Hi, I'm an Israeli and I have been living in Spain for 10 years. I love to travel and I always take the opportunity to do so when I can. I'm not religious, but Jerusalem is a city that is so magical it can not be explained in words. It's something you feel when you enter Jerusalem. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and considered a holy city by three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This city has a long history and many interesting things to see. One of these things is its Western Wall.
A hidden treasure in the Christian Quarter, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built around the area where Jesus spent his last hours (where he was crucified and buried) is an absolute must for you to visit. Christians are swirling everywhere in this church while celebrating ceremonies along its narrow and decrepit hallways lit with candles. The church is full of noise and spirituality, which seems to be from another century. I loved it.
This relaxation centre located across the road from Jerusalem to Eilat (Highway 90), and a few kilometers from Masada is ideal for taking a dip in the Dead Sea, with its healing mud and pools of hot springs. Do not forget your swimsuit and bathing shoes, without which you can not enter the Dead Sea because of the apparent danger of injury. The salt is great for the skin - you'll feel refreshed afterwards.
Muslims believe that the rock in the center of the dome is the spot from which Muhammad ascended to heaven with the angel Gabriel to meet Allah. It is a holy place for Muslims. The Jews claim that is the place where Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac on the orders of the Lord, where Jacob saw the ladder to heaven, and where you find the heart of the temple of Jerusalem.
Climbing Masada at dawn is impressive, not only bcause of the silence, but also the change of light and the hundreds of people that experience a place steeped in so much cruel and heroic history. The change of light during the day, causes each point on the horizon to change. The hordes of tourists thin throughout the afternoon due to the heat, but the views deserve a quiet walk around much more than a quick glance and then rushing back down to the Dead Sea. At the north edge of the Jordan Valley, to the South the salt from the Dead Sea, to the west the Judean desert, and to the east the Moab mountains, all the while crossing the ruins Hasmonean Jewish Zealots, Romans and Byzantines have left throughout history. A place to reconsider how far one can take the fight for freedom.
The city of Jesus was the ancient town of Galilee. It's located along the Sea of Galilee or Lake Tiberias, whose ruins were discovered in 1838 by Edward Robinson, a geographer. Taking a walk through the ruins is amazing. The remains from the ancient city are made of stone and you can even see the foundation of St. Peter's house, which is the highlight of the ruins. An octagonal church was built there and its floors reveal the remains of the house. The grounds are spectacular as there are flowers of every color and they're very well maintained.
Beyond its historical / religious sights, Mount Olives is one of the best views in all of Jerusalem. To go up to the top, most people take a taxi, but you can also walk up, which takes 30 minutes from the center of the old town of Jerusalem. From a religious point of view, God redeems the dead until the end of time. Because of that, many Jews wish to be buried there because the whole hillside is full of graves.
It is the desire of every pilgrim to follow the footsteps of Jesus to the Holy Land especially the passing from the Praetorium to Calvary. This medieval Franciscan devotion is connected to the custom of the early Christians to tour the places where Christ went to the cross. Following his itinerary step by step is the true motivation for these pious, penitent travelers. Undoubtably one of the most iconic places of faith of all Jerusalem.
This marvelous lake is formed by the descent of the Jordan River and to the east it's flanked by the Golan mountains, and to the north and west by Lower Galilee. The lake is 212 meters below the Mediterranean Sea's level. It's 21 kilometers long and 12 meters wide. Its waters are fresh and blue and are teeming with fish. Its sudden storms and high tides have made this lake famous, especially in Christian history like the appearances of Jesus Christ with the loaves of bread and fish. Throughout his public life we've seen His works on the shores of this lake. This is also where Christ walked on water, etc. For believers it's a symbol of purity and eternity. It is surrounded by countless towns, cities and basilicas erected around the public life of Jesus.
The church of the Holy Sepulchre is interesting, unique and unmatched in terms of a Christian architectural structure. An unforgettable place that's not to be missed in the Old City. The dead body of Jesus, after he was taken down from the cross and buried, would have had an anointing with perfumes, and such anointing would have been made on this rock.
It can be called Caesarea Maritima or Caesarea Palestine. It's half way between Tel Aviv and Haifa on an ancient site that was later occupied by the crusaders and was forgotten since the 13th century. In 1950, archaeologists rescued this port city founded by Herod with Roman support from oblivion. Built on a Phoenician port, it was named after Caesar. Herod converted it into the largest port in the east, giving the city roads, aqueducts, and making it the capital of Judea. St. Paul was imprisoned here in 58. It was an intellectual center in Byzantine times, and the Crusaders used it as a port city.
The Crater (Mitzpe) Ramon is an incredible geological structure situated in the Negev desert, in Israel. It is situated on the top of Mount Negev, about 85 km south of the city of Beer Sheva. Its surface is not actually an impact crater from a meteor but rather the biggest eroded basin in the world (40 km long and 2-10 Km). The only settlement to be found in the region is the small town of Mitzpe Ramon ("observation point"), which is situated on the north bank of the crater. If you visit Eilat, you will have to go up the road which you see in the picture in order to continue on your way to Beer Sheva, unless you make a sharp turn towards Gaza, which is currently a very brave thing to do. At the foot of the observatory there are toilets and a bar for a snack or a dish (not very elaborate), and in this heat, a good ice cream.
Regardless of religious beliefs, the Holy Land impresses. The intensity with which people live religion, politics... make it an extremely attractive place. Contrary to what you might believe, travel to Israel or the West Bank is not dangerous, at least not if you take the necessary precautions. We, a group of girls, hired a car and the journey passed without incident. Note for travelers used to the Middle East: unlike in neighboring countries, in Israel the prices are the European and both the hotels and the food have a similar to Spain.
Around the border, you'll find Rosh Hanikra. It is a rocky promontory over the sea which has beautiful grottoes. The grottoes resulted from an ongoing geological process of thousands of years which created an opening in the rock. Rainwater penetrated the open cracks and formed marine tunnels and caves) that relentlessly widened due to the intensity of the waves hitting the rock during storms. The caves are a natural wonder. They're mysterious and fascinating for their breathtaking beauty at all hours of the day and throughout the year. The caves are illuminated to allow overnight visits. Also there are the remains of a tunnel that was built to connect Lebanon and Israel by train.
The Judean Desert includes the extension of the wilderness from Jerusalem to Jerico. The Dead Sea, which is about 50 kilometers long, and just as wide, goes from Jerusalem, Hebron, and Masada. Besides its arid and bleak appearance of solitude, coupled with its prophetic attributes (temptations of Jesus, meeting with the Samaritan, etc.), this is the natural setting for the Bedouin, which was dedicated to the transhumance as pastors. They live in tents covered with their rough, tan skin, and they come to sell typical jewelry and clothing from their tribes, the tourists who spent there by bus. It is a typical image of the desert, as we would have ever imagined.
One of the main attractions of Eilat is the Red Sea, and the fantastic marine reefs are a must-see. In the Coral Beach Nature Reserve, there is a good way to enjoy them. There's a bridge taking you directly to the reefs, and from the bridge you are able to snorkel and see the marine life in the area. Diving equipment can be rented at the entrance.