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.