Israel is a great place to visit because of the variety it has to offer tourists. From diverse cities, historical and religious sites to relaxing quiet beaches. As a small country, it is also easy to move around a to see a lot in a short space of time. If you have a fortnight to spare, here’s my recommended 2 week Israel itinerary.
If you only have a week to spare, check out my 1 week Israel itinerary.
2 Week itinerary Israel
The best way to get around is to hire a car. This will give you a lot more freedom to visit places along the way. It’s very easy to drive in Israel as the roads are comfortable and the signs in English.
Make sure you include visiting these top 10 sights in Israel in your itinerary. I’m usually not a big fan of visiting big tourist attractions but Israel’s top sites really are very unique!
3 nights Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a small city so 3 nights there should be more than enough for visiting the main sights. You definitely want to make sure you see Old Jaffa, Carmel Market and also the huge stretch of beach that sits right in the city centre. Hiring bikes is a great way to explore the city and to see the park.
I’ve done a few tours in Tel Aviv but the one I would really recommend is the Vegan Tour.
Staying at: Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv
($120 per night for a double room for 2, including breakfast)
Abraham offers both private rooms and also dormitory rooms. It’s a fantastic hostel right in the city centre with a great rooftop bar.
If you are travelling on a budget, follow my guide to visiting Tel Aviv on the cheap.
2 nights Haifa
There isn’t a huge amount worth seeing inside Haifa apart from the Ba’hai Gardens. It is worth using Haifa as a base though to access the great bars and restaurants here. Sederot Ben Gurion Street is my favourite place for grabbing dinner – it’s got a good atmosphere and an incredible view of the gardens all lit up at night. The best restaurant here is Fattoush.
On your way from Tel Aviv to Haifa, stop at Caesarea to visit the impressive ruins. Then drive to Zichron Ya’akov to grab lunch in the old town (I can also recommend spending an hour looking around the Ramat HaNadiv gardens which are beautiful and free to enter). Then spend the afternoon exploring the artist village Ein Hod before reaching Haifa.
From Haifa do a day trip to see Akko. It’s nice to wander the town here, see the market and to do a boat tour.
Staying at: Bat Galim Boutique Hotel
($100 per night for a double room for 2, including breakfast)
A lovely hotel with great character and a brilliant breakfast.
1 night Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee is a beautiful region but unless you are religious I found the sights here not of huge interest, although definitely worth a quick visit. I’d visit Tiberias and then spend the day doing a day hike to one of the many viewpoints that will allow you to take in the full beauty of the Sea of Galilee. I think Safed/Tzfat is a great place to base yourself as the town has a great atmosphere and some nice restaurants.
Staying at: Rosenthalis Safed
($100 per night for a double room for 2, including breakfast)
A nice boutique hotel in a town with really lovely character.
4 nights Jerusalem
Jerusalem is an incredible city with lots to see. On the way to Jerusalem from the Sea of Galilee stop in Nazareth for lunch. Again, unless you are religious you probably won’t want to spend more than a couple of hours visiting the city.
Use your 3 full days in Jerusalem to explore the Old City and the surrounding area. There are also 2 great museums worth visiting: The Israel Museum and Yad Vashem.
Check out my guide for visiting Jerusalem.
Staying at: Abraham Hostel Jerusalem
($130 per night for a double room, including breakfast)
Abraham provides a great location and options for both dorm and private rooms.
2 nights in the Negev
Visiting the Negev offers an entirely new perspective on Israel and really the best way to experience this side of the country (and the stars at night!) is to stay in a Bedouin camp.
On your way to the Negev stop at Masada and also the Dead Sea for a swim (this can easily be done in half a day). If you can brave the early start, it’s amazing experiencing Masada for sunrise. Note that the Dead Sea has outdoor showers so you can rinse off after your salty float. There are also some nice springs in the area which can be found in Ein Gedi.
Relax and take in the views of the Negev desert. I would also suggest doing a day hike as long as it is not in summer when temperatures really are far too hot. The HaMakhtesh (small crater) offers the best views for a day hike.
