Israel is a country full of surprises and it attracts millions of tourists from all over the world year after year who come to visit its charming capital Jerusalem. In this 5 days in Israel itinerary, I will share the best of the country, and how to explore its various landmarks in less than a week.
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Perfect 5 days in Israel Itinerary: Planning Tips for Israel
Although Jerusalem pulls everyone to Israel, the country is more than that. Tel Aviv is a bustling city where you can go out until the break of dawn and where you can eat the tastiest falafels on every street corner.
In Israel, not only the cities will make your heart beat faster, but the roads to the Dead Sea will lead you through the country’s surprisingly beautiful landscapes towards the most relaxing places.
Below you will find my complete travel guide to Israel so that you can put together your own journey full of adventure, cultural highlights and the occasional relaxation time.
Where is Israel located?
Israel is located in the Middle East, with the Mediterranean Sea coastline. Its capital city is Jerusalem, and Hebrew is the official language. English is also spoken in Israel.
The Israeli national currency is the new Israeli Shekel (NIS or ILS), also known as the shekel. I shekel is .32 USD or .28 Euro.
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
Belgian citizens don’t need a visum, for a maximum stay of 90 days. Your passport needs to be valid for the period of your intended stay.
Tourist Visa for Israel
Israel has visa exemption agreements with many countries, including Belgium. It allows one to visit Israel for up to 90 days or 3 months, visa-free.
I do recommend checking the Israel travel website, prior to your trip, and checking whether you need to obtain a visa to visit Israel.
When is the best time to visit Israel?
Typically, the best time to visit Israel is in spring and fall. This is when the temperatures are pleasant, and nights are fairly cool. During this time, you can expect daytime temperatures to be around 26 degrees Celsius.
With summer, the days are hotter and warmer, this is typically from June to August, with average temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius. Make sure to avoid the hot summer months.
So the months of April, May, September, and October are the best months to visit Israel, as the climate is at its most comfortable. We visited the country in December and enjoyed a pleasant 25 degrees during our trip.
Day 1 of 5 day Israel Itinerary: Arrive in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is the most convenient airport to enter the country and the perfect place to start your vacation. Depending on what you want to do in the city, book a hotel near Jaffa to explore the old town, near Rotschild boulevard if you like shopping and want to be close to the nice restaurants or by the sea if you simply want to relax and do nothing.
Ben Gurion Airport is the international airport of Israel, and one of the busiest in the country. It is located on the northern outskirts of the city of Lod. From Tel Aviv, it is 20 kilometers away.
On your very first day, I recommend taking the time to walk Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard and to enjoy the iconic Bauhaus architecture. Here you will find many charming cafes to relax in as well as bustling nightclubs and many historical museums.
In the latter half of the day, discover Jaffa, which is the old town located south of Tel Aviv’s shoreline. This simply cannot be skipped.
Jaffa is a charming neighborhood with many outdoor markets and trendy bars, perfect for an afternoon of exploring and enjoying the beautiful history of the city.
Do take the time to visit the Carmel market. The market first opened its doors in 1920 and is rooted in the city’s culture. It is the largest market in the city and a lively place where merchants sell everything, from spices to clothing.
Always negotiate if you want to buy something, the merchants always overprice their goods and expect a bargain.
You can explore all the highlights with street food on a 7-hour tour as well. You can check more details here.
Like every trendy city, Tel Aviv also has an indoor market where you can enjoy delicious food. Here are some of my favorite places for food in Tel Aviv,
- The best falafel in town can be found at Hakosem
- At Raisa you can go for a delicious lunch
- Rotana’s cafe in case you want to enjoy a cup of coffee
- Go to Itsik-Hagadol for a surprise dinner
Day 2 of Israel Itinerary: Top things to do in Tel Aviv
On day 2 of your Israel itinerary, explore the top architecture of Tel Aviv. Depending on your interests I have a few options for you.
If you love the outdoors and biking, then you will love to go on a 3-hour bike tour.
Did you know that Tel Aviv has over 60 miles or 100 kilometers of bike lanes? In this excursion, you will get to explore the most colorful and cosmopolitan areas of Tel Aviv.
It covers the places such as the promenade to the Tachana Compound and old Tel Aviv Train Station, whilst making way through the bohemian Neve Tzedek neighborhood and later to Rabin’s Square.
This tour is great for photographers as well. Enjoy cycling and learning about various museums and heritage sites in Tel Aviv. You can check out the tour here.
Not into biking, and love art? Join this 2-hour graffiti walking tour.
You will love to know that some of the artwork was done for this tour, and it is worth exploring colorful walls and streets painted by local artists.
