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Conquering Israel: Travel Tips for Kiwis

Jun 12


Overview of Israel

Israel, a land of rich history and diverse cultures, offers visitors a unique blend of ancient sites and modern attractions. From the sacred Western Wall in Jerusalem to the stunning beaches of Tel Aviv, Israel is a country that captivates the imagination of all who visit. With its delicious cuisine, vibrant arts scene, and warm hospitality, Israel welcomes travellers with open arms.

The country is also known for its technological innovation, making it a hub for startups and cutting-edge research. Whether you are interested in exploring archaeological wonders, relaxing by the Dead Sea, or experiencing the bustling city life, Israel has something for everyone.

Why New Zealanders Should Visit

New Zealanders should consider visiting Israel for a truly unforgettable experience. The country's diverse landscapes, from lush green mountains to the serene Mediterranean coast, offer a feast for the eyes. The rich historical sites, such as Masada and the ancient city of Caesarea, provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Moreover, Israel's culinary scene is a heavenly delight for food enthusiasts, with a fusion of flavours from around the world. Beyond the attractions, the warmth and friendliness of the locals make visitors feel right at home.

So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to Israel for a memorable adventure that will leave you with lasting memories and a renewed zest for life.


Preparing for Your Trip

Visa Requirements

When planning for your trip to Israel, it is essential to check the visa requirements for New Zealand citizens. Luckily, New Zealand passport holders are eligible for visa-free entry to Israel for up to 90 days. This makes the travel process smoother and hassle-free, allowing you to focus on enjoying your adventures in this captivating country.

Travel Insurance

Before embarking on your journey to Israel, it is highly recommended that you secure travel insurance. Travel insurance provides you with financial protection in case of unforeseen events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage. It offers peace of mind, ensuring that you can fully immerse yourself in the wonders of Israel without worrying about any unexpected mishaps. Remember to carefully read the policy to understand what is covered and choose a plan that suits your travel needs.

As you prepare for your trip to Israel, take the time to gather all the necessary documents, including your passport, travel itinerary, and any required vaccinations. With proper planning and arrangements in place, you can set off on your Israeli adventure with confidence and excitement, ready to create lasting memories in this captivating destination.

Let the beauty and warmth of Israel envelop you as you explore its historic sites, savour its culinary delights, and bask in the hospitality of its people. Your journey to Israel promises to be a transformative experience that will enrich your life and leave you with cherished memories to treasure forever. Enjoy every moment and embrace the magic of Israel!


Best Time to Visit Israel

Weather in Israel

When planning your trip to Israel, it's essential to consider the weather conditions to ensure an unforgettable experience. The country experiences hot and dry summers from June to August, making it ideal for beach visits and outdoor activities. Winter, from December to February, brings cooler temperatures, especially in the northern regions, providing a perfect setting for exploring historical sites comfortably. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) offer pleasant weather, making them great times to visit, with blooming flowers in spring and colourful foliage in autumn.

Major Festivals and Events

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Israel by aligning your visit with the country's major festivals and events. Experience the joyous celebrations during Passover, where the entire country comes alive with traditions and rituals. Delight in the music and dance of the Jerusalem International Film Festival, showcasing local and international talent.

For a unique cultural experience, attend the Tel Aviv Pride Parade, promoting diversity and acceptance. Whether you're a food enthusiast, history buff, or art lover, Israel offers a diverse range of festivals and events to cater to every interest, providing you with a deeper insight into the rich tapestry of Israeli culture and heritage. Plan your visit accordingly to partake in these enriching and memorable experiences.


Must-See Destinations in Israel


When you embark on your journey to Israel, one of the must-see destinations is the enchanting city of Jerusalem. This iconic city is steeped in history and culture, offering visitors a unique blend of religious significance and modern-day vibrancy. Explore the ancient streets of the Old City, where every corner tells a story and centuries-old traditions still thrive.

Visit the sacred Western Wall, a symbol of faith and unity, and immerse yourself in the spiritual aura of the city. Don't miss the opportunity to wander through the bustling markets and taste the delicious local cuisine, a true gastronomic delight. Jerusalem is a treasure trove of experiences that will leave you in awe of its beauty and heritage.

Tel Aviv

As you continue your adventure in Israel, make sure to include the vibrant city of Tel Aviv in your itinerary. Known for its bustling nightlife, beautiful beaches, and thriving arts scene, Tel Aviv offers a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement. Bask in the sun on the sandy shores of the Mediterranean Sea, or explore the trendy neighbourhoods filled with hip cafes, boutique shops, and eclectic street art.

Discover the rich cultural scene with world-class museums, galleries, and theatres that showcase both traditional and contemporary Israeli art. Indulge in the mouthwatering cuisine at the city's diverse restaurants, where flavours from around the world come together in a culinary fusion. Tel Aviv is a modern metropolis that pulsates with energy and creativity, ensuring an unforgettable experience for every traveller.


Experiencing Israeli Cuisine

Popular Dishes to Try

When you dive into the culinary scene of Israel, you are in for a treat with a delicious array of dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Start your gastronomic adventure with the iconic hummus, a creamy blend of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and a sprinkle of paprika, served with warm pita bread. Falafel is another must-try; these crispy chickpea balls are perfect for a quick and flavorful snack.

