Follow in Jesus’ footsteps in Acre, explore Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah in Safed, visit a famous Herodian archeological site in Caesarea, and see how Jews and Arabs live shoulder to shoulder in the ancient port city of Jaffa. These are some of the beautiful places that should be on your itinerary when you visit the land of milk and honey.
A Mosaic of Historic Sites
Acre, or Akko, is a port city on the Mediterranean coast in northwest Israel and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Acre has a fascinating mosaic of historic sites within its well-maintained old walls. Explore the Treasures in Or Torah (Tunisian) Synagogue within the walls and visit the 18th-century Al-Jazzar Mosque, with its marble columns and underground pools.
A visit would not be complete without sampling one of the recognized Arabic-style restaurants that specialize in the fish caught by the city’s local fisherman. Also, spend time in the vibrant hundreds of years old market that sells a vast range of aromatic foods.
In the Footsteps of Jesus
Nazareth, which is Israel’s largest Arab city, was the hometown of Jesus and visitors can take spiritual joy in tracing his footsteps as they walk through the Old City’s colorful markets. You should also visit the historic churches, including the famous Basilica of the Annunciation where some say that Gabriel told Mary that she would have a child.
The biblical history of the old city doesn’t stop there, and Nazareth Village has an open-air museum that reconstructs daily life in the time of Jesus. Sometimes described as “the Forgotten Son” of Israeli tourism, Nazareth offers a religious and cultural experience worth savoring.
Jewish Mysticism and More
Safed, the beautiful city of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah, is one of the most famous places in Northern Israel and the highest town in the country at about 3,000 feet above sea level. Located high on the Galilee Mountains, Safed boasts major historical, artistic, and religious attractions. Among those not to be missed is the Safed Citadel with its breathtaking views, war memorial, and park.
Excavations at the site uncovered the city’s ancient Crusader fortress, and tourists can explore parts of it as well as enjoy picnics within the ruins and in the wooded park. Don’t miss the Safed Artists’ Quarter which is famed for its galleries and exhibits and adds to the city’s distinctiveness.
Relive Herodian Splendor
A trip to the ancient city of Caesarea will leave you in awe of its old harbor, aqueduct, Roman amphitheater, and Hippodrome all dating back to times of King Herod. The site is actually a national park known for its splendid archaeology that has been restored and returned to life. Today, the refurbished amphitheater hosts concerts during the summer and the Old City offers a range of restaurants and boutiques.
Don’t miss the world’s only underwater museum and the Ralli Museum, one of the four museums in the world funded by philanthropist Harry Recanati. The modern town of Caesarea is home to a luxury neighborhood and beaches including the Aqueduct Beach, which is considered among the best in Israel.
Little Fishing Village; Big History
After traveling throughout the country, you’re sure to find yourself back in Tel Aviv at some point. Tel Aviv grew out of the historically rich port city of Jaffa (aka Yafo), which is still used by fisherman to this day. Like most of Tel Aviv’s south, Jaffa has been revived into a charming spot with courtyards, ancient buildings, and timeworn alleyways lined with art galleries and studios, craft and boutique shops, and some superb restaurants and cafes.
Don’t miss the Jaffa flea market where vendors offer a wide variety of unique and exciting products. What is most fascinating about Jaffa is that it is home to both Arab and Jewish populations who live together continuing with their busy lives. Especially memorable is capturing the sunset while gazing across to modern Tel Aviv.
The melting pot of Israel is incredibly bountiful in offering fascinating historical, religious, and cultural experiences. Whatever city or landmark you choose to stop at along your journey, and for whatever reason, it will be an experience to share and to remember always.