel, advice please

Thank you guys for your useful advice, can't wait to visit this amazing country!