Finally, finish the night with a pub crawl. It is a guided pub crawl, where a local tour guide will take you along, and share the best restaurants and bars in Tel Aviv for you to enjoy the night. This is great if you are new to the city, or traveling solo. Find out more about this tour here.
Now, the major highlights of Tel Aviv are Rothschild Boulevard and Jaffna. If you wish to skip the bike and walking tour, you may wish to consider a day trip to the Golan Heights. It takes 2.50 hours to get there from Tel Aviv by road. If you do not wish to drive, a day tour is a good option.
Day 3 and Day 4 of Israel Itinerary: Explore Jerusalem
Jerusalem – this unique city is the religious heart for Christians, Jews as well as Muslims. Whether you are a believer or not, Jerusalem is a beautiful city that will take you back in time. The rich history of this city will not bore you for a second.
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is only an hour away by road, or high-speed train, which also makes it easy for a day trip. So here are some of the top things to do in Jerusalem in the next 2 days
- Write a wish on a piece of paper and put it in the slits of the Wailing Wall
- Visit the place where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
- Go shopping at the Machane Yehuda market for fruits and delicious spices
- Pay a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum
- Drink a coffee on the terrace of the Wienerkaffee. Press the bell on the big brown door, climb the stairs and order a delicious apple pie.
Accommodation: You can find Jerusalem hotels and deals here.
Day 5 of the Israel Itinerary: Visit Dead Sea
Swimming in the Dead Sea had been on my bucket list for a while. The Dead Sea lies more than 400 meters below sea level.
The lake borders Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Because of the high salt content in the water, it is almost impossible not to float on the lake. Also, in the mud and water, there are minerals that are very good for your skin.
Lubricate your skin full of mud and then rinse it with salty water. Your skin never felt so soft!
Here are some quick tips for visiting the Dead Sea, and enjoying it.
- Take along flip flops to go into the lake
- Do not go underwater with your head, the saltwater will hurt your eyes
- Make sure you do not have any open wounds when you go into the water
- The saltwater will discolor your swimwear so do not bring out your best swimsuit
- Do carry plenty of water and sunscreen for protection
Jerusalem to the Dead Sea is about 2 hours by road. The distance is about 116 kilometers. I recommend starting early to beat the rush and traffic on the way, and enjoy the waters.
On our way to the Dead Sea, we stopped in the Ein Gedi nature reserve. Here you can enjoy nine different hikes, suitable for everyone, going from families to professional hikers. The entrance fee is five euros and definitely worth it.
Practical Tips: Israel Travel Tips
For a seamless visit to Israel, here are some useful tips.
Transportation in Israel and tours:
Traveling is easiest by car as Israel is an easy country to drive through.
If this is your first time to Israel tour is a great way to explore. There are a lot of tour package options available from the United States, Europe to New Zealand. These tours include accommodation, a local, but English-speaking guide, with some meals.
Without booking a set package, driving is a good idea.
Another option is to stay in Tel Aviv and then take day tours to the landmarks such as the Dead Sea or Jerusalem. You can pick these tours
- Tel Aviv to Jerusalem Old city, and Dead Sea
- Day tour to Nazareth and Galilee
- Biblical Highlights tour
- Masada & the Dead Sea Small Group Day Trip
You can also visit Petra and Jordan river and other landmarks on a day trip from Tel Aviv. I also have a detailed guide to visiting Petra and Wadi Rum in this 7 day Jordan itinerary.
Take into account the Sabbath, the weekly day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat takes place from Friday evening and lasts until Saturday evening. Saturday is the seventh day of the Jewish week and according to the regulations in the Tanakh it must be celebrated in the first place by abstention from all labor so as a result many shops and restaurants will be closed.
Safety in Israel:
Although the country is close to the Gaza Strip, it is relatively safe to travel to. I would recommend looking up the regions you want to visit in advance to check whether it is actually safe when you want to travel. Situations tend to shift rapidly between safe and avoidable in the region.
Cultural and religious norms in Israel:
Israel is a very religious country. I advise you to wear appropriate clothing. Especially when you visit Jerusalem, make sure to cover your shoulders and knees.
Flying back from Israel:
Make sure to arrive in due time at the airport to fly back home. 3 hours in advance is not a superfluous luxury as you can expect a questionnaire before checking in and an extra security check of your luggage.
So there you have it. These are some of the things you can do in Israel in 5 days. Israel is more than the Holy Land and is definitely worth a visit.
If you have additional time, you can also add Jordan to the overall Middle East itinerary.
Do you have any further questions about this article? Feel free to leave a comment below.