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Israel's Famous Landmarks: Tips For Planning Trip to Holy Land

Israel's Famous Landmarks: Tips For Planning Trip to Holy Land
In this April 13, 2014 photo, a general view shows the interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during the Palm Sunday Easter procession in Jerusalem's Old City. (Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 07 September 2014 04:10 PM

A trip to Israel to absorb centuries of history and visit famous landmarks can require extensive planning and coordination.

“Israel is a tricky country to visit even when it’s at its absolute best. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holidays dot the calendar with accompanying high season crowds and prices,” according to Frommer’s.

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The political tensions that plague Israel add an element of uncertainty to travel plans, and when tensions decrease, tourists pour into the relatively small country, creating crowded conditions and escalating prices at hotels.

But despite such challenges, Israel is a popular tourism destination, particularly for many people who want to explore their religious heritage. In 2012, 3.5 million visited the country, according to the Jerusalem Post, and they spent an estimated $36 million.

As your travel plans begin taking shape, here are a few tips to help with traveling to and in Israel:

• Research upfront what the focus on your trip will be. Do you intend to take in religious sights, ancient or modern, or explore the country from a historical standpoint? That will help you narrow your destination list down to a manageable level. Frommer’s breaks the country down into nine main sections, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and The Galilee. The travel website said it’s easy to visit the entire country because of Israel’s size — it’s only 10 miles wide at some points.

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• Israel’s mild climate doesn’t really limit the time of year when it’s most convenient to travel, but travel between May and October is considered to be the best, Tourist Israel said. September and October are the busiest months on the Jewish calendar, which may bring some activities to a standstill, but also may motivate Jewish tourists to visit.

• The easiest way to get around Israel is in a rental car, according to Tourist Israel, but if that isn’t possible, a limited train system is comfortable and a more extensive bus system is available.

• A visit to Jerusalem should be a must on tourists' lists, according to Arza World. “Jerusalem is a city of ‘most’ – the most sacred, most densely populated, and most popular destination for tourists,” the site said.

Along with popular landmarks like the Israel Museum, where visitors can see the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the city offers unique shopping opportunities. The Machane Yehuda, or outdoor market, was established in 1928 and today sells everything from “dishware to diapers,” according to Da’at Travel.

• Tourists wanting a natural experience can visit the website of the Society of the Protection of Nature in Israel for ideas about hikes and eco-tourism. The organization operates Eco-Community Centers that focus on environmental issues in the country. SPNI also operates a network of birding centers that draw bird watchers to the country.

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A trip to Israel to absorb centuries of history and visit famous landmarks can require extensive planning and coordination.
israel, famous, landmarks, tips, planning
Sunday, 07 September 2014 04:10 PM
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