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A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Israel with 11 other bloggers and the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

We swam in the Dead Sea. We walked where Jesus walked. I watched the sunrise at the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus walked on water and calmed the storm. We hiked the mountain where the Sermon on the Mount was delivered, where Jesus fed the 5,000 with the fishes and the loaves, and stood in the Garden of Gethsemane. We walked the Via Dolorosa. 

I didn’t know anyone before going on the trip, but met some incredible people and made lifelong friends.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

Is Israel safe? That is what kept troubling me over and over. We went to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Akko, Tiberius, and Jerusalem. The answer is yes, I felt 100% safe everywhere we went. I walked by myself. I walked alone with other girls. I didn’t feel threatened. There wasn’t military-style security everywhere. I didn’t feel I was constantly under surveillance. I didn’t feel uneasy. I would go again in a heartbeat.

How should I dress? We had cooler weather (70s) so I played it safe and dressed in long maxi skirts/dresses with cardigans, so my elbows and knees were covered. However, this was only really necessary in Jerusalem. Everywhere else, if I got too hot I took off my cardigan, so I was basically in a tank top with my shoulders exposed. In Tel Aviv I walked from the hotel across the street to the beach in just a swim-suit cover up. I did the same in Tiberius.

ISRAEL! A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada. The best tips for planning a trip to Israel!

ISRAEL! A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada. The best tips for planning a trip to Israel!

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

Israel was beautiful and steeped in history. We got to see Caesarea, located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, where King Herod built his palace. That’s the outline of a swimming pool you see in the middle, where a courtyard would typically be. This is where Pontius Pilate lived when he ordered Jesus be crucified.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

I was awed at the hippodrome, still standing, built for chariot races and gladiator fights in ancient Roman times.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

This massive stone theater built by Herod could hold 5,000 people and is still used for concerts today.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

The aqueduct brought running water to the ancient city of Caesarea. Herod build the aqueduct in the 1st century BC.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

The aqueduct runs along the shore near the crystal waters of the Mediterranean.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

We stood at the top of Mount Carmel in Haifa and took in the panoramic view of the Hanging Gardens and the expansive sea.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

Such an incredible view.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

We also went to Masada, an ancient fortification and home to another one of Herod’s palaces.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

Masada is located along the edge of the Judaean Desert…

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

And overlooks the Dead Sea.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

In 72 AD, the Romans sieged Masada from a Jewish settlement. Here you can see the remains of the ramp the Romans built to use a battering ram to attack the fortress.

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That afternoon we got to swim in the Dead Sea!! We rubbed the Dead Sea mud all over our bodies and came out with soft, glowy skin.

We also learned that day that cameras and the Dead Sea don’t mix! We took a ton of fun pictures of us floating in the Dead Sea with our feet and hands in the air, but unfortunately none of them turned out. This is only one that came out even remotely recognizable. The water is so salty that it immediately dried on the lens and formed a thick film so all our pictures looked like a big gray blur. We were heartbroken. At least I got this one fun picture with my new friend Lesley who has a GORGEOUS travel blog at The Road Les Traveled. Get it? The Road Les Traveled?? :) We weren’t quite ready for the picture here, but I’ll never forget our float in the Dead Sea! :)

Also be sure and check out Gina’s post on Tips for Swimming in the Dead Sea. Gina’s another great gal I met on the trip!

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

Israel had AMAZING food!! I honestly had some of the most unforgettable meals I’ve ever had in Israel. I’ll talk more about that in the next post, but I had to show you this fabulous falafel first! :)

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

How cute is this tiny pineapple??! Every city we went had unique food and shopping markets that we explored.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

You know I couldn’t pass up the ice cream! This is from Endomela in Akko, Israel. All the ice creams here are homemade with flavors native to Israel. I got vanilla bean and mint. I am still dreaming about that mint!! So fresh!

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

That night we ended up in Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee.

A list of the MUST-SEE most famous historical sites in Israel, including: Caesarea, where King Herod lived in Biblical times, The Hanging Gardens at Haifa, The Sea of Galilee (where Jesus walked on water) and Masada.

I watched the sun set on the Sea of Galilee, fell fast asleep, and eagerly awaited what the next day would bring.

In the next post: Jerusalem, The Sermon on the Mount, and the Via Dolorosa.

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39 Responses
  1. Larissa Coelho

    Israel is such a beautiful place. When I went with my husband we fell in love with the place. I intend to go back there more often.

  2. Luiz Henrique

    This place is wonderful, I traveled these days and I was enchanted with such beauty. In my opinion one of the best places to visit.

