Unique Places in Israel

  • Ofrah and Sharon in the Byzantine villa
    Ofrah and Sharon in the Byzantine villa
    by iblatt
  • View over the coastal plain from Mansur-El-Aqab
    View over the coastal plain from...
    by iblatt
  • Outside the City
    by machomikemd

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Israel

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    By the Book

    by gilabrand Updated Jul 2, 2007

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    The Jews have always been known as the “People of the Book." Hebrew Book Week proves the Jews are truly deserving of this title.

    Every June for the past 46 years, Israel has set aside a block of time to celebrate the written word. Maybe there are such events in other parts of the globe, but the scale of Hebrew Book Week, and the incredible book frenzy that seizes the entire population, young and old, religious and secular, are hard to beat.

    The editor of Masada Press, Bracha Peli, launched the first Book Day in 1926, offering books at a discount. From 1961, it became a week-long event featuring outdoor book fairs, price reductions at all book stores, book signings, poetry readings, lectures, literary workshops and kids activities.

    Israel is a small place, but it publishes an average of 400 books a year. Some 2 million books are sold during Book Week alone.

    Traditionally, the fair in Jerusalem was held in open parks but in the wake of security concerns, it moved to the grounds of the Israel Museum.

    This is a people-watching event par excellence. People of every stripe, from professors and parents pushing strollers to ultra-Orthodox black-hatters and belly-button pierced teenagers, crawl out of the woodwork in the late afternoons and evenings to browse through the colorful stacks or present the booksellers with itemized lists.

    The walkways leading up to the main building of the museum are lined with book stalls. Bored with books? Note the ancient sarcophagi, carved marble columns and bronze statuary interspersed between the stalls – or take a moonlight stroll in the museum’s Sculpture Garden. Whether or not you actually buy anything – sometimes the crush is so great you can hardly get near the books – just being there is an experience.

    Not knowing Hebrew should not scare you off. There are some English-language books on sale, and you can pick up dictionaries, guidebooks and maps at a discount.

    2007 venue: Old Jerusalem Train Station

    Book frenzy
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    • Festivals

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    The Secret Mummy

    by gilabrand Updated Apr 16, 2006

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    It was Passover, the holiday celebrating the Israelites? exodus from Egypt, and our intentions of visiting the Old City were thwarted by traffic police. The whole area was blocked off to private cars in expectation of huge throngs of Israelis and tourists. So we found another way of celebrating the exodus: We visited Israel?s one and only Egyptian mummy.

    Museums in Israel do not display human remains, so the existence of this mummy may be one of the country?s best-kept secrets. If you want to sidle up close to an honest-to-goodness mummy and get a good look at it from every possible angle, without standing on line or fighting crowds, Jerusalem?s mummy is just the thing.

    Yarat-Hor-ru, as the mummy is called, lies in a glass case in the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem, on a little side street behind the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The institute, in a beautiful old building hidden behind a high iron gate, serves as a residence for Catholic theology students and houses a small archeological collection of ancient pottery, arrow heads, shell necklaces, Roman tablets and incense shovels (plus a few skeletons of infants found buried in jars and stashed away under the floorboards of ancient dwellings ? a reminder of the precariousness of life in prehistoric times).

    On the day we were there, the museum was deserted. Basically, it was us and Yarat-Hor-ru, a young Egyptian official, 5 ft. tall in his stocking feet, who lived somewhere near Alexandria in 4th century BCE.

    Maybe it?s morbid of me, but I would have liked to see his face, which was covered with a painted mask. On the other hand, you do spy toes peeking out of the wrapping. In the corner stands the carved lid of the mummy case, covered in hieroglyphics. Despite some Egyptologist?s attempt to provide an ?English translation? ? something about Osiris ? the text was still Greek (or should I say, ancient Egyptian) to me.

    (Admission: 5 shekels, if anyone is actually there to take your money)
    Emil Botta Street, just past the gas station

    Related to:
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    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

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    Great Study House of Rabbi Johanan ben Nappaha

    by Paul2001 Written May 25, 2004

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    The Great Study House of Rabbi Johanan ben Nappaha is a ruin that is located about a 15 minute walk south from Tiberias. Not much remains of the house which was located here in the 3rd century A.D. However there are three sets of incredible mosaics that make the walk down from Tiberias worthwhiled. The mosaics were created in the 3rd century and depict ancient Hebrew and astrological imagery. The Study House sits on the slopes of Mount Berenice.

