My first visit to Israel was like stepping into a natural history museum filled with precious gems, stories and artifacts spanning over thousands of years. I quickly lost count of the significant sights and places of interest within a day. There were just so many facinating things that wowed and amazed me about the landscape, people and of course the food in Israel.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect given all the media coverage concerning the middle east and its great geo-political complexities. Despite my initial indifference and subconscious anxiety, I was pleased to discover a fantastic destination i trully fell in love with!
A visit to Israel, particularly for a Christian traveller, is a deep awakening, and a spiritual encounter that brings you into a fullness with the cultural prism of Yeshua. Its fascinating to visit the places, objects and customs of the region, popularized through the lens of the Bible. I genuinely loved it all. The word “Amazing” is an absolute understatement in describing a trip to Israel.
I’ve compiled a list below to help first timers or returning visitors to Israel identify great and somewhat out the box things to see, do and taste while in Israel (no particular order):
Must SEE Things
Visit Mt Nebo, catch a glimpse of the promise land from Moses’ viewpoint.
Ein Gedi – Climb the mountain range like David did and see the rocks, caves and rivers. You might get lucky and spot an Ibex, wild goat on your hike.
Take sunrise pic of sea of Galilee in its golden splendor and feel the peace. Be still!
Take a sunset stroll in the vibrant city of Tel Aviv and see the colorful splendor reflect over the Mediterranean Sea.
See Masada and hear the story of courage in this mountain top city built by Herod the Great around 37 BC. Get personalized note from a scribe while there.
Stop by the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem check out the dead sea scrolls and see the extensive art collection. The site boasts the world’s most comprehensive archaelogical collection of the Holy Land.
Must Do Things
A must do is definitely a visit to Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem. One of the finest examples of Crusader architecture in Israel. The acoustics will give you goose bumps. This is a must do: belt out tunes to your favorite hymns on your visit to the santuary. It sounds like angelic voices singing. Fantastic sound!
Take a boat ride and experience the peace on the Sea of Galilee.
Go camel riding and enjoy the gorgeous views of the Judean Mountain
Haggle in the Old Market, Jersualem. I think the merchants enjoy the price jossle as much as the shoppers do. Its quite an exercise to negotiate prices with the street vendors.
Tour the Old City of Jerusalem underground. Pray at the temple wall.
Take an early morning dip and float in the Dead Sea just before dawn. There is something therapeutic about watching the sun rise while floating in the dead sea.
Bonus: Visit Petra, over in Jordan if time permits. Its a fantastic experience to see the old Treasury and travel through the Siq.
Must Things To Taste
If you are adventurous there is so much to taste in Isreal! Even as a vegan I had a blast trying new foods, seasonings and fruits while in the resturants and market place.
Falafel – Can’t get enough of these delish well seasoned balls of goodness. This is a staple in every Isreali home. Its a must have taste when you visit.
Exotic Fruits – Israel is a fruit lover’s paradise. Fresh fruits amd veggies in abundance. I had the sweetest, biggest milkiest Sweet Sop fruit in my life. Parsimons are also sweet and succulent. Love love loved it.
Now you know the Mango Lady couldnt visit the Holy Land and not find some mangoes. Happy to report I had my share of sweet succulent Israeli mangoes!!! Fiberless, smooth and very sweet.
Soups – There’s an abundance of great soups. Tried the lentil, leek and potato soups. All were great. Lentil was my fave. Peered well with corn and barley.
Pastries – There’s a burst of colorful sweets and snacks on every corner to make your eyes and taste buds dance . Be forewarned you will likely be addicted to barazek cookies and baklava flaky pastries!
Olive oil tasting – If Olive Oil flows in the United States or Europe in buckets in Isreal its an ocean! The trees grow everywhere so you have an abundant supply of options and flavors. I highly recommend a visit to Olea Essence Factory for a special tour and olive oil tasting. They have a plethroa of flavors to explore. Meeting the owner and hearing their research about the healing wonders of the olive oil fruit was fantastic too.
Sweet Treat – Israeli Ice Cream…What can i say. I visited Aldo Bakery and tried vegan mango ice cream made with a coconut milk base. Woweee I was transported to heaven on a cone. Just delish and delightful flavor.
There you have it. My love list of things to see, do and taste from Israel. My friends its a good thing to give thanks! More than anything else, being in Isreal provides a peace that surpasses all understanding to keep your heart and mind on Yeshua. Thankful I was able to share this marvelous experience from the Holy Land. Until next time, please remember to like, and share this post with a friend. Happy trails and make it a mango-licious day!