  3. Lara

    Hello there. I’m in South Africa. My folks and I are going to israel for 2 weeks coming august. I’m battling to get information on pricing structure for food and payment instruction for accomodation. as we have booked .. what’s best…dollar or shekel or SA VISA on arrival? Can we pay in ZAR ON VISA or in local currency? 

    Any information will be greatly appreciated. 
    Shalom Lara

  4. Katherine

    My husband and I are flying out to Israel this Sunday, March 6! We are incredibly excited to both tour and participate in some ministry work there – mainly in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I just sent the link from this post to my husband. Thanks for posting! I cant wait to get there!
    God bless!

  5. David Eisner

    Hey! I just want to thank you for some of the things that you wrote here – it really helped me with my trip!
    As a side note, I just want to say that Israel is an awesome country to visit – the weather was fantastic, the food was great and the people were warm and friendly. There’s just so much to see and do – Jerusalem alone took me 5 days! thankfully I stayed at a place called The Post Hostel which was literally a walking distance from the ancient city, so I saved time by simply walking to all of the places that really mattered to me.
    To anyone that is going – make sure that you try some authentic Hummus with fresh pita! It changed the way I view the products I get back home.. Can’t believe how much better it is fresh.

  6. Nica Gerona

    Hi! My comment might be a bit too late. But I’d like to know if the Immigration in Israel is quite strict with your itinerary? My family is planning to visit Israel soon, though Israel offers a Visa free access for Filipinos. I have read that the Immigration officers are still quite strict. I hope you could help me out on this. Thanks!

    1. nhoelle

      hi, nice posts :) interesting tour.i just wanted to ask how much is the total budget for Israel trip? thank you :)

  7. Cathy

    I love your travel posts so much! Your pictures are amazing. I was fortunate to go to Israel about 25 years ago while in college. Enjoyed reliving the memories through your trip.

  8. Dawn Mayo

    Wow! Your pictures are absolutely stunning. Did you bring any Dead Sea mud home? I think I’d have wanted to bag some up to use it as a face mask. I agree that Israel is a place to visit. Seeing all of the significant places that Jesus actually visited is a dream. How nice of you to share that.

  9. Serena | Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch

    So stunning! I’ve always wanted to go to Isreal but worried about safety! I’m glad to hear how safe you felt. It looks like a wonderful time and the food looks AMAZING!

  10. Mary Jane McNeill

    Lovely pictures of a beautiful land. Isn’t Masada fascinating? I can’t wait to see the rest of your pictures! I went a couple of years ago, and it changed my life.

  11. Susan

    My husband and I went to Israel with a group from our church the end of February just a few short months ago. We had the most awesome tour guide. We went almost the same places you did but we did get to go into Bethlehem for a day. We never once felt unsafe. The food was incredible we stayed at really nice hotels with buffet breakfasts and dinners and had lunch and snacks out. A trip that I will never forget. Thanks for bringing back the memories. I have so many of the same pictures.

  12. Betty Townsend

    Beautiful photos of your visit to The Holy Land…what an experience that must have been!! Look forward to reading more of your trip.

  13. Erin

    Very excited to read your posts! My first thought was, how safe was /is Isreal? Thank you for answering that first! Can’t wait to read more!

  14. Lauren

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Israel!!! I went a few years ago with my Dad and have to say once you go you long to go back. Your pictures are beautiful!!

  15. Angie | Big Bear's Wife

    I’ve been waiting for this post ever since I saw your photos on Instagram! So glad to hear that Israel was safe! I’ve always wanted to visit but I have to admit that I’ve had safety concerns. OH my word and the Mediterranean waters are just stunning! So beautiful! Love the tiny pineapple too! Can’t wait to read more!!

  16. Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    Amanda… I loved seeing your photos of Israel. I went with my husband several years ago to tour on the weekends and during the week we spent our time in Tel Dor (nearby Caesarea) at an archaeological dig in mid summer when it was 114 degrees daily. I have to say your photos are much more colorful than I remembered. ;) By mid summer things are pretty dry. The falafels are amazing. Hope you try to perfect them. We have’t quite gotten them “right” yet. Glad you had such a wonderful time.

  17. Lisa

    I love traveling and never considered Israel. I never know it was so beautiful. I also would be afraid about safety, but now I guess not. Love your blog.

    odompartyof5.blogspot.com

  18. LyndaS

    That is absolutely stunning! How I wish that I could go. Now I am going to put Israel on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing your photos – I am looking forward to the next post about your trip.

  19. Marjorie @APinchOfHealthy

    Amazing! I have been waiting on this post. :) I am glad to hear you felt safe too. I am sure that was a concern, especially right now. Israel is definitely on my bucket list!

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Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. Meet our Boston Terriers. Take a tour of our house. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.

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