Israël 2016

roundtrip israel overland

Driven Route:

Tel Aviv







Ein Gedi



Makhtesh Ramon

Tel Aviv


Grid: Lat/Lon hddd°mm.mmm"

November - 2016   - All accomodation mentioned was booked through

Route 2016

Days: 11 days

Period:  beginning of November

Weather:  Sunny and warm (between 25 and 30 degrees). No rain. The climate in the desert is comfortable and excellent for activities. In summer in can be too hot. In November days are short. Sunset is around 5 p.m.

General information

Currency: Israeli Shekel (NIS)

Internet: Free Wi-Fi available in almost every bar, restaurant or hotel.

ATM's: available everywhere

Creditcards: accepted in most places (gas stations, hotels, restaurants and shops)

Safety: Despite it's location in the Middle East and its reputation Israël is a safe country. There is however a lot of security. So you might be stopped at a checkpoint or need to pass security checks at touristy highlights. This is for your own safety. We walked streets of Tel Aviv late night and we never felt unsafe. Also driving aroung yourself is very safe.

Car Rental: Israël is good place to discover on your own and having the freedom a car is great. But note it can also be a burden as finding parking space in the big cities is difficult and parking fees are expensive (do not risk parking without payment as your will definitely get a fine, the police is very strict). Nevertheless we liked having our own car that enabled us to stop where others just pass by. To rent a car just check the internet. All big car rental companies are operating in the country and prices are reasonable. As traffic can be hectic and Israeli do not have a lot of patience cars without dents and scratches are scarce. So you might want to consider to extend your insurance. To rent a car a credit card is needed.

Prices (per November 2016)

Value Money: €1 = 4 NIS  

Fuel: petrol is about 6 NIS  (about € 1,50 ) per liter

Camping: no data. We stayed in hotels as this was not a camping/overland trip.

Hotels: We spent between 50 - 90 Euro per night for accomodation (all private rooms).  

Food: Pastries are about 6 NIS. Falafel pita is between 15 - 25 NIS. Dinners in a restraurans between 25 - 60 Euro (we eat vegetarian). Alcohol is very expensive in the country.

General: In general Israël is an expensive country. Staple food like falafel is OK (between 15 - 25 NIS) but restaurants can be pricy. Fresh juices sold on the streets are delicious but watch where you buy them. In the touristy spots they are very expensive. Better get them at local places like busstation. There you will pay around 10 NIS for a glass.


No visa needed for EU citizens. On arrival you get a Visitor's Visa which can be valid up to maximum 90 days (determined by the border official). The visa is free of charge. This visa is not stamped in your passport but printed on a small piece of paper. Make sure you do not loose it because you need it to leave the country as well as in hotels of when you want to rent a car. Also note that it is common to be interviewed before entering the country or boarding a plane destined for Israël, especially when flying with El Al. The procedure is nothing to worry about but you might want to check your passport for stamps or visa of countries like Iran and Pakistan. This can cause some difficulties and we even heard stories of people who were refused to enter the country. We did not take any risks and got a passports without any questionable stamps or visa, just to be sure.

Border crossing

Entry: At Ben Gurion Airport (arrived by plane at Ben Gurion Airport)

Exit: At Ben Gurion Airport (left by plane At Ben Gurion Airport)


General: All roads we drove are tarmac and in good condition. Traffic in the coastal areas however can be extremely busy and Israeli drivers are not known for their patience.

Palestinian territories: The areas are off limit with an Israeli rental car.

Highway 90: Although within the Westbank the road itself is under Israeli control and allowed to drive with a rental car.  

Fees for toll roads, briges, tunnels and ferries

Route 6: the main coastal highway is a toll road. There is also an alternative road which is free of charge.

Highlights or not

Tel Aviv, Yemenite Quarter: Old neighborhoodplace with great atmosphere. Good location to stay. Within walking distance from restaurants,  Carmel Market, Old Jaffa and the beach. Nice to walk through the streets. There are some interesting house fronts. Parking in this part of town is a hassle.

Tel Aviv, Carmel Market: Great local market. Closed on Shabbat (Friday evening and Saturday).

Jaffa Old Town: Nice old city. The old harbour is a good place to visit on Shabbat. Lots of street artists all the restaurants in the harbour are open. Here many locals go as well so it can be very crowded.

