Traveling to ISRAEL? All You Need to Know (By a Professional Tour Guide)

If you’re thinking about flying to Israel
or starting to plan your trip to Israel then you are at the right place. Hi guys, my name is Oren and I’m a professional
tour guide. Now my whole internet site and channel is
dedicated to Israel, I’ve written about the sites, the Israeli society, the best hotels
and hostels, but I wanted to do one video, this video, with all the most important stuff. So, let’s get started and I will start by
saying that Israel is a safe destination, if you’re not afraid flying to New York or
Berlin then you shouldn’t be afraid flying to Israel. Before people come to Israel they are concerned
with safety issues, once they arrive they are concerned with how expensive things are
and I will talk about it in a minute. Now you will probably land in Natbag, this
is the name the Israelis call the airport, but it is also called Ben Gurion Airport,
or TLV. It has the perfect location right in the middle
of Israel, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It takes about 40 minutes to get from the
airport to the middle of Tel Aviv and a little bit longer to Jerusalem. Now to Jerusalem you can take the train; the
line will be open in the middle of 2018. Until then you need to or take a bus: there
is a bus 485 that goes every hour to Jerusalem, or there are shared taxis: these are taxis
of ten people that you can take to Jerusalem, or of course take a cab. To Tel Aviv there is the train and I will
say that the first station in Tel Aviv is HaHagana and it is also very close to the
Tel Aviv central bus station, but that is not a good area, you don’t want to hang around
that area, especially not at night. It is much better to take the train to Savidor
Center or Arlozorov, these stations located in the middle of Tel Aviv and from there you
have many buses, you can take a taxi, you can also email your hotel or hostel what is
the best way to get there. But south of Tel Aviv, your first night in
Israel: it’s not a good idea. Now as I said Israel is expensive. If money is not an issue then go for the best:
sleep in Jerusalem at the Mamilla Hotel or the King David Hotel, and in Tel Aviv in The
Norman hotel. Take a private guide with a car every day. But if money is an issue then there are things
you can do about it. The biggest expense is accommodation and hotels
in Israel are expensive. The average night is more than 200 dollars
in hotels but you can also take hostels. In the last couple of years some great hostels
opened in Israel and all of them also offer private rooms. So you basically sleep at a hostel, pay less,
but have a room like a hotel. So I can really recommend that. Another thing is that Israel has great street
food so you can have lunch for 7/8/9 euros/dollars and it will fill you up. Now street food is never healthy but I will
say that the Israeli street food is great and is way healthier than what they sell in
Europe or in the US. The best time to travel to Israel is March,
the beginning of spring. It is still low season so the prices are lower,
everything is beautiful and green, and the chances that it will rain are quite small. Winter is also a great time to come to Israel,
especially if you come from Europe where it is cold. And Israel has a safe friendly desert so if
you are coming from October to March then plan as much time as you can in the desert. Summer is very very hot. You can expect more than 35 degrees every
day. Great if you like the beaches or go to churches
and museums but if you want to go for long hikes then the summer (so June, July, August,
even September) are a little bit too hot. Now when it comes to planning a trip in Israel
I like to use three words: the heart, the line, and the land. The heart of every trip in Israel is Jerusalem. The Old City of Jerusalem is a must-see. If you haven’t been there you simply haven’t
been to Israel. Jerusalem is one of the most important cities
in the world. If you have only one long weekend to spend
in Israel, book a hotel or hostel in Jerusalem. I’ve written a lot about the different sites
in Jerusalem, but the most important ones are the Old City, where you will find the
Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa. Outside the Old City you can head to the top
of Mount Olives, visit the churches and the Jewish Cemetery. In the New City be sure to visit Mahane Yehuda
Market, the Israel Museum, and Yad Vashem. Two days are the absolute minimum you will
need. And from Jerusalem you can always take a one-day
tour to the Judaean Desert or Tel Aviv. The line is Highway number 1, connecting Tel
Aviv, Jerusalem and the Judaean Desert. In Tel Aviv you will find the ancient port
of Jaffa (Yafo in Hebrew), the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv Art Museum, the Museum of the Jewish
People at Beit Hatfutsot, many Bauhaus buildings, and, of course, the beaches. Although there is a lot to see, Tel Aviv doesn’t
have the important sites that Jerusalem does. And many of the buildings look rather neglected. But the charm of Tel Aviv doesn’t lie in the
importance of the sites or the buildings, but in the atmosphere. You can walk in the middle of the night in
Tel Aviv, 2am, and cafés and restaurants are open and people sitting there as if it
is the middle of the day. The Judaean Desert, about an hour away from
Jerusalem and two hours from Tel Aviv is the nearest and most accessible desert. The main sites are the Dead Sea, Masada, and
the Ein Gedi nature reserve. If you plan to spend five days traveling in
Israel, then these places are more than enough. I would recommend staying two or three nights
in Jerusalem, one night in the Judaean Desert and another one/two nights in Tel Aviv. If you like the desert and plan on coming
in winter, then maybe spend two nights in the Judaean Desert, and if you prefer the
beaches and nightlife then stay a little longer in Tel Aviv. The land is basically all the rest and there
is a lot to see. The Negev Desert, Nazareth, Haifa, the Sea
of Galilee, the Golan Heights, Acre, Caesarea, and much more. Here I can’t really summarize it all into
a few sentences, since it really depends where you are coming from, when you’re coming and
what are your interests. I will just say that if you come in wintertime
then spend more time in the desert Negev. And if you’re a practising Christian, then
a tour to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee is a must. Now there is a lot to see in Israel but many
of the sites are not impressive. Unlike Egypt where you go and see the Pyramids
and they are just impressive, no matter how much you know about them. In Israel if you want to understand the sites,
you need to know what you are looking at, you need to know the history. Most of the most important places, like the
Wailing Wall, or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, are not impressive in themselves. You need to know what you’re looking at. The best option is to take a private guide,
you can always join a tour or purchase my booklets. I have a booklet about Tel Aviv, Jerusalem,
the Judaean Desert, that I talk about the history of the important sites. Another thing you need to take in consideration
is the Jewish calendar. Now in Israel we have two calendars: the Gregorian
calendar (the one that you know starting at January) and the Jewish calendar. And you need to know this because the holidays
in Israel are mostly by the Jewish calendar. Now it’s great being here on a holiday, on
Sukkot, Pesach, Hanukkah, but there is no public transportation, and the prices of flights
and hotels will be higher. And I’ve written a long post about the Jewish
holidays: what they are about, when they are, and what you can expect. About transportation, I will say that when
you’re in the big cities you don’t need a car but if you want to go to the Golan Heights
or to the Negev Desert, it is much easier hiring a car. You can also go there with public transportation,
but it is way more convenient with your own car. Now there is something very important you
need to remember: that in Israel there is no public transportation between Friday afternoon
and Saturday night. So if you land in Natbag on Saturday or Friday
night then there are no buses, no trains, and you have to take a taxi, and on Saturdays
the taxis are more expensive. Now one last word about the land and the people. Israel is basically a corridor, a corridor
where Africa, Asia, and Europe meet, where great empires went through, where Judaism,
Christianity and Islam met. And like the land and the history, so are
the people: restless, something interesting is always going on, people here are always
hurrying. I think that Israel is the most interesting
piece of land that exists on this planet. Come and see for yourself. That’s it, guys, I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did then please help me grow my new
channel by subscribing. Now these videos are for you so please write
me down here what you want my next videos to be about: the desert, Jewish sites, churches,
how to plan your trip. That’s it, guys, see you in the next video,
and bye for now.


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