For a heartier meal, savour the savoury shakshuka, a dish made of poached eggs in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce, best enjoyed with fresh bread. Don't forget to sample the aromatic sabich, a pita filled with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, and various salads bursting with flavours and textures. Round off your meal with knafeh, a sweet pastry made of shredded phyllo dough filled with gooey cheese and soaked in sugar syrup - a dessert lover's delight!

Dining Etiquette

When dining in Israel, immerse yourself in the local culture by observing some dining etiquette customs. It is customary to say "bete'avon" or "bon appétit" before a meal as a sign of respect and appreciation. In more traditional settings, it is polite to wait for the host to start eating before you begin your meal.

Embrace the communal aspect of dining by participating in the practice of sharing dishes and trying a little bit of everything. Israelis are known for their hospitality, so don't be surprised if your host insists on serving you second helpings - it's a sign of goodwill and warmth.

Remember to always thank your host for the meal with a genuine "toda raba" to show gratitude for their hospitality and the delicious culinary experience they have provided. Enjoy the rich tapestry of flavours and cultural traditions that Israeli cuisine has to offer!


Getting Around in Israel

Public Transportation

When you embark on exploring the charming streets of Israel, opting for public transportation is a fantastic way to soak in the local vibe and efficiently navigate the bustling cities. Israel boasts an extensive network of buses, trams, and trains that offer convenient travel options for both locals and tourists. Whether you're in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Haifa, hopping on a bus or train is a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to move around.

The well-connected public transport system ensures that you can reach popular landmarks, cultural sites, and hidden gems with ease. Embrace the opportunity to interact with friendly locals during your commute and gain insights into the vibrant Israeli way of life.

Renting a Car

For the ultimate freedom and flexibility in your Israeli adventure, consider renting a car to explore the diverse landscapes and picturesque vistas that dot the country. Opting for a rental vehicle allows you to create your personalized itinerary, venture off the beaten path, and discover hidden gems at your own pace.

From the sun-kissed beaches of Eilat to the historic sites in Galilee, having a car at your disposal opens up a world of possibilities for exploration. Cruise along the scenic coastal roads, marvel at the lush greenery of the Golan Heights or embark on a culinary road trip to sample local delicacies in charming villages.

With a rented car, every twist and turn of Israel's enchanting roads becomes a memorable part of your travel narrative. So buckle up, hit the road, and let the adventure unfold as you traverse the captivating landscapes of Israel.


Immersing Yourself in Israeli Culture

Language and Customs

When you dive into the vibrant tapestry of Israeli culture, immersing yourself in the local language and customs enhances your travel experience. Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages, so picking up a few basic phrases like "Shalom" for hello and "Toda" for thank you can go a long way in fostering connections with the warm-hearted locals.

Embrace the Israeli concept of "sabra," embodying toughness and resilience like the prickly pear fruit, and you'll find yourself welcomed with open arms into the community. Participate in traditional customs such as Friday evening Shabbat dinners, where families gather to share a festive meal or join in the lively celebrations of Purim or Hanukkah for a taste of Israeli joy and camaraderie.

Traditional Attire

Discovering the richness of Israeli culture also means exploring traditional attire that reflects centuries of history and diversity. While modern Israelis dress similarly to Western standards, you may encounter individuals in traditional clothing like the "Kippah" or "Yarmulke" worn by Jewish men as a sign of respect or the colourful garments of the Druze community symbolizing their unique heritage.

Delve into the world of Israeli fashion by visiting local markets where you can find handcrafted jewellery, embroidered fabrics, and intricate designs that showcase the country's cultural tapestry.

Whether strolling through the bustling streets of Tel Aviv or wandering the ancient alleys of Old Jaffa, immersing yourself in Israeli attire offers a glimpse into the multifaceted identity of this enchanting land. Embrace the colours, textures, and stories woven into each garment as you connect with the rich cultural mosaic of Israel.


Staying Safe While Traveling in Israel

Safety Tips

When you embark on your journey through the diverse landscape of Israel, staying safe is essential to enjoy a worry-free exploration. While Israel is generally a safe travel destination, it's always wise to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Here are some safety tips to ensure a smooth and secure travel experience:

  1. Respect Local Customs: Familiarize yourself with the cultural norms and traditions of different communities in Israel to avoid unintentionally offending anyone.

  2. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of the local news and any updates on security situations in the regions you plan to visit. It's advisable to check with your embassy or consulate for any travel advisories.

  3. Secure Your Belongings: Be vigilant with your belongings, especially in crowded places and tourist areas. Use a money belt or secure bag to safeguard your valuables.

  4. Stay Connected: Make sure to have a reliable means of communication, such as a local SIM card or international roaming, to stay in touch with your companions or emergency services.

Emergency Contacts

In case of any emergencies during your travels in Israel, it's important to have quick access to essential contact information. Here are some key emergency contacts you should keep handy:

  • Police: 100
  • Ambulance: 101
  • Fire Department: 102

Additionally, you can contact your country's embassy or consulate in Israel for any consular assistance you may require.

By adhering to these safety tips and knowing who to reach out to in case of emergencies, you can focus on immersing yourself fully in the beauty and wonder of Israeli culture and landscapes. Travel safely and make unforgettable memories on your adventure in this captivating land!