Israel: From The Red Sea To The Dead Sea

5th Dec 2013
Photo of Israel: From The Red Sea To The Dead Sea 1/7 by Terry Gardner
Dolphin Reef
Photo of Israel: From The Red Sea To The Dead Sea 2/7 by Terry Gardner
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
Photo of Israel: From The Red Sea To The Dead Sea 3/7 by Terry Gardner
Photo of Israel: From The Red Sea To The Dead Sea 4/7 by Terry Gardner
Negev Desert
Photo of Israel: From The Red Sea To The Dead Sea 5/7 by Terry Gardner
Red Sea
Photo of Israel: From The Red Sea To The Dead Sea 6/7 by Terry Gardner
Underwater Observatory
Photo of Israel: From The Red Sea To The Dead Sea 7/7 by Terry Gardner

Israel is a country that effectively merges the past and the present in surprising ways. This intensely layered country tends to suprise even the most prepared tourist. In this country of immense history, legends surround every place that you visit, that lie at the heart of Western civilization's conciousness.

Israel is amazingly diverse for its size. Every corner hides a story. You'll hardly believe that 60 minutes away from the silent, haunting desertscape near The Dead Sea is the 19th-century East European ghetto world of Jerusalem's Orthodox Mea Shearim quarter. Likewise, a few blocks away from Mea Shearim you'll find the medieval Arab bazaars of the Old City, twisting and snake-like, with ancient church bells and calls to prayer from the city's minarets punctuating your wanderings. Hop into a sherut (shared taxi) to Tel Aviv on downtown Jerusalem's Jaffa Road, and in less than an hour you're in a world of white skyscrapers, surfboards, and bikinis on the beach, with the Mediterranean lapping at your feet. Two hours to the north, and you can be exploring ruined Crusader castles in the green forests of the Galilee mountains. Israel is an extremely dramatic landscape. With so many things to do and see, you'll be spoilt for choice.

Israel is fast emerging as a popular destination for tourists looking for meaningful travel. 35 years earlier, Israel was an austure society which believed in a no frills lifestyle. Today, the country's economy is booming, the standard of living has skyrocketed, and many surveys rank Israel's per capita income among the top 20 in the world. Israel has become a nation synonymous with a lively sense of style and a taste for the good life. Brands associated with luxury and better-quality hotel accommodations and resorts have popped up all over the country, and visitors will find an array of fine restaurants and shopping extravaganza geared to Israeli society at large rather than just to visitors. Today, a journey to Israel can also easily include an excursion to the fabulous ancient city of Petra in Jordan, or a diving or snorkeling odyssey off the Sinai Peninsula. But along with the exoticism and grandeur of the country, you can still find young, idealistic kibbutzim and communities in the Negev, where new immigrants and old-timers are reclaiming the land from the desert as they learn how to live on it, appreciate its wonders, and make it their own.

Open yourself to some of the best and most authentic experiences Israel has to offer. Israel is an easy country to explore. This guide will hopefully introduce you to some of Israels best places to visit so that you can have experiences that are memorable and rewarding.

The Red sea with its well known coral reefs is an awe-inspiring natural site. It is widely regarded as one of the best dive sites for scuba diving and snorkelling. Some of the most vividly coloured and dazzling fish can be seen here. The Caves and University are some favourite dive sites.
Photo of Red Sea by Terry Gardner
The deserts of Israel encompass the ethereal Dead Sea; the mysterious, abandoned Nabatean cities of Avdat and Shivta; the haunting fortress of Masada; canyon oases; and vast erosion craters that are geological encyclopedias of past eons. The Negev Desert has various sites that are worth exploring for a peek into the history of Israel.
Photo of Negev Desert, Israel by Terry Gardner
Masada is the site where Jews chose suicide over Roman enslavement. A pre-dawn hike up this UNESCO world heritage site will inspire you. A huge bonus is the spectacular sunrise that you will get to see. Visiting Masada will give you a deeper appreciation of the freedom that is our birthright.
Photo of Masada, Israel by Terry Gardner
It's incredible to walk in an oasis that King David and other Biblical luminaries visited in the Old Testament of The Bible. Hikes in Ein Gedi are relatively strenuous, so make sure you are adequately prepared. The waterfalls are beautiful and you can get your feet wet in the Nahal David, Ein Gedi or two other streams. Wildlife watchers will enjoy seeing the little rock hyrax, birds, ibex and gazelles.
Photo of Ein Gedi, Tel Aviv, Israel by Terry Gardner
The Underwater Observatory is a fantastic way for non-divers to get a peek at marine life underwater. Built in 1974, the tower reaches down to the seabed and allows visitors to view sharks, turtles and other marine life in their natural habitat. Visitors can also climb 90 steps up to the "Peace Terrace" for an unparalleled view of the Red Sea coastline which reaches into Jordan and Egypt.
Photo of The Underwater Observatory Marine Park, Eilat, Israel by Terry Gardner
Floating in the Dead Sea is a wonderful experience and almost surreal. Even non-swimmers can float about here safely. Also try the famous therapeutic mud, mineral, and massage treatments at any of the The Dead Sea hotel spas or Kibbutz Ein Gedi Spa after spending time in the Dead Sea.
Photo of Dead Sea, Southern District, Israel by Terry Gardner
Dolphin Reef is a great place to visit for both scuba divers and non-divers. Here you can watch bottle nose dolphins or actually pay to have a one-on-one experience in the water with a wild dolphin as long as you are comfortable swimming and between the ages of 10 and 88. Dolphin Reef was actually developed around the unique communication humans and dolphins can have with each other. Besides dolphin interaction, Dolphin Reef also offers a secluded beach and three heated pools for relaxation: a deep, sea water pool, a shallow fresh water pool (from rain water) and a third salt water flotation pool.
Photo of Dolphin Reef, Eilat, Israel by Terry Gardner