If you have ever wondered how best to plan your 10-day trip to Israel, you have come to the right place! In this article, I will highlight the best itinerary for you, so you can make the most of your stay and have a unique experience.
Israel is an exciting, vibrant, and spiritual country to visit. It may be a small country however it is filled with BIG surprises! Touring Israel is easy and safe to do. We are a welcoming and friendly nation (if I may say so myself). We love to help & engage with tourists and show them the different things Israel has to offer.
But first things first:
Things you need to know when visiting Israel
Arriving in Israel: Be prepared for strict security at the airport, please, do not take it personally!
Note: Passports are no longer stamped upon arrival, keep your entry slip safely with your passport. When you leave Israel, you will be asked to show it.
Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages in Israel but don’t worry English is spoken throughout the country.
Soldiers are a part of daily life here: Israelis grow up with having army presence around them. You will see soldiers throughout your stay, don’t be scared.
The Sabbath is a holy day for the Jewish people. It starts at sundown on Friday and lasts until the first three stars appear on Saturday evening. Most places and services will shut down for the duration around 14:00 on Fridays. Think about public transport, street shops, museums and other activities, kosher restaurants, and government offices. Planning is key!
Note: Jewish holidays are considered as holy as Shabbat is, so the same rules apply.
Best time to visit Israel
Springtime is the best time to visit: From late March to June, the temperature is warm and comfortable to be outdoors.
The fall months from mid-September to November are pleasant to visit especially if you are not a fan of hot temperatures.
Israel has extremely hot summers so from mid-June to mid-September the heat is on!
Getting around Israel
Public transport: Trains and buses in Israel are reliable. You will need a Rav-Kav card beforehand; this electronic card can be loaded using cash or credit card.
Rent a car: Israel is a small country and easy to navigate. Driving from the North down to Eilat the most southern tip will take you nine hours on average.
- TIP: You can hire your car at the airport, however, when starting your visit in Tel Aviv I would recommend hiring your car when you are heading out of the city.
- IMPORTANT: Check applying regulations before driving to the Palestinian territories, the West Bank, or Gaza.
In the bigger cities, you can use service shuttles ~ moniyot sherut in Hebrew: These are minibusses that stop at the regular bus stops to pick up commuters, this is the cheapest way available.
Taxis: Always arrange the price before getting into your taxi.
UBER is also a possibility.
What should you keep in mind when packing for your Israel trip?
Israel has micro-climates featuring regional differences. You have hot temperatures and humid summers on the coast; a dry climate with cooler temps during the evenings in Jerusalem/mountain regions, extremely hot and dry summers up North where it can snow during winter, and year-round semi-desert conditions in the Negev down south through to Eilat.
Please wear appropriate clothes when visiting holy sites.
Safety & practical tips: Israel 10 day itinerary
- As anywhere else, avoiding hitchhiking can be a good idea. It can backfire.
- The cheapest way to have the internet is by purchasing an Israeli SIM card for your phone. You will need it for internet navigation, online ticket purchases, paying for parking, and safety reasons.
- Parking: You will also need your phone (with internet) to be able to pay for parking unless you use parking garages. The colors painted on the curb will indicate to you if you can park and whether you need to pay. Blue-white means paid parking. Red/white/yellow means parking is prohibited. Gray means it is free to park.
- This is a question I get often; do you tip in Israel? Yes, we tip between 12-15% in restaurants and bars. Other services such as tour guides, gas stations offering full service or hotel house cleaning will be up to you.
- Use sunscreen!
- Have a water bottle with you when you are on the go: Heat strokes are a real thing here so make sure you drink plenty of water! Having your personal bottle is not only comfortable it is also cheaper and more sustainable. Let us help rid the world of plastic where we can.
- Have an adaptor with you for your electrical devices.
- I would advise you to carry some local currency with you for when you are visiting markets and food stands for example. Credit cards of all major companies can be used everywhere.
- Start your days early! Israel is a mindblowing country and you will want to make the most out of your time there.
Your 10-Day Israel Itinerary
The suggested number of days for each location is as follows:
- Three days in Tel Aviv
- One day in Jerusalem
- Two days in the North: Caesarea, Haifa, Akko, Rosh Hanikra, and the Kinneret.
- Four days in the South: Dead Sea, Masada, Mizpe Ramon, and Eilat.
