Now that the chagim are over, you’ve finally started a regular schedule, whether it’s studying, interning, or volunteering (or a combination of those). But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of your weekends and explore Israel!
Supplement your program’s siyyurim with your own—as any Israeli will tell you, there is no better way to get to know the country than to go out and explore it yourself. Here are six things you can do to make the most of your free time in Israel.
Create your own hummus tour
We challenge you to find the best hummus in all of Israel! Ask Israeli friends for advice, or walk around to find the hidden gems. For an extra challenge, find a recipe and try making your own. If you need a few hints on where to start, we recommend Abu Chasan in Jaffa (also known as Ali Caravan), Chumus Said in Acco, and Taami in Jerusalem
Walk the “Wine Road” in Zikhron Yaakov Zikhron Ya’akov
was founded in December 1882 by Jewish settlers from Romania, and is popular both for its picturesque setting and its famed wineries. For a relaxing weekend, head up the coast to the town, wander the city and explore the local restaurants and coffee shops, stores, art galleries, unique artists’ studios and workshops, and taste some delicious Israeli wine.
Tour Tel Aviv, the “white city”
See why the White City of Tel Aviv
was declared a World Heritage Site. Tel Aviv, with its special urban and historic fabric, is home to the world’s largest collection of buildings in the International Style (white cubic buildings built without ornamentation, pillars, flat roofs, white walls, round corners and, of course, a focus on functionality and simplicity). Guided tours run every Saturday, at 11:00am (Meeting point: 46 Rothschild Blvd).
Take a hike
Though Israel is in the Middle East, there is a rainy winter season, and it’s about to start—take advantage of the short fall season to go on an overnight hike without having to worry about flash floods. Make sure to bring enough food and water! Need some ideas for places to hike in? Check with your madrichim or find hikes here
You might never have done it before, but at least 500 million birds pass through Israel’s skies twice a year during the fall migration season. Israel is located on a central migratory path, attracting both professional and amateur birders, photographers and experts from all over the world to see the natural wonder. Take a hike, go on a guided tour, or just look up to see the phenomenon. Learn more at birds.org.il
Explore the city of Jerusalem Walk through 4000 years of history in the footsteps of Kings, Emperors and Prophets in Jerusalem. Trace Jerusalem’s Roman high street and walk along the City Walls overlooking the City of David. Free tours meets every day at 11 AM & 2:30 PM at the Jaffa Gate, and at 10 am on Saturdays at Safra Square.
If you follow our suggestions, or have any exciting adventures on your own, tell us about it! We’ll publish your story here on the Masa Israel blog. Or, add suggestions in the comments and we will update this post as we hear from you.