Skyline of the Old City at the Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel

Top 10 Historical Highlights in Israel

The tiny country of Israel punches high above its weight class in the categories of world history, architecture, and culture. Since the dawn of civilization, the awe-inspiring Land of Creation has been a meeting place of cultures, empires, and religions. Its holy sites, abundant riches, ancient biblical cities, and spectacular landscapes create an unforgettable travel experience. At once modern, sophisticated, exotic, and medieval, Israel exudes a powerful mystique that’s a magnet for curious travellers from across the globe. If you’re looking to venture through a rich kaleidoscope of history and renew your spirit in the process, there’s no better place to go.

Here are our top ten historical sites in Israel:

The mystical city of Jerusalem has been sacred for millennia to three religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and visiting here promises to be a religious and spiritual experience. The Old City is full of spectacular architectural wonders including the Western Wall (Wailing Wall), the most sacred place in the world to the Jewish people.

Jerusalem's Western (Wailing) Wall
Jerusalem’s Western (Wailing) Wall

Yad Vashem
This Jerusalem Holocaust memorial is both sobering and uplifting. Spread over 18 pine-scented hectares of the Mount of Remembrance, the Yad Veshem has a moving Hall of Names, where the names and personal details of millions of Holocaust victims are recorded.

Sculpture in Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem
Sculpture in Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a magnificent desert mesa surrounded by sheer cliffs. The legendary Masada ruins mark the spot where King Herod built two fortified palaces over 2,000 years ago. Overlooking the Dead Sea, Masada is one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions.

Ruins of Ancient Fortress in Masada
Ruins of Ancient Fortress in Masada

This ancient city centre and port located within the Tel Aviv region has old, narrow alleyways and streets, artist’s galleries, a fishing port, plus a beautiful view of Tel Aviv. Check out the Wishing Bridge in Old Jaffa – the myth says if you touch your zodiac sign and face the sea, your wish will come true.

Old port in Jaffa
Old port in Jaffa

Walk in the footsteps of Jesus in this ancient fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Tour the beautiful Synagogue of Capernaum in the town believed to have been the place where Jesus taught and healed a possessed man.

Capernaum's Ruins of the Ancient Synagogue
Capernaum’s Ruins of the Ancient Synagogue

Ein Gedi Reserve
Hikers will fall in love with this pristine nature reserve located beside the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert. Several top-notch hiking trails explore unique desert oasis with spectacular views of the sea. Cool off in the natural waterfalls and sparkling pools.

Ein Gedi oasis
Ein Gedi oasis

This lovely vacation spot on the shores of Sea of Galilee is Israel’s lowest city at 200 meters below sea level. Tiberius offers a variety of attractions and activities for every age, including cafes and restaurants that specialize in freshwater fish straight from the lake. Tiberius is a great spot for water sports, hot springs, and beaches.

Tiberius and Sea of Galilee
Tiberius and Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee
The shores of the largest freshwater lake of Israel are covered with warm beaches. The shimmering sea is a great place to relax with fabulous camping grounds, cycling trails, and walking tracks. The beaches surrounding the Sea (also known as the Kineret) are a perfect starting point for wonderful nature tours of the area.

Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee

Nazareth is a city of spirituality and holiness, but also a city with a rich history, fascinating modern culture, and Middle Eastern charm.​ Known as the Arab capital of Israel, the bustling, growing city of Nazareth features stunning vistas and a vibrant culinary scene. It’s home to dozens of monasteries and churches, many of them in the beautiful Old City.

Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth
Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth

Dead Sea
At 417 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. Its name is owed to the fact that the concentration of salt in the water, which is the highest of any body of water in the world, prevents any life forms from surviving in the lake. The Dead Sea is the world’s oldest health resort, with visitors taking advantage of the health effects of the salty waters while relaxing on its scenic shores.

Floating in the Dead Sea
Floating in the Dead Sea

Suggested Itinerary:
8-Day Best of Israel

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Kirsty Perring

Africa Experts Product Manager – Although British born and now Toronto based, Kirsty grew up in South Africa and is completely passionate about all things Africa. She finds it hard to choose a favourite destination, but lists Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana as some of the most special places she has visited, and feels it’s not just about where you go and what you see, but who you get to experience it with. Kirsty is always up for an adventure and will try anything once. As such, she has para-glided in South Africa, zip lined in Mauritius, dived the Red Sea, hot air ballooned in Egypt, and even swam in the Okavango Delta. Next on Kirsty’s bucket list is to climb Kilimanjaro!

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