Please note that this itinerary was created with Tel Aviv being the central location. On the other hand, hiring a car is the best way to achieve this recommended itinerary.
Your trip starts with the crown jewels, Tel Aviv & Jerusalem!
Ben Gurion airport is a short 20-minute drive from the city of Tel Aviv making it the logical place to start.
Days 1-3: Spend your first three days exploring Tel Aviv
Where to stay in Tel Aviv
Brown hotels: I love boutique hotels and this high-end hotel chain ticks all the right boxes: From location to service to facilities.
Tel Aviv is a wonderful introduction to Israel. This beautifully vibrant and exciting city is unlike any other city you will visit here. Located along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, it offers spectacular views, golden beaches, bustling energy, interesting & diverse historical sites, architecture, it is also home to one of the world’s most famous Pride parades and a culinary mecca.
Best city tips for Tel Aviv
Spend a day on the beach: The beachfront stretches all the way to Jaffa. Work on your tan, have a swim, try a water sport, and have lunch or dinner right there on the beach watching a glorious sunset.
My favorite beach restaurant is Calypso. My favorite beach club to hang out at is the trendy Beach Club TLV where you have watersports to enjoy complete with lessons for beginners, a beach boutique, and a delicious menu.
Stay and wander! Stroll through Neve Zedek, take a street art tour in Florentine, walkthrough Naclat Binyamin, have coffee on the Rothschild Boulevard, and take a walking tour to discover Bauhaus-style buildings in Tel Aviv.
There are three markets to visit here that hold such charm and character:
- The Carmel Market.
- The Levinsky Market for authentic Israeli dishes.
- The Flea Market (Pishpeshim in Hebrew) in Jaffa, perfect for a fun treasure hunt and beautiful food pitstop.
Visit a museum: Tel Aviv has a wide variety of museums depending on your preferences.
I love the smaller less famous ones as I find their stories fascinating and at times more revealing. For example, the Bialik Museum, Palmach Museum, and the Independence Hall where Ben Gurion announced the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
Tel Aviv dinner tips
Alena. This beautiful restaurant is in the Norman Hotel and features a menu highlighting European classics with Mediterranean cuisine.
Fantastic is fantastic all around! This restaurant is inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ The decor is stunning! It is a place to forget where you are for a while and get sucked into the fairytale that surrounds you.
Magazino. An Italian restaurant serving contemporary Italian cuisine with surprises on the changing wall menu.
Keep reading: 23 Best Things to do in Tel Aviv
Day 4: Spend a day in Jerusalem
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel located about an hour from Tel Aviv. It is a unique place, and you will notice it immediately upon arrival. Jerusalem is a spectacular city so enriching and spiritual. There is so much to see and do here but if you only have one day these are the places you cannot miss.
Best city tips for Jerusalem
Visit the Old City: Start at the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall, and then take a walk along the city’s walls. Take a walk through the souk in the Muslim Quater on your way out of the old city.
These are the two most important museums for first-time visitors to Jerusalem, if you have time choose one:
Yad Vashem: This is Israel’s official tribute to the Holocaust.
The Israel Museum: This museum is one of the best in the world. It is most famous for the Dead Sea Scrolls on display is the Shrine of the Book.
Wander in Mahane Yehuda Market, where you will find colorful stands, street art, and little restaurants offering different authentic Israeli-Jerusalem cuisine.
Stroll through Nachalat Shiva and Nachlaot neighborhoods.
Have a meal on the rooftop of the Mamila Hotel before heading back to Tel Aviv. The views are amazing!
Days 4-5: Going up North
Head out from Tel Aviv, your first stop is in Caesarea which is about 40 minutes drive.
This is one of the best historical and archeological sites in Israel and a testament to Roman times.
Continue to Haifa, famous for the Bahai Gold shrine & Gardens, a short 30 minutes drive where you can spend a couple of hours exploring.
Take the cable car up to the mountain to enjoy bay views while walking along the Louis Promenade. Drive to your last stop of the day, the city of Akko about 45 minutes away, where you can spend the night.
Where to stay in the north of Israel
The luxurious Efendi Hotel: Stylish with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. It is in the historic center of Akko.
In Akko you will be able to observe a city where Jews and Arabs live together, it makes for a special atmosphere. Akko is an ancient port city on the Mediterranean Sea.
