I’ve already put together the Top tourist attractions in Israel which definitely shouldn’t be missed for first-time visitors. But the country has so much more to offer if you are looking to do something a bit different. If you are looking for something a little different, off the tourist track, then check out this list of Unusual and fun things to do in Israel.
#1 Visit Ein Hod
This village is home to only artists; a unique concept that has an amazing effect. Many of the friendly residents have turned their homes into galleries, the streets are littered with sculptures and dotted about are creative coffee shops.
There are a total of 76 art installations and galleries to see (head to the information point first to grab a map). The town has a guest house as well as many workshops from fabric printing and mandala to pottery classes.
#2 Attend a Nature Parties
If you like to party then this is for you!
These huge raves, called Nature Parties, take place in the middle of the desert and host some of Israel’s biggest DJ’s. They normally take place in Spring through to Autumn.
#3 Attempt an Escape room
Escape rooms are dotting up all over the world. So why not try one with an Israeli twist?!
I recently tried an escape room at Baron Code escape room in Zichron Yaakov. You are locked in a room and given 1 hour to solve the puzzles and riddles. It’s a brilliant concept and, hands down, the most fun thing I have done with friends in Israel. The stories from that room are still being retold today.
#4 Do a Tel Aviv Vegan Tour
Tel Aviv is considered the vegan capital of the world and for good reason. Put aside any misconceptions you may have about plant-based foods and experience the real side of Tel Aviv. The Be Tel Aviv tour takes you to 3 different restaurants sampling different dishes and also covers some interesting Israeli vegan history.
Find out more about this tour here.
#5 Attend Israel’s Midburn Festival
If you are looking for fun things to do in Israel that are a little unusual, check out Midburn Festival. The smaller, sister festival of Nevada’s famous Burning Man festival. Taking place in the middle of the Negev desert, usually around may time, this experimental arty festival is guaranteed to be hot, dusty and different.
Don’t expect the same grandeur that the Burning Man festival brings. But this would be a fun and interesting way to experience Israel and it’s arty scene.
#6 Go for a hike
Israel has a hiking trail, called the Israel National Trail, that stretches over 1000km, the full length of the country. If you have 2 months to spare, and a desire to hike, you might want to walk the whole thing (as I did in 2016). If not though, there are some great sections of the trail that you can do as a day or weekend hike.
Check out these best hikes to do in Israel.
#7 Have a SUP lesson
Israels relatively calm coastline makes it a great place to try your hand at a new watersport. Standup Paddleboarding (or SUP) is growing in popularity.
One of the most fun things to do in Israel is trying your hand at surfing or the growing sport, Stand Up Paddleboarding. For a lesson, or to hire a paddle board to go it alone, head to one of Tel Aviv’s popular beaches or Mikhmoret Beach.
#8 Attend a football match
The Israeli football fans like to sing, munch on sesame seeds and shout obscene phrases (usually in incorrect English). Maccabi Haifa is one of the biggest teams and you can catch a match (for as cheap as 55NIS) in their new stadium in Haifa.
It’s quite an experience, even if you don’t enjoy football that much.
#9 Try your hand at Rappelling
There are lots of great places in the Negev desert where you can try your hand at Rappelling (abseiling). For something a little more unusual, you could also brave the Sodom Salt Caves. This involves a very scary 80m abseil into a chimney. The salt formations are really quite incredible.
Note: I am uncertain of the legalities regarding abseiling at Sodom Salt Cave. My tour guide told me it was legal but I have heard conflicting views on this.
#10 Visit Neot Smadar
If you have the time, you can volunteer for a few weeks. Life here is very different and you can expect lots of talking circles, kibbutz meetings and meditation. If embracing the hippy life is a bit too much for you, Neot Smadar also runs workshops and has an organic store and restaurant which will give you a short insight into commune life.
#11 Make friends with a local
Betzavta gets you to fill out a 1 min form online. Using that information they match you up with a like-minded Israeli who will host you for a night of delicious local food. This is a fantastic way to get to know the real Israel and to understand the country from those who live there. Plus you might make some new friends in the process!
#12 Have a drink at Pica Bar
I don’t really know how to put the Pica Bar into words. Tucked around the corner from the high street in Zichron Ya’akov, this little bar is run by a friendly eccentric. The beer is cheap and you can settle in with a hat of choice, grab an instrument or a microphone and dance the night away!
#13 Cycle Tel Aviv’s promenade
When in Tel Aviv, head to the promenade near Old Jaffa and hire a Tel-O-Fun bike (costing roughly 30NIS for an hours ride). A gentle ride along the flat cycle lane, Northbound, will allow you to take in the full scale of the city’s beach.
The promenade finishes at Reading Power Station where there is a nice decked area, a great place to grab a coffee and frozen yoghurt. To extend the ride, continue on to Park Yarkon, following the Yarkon river.
#14 Dive at Caesarea
Much of the Roman city Caesarea has been lost to the sea meaning the best way to experience it is to put on a wetsuit and go for a dive. Caesarea also has an impressive open-air theatre. Check out who’s playing and grab your tickets early; It’s one of the biggest venues in Israel.
For keen divers, you can also head to Eilat to experience the Red Sea corals. There is also a phenomenon that takes place in Hadera each year where you can dive with sharks who flock to the warm waters leaving the power plant!
#15 Go on a wine tour
Israel is well known for its wine and for good reason. There are good wineries all over Israel but I can really recommend the Amphora Wine Tour. It’s in a beautiful setting and you also get a really tasty cheese and olive platter to accompany your tastings.
