From glamping in the desert to having Sabbath dinner with an Israeli family, insiders give us the scoop on hidden gems in Israel.
Yael Golan, consul | director, Southern Region USA, Israel Ministry of Tourism, points to several hidden gems you’ll want to tell your clients headed to Israel about. “In Jerusalem, the wine and cheese happy hour on the rooftop of the 142-room Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center hotel is one of the best places to get a picture of the sunset with views of the Mount of Olives.” Golan also points to glamping in the desert, visiting the wineries in the Golan Heights, staying in boutique hotels, and eating “hummus in Akko, in restaurants” where the locals eat.
Ilana Apelboim, general manager, USA, Isram Israel, says there are “so many gems that it’s tough to single them out, however, Israel is very much a people-to-people country and it’s those encounters that we incorporate into our itineraries that make them unique. Such as home hospitality with an Israeli family in the Old City of Jerusalem sharing the traditional Sabbath Dinner together. Or visiting the famous Mahane Yehuda Market and hearing the stories while stopping at the stalls of the various vendors that come from different parts of the world as we enjoy tasting our way through the market (plus putting on an extra pound or so when we’re done!). Or meeting the Druze people with their special culture and traditions.”
“For Americans, Israel is still a long-haul destination that requires a travel agent expertise. Unlike closer and familiar destinations, the client will rely on the agent to give him/her the best advice about flights, accommodations, guides, dining and hidden gems.” — Yael Golan, consul | director, Southern Region USA, Israel Ministry of Tourism
Come Back Soon
Perhaps to help your clients discover those hidden gems, you should recommend a second visit to Israel, because, as Apelboim says, “a second visit to Israel is a must. And most don’t need much convincing at all. It’s a small country so visitors are comfortable even doing it independently—all road signs are in English, everyone speaks English and everyone is so helpful. However, Isram’s private fully guided Second Time Tour is designed to capture those sites that were most likely not visited the first time, including the spectacular Negev area.”
Golan adds that “Israel is constantly evolving and there’s always something new to see every time you visit—we have more than 400 active archaeological active diggings. As small as we are, it is impossible to see all if its history and beauty in only 10 days.”