Stroll through the old town surrounded by well-preserved old walls. Have dinner in the port famous for serving delicious fresh fish and Mediterranean cuisine. From the harbor, you can take boats out to enjoy panoramic views of Akko from the water.
In the morning drive up to Rosh Hanikra National Park. This park is about 40 minutes away located at the most north-western corner of Israel on the border with Lebanon (a country you should definitely put on your dream road trips list as well – check this 1 week in Lebanon itinerary). Here you will find dramatic cliffs and marine caves.
Driving back to Tel Aviv, take the scenic route back to Tel Aviv via the Sea of Galilee ~ The Kinneret in Hebrew. This is a freshwater lake and the lowest one in the world. A unique sight indeed.
Days 6-10: Exploring the beautiful South
Note: You can fly internationally from Eilat. You don’t have to make the four-hour drive back to Tel Aviv. International flights leave from the new Ramon airport.
Drive from Tel Aviv down to the Dead Sea taking the Mount Sodom route, it will take you about an hour and 40 minutes.
The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth not to mention a unique natural phenomenon and one of the Israel highlights you cannot miss. Now it is time for you to float on your back while reading a magazine (it is such a fun thing to do) and admire the incredible views that surround you from all angles.
There are hotel spas you can book a special treatment in however you can have fun enjoying Mother Nature’s spa; use the salt for a scrub and a peel then cover yourself with black mud. You will normally find buckets with ready-to-use mud by the lifeguard towers. Give it a good 20 minutes before washing it off. Trust me you have never felt more rejuvenated!
On the beach, you have all the facilities you will need to shower, change, and have a bite to eat before continuing.
From here go up to Masada, one of Israel’s most iconic landmarks located about 30 minutes away. Masada is an ancient fortress on top of a mountain in the Judean Desert, commemorating the tragic event of mass suicide that took place here during Roman rule. You can hike up or take the cable car.
If you have enough time, you can also check the nearby oasis of Ein Gedi.
Drive to Mitzpe Ramon where you can spend the night.
Note: This drive is around two hours so you might decide to skip Masada although you’d be missing out as it is one of the most stunning spots in Israel.
Where to stay in the South of Israel
The Beresheet Hotel: Your own private breathtaking oasis offering scenic desert views to die for.
Start your morning at the visitor’s center strategically located above the spectacular Ramon Crater. You will have marvelous panoramic views from the balconies of the crater, rock formations, and open desert landscape. You can enjoy outdoor activities here such as jeep tours and abseiling down the cliffs.
I have saved the best for last:
Spend the last three days in Eilat.
This desert drive will take you around two and half hours. Eilat is a small piece of a tropical paradise on the shores of the Red Sea surrounded by the stunning Edom mountains. You will have full views of Aqaba located across Jordan, and you are about a 15 drive from the Israel-Egypt border.
If you have time, stop at the Timna National Park on your way down; the park has ancient copper mines and Egyptian temple ruins.
Eilat is gorgeous! It is all about relaxation, fun, great food, and buzzing nightlife.
Where to stay in Eilat
This is my favorite hotel in Eilat ~The Royal Beach Hotel by Isrotel Exclusive Collection- Beautifully stylish located on the promenade.
Best city tips for Eilat
Beach comes first! My favorite is Mosh beach. A beach great for snorkeling with all the facilities necessary, food, music, and views of Jordan straight ahead.
Take a sunset cruise.
Swim with the dolphins in the Dolphin Reef.
Go snorkeling or on a diving safari: Eilat attracts divers from around the world as a diving Mecca! There is a variety of diving schools depending on your certification. Snorkeling is a great option too if you are not a diver. You will be able to enjoy a diverse, colorful, and plentiful underwater world.
Enjoy watersports: Kitesurfing, windsurfing, jet skis, parasailing, and banana rides are great fun.
Eilat restaurants & bar tips
Les Sardins: A fish restaurant located in the marina, a true culinary experience at affordable prices. Everything is made from fresh ingredients daily.
Moses is for the hamburger lovers!
Mika: Sushi on the beach, enjoying the Red Sea breeze and relaxing views.
Have drinks and dance in the Three Monkeys bar. Live music, signature drinks, finger food, and cool vibes. It is located on the gorgeous promenade under the Royal Beach Hotel.
And now all that’s left to say is have an amazing trip!
The author of this 10 day Israel itinerary, Diti Asiag, is an Israeli travel and lifestyle blogger living in Amsterdam.