Things to Do on Your Second (or Third) Trip to Israel
On your first trip to Israel, you hit all the super-iconic, must-see sites like the Western Wall, Yad Vashem, Masada, the Dead Sea and Eilat. But that didn't satiate you. Now you’re coming back for more! While the top holy sites, natural wonders and antiquities may warrant repeat visits, you'll also want to fill your days with some new and exciting things to do – but you might not know where to start.
Here are some sites you may have missed on your previous visits that are worth including on your Israel trip itinerary this time around.
Symbols of Changing Times
Tel Aviv's Israeli Museum at the Yitzhak Rabin Center tells the story of the modern State of Israel through the life of Israel’s assassinated Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin was a fighter in the Palmach paramilitary force prior to the establishment of the state and served as its chief of operations during the War of Independence, when the organization transitioned to become Israel's army. He rose through the ranks of the IDF to become Chief of the General Staff in 1964 and led Israel to victory and a reunified Jerusalem in the Six Day War.
Rabin was elected prime minister in 1974 and again in 1992 but was assassinated in 1995 by an Israeli radical. The museum follows Rabin and the young state through all these events, including a reconstruction of Rabin’s living room as it stood on the evening of the assassination.
Down Under and in the Valley
One of the warmest climates in Israel is in the Beit Shean Valley, so this is a great place to visit in any weather. If there are kids in your group, you can start your tour of the area at Gan-Guru, a theme park where you can pet and feed kangaroos as you learn about these fun creatures. Even the vegetation at the park has been imported, for a complete Australian experience. Across the street from Gan-Guru are the Sachne park's natural pools.
It’s rarely too cold to bathe here, and there are both shallow and deep sections. The grassy area on the edge of the pool is perfect for a light picnic or barbecue. You can also sneak in a little bit of history by visiting the reconstruction of a “tower and blockade” community, built to force the British to allow new Jewish settlements in the pre-state era. Another water attraction in the area is Nahal HaKibbutzim, a beautiful wet hike in shallow water that will take you about 40 minutes.
Markets After Dark
You have probably been to Israel’s main marketplaces, but they are totally different places after dark. Both Jaffa's Flea Market and Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda are trendy nightlife destinations where hipster Israelis go to hang out and eat good food.
Shuk restaurants rely on fresh produce and meat and serve delicious homemade dishes you won’t find elsewhere. This is a great opportunity to see how the locals live and even do a little shopping.
Fortress of the Central Coast
Appolonia was once a strong city defended by a fortress full of Crusader knights. The ruins of the fortress still stand today near the shores of contemporary Herzlia, overlooking a panoramic view of the central coastal plane, spanning from Hadera to Ashdod.
In addition to the impressive fortress here, there is also a Roman-era villa to check out. Flower-lined paths around the park make for easy moseying about, even for tour participants with strollers or wheelchairs. Arrive in the afternoon and stay to watch sunset framed by the fortress’ Gothic arched gateway.
So Much More
Experiences of a lifetime don't have to happen once. Israel is home to enough amazing things to see that locals are known to discover new favorite destinations over the course of lifetimes. Not bad for a territory smaller than New Jersey. Want to learn about more worthy spots for your next itinerary? Get in touch – we've got plenty of suggestions!