Hamitbahon, restaurant in Tel Aviv: Small but amazing restaurant in the heart of the Yemenite quarter. The menu also has a good variety of vegetarian and vegan food as well. The have a special homecooked dish on Saturday evening but you have to be there early otherwise it will be sold out.

Caesarea: Entrance fee is 39 NIS per person (20 NiS for pensioners). Old harbour village from Biblical times.

Caesarea aquaduct: Entrance is free of charge. Great old aquaduct not far from the old city. Parking lot would also be suitable for a good bushcamp.

Old Acre (Akko): The old town of Akko is a great place to visit. It has a very Middle Eastern feel.

Acre cruisader castle: Entrance fee is 62 NIS per person (combined ticket for all site in Acre. We did not visit this castle. It should be nice however

Acre templar tunnel: Entrance fee is 15 NIS per person. Small tunnel, nicely lit but empty. Nothing special and was not worth the money.

Tunesian Synagoge, modern Acre (Akko): Beautiful building and definitely worth a drive by.

Nazareth, old town: Palestenian town. Nice old center. We really liked the free city tour which is organised by the Fauzi Azar Inn.

Nazareth, Church of the Annunciation: Entrance is free of charge. You must be dressed descent to get in (no shorts or singlets). Built over the ruins of the place where Maria heard she would have a baby.Big modern church with lots of kitsch. Not our kind of thing

Safed: Mountain village in Northern Israel and birth place of the Kaballa. Very orthodoxe Jewish village. Nice place to visit. Do not miss the Gallery street located in the old Arab quarters. This is where all the artists have their galleries. In Safed you will also find many old synagoges.

Mount of Beatitudes: Place where Jesus preached. Entrance is free. When you go by private car you must pay a parking fee of 10 NIS. Place is not home to a large church (note you are not allowed in when wearing flip flops). The view over the lake is great but all the new buildings ruined the authentic feel for us.

Tabgha: Place where Jesus multiplied bread and fish to feed the crowd. Small place. Also dominated by a church again.

Capernaum: Ruins of an old fishing village on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  Is was the center of Jesus'  activities. The place attracts lots of tourists but nevertheless feels more authentic. Entrance fee is 10 NIS per person. However as it can be very crowded with busloads of tourists who do not pay as the entrance fee is included in their (day) trip chances are small you will be noticed. You can just walk in with the rest of the tourists.

Yad Vashem: Holocaust museum. Entry is free of charge. Audio tour is 25 NIS per headset (you can use your visa paper as deposit). Very impressive museum. Definitely worth the visit. When you go by car you can park underneath the museum. Fee is 28 NIS (daily rate).

Menora and Knesset: The Menora is located opposite the Knesset and can be visited free of charge. On specific days and hours you can also visit the Knesset. However to get in you to bring you passport.

Old Town of Jerusalem: One of the most beautiful cities in the world. Get lost in all the small streets and stroll around the small shops. It is also very nice to visit  the city by nights when the walls and gates are lit.

Mount of Olives: From here you have the best view over the old city. it is best to go here in the morning you will then have the sun at your back which makes great pictures. Below the viewpoint is a huge Jewish cemetry.

Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Lions Gate, Via Dolorosa, Damascus Gate: From the viewpoint on the Mount of Olives you can walk downhill pass the cementry to Gethsemane then through the Lions Gate into the old city where you can walk down the Via Dolorosa (the street Jesus walked while carrying the cross). Along the Via Dolorosa you can find many interesting spots to visit.

Bethesda: Within the old city you can find the Pools of Bethesda. It is where Jesus healed the sick. Entrance fee is 5 NIS per person (or just walk in with the  organised groups you will not be noticed). Although not very big we thought is was a nice place to visit. Here it is still how it was, but no church or anything built on top.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Church built on top of what according to some may be the crucifixtion and burial site of Jesus. A church with lots of catholic and orthodox kitsch and in general a long queue to the supposed tomb of Jesus. Personally we did not like this place as it did not felt "holy" in any way at all.

Western Wall: The Western wall is a part of the second Jewish Temple by Herod the Great that remained after the temple was destroyed. For Jews it is the most holy praying site. The Western Wall can alos be visited by non Jews. Men and women have to visit seperately. Men need to wear a kippah (available at the site) and women need to cover their arms and legs. While in Jerusalem it is nice to visit the Western Wall on different times of the day. In the morning you can watch the Bar Mitswa ceremonies and in the evening it is nicely lit. Also note all the small pieces of paper tucked in the wall. It is common for people to write a wish on a piece of paper, fold it and put it in the wall.

