A millennia-old history, vibrant cities and three seas: Israel offers the traveller so many attractions that it is difficult to choose a region of the country - but you don't have to, because with a rental car you can visit many highlights in Israel in two weeks. You will discover huge stone mushrooms, a varied cuisine, biblical history in Galilee and the unique feeling of bathing in the Dead Sea. 

Throw your concerns about Israel overboard and don't be annoyed by all the people who will write you things like "pass on to you". Go on a journey as uninhibited and with the same caution as you would in any other place in the world, and you will have the chance of an unforgettable, touching and great journey from which you will return with many impressions. 

Almost all flights to Israel land in Tel Aviv. After the now uncomplicated entry procedure, your rental car is already waiting at the airport. The roads in Israel are very well developed, driving a car is no problem. Since Israel is only half the size of Switzerland, you can reach your destination quickly. Our round trip takes us past Tel Aviv along the Mediterranean coast to the north. In Caesarea a first stop is worthwhile - in the national park you can have a look at well-preserved Roman buildings. Herod had the city built in honour of the Roman emperor Augustus. He luxuriously equipped it with an amphitheatre, shopping streets, large baths and palace complexes. For those who like diving, the underwater park is recommended, where you can discover remains of walls, marble columns or shipwrecks.

The next longer stop is the third largest city in Israel and the center of the IT industry: Haifa, which extends over the slopes of Mount Carmel on a crescent-shaped bay, has a lot to offer. Visit the Carmelite monastery, the cave of Elijah, who challenged the Baal priests here 3000 years ago and not to be overlooked, the highest sanctuary of the Bahai followers and landmarks of Haifa: the Bahai shrine with its well-kept gardens. For those who have more time, a trip to Akko is recommended; the medieval city enchants with its well-preserved historical core and takes visitors back to the time of the crusaders. Mosques, caravanserais and a Turkish bath house spread oriental flair. 

For the next two days we'll go to the Sea of Galilee. The region offers variety of every kind. Tiberias is a popular bath and health resort. Deganya was the first kibbutz in Israel. Many places around the lake remind of Jesus, who worked here according to biblical tradition: feeding the 5000 with five barley loaves and two fish. Capernaum, where Jesus lived, where he quenched the storm and ran over the water or the mountain of the Beatitudes. If you like cycling, you can also walk around the lake in a 50km day stage and stop for a swim or two. 

Jerusalem can be reached in a few hours via the motorway. Short visitors should visit the city wall around the Old Town and from the Citadel to the Wailing Wall, as well as the Temple Mount, the 14 stations of the Via Dolorosa Way of the Cross, the Muslim and Christian quarter. Those who have more time can reach East Jerusalem with Mount Zion and the city of David on foot from the Old Town; in West Jerusalem, the Holocaust Memorial and the Israel Museum are worthwhile destinations.

After so much history and culture you will find relaxation at - or even better - in the Dead Sea. A fascinating experience is the journey from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, one overcomes far more than 1000 meters of altitude - the Holy City lies on more than 750 m.a.s.l., the salt lake on the other hand by up to 420 meters below, which makes it at the same time the deepest point of the earth. Thanks to a salt content of up to 33 percent, you literally float on the Dead Sea, impossible to sink. You can even read a book while drifting comfortably in front of you - you have certainly not felt that light for a long time.

After this unique experience, the Negev desert awaits you with dreamlike landscapes around Mitzpe Ramon, where you can walk along the crater rim - always accompanied by curious ibex - and a fabulous view into the huge erosion crater Makhtesh Ramon. Bizarre rock formations can be found in Timna Park near Eilat as well as great bike trails for experts and families.

Eilat on the Red Sea is the perfect end to a tour of Israel. If you don't want to just sizzle in the sun, you'll find plenty of variety: swimming, windsurfing, snorkeling in the colorful coral reef, watching migratory birds or swimming with dolphins - plus a lively nightlife. 

How you get there:
nonstop with Swiss to Tel Aviv

How long am I supposed to go:
2 weeks

Best travel time:
Spring and Autumn

Sea of Galilee, Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Negev Desert

Tip for overnight stays: 
http://www.avigail.co.il on the Sea of Galilee 

More info:

Realised by Michael Bachmann
Further travel pictures under www.kissed-by-nature.com