Israel

Overview

From Andrew Harper

Most visitors arrive in Tel Aviv, a thriving, cosmopolitan Mediterranean city, founded just 100 years ago, with cafés and lively gallery districts. In contrast, Jerusalem’s Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage site; its nearly 220 historic monuments include the Western Wall and Temple, the Dome of the Rock, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Outside of the walled Old City, West Jerusalem is a modern and bustling place. Shopping and nightlife areto befound here, along with a multitude of museums, includingthe Yad Vashem memorial and Holocaust museum.

CLIMATE: The long summer (late April to early October) is dominated by hot, dry air from the Arabian Desert to the east. From October to April, low-pressure systems sweep in from the Mediterranean, producing cool and rainy weather.

TIME: Seven hours ahead of New York (EST).

CURRENCY: New shekel (ILS). Fluctuating rate valued at ILS4 = US$1.00 as of February 2014. Note: All of our suggested hotels quote rates in US$.

U.S. EMBASSY: Tel Aviv, Tel. 3-519-7475. Consulate: Jerusalem, Tel. 2-630-4000.

DIRECT DIAL CODES: To phone hotels in Israel, dial 011 (international access) + 972 (Israel code) + city code and local numbers in listings.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Passport (valid for six months beyond end of stay). Visit travel.state.gov, and for travelers’ health information, cdc.gov.

GENERAL INFORMATION: Visit goisrael.com before your trip.

Hotels

All recommended hotels in Israel

Akko, Israel
The Efendi Hotel © Asaf Pinchuk
The Efendi Hotel

Calm, aesthetically refined hotel housed within two Ottoman mansions lovingly reconstructed by Uri Jeremias, one of Israel’s best-known chefs.

Jerusalem, Israel
King David Hotel
King David Hotel

Ideally located 233-room landmark hotel, popular with diplomats and visiting dignitaries, in a parklike setting overlooking the ramparts of the Old City, a 10-minute walk from major historic sites and the modern city’s center.

Mamilla Hotel © Amit Geron
Mamilla Hotel

Modern 194-room hotel in an elegant modern building located next to a fashionable shopping mall.

The American Colony Hotel © Mikaela Burstow
The American Colony Hotel

Historic and elegant 96-room mansion-style hotel within a walled compound in East Jerusalem, long a favorite with the world’s press corps, celebrities and dignitaries.

Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Beresheet Hotel
Beresheet Hotel

Imaginative and stylish resort in spellbinding location on the edge of the Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert, a two-hour drive from Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv, Israel
The Ritz-Carlton, Herzliya
The Ritz-Carlton, Herzliya

Urban resort hotel in the burgeoning northern suburb of Herzliya, surrounded by upscale restaurants and shops and overlooking a marina and the Mediterranean Sea.

Dining

All recommended restaurants in Israel

Arcadia

Set in an old stone building with a lovely courtyard garden, this has been a Jerusalem institution since 1995. Chef Ezra Kedem virtually invented New Israeli cuisine.

10 Agripas
Jerusalem
Israel
Catit

Chef Meir Adoni combines Israeli, French and Italian cuisines. His menu has been regarded as among the most creative in Tel Aviv since 2002. Closed Saturdays.

57 Nahlat Binyamin
Tel Aviv
Israel
Chakra

Chef Ilan Garousi serves a varied menu, with dishes from countries as far-flung as Morocco and Uzbekistan. Conveniently located in Jerusalem city center.

41 King George Street
Jerusalem 94261
Israel
Herbert Samuel

Chef Yonatan Roshfeld’s menu of contemporary cuisine includes tapas and half-portions so diners can try numerous dishes. The restaurant overlooks Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean promenade.

4 Hashunit Street
Herzliya, Tel Aviv 46555
Israel
Machneyuda

This lively restaurant is next to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda marketplace. The chefs create modern Israeli cuisine in a colorful open kitchen. Call ahead to confirm opening hours.

10 Beit Ya'akov
Jerusalem
Israel
Mul-Yam

The name means “facing the sea,” and the specialties here are fish and seafood flown in from around the world. The restaurant overlooks the port of Tel Aviv.

24 Nemal Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Israel