Israel has captivated many people over the years, and rightly so.  This country has a past that dates back to biblical times with historic artefacts and religious sites sacred to many.  It has managed to balance the ancient with the modern, sometimes within the same city.  Israel has plenty of natural beauty from deserts and mountains to lakes and seas.  Whatever your reason for visiting Israel, you will not leave here disappointed.

I wanted to capture a bit of both the historical side as well as the diverse landscape Israel has to offer.  I started my trip in the holy city of Jerusalem.  A stroll through the narrow alleyways and crumbling city walls will take you through a cultural melting pot of religions.  Jewish, Muslim, and Christian quarters all within a few minutes walk from each other are connected through a labyrinth of streets and tunnels.  Some of the best views of the skyline with its prominent bell towers and domes are from the top of buildings, especially at sunset.  There is plenty to take in so a few days is definitely recommended.

Roads in Israel are in good condition and relatively safe.  Therefore, one of the best ways to get around the country is by renting your own car.  This gives you the freedom to stay as long as you want at each location.  Once you drive through deserts like the Judean and Negev deserts, the vastness of the open land becomes apparent.  The landscape changes from a mountainous desert region in the central and south to an oasis of lush green vegetation in the north.  Deep canyons cut through the region and are great for hiking and visiting sites like the cliff-hanging St. George’s Monastery.  Spend some time appreciating the crater views atop the cliffs of Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev Desert, while the fearless mountain antelopes, the Nubian ibex, balance on the cliff’s edges.  Climb up to the ancient stone fortress of Masada to visit the well-preserved ancient kingdom of Israel.  Cool off the heat by taking a dip in the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, and floating on the surface while taking in the views of the surrounding mountains.  On the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the rocky coast of Rosh Hanikra is worth a visit.  There, you will encounter caves with white chalk walls and stunning turquoise waters.  A complete contrast to the inner landscape.

Israel is a fascinating country with archaeological remnants, diverse landscapes, friendly people and delicious vegan food.  I was pleasantly surprised by how safe it felt the whole time.  If you can see past the politics, you will find a beautiful and unique country ready to welcome you.