The top five day trips from JerusalemAs you might have guessed by now, our purview here at GoJerusalem.com is mainly, well, Jerusalem - but we're hardly provincial. While the Holy City itself can indefinitely entertain any visitor, there's plenty to do and see further afield - and centrally-located Jerusalem is an ideal base from which to take in all Israel has to offer.
As you might have guessed by now, our purview here at GoJerusalem.com is mainly, well, Jerusalem - but we're hardly provincial. While the Holy City itself can indefinitely entertain any visitor, there's plenty to do and see further afield - and centrally-located Jerusalem is an ideal base from which to take in all Israel has to offer. And since Israel is a pocket-sized country, there's little that's more than day-trip distance away, so you can easily spend a day in wine country in the Judean Hills or winding your way up the Mediterranean coast and get back to the capital in time for dinner.
So check out our list of the best day-trip-worthy destinations - and if any should strike your fancy, you can book a tour right here on GoJerusalem.com.
The Dead Sea
What goes up must come down: head east from Jerusalem, and you'll make an ear-popping descent from the (relatively) lofty heights of the Judean Hills into the arid depths of the Judean Desert before reaching the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on Earth. The hyper-salty sea's waters (seven to eight times as salty as the ocean on average) are world-famous for their buoyant properties, and an entire cosmetics industry has been built on the Dead Sea's mineral-rich mud. Attractions in the area include a series of spas in resort town Ein Boqeq and Kibbutz Ein Gedi, the Ahava cosmetics factory, and the ancient Jewish fortress of Masada on a towering mesa overlooking the sea. Book a tour that visits all three, or one that sticks to the sea and the spas - or book a private car tour and go where you want.
Get to a high enough point in Jerusalem and you can actually see Bethlehem, a small town at a few kilometers' remove on the very fringe of the desert. Naturally, most visitors to Bethlehem come for the town's association with Jesus' birth, and Bethlehem's ancient churches, especially the Church of the Nativity, do not disappoint. Seeing the sights of Bethlehem on a tour from Jerusalem takes only a few hours, so you can be back for lunch - but if you're looking for a more complete picture of Christian history in area, you can book a spot on a combined tour of Bethlehem and Jericho, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world.
Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have always had a bit of a rivalry going, and sophisticated Tel Aviv-niks like to contrast their urbane hedonism against the woolly hill-dwellers of the Holy City, but we're better than that. Tel Aviv has a whole lot to recommend, and at only a half hour's drive away from Jerusalem (unless you hit traffic, which can happen), you owe it to yourself to check out Israel's coastal playground metropolis.
A great and uncomventional way to experience Tel Aviv is in the saddle of a bicycle on an EcoBike tour (being flat, Tel Aviv is a lot more fun to bike around than hilly Jerusalem), or you can book a bus tour of the city's main sights. And if you're in town, don't miss out on Beit HaTefutsoth, a fascinating museum of the Jewish diaspora in all its many facets.
Up the coast
And you can fit in many of them into a convenient day of touring, either on a Caesarea-to-Rosh HaNikra tour, or on one of three Acre-centric tours that visit Kibbutz Lochamei HaGeta'ot and Rosh HaNikra.
Hiking and wining in the Judean Hills
There are few more pleasant ways to spend a day than hiking up and down the pastoral Biblical landscapes of the Judean Hills, terraced since ancient days and studded with centuries-old olive trees and grape vines, and then capping it off with a glass or two of the local wine.
Hikers without cars will be glad to know about the many trails you can reach by bus from Jerusalem; if you're not the outdoorsy type, you can also take in the sights from your own hired car.
Those wanting to sample the offerings of the region's many award-winning and increasingly internationally renowned vintners should look no further than the Mamilla Hotel's wine bar Winery, which can hook you up with tours of Castel, Tzora, Psagot, Gush Etzion and other area wineries.
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