Staying at: Kfar Hanokdeim
($240 per night for a double room, including breakfast)
This tented Bedouin camp is comfortable and full of character! If you really don’t fancy glamping then alternatively look at staying in Yehelim Boutique Hotel, Arad.
2 Week itinerary Israel Summary
1 Day: Arrival in Tel Aviv
2 Day: Sightseeing Tel Aviv
3 Day: Sightseeing Tel Aviv
4 Day: Travel to Haifa, visiting Caesarea, Zichron Ya’akov & Ein Hod along the way
5 Day: Day trip from Haifa to Acco
6 Day: Travel to Sea of Galilee, visit the Ba’hai gardens in the morning
7 Day: Sightseeing Sea of Galilee
8 Day: Travel to Jerusalem, stop at Nazareth along the way
9 Day: Sightseeing Jerusalem (the old city)
10 Day: Sightseeing Jerusalem (Yad Vashem, Israel Museum & Mahane Yehuda Market)
11 Day: Sightseeing Jerusalem (the old city & Mount of Olives)
12 Day: Bedouin camp, visit Masada and the Dead Sea along the way
13 Day: Bedouin camp, do a desert day hike
14 Day: Departure day
This itinerary really will show you the best that Israel has to offer. It fits in a lot but you will also have pockets of time here and there for a lazy morning to catch up on sleep.
If you like to experience more unique things when you visit a country, check out my list of unusual things to do in Israel.
Want more nature?
If you aren’t a big city person, I would suggest doing 1 less day in Haifa and Jerusalem and staying longer in the north where you can find lots of nature and a slower pace.
There are also lots of hiking options if you enjoy walking. Israel has a trail which runs the full length of the country!
If you are into hiking take a look at this list of the best hikes in Israel for ideas.
Want some beach time?
Eilat is a bit of a drive to get to as it is right in the South of Israel….but it’s great to visit if you want a bit of beach time or enjoy diving and snorkelling. There are a few ways you could fit in a visit to Eilat – by skipping the stay with the Bedouins or by reducing your time in the North (I’d take out the visit to Akko or the Sea of Galilee. If you don’t stop at Nazareth you could arrive earlier to Jerusalem and easily stay a day or 2 less).
It is also possible to fit in a busy 2-day tour to Petra. I’d suggest using Abraham Tours (if you stay at Abraham Hostel you get 10% off their tours). It really is worth a visit if you can fit it in. Note that it means a very early start and lots of travelling so it might be too tiring to add onto an already busy schedule.
How much does it cost to visit Israel?
The below is the rough cost per person (based on 2 people sharing) for the 2 week itinerary above. This was based on prices in 2018.
Flights (from London to Tel Aviv return) – $160
Car hire & gas – $180
Accommodation – $900
Food & drink (A dinner meal with a drink costs around 100NIS / $25 although street food is very cheap. A filling falafel costs just 10NIS / $3) – $360
Entry fees (Masada entry, the Israeli Museum, boat tour, bike hire) – $50
Extras (the market souvenirs are hard to ignore!) – $60
TOTAL – $1,710 (or £1,330)
You could definitely make this trip much cheaper by staying in more affordable hotels along the way or using Airbnb. If you’ve not used Airbnb before you can click here to get a first time £25 off voucher.
- Generally, you do not need to worry about dressing conservatively or covering your shoulders and knees (ie, you can wear a bikini on the beach). The exception is if you are visiting a religious site or if you are in Jerusalem
- English is a national language so signs are in English and it is widely spoken
- Try and enjoy as much of the street food as you can. Including bourekas, hummus, falafel, Arabic tea, baklava and jachnnu
- If you stay in Abraham hostels in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem you can 10% off your stay and off their tours (which are very good!). They also offer a shuttle between their hostels
- In markets, it is common to haggle on the price given
- When using taxis ask them to use the meter
- If using buses in the cities payment is often done using a machine that doesn’t give change so make sure you have change
I hope this list of best hikes Israel has given you some inspiration. If you have any questions please ask in the comments box below.