    Ancient Hebrew mosaic
    Related to:
    • Archeology
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    • Historical Travel

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    The hexagon Pool

    by Sharon Updated May 29, 2005

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    Fantastic little Nature wonder !
    A short hiking (aprx 20 min') from the entrance to the Yahudiya nature Preserve will
    lead you to a pool of hundreds of hexagonal rock columns which were caused by the rapid cooling of molten rock, which skirt the water's edge.
    The pool is fantastic and great to swim in during summer... (although we saw some travelers whom were about to swim there just as we left !! and it was only 18c brrrr !!)
    Another 40min' hiking will lead you to the Yehudiya Stream and waterfalls.
    Thats a definite Off the beathen path but if you're here for a long time then its worth a visit.

    Few min' drive from Katzrin (in the Golan Area.

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    Church of the Beautitudes

    by Paul2001 Written Feb 19, 2004

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    The Church of the Beautitudes marks the spot were Jesus Christ is said to have given the Sermon of the Mount. The church itself sits on top of the Mount of Beautitudes and overlooks the Sea of Galilee. The actual church was built in 1937 by Antonio Barluzzi and financed by Benito Mussolini. Not too many tourist or pilgrims seem to make to the church which is odd because of its location near other pilgrimage sites and for the fact that the view from the top are quite beautiful.

    Church of the Beautitudes
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

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    En Hod

    by ophiro Written Jun 25, 2005

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    En Hod is a small village very close to Caesarea and Zichron Yaakov.

    This is an artists village with many statues everywhere , beautiful houses , small and narrow streets and beautiful view to the Mediterranean Sea.

    En Hod

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    Kangaroos Farm

    by Sharon Updated Jul 2, 2007

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    Gan-Garoo is a lovely farm, located near Mount Gilboa in the north east of Israel and not far from Bet She'an.
    In Gan-Garoo you can meet the sweet Ozzi kangaroos as well as Kuala bears and other anmals. You can spend time with the kangaroos as they arewalking, or shell i say jumping around free and used to people, The Kuala bears though are having their own kept area and people can NOT touch or bother them as they are very delicate and sensitive
    and most time sleepy.
    Its a wonderful attraction for Kids but even to me as an adult it was really lovely to finally meet those sweet sweet kangaroos personaly ! I just loved them.

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    Nimrod Fortress

    by Sharon Updated Apr 18, 2007

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    Definitely off the beathen path for most tourists ! but worth a visit if you travel to the Golan Hights in the North of Isreal.
    The fortress is located on a mountain about 800m' above the sea level.
    It is named after a biblical hero, the hunter Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-9) who, according to local tradition, dwelt on this summit.
    Better check in advance their opening hours for visitors.

    Picture from my friend Rose ! thanks.

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    Picking olives with Karen HaKayemet

    by Martin_S. Written Nov 20, 2003

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    Karen Kayemet along with the Jewish National Fund are two of the organizations that works to reforest Israel. They have projects all over Israel and many of the forested areas in Israel are there only because of them. This picuture was taken in a man-planted forest called Yar Lahav, or Lahav Forest. They have an olive picking meet each year where you can learn about the history of olives, their production and also learn how to pick and preserve them or even make your own olive oil. We joined in the fun with our friends Arie and Laya. In a few months the olives we picked and preserved will be ready for eating.......

    Yar Lahav, Israel
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    Tazpit Gorni Midnight BBQ

    by Martin_S. Updated Jan 24, 2006

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    Our friend Berta called in the late afternoon and said "What about a midnight BBQ at Tazpit Gorni". We of course thougth about it for apporximately 1 second and then said "YEA, lets go. We were only three families on this outing, it was really very last minute, but we threw what we needed in the car, drove out into the middle of the desert onto a plateau not to far from the Dead Sea and had a great time just watching "moon rise". In the picture is our friend Yossef, "monitoring" the grill and "checking" the wine.
    And if you would like to visit Tazpit Gorni for the view of Nahal Tzeliem, you can take the road from Arad toward the Masada western entrance and it is about 11 kilometers outside of Arad. You will see a sign pointing to a dirt road that branches off to the left. It is about 3 kilometers on the dirt road.

