I don’t know how popular Israel is in your countries, but as far as I know the two main topics concerning this country when it comes to media coverage are religion and politics.
As usual, having the chance of seeing places in first person always reveals many unknown sides, and I am glad I visited Israel to discover much more about it and experience the unexpected.
Israel has something to offer to all kinds of travelers. Are you going there to party? To volunteer? For religious purposes? Either way, here is why I think you should add Israel to your travel list!
1. Moving around the country is incredibly easy. I traveled all around Israel and easily reached any place by bus and shared taxi. Other than that, an efficient railway system is also available.
Most buses (especially the Egged ones) have wifi on board (yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds!) and considering the cleanliness, reliability and services offered the prices are definitely low.
2. Hitchhiking is safe. All around the country and especially outside of the main cities, hitchhiking is very common. Everyone does that. You can just wait on the road pointing your hand at the street, and someone will stop and give you a ride. Since it’s a very common thing, it’s normal and safe to do it.
3. There’s a fantastic network of hostels and cool accommodations called ILH-Israel Hostels that makes your life so much easier! You can just check the website or get one of their maps in any hostel to choose where to book next and get a 5% discount on the following booking too. You can rely on great service and certified quality.
4. Such a small country, so many things to see and do! Israel looks small. I thought I would spend 6 or 7 days there, and ended up staying 12 days, seing just half of what I could have seen! From the Golan Heights to Galilee, from the nightlife in Tel Aviv to the Negev Desert, there’s absolutely nothing you want to miss in this country.
5. People are helpful. I’m not gonna lie, some Israeli people look (are?) rude for no reason, but luckily others are extremely helpful.
The staff at Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem went the extra mile to give me all the info I needed and helped me planning my stay in Israel.
The night I arrived to Jerusalem and I had no idea where the hostel was (both phone and laptop batteries dead…) I asked a girl in the street and she literally took me to my destination.
On the bus from Jerusalem to Beer Sheva, a guy sitting next to me showed me how to do some really cool stuff with my phone and wrote me a list of apps to download according to my needs… and I didn’t ask him!
6. Food is good. I didn’t get to try fancy restaurants (which I am sure are great) but what can I say after living almost exclusively on street food for the whole stay is that food is great. I am pretty sure I had my best falafel in Jerusalem… Some really great mezze in Nazareth… and a superb typical dinner in the Negev.
7. Israel is not as expensive as you expect. Yes, it’s definitely pricier than the rest of the Middle East (the cheapest dorm I slept in in Israel was €12, while in Egypt you can get a private room with bathroom for that price) but you definitely get what you pay for. I’ve already mentioned the transportation is great and worth the few extra bucks. You can get cheap and delicious food in local markets, such as Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem. Also, you can sleep at unique places and I always found them clean and functional.
8. This place makes you think. Maybe you are not into politics or don’t know much about the Middle East, but when you travel across Israel you will have to face some situations that will inevitably lead you to think, which is always good. You will see or hear about security, checkpoints, division walls, etc. and even if you intended to spend your entire holiday getting wasted in Tel Aviv, at some point you will find yourself wondering “why this and that?”. This is what travel is supposed to do. Make us think. Go for it.
9. There are many volunteering opportunities. ILH offers volunteering opportunities to work in a hostel for 6 weeks. Other than this, you can surely find humanitarian associations to volunteer or have an internship with, both in the Israeli side or the West Bank. This is actually something that I am planning to do on my next visit!
Who’s been to Israel and wants to add a 10th reason to travel to Israel? I am curious to know about your experiences.