Dome of the rock (temple mount): The iconic Dome of the Rock can be visited (that is non-muslims can only visit the temple mount but are not allowed entry into the dome. Visiting the temple mount however is definitely worth the effort. Entry is free of charge but expect to wait in a long queue. Visiting hours are short. In the winter from 7:30 - 10:30 am and 12:30 - 1:30 pm and in the summer from 8:30 - 11.30 am and 1:30 - 2:30 pm. Visiting only possible on Monday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday it is closed. Entrance to the temple mount is near the Western Wall. Coming from the inside the old City entry the site of the Western Wall turn right and leave the site at the checkpoint just passed the womens part. Next to this checkpoint is the entry to the temple mount. To visit you have to be dressed modestly. Also bring your passport. Security may ask for it.

Garden tomb and Skull mountain: Where one group of believers and archeologists believe the tomb of Jesus and the crucifixion site can be found in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre another group believes it is located in a place now called the Garden tomb. Personally the tomb, its location and the nearby located Skull Mountain felt more real. To visit leave the old city at the Damascus gate cross the street and follow the road opposite the gate for just a few 100 meters. Soon you will see a bus station. Opposite the bus station is the entrance. Entry is free of charge. The place consists of 2 places. One is the tomb and the other (at the other end of the garden) is a viewpoint towards Skull Mountain or Golgotha.

Mehane Yehuda Market: Food market near Jaffa street. A wonderful market that is definitely worth a visit. Entry is free of charge. If possible visit the market on Thursday evening and watch the locals shopping for Shabbat.

Dead Sea: Lowest point on earth and so salty you can float in it. However to find a spot where you can enter the water you must go further south as the most northen points are not accesible anymore due to the danger of sink holes.

Ein Gedi: An oasis in the desert. The place is beautiful and offert a nice easy hike to a waterfall (about 1,5 hours). Entrance fee 27 NIS

Masada: Located on a flat plateau in the desert overlooking the dead sea. Important archeological site and symbol of heroism. Note: it can be very crowded. Entrance fee is 76 NIS per person including a two way ticket for the cable car. You pay less when you take the snake trail up and or down. The snake trail opens 1 hour before sunrise. Some people like to see the sunrise from Masada. Before visiting it is with to see the short movie which is displayed many times a day (near the ticket office). The movie tells the story of the site. Definitely worth visiting are Herods temples built on the cliffs on the north side. There are stairs to get there.

Makhtesh Ramon: Largest erosion crater in the world located in the heart of the Negev desert. Amazing place. Viewpoints, colorful rocks, ibex walking around the village. We really liked this place. In the area adventerous activities are organised. But you can also visit by yourself. Inside the crater there are easy gravel tracks doable by normal car and free of charge.

Desert shade eco lodge: Very basis lodge with, dirty showers, cabins made of mudbrick and not the most comfortable beds. Still for us it was worth it. The views are amazing and we really liked the desert atmosphere.

Restaurants & accomodation worth mentioning

El Marsa, restaurant in the old town of Acre: Expensive but the food is great and the view of Haifa by night is awesome.

Fauzi Azar Inn, hostel in Nazareth: a great hostel located in a 200 year old Arab mansion in the heart of the old town. The rooms are awsome. They offer a free walking tour (start at 10 AM every day). They have a public kitchen which you can use.

Manou Bashouk, restaurant in Jerusalem: Small but very good Lebanese restaurant located in the heart of the Mehane Yehuda Market. Restaurant is popular so do not go too late. Food is awsome. Offers also vegetarian and vegan choices.

Desert shade eco lodge: Very basis lodge with, dirty showers, cabins made of mudbrick and not the most comfortable beds. Still for us it was worth it. The views are amazing and we really liked the desert atmosphere.


Shabbat: This is the weekly day of rest and celebrated from sunset on Friday evening till sunset on Saturday. During this time many shops and sights are closed. Also on Friday afternoon places might close early because of Shabbat (especially in winter when the days are short). So plan your visit well and consider where you want to go on which day. E.g. the Carmel market in the Yemenite Quarter in Tel Aviv is closed on the Shabbat. Also for parking rules can be different on Shabbat (parking on streets with blue and white striped markings is generally free on Shabbat but right after sunset on Saturday evening you might still need to pay for a few more hours). Just ask local advice.

