Israel travel guide

To many, Israel seems to be a dangerous destination, but I can assure you that this is not the case. The titles 'highest life expectancy' (2009) and "highest living standard" (2014)” don’t come easy, and yet Israel managed to get them both.
In 1948 the country was declared independent, but to date there are still struggles with the neighboring countries and the Palestinian territories. This scares a lot of tourists, making the incredibly friendly Israelis a little sad.
With its incredibly interesting culture, delicious food and beautiful natural phenomena this very modern and accessible country is a must for anyone who loves to travel.

Places in Israel

Jerusalem  |  Nazareth  |  Tel Aviv

The skyline of Tel Aviv. The open-minded and modern metropole of Israel.

The skyline of Tel Aviv. The open-minded and modern metropole of Israel.

  Average costs

Stay – Israel is not a budget destination. The prices of the accommodations in this beautiful country show that the country is indeed wealthy. A hostel is, as always, the cheapest option if you don’t mind leaving your privacy behind for a couple of days. For one person, you pay between twenty and thirty dollars.
A budget double room starts at fifty dollars. A hotel with three or more stars starts at $100 per person. If you want to visit smaller towns in Israel, the price may be slightly more expensive -or less- depending on the availability.
To check out most accommodations with their pricing in Israel, you’d better check this page.

Eat – The food in Israel is delicious! Fast food is always incredibly expensive (a menu at McDonald’s can cost you $22!) while falafel only costs you $5.
Other tasty Israeli dishes like shawarma cost about the same.
Lunch can easily cost you between ten to fifteen dollars, and dinner will cost you slightly more. A glass of soda on a terrace or in a restaurant costs about $3,5. A beer starts at $5 (definitely try Goldstar – yummy!).

Transport – Israel is a very modern country and there is an extensive network of public transportation and taxis.
By taxi from Ben Gurion Airport to Tel Aviv will cost you between $35 and $45. Taking the cab to Jerusalem will cost you $75.
I don’t advise you to take the taxi too much, because they are quite expensive wherever you go. The public transport works well and does not cost much. Taking a bus in Tel Aviv only costs you 10 shekels (= +/- $ 2,5) and in Jerusalem you can take a ride on the tram for only ₪ 5.9.
Remember that there is NO public transportation during the Shabbat! Friday afternoon (6 pm) to Saturday there are no buses or trams. There are taxis available, but they charge extra because they work on a public holiday.
The many beaches of Tel Aviv really come to life during the Shabbat. With the delicious water temperature is also perfect for zwemmen.De as many beaches of Tel Aviv really come alive during the Shabbat. With the delicious water temperature is also perfect for a swim.

The beautiful beaches in Tel Aviv are very busy during Shabbat!

The beautiful beaches in Tel Aviv are very busy during Shabbat!

  Saving money

Eat local food – Falafel, hummus and shawarma are delicious and don’t cost too much money. If you take a look around, you’ll find multiple places where you pay around $3 to $5. Fast food like McDonald’s costs a lot more money, so just ignore these for now. The Israeli food is delicious anyway!

Taxi? Turn on the meter! – Are you taking a taxi? Always ask to turn on the meter. The driver will sometimes tell you that it’s actually cheaper to agree on a price in advance, but usually this is not true. Also, remember that you pay for the amount of time you stay in a taxi, not the mileage. So avoid taking a taxi in rush hour!

Drink tap water – the tap water in Israel is perfectly drinkable. You should drink plenty of water in this hot country, and therefore the cost of bottled water will soon get high. By drinking tap water, you can easily soon tens of dollars per week.

Shabbat – During Shabbat pretty much all the work is quit. Except for… The cabs. This transport already costs more than enough, but during this holiday the drivers will charge even more.

One of the many churches in Nazareth. The place were Jesus grew up.

One of the many churches in Nazareth. The place were Jesus grew up.


Tel Aviv – From Ben Gurion airport it is fastest to go to Tel Aviv. This metropolis in Israel is perfect to unwind on the expansive beaches with turquoise warm waters. The city bustles with life. Personally, I always called it the ‘Berlin of the Middle East’, because there always are a couple of clubs or parties going on with hundreds of party goers.

Jerusalem – Even for those who only go to Israel to party, I recommend to do a day trip to Jerusalem. You will not believe your eyes! This beautiful city is bustling with culture and history and in the evening you can have fun outside the historic center.

Dead Sea – The feeling you get when you splash into this salty water is indescribable. Feel free to spend a few hours in this salty, not so delicious but warm water. Remember to cover yourself with the mud of this gigantic lake; apparently the mud has many benefits for your health.

National Parks – In Israel, there is a lot of nature to be seen. From vast deserts to truly beautiufl oases, you’ll find it all there. Visit the park Ein Gedi near the Dead Sea and cool off in one of the many waterfalls, or go camel riding in the gorgeous desert. Even under water you will see beautiful nature. For diving, it is best to go to Eilat.

Pay a visit to a Kibbutz – A Kibbutz is a community that lives a little bit according to a communist / socialist system, but perhaps more opened up to capitalism. Immerse yourself in their lifestyle and be amazed at how good they have it.

Cross the border to Jordan – Israel is relatively small and a lot of the best sights are located near the border with Jordan. If you have an additional one or two days, make sure to visit Petra or Jerash. For me they were two of the highlights of my trip through the middle-east.

The dome of the rock is one of the oldest Islamic buildings in the world.

The dome of the rock is one of the oldest Islamic buildings in the world.


Settle to quickly over a price – In Israel, there are many markets. Initially they will always ask a very high price. Don’t ever forget to haggle a good amount of that price. I saw some of my friends getting a 50% discount!

Shaving yourself before the Dead Sea – Auch. The salt water squeezes in between the freshly shaven pores and I can speak from my own experience: it stings!

Go exploring by yourself in certain areas – Mainly in the Golan Heights exploring on your own can be dangerous. Stay where the tourists are and don’t be a hero. In some parts there are still land mines or other unpleasant war tools to be found.

The same is true in certain areas near the Dead Sea.

Not bringing appropriate clothing – Many religious sites can only be accessed when making use of modest clothing. Shoulders, knees and necklines that are cut out too deep are a no-go. Israel can be very hot, so take two sets of clothes with you when you are planning to do a tour. The vans and tour busses often crank up the air conditioning to an unpleasantly cold as well.

The Golan heights in Israel. This is the border between Israel and Syria.

The Golan heights in Israel. This is the border between Israel and Syria.

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