Israel has been listed by Harper’s Bazaar as one of the 17 best places to escape to in 2017.
Start your trip in the bustling-metropolis-meets-beach-town of Tel Aviv, but then make sure to explore all that this country has to offer. It would be an unfortunate mistake to fearfully paint this country’s complicated politics as war-torn. Don’t be fooled; its vibrant culture, phenomenal food scene, historic landmarks, beaches and endlessly impressive hotels are too much of a draw to ignore. Be sure to tour the shuks (markets) and the historic sites in Jerusalem–a trip to Israel is definitely not complete without a visit to the Kotel, the Wailing Wall. (When you visit, cover up as you would any temple–it’s a place of prayer). While in town, be sure to enjoy the food; the delicious and dynamic scene at Mahane Yehuda is not to be missed.
Then, choose your own adventure: head north to experience jeep rides and hikes in the mountains of the Golan, explore Tel Aviv and Jaffa’s vibrant food, arts and cultural scene, head to the world-renowned Dead Sea spas in the desert or to Eilat for its hippie, beach vibes. Don’t get overwhelmed by the various experiences this country has to offer–you may want to spend 1-2 weeks here to soak it all in, but its size rivals that of New Jersey. If you’re looking to be strategic in planning out the right amount of time in each city, consult an expert like Travel Composer (Israel’s premiere luxury trip planner) who can also advise on attaching a visit to Jordan (and if you do, Petra is a must) and/or Egypt, which should also be on your bucket list.
Where to Stay: Israel’s ever-evolving food scene is part-in-parcel of its expanding hospitality industry–which is no longer centric to Tel Aviv. The King David Hotel is the unrivaled top of the heap in Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv’s boutique hotel The Norman is redefining style and luxury in a culture that is inherently laid-back in vibe. The Efendi Hotel in Akko, an untapped area of the country but well worth a visit, feels like a mix of Moroccan, Latin and authentically Israeli styles with its low-key feel and eclectic décor. When in the desert, the Hotel Beresheet in Mitzpe Ramon is the place to book. Located 2,600 feet (800 meters) above sea level on sky-high cliffs that slope down into the desert lands of the Ramon crater, this luxury resort-meets-natural-phenomenon is the kind of experience that will have you wanting to stay forever.
When to Go: Spring time, March-May in particular, is the best time of year to visit Israel. In April through mid-June, the weather is not too hot (important when traveling in the desert) and not too cold or rainy. Passover (which usually falls in April, but like all Jewish holidays which operate off of a lunar calendar, the dates change from year-to-year) is when tickets and hotels are priciest. Unless you are looking to traveling to Israel for the holiday itself, that week is best avoided.
The full list:
- New Zealand
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- India’s Golden Triangle
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Warsaw, Poland
- Sānyà, China
- Asheville, North Carolina
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