Most popular and the best day trips from Tel Aviv to take!
Israel might be a small country geographically speaking. But what makes Israel exceptional is the number of famous historic and natural sites. Even if you are traveling only to Tel Aviv and you are short with time, you can still take some great day trips from Tel Aviv and see many unique and marvelous sites.
And although I have traveled Israel and the Middle East independently as a solo female traveler for 2 months, I am aware that the majority of you most likely have much less time to spend on your trip to Israel. That’s why I am here to help you to experience the most of your trip even if you are planning only to travel to Tel Aviv.
Here’s my collection of best day trips from Tel Aviv that will help you to see the best of Israel and beyond. Take a look at my list of best trips from Tel Aviv, and you might get surprised finding out some truly great options.
BEST DAY TRIPS FROM TEL AVIV
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The list of best day trips from Tel Aviv starts with Jerusalem, of course.
The Old City of Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the World and one of the most unique places on Earth. Walled Old City of Jerusalem with eight gates and numerous historic sites within the walls is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the World.
Sadly, Jerusalem is one of the most intense places in the World despite the fact that it is called the holiest city in the World. The Old City of Jerusalem is a holy city of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
No matter what, a trip to Jerusalem is a must not only for religious devotees and spiritual seekers but for all history buffs and people who look for cultural experiences on their travels.
I strongly believe everyone should visit Jerusalem at least once in their lifetime. There’s no city like Jerusalem on Earth.
Jerusalem is only an hour drive from Tel Aviv.
2. DEAD SEA
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth. And, the salt concentration of 34% makes the Dead Sea one of the saltiest lakes on Earth.
Floating in cobalt-blue and healing mineral waters of the Dead Sea is a unique experience that every traveler to Israel should go for.
You shouldn’t think twice to take or not to take a day trip from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea. There’s no place like the Dead Sea on Earth.
The Dead Sea is easily reachable from Tel Aviv. It takes two hours and a half drive from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea.
Masada fortress on Mount Masada in the Judean desert provides the most spectacular views in Israel. From the top of Mt Masada, you can witness unique and out of this world landscapes of Judean desert, the Dead Sea, and the Moab mountains in Jordan. Hiking Masada in sunrise is one of the most rewarding experiences you can treat yourself in Israel with.
Needless to say, a trip to Masada is one of the best day trips from Tel Aviv to take.
Masada is about two hours and a half drive from Tel Aviv.
The city of Bethlehem in the Palestinian Territories is known as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Bethlehem is also the hometown of David, Biblical prophet and King of Israel. Thus, this small town is a world-famous pilgrimage site for Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
Today the Church of Nativity stands over the place where Jesus was born, while the birthplace of Jesus is marked with a silver star in the grotto in the Church of Nativity. Religious or not, believer or not, no-one can deny Jesus was one of the most influential historic figures ever born.
Visiting Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity, Church of St Catherine and Milk Grotto makes a great one day trip from Tel Aviv.
Only 6 mi (10 km) south of Jerusalem, Bethlehem is easily reached from Jerusalem but also from Tel Aviv.
Bethlehem is only about an hour and 15 min drive from Tel Aviv.
5. MAR SABA MONASTERY
Monastery of Saint Saba is a Greek Orthodox monastery located in the hills near Bethlehem in the Palestinian territories. The monastery holds relics of Saint Saba. It is one of the oldest monasteries in the Holy Land and the oldest monasteries in the world overall. Women are not allowed to enter the monastery, but only Orthodox men. Despite that fact, this unique monastery is worth a visit for awe-inspiring views.
When planning your visit to Mar Saba Monastery, please keep in mind that the monastery is closed on Wednesday and Friday.
6. QUMRAN CAVES
Qumran Caves is an archaeological site in the Palestinian territories where famous Dead Sea Scrolls where found. The Dead Sea Scrolls holds more than 700 scriptures of evidence of speeches by Jesus and ancient Jewish prayers written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Dead Sea Scrolls cover the oldest biblical Hebrew scriptures ever found, but also non-Biblical texts. The Essenes, an ancient Jewish sect who isolated themselves from the outward life seeking the highest spiritual pursuits, are believed to have lived in Qumran Caves. Today the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept in Israel Museum in Jerusalem, but amazing Qumran caves and interesting Qumran National Park make a worth day trip from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
Qumran National Park is easily reachable on a day trip from Tel Aviv.
