What to do in Israel
There's nothing quite like the Eurovision Song Contest. Literally. From solo artists performing operatic duets with themselves (here's looking at you, Croatian superstar Jaques Houdek) to unicycling violinists, and Graham Norton's ever-growing sense of despair as the UK lands its sixth successive ‘nul points’, it truly is an unrivalled multisensory experience.
This year the final takes place in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, officially starting on 14 May. If you fancy heading to Israel, either to enjoy the Contest first hand or at another point in the year, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.
Check out the Citybond team's guide on what to do while you're there.
Relax and party in Tel Aviv
The jewel of Israel's Mediterranean coast, Tel Aviv is the perfect base for your madcap Eurovision escapades. Spend the long sunny days at the city's thronging beaches, from the unpretentious Alma Beach in the south, to the celeb hotspot of Metzitzim in the north. Once the sun goes down it's time to sample Tel Aviv's legendary nightlife scene. Head to the beachfront for cocktails, locate your nearest rooftop bar for drinks with a view, and finish your night of hedonism at one of the city's top clubs. Some of our faves are The Block, a world-renowned hipster hub, and Beit Maariv, an underground club located in the former offices of an Israeli newspaper.
Explore the history of Jerusalem's Old City
Just over an hour's drive from Tel Aviv is Jerusalem, one of the most historically significant places in the world. Sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims, the city has been sacked, evacuated, repopulated and rebuilt countless times down the centuries. Inside the walled Old City, the teeming markets fill the air with scents of burning incense and fresh coffee, to a soundtrack of competing calls from peeling church bells, the Jewish shofar and the Islamic muezzin. Explore beneath the City of David where you'll discover ancient watery passageways and the latest archaeological sites to be located - hardly a month passes here without the unearthing of another astonishing historic find.
Float in the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea holds plenty of records. At 430.5 metres below sea level, its shores represent the lowest dry point anywhere in the world. It's also the world's deepest hypersaline lake and one of the planet's saltiest bodies of water - almost ten times as salty as the ocean. All that salt makes swimming here an absolute treat for the exercise-averse: just lie back and float along. The salinity has also created an extremely harsh environment in which no animals or plants can flourish, hence the sea's name. It's well worth taking the two-hour drive from Tel Aviv for a day at the beach with a big difference.
Scale the towering desert fortress of Masada
While you're visiting the Dead Sea, don't miss out on seeing one of Israel's most iconic sites, the nearby mountaintop citadel of Masada. Catch a cable car at the bottom and you'll be whisked to the summit of this 2,000-year-old fortress, which contains the sprawling ruins of King Herod's Palace and a mosaic-floored Romanesque bath house. Fancy something a little more active? Trek up the famously winding Snake Path, which climbs around 400 metres from the Dead Sea to the peak. It'll take about 90 minutes to walk up; the intense heat means it's best tackled before sunrise. Whichever route you choose, the views of the Moab Mountains and the Dead Sea are truly spectacular.
Road-trip to the bustling port of Haifa
The northern port city of Haifa is worthy of inclusion on your Israel itinerary. A little over an hour north of Tel Aviv, it offers an intriguing blend of sedate, polished colonial streets and tiny, chaotic alleys. Its most eye-catching site is undoubtedly the picture-perfect Baha'i shrine and tropical gardens, which climb elegantly up the slopes of Mount Carmel. Built on three levels, it rises from the 19th-century houses and restaurants of the German Colony, to the leafy gardens surrounding the golden-domed shrine and upward to the grand main gateway. Head back to the German Colony after your visit to dine in one of Israel's top culinary hubs.
Wherever your travel plans take you this year it’s good to know that Citybond Suretravel is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.
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