5 Fun Day Trips from Jerusalem
Israel is an extremely small country, so traveling from one end to the other only takes a few hours. If you’re based in Jerusalem, located in the very center of the country, you can enjoy some exciting day trips in order to see a bit more of the country. You will not want to miss these sites on your upcoming trip to Israel.
The Dead Sea Region
A trip to the Dead Sea is a must for any tourist visiting Israel. Spend a day floating in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, enjoying spa treatments and slathering the famous Dead Sea mud on your skin. Or take an archaeological tour of the Dead Sea region, going back to the Second Temple period with visits to Qumran (site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls), Masada (Herod’s palace and site of the last stand of the Great Revolt) and the ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi. Families will also enjoy the natural freshwater pools of Ein Feshkha.
Head toward the Tel Aviv area for a day at the ancient city of Jaffa. This is the earliest known port in the Middle East and served as a center of trade for thousands of years. Today, the Old City of Jaffa is a picturesque neighborhood of Tel Aviv, one which couldn’t be more different than the rest of the bustling metropolis. Winding alleyways lead into courtyards where artists work and sell their art. Restaurants and cafes overlook the Mediterranean Sea. An archaeological museum takes you through the rich history of the region with artifacts from all of the different periods. The flea market is a fun and surprising hodgepodge of every type of ware you can imagine.
The Old City of Bethlehem
Bethlehem is the birthplace of Christianity. Your first stop here will likely be at the Church of the Nativity, the traditional place of the birth of Jesus. The International Nativity Museum of Bethlehem has a collection of over 200 different nativity representations, from various cultures and periods. See the Milk Grotto, where the family of Jesus hid from Herod’s soldiers, and Shepherds Field, where the Star of Nativity was first spotted. Take a stroll through the Old City of Bethlehem, with its ancient but still inhabited homes, which are decorated with stone ornaments.
The Tanks of Latrun
If you like military history, you will love the museum at Latrun. Dedicated to the armored corps, this facility combines indoor and outdoor exhibits to tell the story of this division of the Israel Defense Forces. Dozens of tanks from different periods in the history of Israel are on display in a large outdoor plaza. Kids can climb on the tanks and feel like real soldiers. A monument to the fallen soldiers of the corps, artifacts from various wars and an audio-visual presentation complete your visit.
Eliezer's Service at Genesis Land
In the heart of the Judean Desert, Eretz Breishit (Genesis Land) takes you back to biblical times with costumes, period cuisine and ancient crafts. A guide in character as Abraham’s servant Eliezer reenacts daily life in the period of the Patriarchs. Ride a camel, make your own pita, write on parchment and create a mosaic to get a feel for how people lived in those times.
The Holy City Is Your Hub
Thanks to Israel's compact dimensions and Jerusalem's convenient central location, it's easy to see the much of the country with the capital as your home base.