Ancient Caesarea was a famous Roman city on the Mediterranean coast in today’s Haifa area. Caesarea is a perfect day trip from Tel Aviv for history enthusiasts and beach lovers.
Caesarea Aqueduct Beach is rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel, while popular Ceasearea Nation Park covers archeological sites from Roman and Crusaders times: Herodian amphitheater, Roman amphitheater, Herod’s Promontory Palace and ruins of a Crusader City.
Caesarea is only 40 min drive from Tel Aviv.
If you want to see how a paradise on Earth looks like, you should take a day trip from Tel Aviv to Haifa and head to the Hanging Gardens of Haifa.
Elegant Shrine of the Báb in Haifa with magnificent surrounding terraced gardens is a pilgrimage site of followers of the Bahai Faith. The Shrine holds the remains of Bab, the founder of the Babi Faith. The Shrine of the Bab and the Bahai’s Gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Israel and one of the top tourist attractions in Israel.
Haifa is about an hour and 40 min drive from Tel Aviv.
The Old City of Akko is probably best known as the Crusaders town and the hometown of Templars. But the truth is Romans, Ottomans, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Byzantines, and the British left their mark in the history of Akko. Today the Old City of Akko is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Israel and a picturesque port city with a beautiful 18th-century citadel, Ahmed Al-Jazzar Mosque, St. John’s Church, historic Crusader City with Crusaders halls, passages, tunnels and chamber, charming Arab shuck and intriguing House of Abbud. The unique character of the town was shaped by the turbulent history making the city of Akko a well-worth day trip from Tel Aviv.
Walls of the Old City of Akko reminded me of the walls of the Old City of Dubrovnik in my Croatia. Old city of Akko is a walled coastal city, just like old city of Dubrovnik, but with a Middle Eastern twist that gives a distinctive vibe to Akko.
Akko is easily reachable from Tel Aviv in less than a two-hour drive.
Nazareth is a holy city of Christianity. It is known as the hometown of Jesus Christ where he spent his childhood and where the Holy Family (Mary, Joseph, and Jesus) lived after coming back from Egypt. Today the Church of Annunciation stands over the cave which is believed to be the place where angel Gabriel came to Mary announcing the birth of Jesus.
The church of Annunciation is the largest Christian church in the Middle East. One of the most beautiful moments of my trip to Israel was witnessing a Christian mass in the Arabic language in Basilica of the Annunciation. Even today I can still hear the words: ‘Al Salam Alayki ya Maryam’ and ‘Shukran ya Yasou’.
But above all Nazareth is a charming hill town in Israel with narrow and cobbled streets, Arab ‘shuk’, and Cafe Abu Salem, the oldest coffee shop in Israel (just to mention, in case you are a coffee lover like me).
Regardless if you are religious or not, visiting Nazareth makes a wonderful day trip from Tel Aviv.
Nazareth is easily reachable from Tel Aviv by car. A drive to Nazareth from Tel Aviv takes less than two hours.
11. SEA OF GALILEE
Lake Tiberias, or the Sea of Galilee, is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. It is also the second-lowest lake on Earth, after the Dead Sea.
Sea of Galilee is a famous Christian pilgrimage site and a Biblical site in Israel where according to the New Testament Jesus made miracles of walking on the water, calming the storm and the multiplication of the bread and fish. But Sea of Galilee is uppermost a lake of extraordinary beauty with historical towns of Capernaum and Tiberias.
If you after astounding nature and history, you should take a day trip from Tel Aviv to the Sea of Galilee.
Sea of Galilee is about a two-hour drive from Tel Aviv.
12. YARDENIT (JORDAN RIVER)
Yardenit is diminutive of Hebrew word for Jordan river. Today word Yardenit marks the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist on Jordan River in the Palestinian territories. Today Yardenit Baptism Site is a Christians pilgrimage site where you can see numerous pilgrims in white robes getting baptized. Although the original site where Jesus was baptized is actually just across the river on the opposite bank of River Jordan in Jordan, the Yardenit Baptismal Site has been receiving pilgrims for centuries. Nevertheless, the Jordan River is a captivating river of historical significance and a must-see in Israel.
