Exploring Israel: An extraordinary journey for the senses

  • Continents and cultures collide in Israel

    Israel is one of the few places on Earth that can ignite all of your senses – the aromatic scent of spices, the earthy taste of desert wines, the sight of ancient ruins and natural wonders.  Geographically, it is a place where continents collide, and its role in connecting the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East has led to thousands of years of cultural influences – a mix that makes Israel so unique.

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • The breathtaking golden dome and intricate blue tiles of the Dome of the Rock

    Behind the Western Wall is one of Jerusalem’s most recognizable sites: The Dome of the Rock. Within its ornate blue-tiled walls is the Foundation Stone, a sacred landmark for Christians, Jews and Muslims around the world. Because it is located within the Temple Mount, it may be a long wait to get in. But taking a moment to witness what is considered one of the holiest places on Earth will make the wait worthwhile. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Cobalt blue waters of the Dead Sea

    Experience weightlessness by floating in a sea of salt and minerals.  Because of its health benefits, the Dead Sea is considered a spa destination. Luxury hotels and resorts dot the Dead Sea’s coastline in towns like Ein Bokek, and the nearby oasis, Ein Gedi. Across the sea is Jordan, where, on a clear day, visitors can catch a glimpse of the Abarim mountain range. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Explore the ancient ruins of Masada

    Not far from the Dead Sea, perched on the cliffs overlooking the desert is the ancient fortress of Masada. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was one of the many ancient structures in Israel built by King Herod. Though the history is quite tragic, the remaining ruins offer a fascinating maze to anyone who enjoys ancient history and archaeology. Hike the Snake Path, the Roman Ramp, or take the cable car to get to the top where you’ll find rooms, bath houses, churches and even a preserved mosaic floor. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • The otherworldly landscape of the Makhtesh Ramon

    In the heart of the Negev desert in southern Israel is the Makhtesh Ramon, the world’s largest crater formed not by a meteor nor volcanic eruption, but by erosion over hundreds of millions of years. Sandstone and other minerals leave colorful streaks throughout the landscape, and during the spring, desert flowers can be found along the wadi (the dry ravines throughout the makhtesh’s valley). This geological phenomenon can be best seen from the town of Mitzpe Ramon, which gives visitors a great starting point for hikes and other outdoor adventures. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Channel your inner Indiana Jones at Avdat

    Also in the Negev desert is Avdat, which was considered one of the most important stops along the spice route after Petra in Jordan. Just like Petra, the city of Avdat was constructed by the Nabateans. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones wandering through sites like the Temple of Oboda and the Roman burial cave.

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • The vibrant nightlife in the Mahane Yehuda Market of Jerusalem

    By day, Mahane Yehuda is a vibrant market bursting with produce, colorful restaurants and spice shops. But by night, the bars come to life. Tables and chairs line the streets, graffiti murals on metal shutters make an artistic backdrop and youth dance in the streets, hopping from bar to bar. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Smell the aroma of the spice route

    The spice route may have started over 2,000 years ago, but it’s still going strong in Israel. In the heart of every shuk (market) are eclectic spice shops selling aromatic flavors commonly found in Israeli cuisine. So stock up on your cardamom, turmeric and saffron!

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Savor the rich taste of hummus

    Hummus is a simple dish with a powerful following. Though making hummus only requires a few ingredients, the texture, flavor and style can vary vastly throughout cultures and regions in Israel. At the Abu Ghosh Restaurant, hummus is thick and creamy, but at Arbes in Jerusalem, you’ll find hummus with whole chickpeas and oil.

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Ancient ruins by the Mediterranean Sea

    Marble columns, an amphitheater, an aqueduct and countless colorful mosaics are all surprisingly well-preserved in the ancient Mediterranean seaport city of Caesarea. There’s not one spot among the ancient ruins that doesn’t have an excellent view of waves crashing against the city’s stone walls. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Take a time-out on the beaches of Tel Aviv

    Kicking back on one of Tel Aviv’s many pristine beaches is a fantastic way to take a break from the hustle of one of Israel’s largest cities.  Many of these beaches also offer drink and food menus as well as beachside tables, chairs and umbrellas. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Enjoy sunrise with ibex

    The Negev desert looks barren from afar, but spend a little time there and you’ll see it’s bursting with life. Foxes, porcupines, lizards, wild cats and ibex can take the heat. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Fresh fish from the Mediterranean

    Not far from the city of Haifa is Akko, one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. It was a port city so ideally located that Napoleon Bonaparte tried and failed to take it over. Akko is also a popular place for locals and travelers to enjoy a fish meal.

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Jaffa, the oldest area of Tel Aviv

    Jaffa, which is a predominantly Arabic area of Tel Aviv, is home to windy streets and excellent falafel, shakshuka and shawarma. It's also where you'll find Shuk Hapishpishim, Jaffa’s open-air market bursting with handmade crafts and antiquities. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Socializing on Temple Mount

    Temple Mount is considered to be one of the holiest places in the world. It’s a place of prayer as well as a place to socialize. 

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Worship at the Western Wall

    Faith, ritual, sentimentality and tradition have been reverberating off of this wall for over 2,000 years. The Western Wall (Kotel) is the holiest spot practicing Jews are permitted to pray. Behind this wall is the Foundation Stone where it is believed that Adam was created. To the Jews, it is also where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and where the First and Second Temples were constructed. It is considered to be closest to the Holy of Holies.

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Navigating The Shuk in Jerusalem's Old City

    The Shuk in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City is characterized by narrow streets and decoratively cluttered shops. Here you can find excellent Middle Eastern food, spice and tea shops, and men playing shesh besh (backgammon) or card games on the street.

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Fresh squeezed pomegranate juice

    One of the most popular drinks to order in any shuk, or market, in Israel is a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.  The drink is as crimson as it is sweet and refreshing.

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy

  • Indulging in halva

    Another popular treat to order while exploring the shuk is halva, a middle eastern dessert made with popular ingredients from the region including tahini, pistachios and other nut butters.

    Photo courtesy of Kae Lani Kennedy


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