#16 Sleep like a Bedouin
The Bedouins of the Negev desert are a fascinating and secretive community. To have a taste of their culture, spend the night in a traditional Bedouin camp. Kfar HaNokdim has beautiful tents to sleep in or try Spice Route Khan which also boasts an amazing outside natural hot spring.
If you are planning to spend some time in the Negev desert, make sure you plan a visit to see Masada and the Dead Sea. As long as it’s not summer (when the temperatures are too high) I would also recommend fitting in a day hike.
#17 Wander around Ramat Hanadiv
One of my favourite fun things to do in Israel is to visit the Ramat Hanadiv. These gardens, in Zichron Yaakov, are looked after in honour of the town’s founder, Edmund de Rothschild. There is a wild reserve, with a number of varying length trails you can follow, as well as a well-maintained garden (don’t forget to visit the sensory garden). Entry is free to both.
#18 Take a nighttime Jeep Safari
At night, the inhabitants of the Negev desert come alive. Join a Jeep safari tour to go in search of all kinds of animals from vultures, desert cats and hyena. This is an exciting tour but remember to dress up warm as the desert can get chilly at night.
#19. Snorkel at Coral Reef Beach
Eilat, in the South of Israel, sits on the Red Sea. Surrounded by mountains (all accessible as day hikes), it has nice beaches and some incredible colourful reefs. Coral Reef Beach offers great beachside snorkelling and the marine life sits just a few metres from the shore. Kite Surfing is also popular in the area.
#20 Paddle on the Yarkon river
Yarkon Park is Tel Aviv’s equivalent to Central Park. On a sunny day, you will find the park busy with runners, cyclists, picnics and sports. Hire a rowing boat for a gentle journey up the Yarkon river. If that seems like too much effort, golf buggies are also available for hire in the park.
#21 Go on a boat tour in Akko
Akko is a colourful port town with a bustling local market which makes a great day trip. The best way to see the place is on one of the battered boats that take tourists out on trips around the port (don’t forget to haggle the price down). Don’t be alarmed when the driver starts blaring out Arabic songs at a deafening volume.
#22 Visit the West Bank
See a side of Israel that you wouldn’t normally by joining a tour of the West Bank. Not only will this give you an insight into the lives of Palestinians, but it will also leave you with a deeper understanding of the conflict and issues that Israel faces.
#23 Cool down in a hidden oasis
One of the fun things to do in Israel on a hot day is going for a swim in a cool natural pool. These are best combined with a gentle day hike. Upper Amud River, in the North, has a number of natural pools, nestled in a beautifully wooded reserve. Alternatively, you could take the short walk near the Dead Sea to Ein Bokek where you can also find hot natural springs.
#24 Explore the city of Petra
So this one isn’t in Israel. But, being able to visit the city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as a day trip is pretty cool. Check out Tourist Israel who can arrange a tour from Tel Aviv. If you have more time though, take 2 days so you can properly take in the magnificent sites.
#25 Swim with wild dolphins at Dolphin Reef
If you followed my journey walking the length of Israel, you will know how much I fell in love with Dolphin Reef. The wild dolphins here make the choice to come and swim with the people who take part in a snorkel or dive. They are not chased down by aggressive boats or encouraged to interact in return for food.
This is a special place that allows you to see these creatures in a calm way. Following the dive or snorkel, make the most of the viewing platform or grab a drink in their comfy cafe that overlooks the sea.
#26 Go on a chocolate workshop
Need I say more? De Karina offer different workshops for both children and adults.
#27 Celebrate Pride in Tel Aviv
Each year, Tel Aviv hosts a handful of celebrations that brings thousands of people together on the streets. Pride (around June) attracts over 200,000 people.
#28 Get a tattoo at Razzouk Tattoo
For a souvenir of a different kind, head to Razzouk in the Old City, Jerusalem. Believed to have a heritage dating back to 1300 this is considered the oldest tattoo business in the world. You can read about my experience getting a tattoo here (and see what I had done)….it was a great experience!
RELATED: Guide to visiting Jerusalem
#29 Join a Shabbat dinner
Shabbat dinner (on a Friday evening) is a long-standing tradition amongst Jewish people. It doesn’t feel right to visit Israel and not experience a Shabbat dinner. Join Delicious Tours for one of their Shabbat dinner tours. You will be placed in a real Israeli home where you can try local dishes and spend time with a local family.
Note that most places in Israel close down from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown. If you find yourself in Jerusalem at this time, I find it magical walking around the empty streets of the Old City when the streets are usually crowded!
#30 Visit Bethlehem for Midnight Mass
Another brilliant tour offered by Abraham Tours. This has got to be one of the most unique experiences you can have in Israel. The tour includes transport to and from the city so you can experience Midnight Mass.
#31 Watch WOW Splash
Keeping the holiday makers entertained in Eilat is WOW Splash, a water-themed acrobatic show. Expect all the glitz and glam of Las Vegas with a bit of Jewish humour thrown in. This fun show is a little naff but you will see you leave with a smile on your face.
Planning to visit Israel?
I’ve spent a lot of time in Israel and enjoy sharing my knowledge to make travelling there easier for others. I hope my guides for visiting Israel will help you plan your trip with ease:
If you’ve got any ideas for fun things to do in Israel which I’ve missed, let me know in the comments box below.