    Midnight BBQ, Arad, Israel
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Adventure Travel
    • Desert

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    PALESTINE - WEST BANK

    by mtncorg Written Apr 6, 2005

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    Palestine is a very interesting destination in its own right, though I think to understand it, you have to include both Israel and Palestine. Apartheid seems to be the only answer for the two countries in the short term, complete with a 21st century version of the Berlin Wall to keep the two sides apart. Within Palestine,you have lots of religious and historical places to visit, from the sites in Bethlehem to Nablus. If you are driving yourself - if the situation allows it - minor details like not having an identifiable Israeli license plate is sometimes a good thing.

    Ramallah is the main city of the West Bank, sprawling about atop hillsides. Returning Palestinians who had ventured out into the World making their millions have returned putting up some very large edifices, quite in contrast to many other homes. In the evening you can look down on the lights of Israel and the metroplex of Tel Aviv - another World entirely. Ramallah is a short distance north of Jerusalem - the largest city within the West Bank is East Jerusalem which to the non-initiated appears to be similar at first glance to much of the rest of Jerusalem. Nablus and Jenin are large cities in the northern part of the West Bank with several sites both in and around to see. Hebron and Bethlehem lie south of Jerusalem. One thing you will note while moving through the West Bank are the Jewish settlements - obvious from the red-tiled roofs. The settlements are situated around Arab cities allowing the Israeli army to easily move in and choke of traffic in and out. The settlements are in no way like the kibbutzs and moshavs of the earlier Israeli phenomena. There is little for the settlers to do except collect checks from the Israeli government. Many have written on VT pages about the American exuberance at flying the US flag. Well, they haven’t been here. Each settlement has what amounts to a flag shop outside their entries.

    Street from al-Bireh into Ramallah closed down
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Archeology
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    Golan Heights: Dolmens

    by Carmela71 Written May 26, 2004

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    You can also find prehistoric dolmens and Stone Age structures.

    Driving back to Tel Aviv, we founded this dolmens, I am not sure where are they from, or the name, but it was as we like, driving on our own, finding places not shown on maps ...

    Adventure isn?t it?

    Dolmens

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    Zichron Ya'akov

    by Sharon Updated Apr 18, 2007

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    A lovely little town the mountain on the way (from south) towards Haifa... its location is great and it watches the coast line. about 40min' drive from Tel Aviv.
    There are some beautiful things to see here besides the beautiful streets and houses.
    Ha'nadiv Gardens for example, located on 4500 dunam ! dont miss the roses gardens and the waterfalls garden. Another thing is the Smells garden which was mostly made for blind people or people whom have problems with their eyes, they can touch the plants and smell them and they have signs in braille writing.
    In the summer Concerts are taking place there on Sunset times ! (04-6293333)
    the Winery (Yekev in Hebrew) which is in a nice old building from 100 years ago, you can have guided tours there and even take part in the vintage (if you're visiting in the season).
    Besides all that and more you can find beautiful little cafes' and restaurants. nice place for a day visit.

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    Wadi Qelt

    by magor65 Written Jul 4, 2005

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    On our way to Jericho we stopped in the middle of nowhere and reluctantly got off the cool air-conditioned bus into the scorching heat. Our tour-leader promised us a surprise if we climb up a few metres. And indeed, the view we had from the top was breathtaking. Amidst the rocks, practically carved out in them, was a monastery. No pictures or words can depict the uniqueness of the place.
    The building is the monastery of Saint George. It was built near the cave where Elijah stopped on his way to Jerusalem.
    There are walking trails leading through the valley of the Wadi Qelt. This is one of the places I would love to come back to, so perhaps next time when in Israel I'll go hiking there.

    Wadi Qelt
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel

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    The Wilderness Tabernacle

    by magor65 Written Jul 15, 2005

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    It is a full-scale replica of a portable worship sanctuary built by Moses and his brothers-in-faith. They constructed the tabernacle on their journey from Sinai to the Promised Land according to the design given by God himself.
    It used to be dismantled for each next stage of the journey across the desert.
    The replica is the work of Dr. Randal Smith, a well-known Bible teacher, and his team. Opened in 2000, it has been fullfilling its educational aims since then.
    I think that the selection of the site - amidst the desert, with merciless sun above you, makes the visit even more memorable.
    The guide shows you around and explains the function of various objects - first on a kind of yard outside the tent and then leads you inside. Here you can see a menorah, the altar of incense and the table of shewbread. The 'most holy place', where the Holy Ark was kept, is hidden behind the curtain divider. The colour of all the objects and wooden walls is golden, while the curtains are in white, red and shades of blue.

    Wilderness Tabernacle Menorah inside the tabernacle Inside the tabernacle
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

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