Websites = Opening hours for Christian site

IL-AIRPORT   N31°59.895   E34°52.267

Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport

IL-AKKOHOS   N32°55.331  E35°04.346

Akko, HI Akko Hostel. Clean hostel very close to the old. Good place to stay and great breakfast. Free parking within walking distance

IL-AQUADUC   N32°30.739  E34°53.811

Caesarea, Old Aquaduct. No costs for visiting. For campers this spot is great for wild camping.

IL-BEITGUVRIN   N31°36.108  E34°53.750

Beit Cuvrin Caves. Did not visit this ourselves but should be really worth visiting.

IL-CAPERNA   N32°52.842  E35°34.271


IL-CEASARE   N32°29.804E 34°53.531

Caeserea Ruins

IL-EC OCAMP   N30°37.033  E34°48.337

Mitzpe Ramon, Desert Shade Eco Camp. Mudbrick cabins, and not luxury but an amazing view

IL-EINAVDAT   N30°49.442   E34°45.713

Ein Avdat Canyon. Did not visit this ourselves but should be really worth visiting.

IL-EINGEDI   N31°27.944  E35°23.255

Ein Gedi, great reserve. The shortest walk to the waterfall is nice and easy. In total about 1 hour.

IL-FAUZI   N32°42.289  E35°17.848

Nazareth, Fauzi Azar Inn. Old Arab mansion in the heart of the old town. Very special place with great rooms and breakfast included. The inn offers free city walks which are recommended.

IL-JAFFO   N32°03.295  E34°45.282

Jaffo Old Town

IL-MAKTESH   N30°37.118E 34°53.421

Viewpoint inside Makhtesh Crater

IL-MASADA   N31°18.732  E35°21.749


IL-MENORA   N31°46.706  E35°12.297

Jerusalem, parking nearby Menora and Knesset

IL-MITZPE   N30°36.539  E34°48.351

Mitzpe Ramon, viewpoint and visitors center

IL-NAHALAT   N32°03.467  E34°47.005

Tel Aviv, Nahalat residence. Clean budget appartment in Tel Aviv near the main road to the airport. Free parking in the street

IL-PALATIN   N31°46.977  E35°13.029

Jerusalem, Palatin Hotel. Small hotel in the safe part of jerusalem and within walking distance of the old town and Jehuda market. Breakfast included.

IL-PARK2   N32°55.521  E35°04.373

Akko, free parking near the old town of Akko and the HI Akko Hostel

IL-PARK3   N32°42.304  E35°17.853

Nazareth, paid parking. One of the few parking options for staying at the Fauzi Azar inn

IL-PARK4   N32°57.836  E35°29.791

Safed, free parking

IL-PARK5   N31°47.046  E35°13.014

Jerusalem, paid parking. One of the cheapest parking lots near the old town. When staying at the Palatin Hotel you get a discount.

IL-PEERGUEST   N32°04.196  E34°46.052

Tel Aviv, Peer Guesthouse. Cramped but cosy and in a nice neighbourhood. Place in located in the heart of the Yemenite quarter.

IL-SHKEDI   N30°56.106  E35°22.712

Laidback desert camp at the southern tip of the Death Sea. Rooms and cabins are simple but it is the atmosphere that counts. A nice bar, bonfires in the evening and a communal kitschen. Great spot to meet other travellers.

IL-SWEET   N32°47.294  E35°32.316

Tiberias, Sweet Dreams appartment. Clean appartment within walking distance of the center and free parking next door.

IL-SYNAGOG  N32°55.455  E35°04.611

Akko, Tunesian Synagoge. Beautiful decorated building. Definitely worth driving by.

IL-TABGHA  N32°52.440  E35°32.928

Tabgha, location of the miracle with the fish and bread

IL-VIEW   N31°46.561  E35°14.562

Jerusalem, Mount of Olives. From here you have a nice view over the old town. Best to go here in the morning. Then you have the  sun in  your back.

IL-YADVASH   N31°46.452  E35°10.518

Jerusalem, Yad Vashem. Holocaust museum.

IL-ZALIGSP   N32°52.887  E35°33.445

Mount of Beatitudes