Whatever your reason for flying to Israel, it’s bound to be a spiritual journey. A trip to the Western Wall or a swim in the Dead Sea are just a few of the reasons why travellers of all faiths and all walks of life flock to this destination year after year.
It is no secret that Israel has served as a centre for religious and political tension for centuries. Therefore, a common concern for those planning a trip to the country is over safety. However, despite news coverage of war in different parts of the region, it is safe to visit and remains a very popular tourist destination. Of course, as with anywhere else you may travel to today, it is always good to keep your common sense and wits about you.
There are some cultural and religious rules to keep in mind when visiting Israel. Jews cannot eat dairy and meat together, and Muslims and Jews are forbidden from eating pork at any meal. The falafel and schnitzel are common foods found throughout Israel, and if you’re visiting Israel on a Friday night, remember that it’s the Sabbath (the Jewish Holy Day) and observant Jews are not permitted to cook so many family-owned restaurants will be closed.
Israel has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers, and short, wet, cool winters.
The main towns in Israel are year-round destinations, though they may become very hot and sticky in the summer months.
Most of the beach resorts enjoy warm temperatures even in the wintertime, so this can be the perfect time to visit. It does get cold in the mountains though.
There are a few domestic flights available in the country, between Eilat, Tel Aviv and Haifa, operated by airlines El Al, Arkia and Israir.
Buses are excellent for inter-city trips. Most are run by a company called Egged. Fares are reasonable and the journey is fast. You can by tickets in advance at the bus stations or just direct from the driver.
The rail service is less extensive, but gradually expanding. It is all run by Israel Railways. Tickets must be bought in advance, but you can reserve a seat when you do so.
Note that there is no rail or bus service on Shabbat or public holidays.
(prices quoted are from London)