Yardenit Baptism Site is about an hour and 40 min drive from Tel Aviv.
13. MOUNT OF BEATITUDES
Mount of Beatitudes is believed to be the hill where Jesus taught the Sermon of the Mount, including eight Beatitudes. The eight blessings are considered to be among the best teachings of Jesus Christ.
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.’
The Mount Beatitudes is located in historical Sea of Galilee area. There is a beautiful Roman Catholic church on the top of Mount Beatitudes designed by famous Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi nicknamed as the Holy Land’s architect.
Regardless if you agree with Jesus’ teaching or not, Mount of Beatitudes provides magical views of the mystical Sea of Galilee.
14. MOUNT TABOR
Mount Tabor in Israel is believed to be the mountain of Jesus’ transfiguration where Jesus Christ appeared to his disciples Peter, James, and John in divine form as God’s son.
“and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him” (Matthew 17; Mark 9,2-13; Luke 9,28-36).
Today beautiful Franciscan Church of Transfiguration stands on the top of the Mount. But first of all, Mount Tabor is a mountain of sublime natural beauty and a popular hiking site in Israel.
Located only about an hour and 40 min drive from Tel Aviv, Mount Tabor makes a wonderful day trip from Tel Aviv.
The City of Hebron is an ancient city in the Palestinian Territories and one of the oldest cities in the World.
Hebron is associated with Biblical Abraham. This is the place where Abraham purchased the land to bury himself and his wife. The Cave of Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron is the burial place of four Biblical prophets and their wives (the Patriarchs and Matriarchs): Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah.
Hebron is considered as the second holiest city in Judaism (after Jerusalem), and the fourth holiest city in Islam (after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem).
Unfortunately, the city is divided into two sectors, one controlled by the Palestinian Authority and another by Israel, because of the Palestinian-Israeli issue. But still, Hebron remains a pilgrimage site of followers of all Abrahamic faiths: Muslims, Jewish, and Christian.
If you want to see one of the oldest sites on Earth, you should take a day trip from Tel Aviv to Hebron.
16. GOLAN HEIGHTS
Golan Heights is a plateau in the far northeast of Israel on the borders with Syria and Jordan. The plateau provides some of the most eye-catching and dramatic views in Israel.
On the Golan heights nature lovers can dip into stunning Gamla Nature reserve (called Masada of the North) best known for nesting of eagles and Gamla waterfall, impressive Banias Nature Reserve with Banias waterfall (the largest waterfall in Israel), fabulous natural springs of Hamat Gader and popular in winter Mount Hermon ski resort (the only ski resort in Israel). Even more, on the Golan Heights, you can find remarkable Nimrod Fortress, the biggest Crusaders fortress in Israel!
A trip to Golan Heights takes only two-hour drive takes from Tel Aviv.
Next on the list of the best day trips from Tel Aviv is ancient Petra in Jordan. Yes, it is possible to visit Petra from Tel Aviv. Yes, it is possible to take a day trip from Tel Aviv to Petra. Isn’t it a wow?!
Famous historic city of Petra in Jordan is one of the must-see places on Earth. Ancient City of Petra in Jordan is voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Once the capital of mighty Nabatean Kingdom founded on the trading routes between Southern Arabia, Damascus, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon, and the Mediterranean Sea, today is a famed World Heritage site in Jordan. Petra’s Treasury and Monastery are architectural masterpieces everyone should see in their lifetime.
If you are short with time but you want to visit Petra in Jordan, you can take a trip from Tel Aviv.
Safed is a famous Jewish town of mystical Kabbala in the north of Israel. Safed is one of four main holy cites of Judaism, along with Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tiberias. It is the highest town in Israel with an elevation of 900 m (2,953 ft). Safed as an elevated holy place was mentioned in Jerusalem Talmud. Abuhav Synagogue, Sephardic Haari Synagogue and Haari Ashkenazi Synagogue in Safed are notable synagogues in Israel. Visiting the blue City of Kabbala is one of the best day trips from Tel Aviv you can take.
To visit Safed from Tel Aviv takes less than a 2-hour drive.
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