Personally, I don't travel with books. I can get everything I need on the web and never felt like carrying a book with me. This is why I built a website and why I didn't write a book.
But in case you like to have a book with you just for the tons of extra info, read it on the rides or in bed, and for the maps, I will recommend the Insight Guides to Israel. From all the guide books about this country, it is the one I found the most authentic, accurate, and with valuable info.
But thank God you found this site, now you don't have to get it.
Do I need to get a Visa before traveling to Israel?
How Big Is Israel?
Israel from north to south is around 450 km,
East to West on the widest point is around 110km. From the Mediterranean Sea to Qalqilia in the west bank is around 16km.
Just check the map.
What languages I might find useful during my stay in Israel?
"Bad English was the second language of Israel and bad Hebrew, of course, remained the national language". ~ George Mikes (The Prophet Motive)
- Hebrew- official main spoken language.
- Arabic- second official language. Spoken by minorities like Arabs and Druzes. All the street sign are also in Arabic.
- English- most people will speak it at some level and will be able to communicate. Younger people will have better English. Religious people will usually won't have a good English.
(Most people learn English by watching TV or using computer and it is less popular among religious people)
most of the street signs will also have English on them.
- Russian- there are around 1 million immigrants from the ex-soviet Union countries. Most chances you will encounter them along the way.
- French- after the recent events and terror attacks in France there is increasing numbers of Jews emigrating from France to Israel. In Tel Aviv you could see French bakeries and signs, also many in Jerusalem and the cities of Netanya and Ashdod.
Is it expensive to visit Israel?
You might be surprised but Israel is not a cheap travel destination.
you can check here the rate of the Israeli currency which is called Shekel. The official acronym for it is ILS but it is common to use also NIS.
prices for example:
- Hostel dorm- 70-100 ILS.
- Pita with falafel( cheap street food) – 10-18 ILS.
- Bus from TLV to Jerusalem- 16 ILS.
- But to from TLV to Eilat (southern city of Israel)- 80 ILS.
- Half a liter draught beer in a bar- 30 ILS (yea that sucks I know…)
- Entering a nature reserve or a national park- 30 ILS. Look in the traveling Israel cheap guide.
For better comparison check this cool page. It allows you to compare the cost of living and much more between countries.
When is the best time to visit Israel?
Well it depends on what you are looking for:
- Spring- March/April.
Will be the best time to visit for all purposes.
It's not too hot, you can visit the desert, the mountain area is blooming and green and the Mediterranean is not too cold for a swim. Low chance to rain.
- Autumn- October-November.
Like spring, good for all purpose. The scenery in the north is dry and yellow, less beautiful than the spring.
Best for the beaches, if you are looking for a short beach holiday on the shores of Tel Aviv or Eilat while walking with a T-shirts and sandals all day. The desert will be too hot for any real outdoor activity( maybe except for Mitzpe Ramon). Most of the scenery will be yellow and dry.
North of the country can be suited for outdoor activities. Although it will be still very hot.
- Winter- December-February.
Best time to explore the desert. Although it can be cold in the desert and sometimes there is a chance for floods, you will have to check the forecast before you do any outdoor activity. Beaches of the Mediterranean will be too cold for a swim. in Eilat, the water will be chilled, ok for short baths.
What type of electrical sockets is being used in Israel?
Israel is using its own standard type of socket with a voltage of 220V/50Hz. The socket has 3 rounded holes. As long as you are from Europe/Asia you are fine with the voltage. if traveling from the US/Canada you will need a voltage converter. If your plug looks different from the ones below, you will probably need a converter.
If you are not sure if you need an adaptor or not, if you travel a lot, always good to have an international adaptor for every corner in the world.
Is It Safe To Come To Israel?
In Israel, you can walk anywhere alone at any time of the day, even if you are a girl. The most aggressive thing that will probably happen to you is people trying to sell you stuff once they identify you as a tourist. We don’t have armed robbers and guns, We have other stuff, we have terror and wars.
-Hey! come back! where you are running?! come back! Let me finish!
So from time to time in this unstable region, small conflict erupts for many reasons, each one with its unique characters and problems. if something is going on, it will be probably on the news. Most popular Israeli news website to get updates:
Remember that as a tourist, you are not a target. If you are already here and something happens, it's still OK. Most chances it won't be a full-scale war. You could decide to keep traveling in an area which is remote from the problems or leave. In areas which are far from the specific conflict zone life continue as normal.
Oh, and you will see soldiers using public transport which is quite absurd and funny.
How is the public transport in Israel?
Check the public transport page.
Some General Insights About Israel:
Most of the time when people think of Israel they think of Religion, Conflicts, and desert, not necessarily in that order. Well, Israel is much more that that.
Here some stuff you wouldn't think about Israel:
Israel is a Hi-Tec Superpower:
Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!
-Golda Meir, former israeli prime minister.
So we had to come up with something: