There are many excellent day trips from Tel Aviv that you can easily do independently or on a guided tour. All it takes is deciding when and where you want to go.
This city bustling with life is packed with interesting architecture – from the modern skyscrapers to the Bauhaus buildings for which it’s been called the White City and which have been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The good news is that getting out of town is incredibly easy, and you can use Tel Aviv as a base to explore the rest of the country on easy day trips.
Continue reading this post for the best day trips and for helpful planning tips.
13 Incredible Day Trips From Tel Aviv
At just 45 minutes drive from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is an easy day trip – though mind you, I think the city deserves more than just a day!
Jerusalem is a city packed with history and culture, and is known for having two souls: a religious one (it’s a sacred city to the three monotheistic religions) and a modern, young and secular one.
Its main landmarks include the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall), Temple Mount with the mesmerizing Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Old City Suq. Outside the Old City, Mahane Yehuda Market is packed with colors, flavors and noise. It’s an excellent place to have a bite as there are many small eateries, bars and pubs.
You can easily get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by public transportation – there is a train that leaves regularly from HaHagana train station and that takes you to the brand new central train station in Jerusalem in around 40 minutes and for under $5 USD. Alternatively, you can take the bus from Savidor Bus Station for around the same price.
To reach the Old City from Jerusalem Central Station, take the light rail and get off at Jerusalem City Hall. From there, it’s a short walk to get to New Gate, from where you can access the Old City. On your way back, you can get off at Mahane Yehuda to explore the market.
A guided tour of Jerusalem departing from Tel Aviv may be a good idea to explore all its highlights. You may want to consider this Jerusalem Old and New City tour from Tel Aviv or this Jerusalem boutique tour from Tel Aviv.
Some tours also go to Bethlehem or the Dead Sea – a bit of a packed itinerary, but you may want to give it a try. The best tour is this Jerusalem, Dead Sea and Bethlehem full day tour. This Jerusalem and Bethlehem full day trip from Tel Aviv is also very popular.
Bethlehem is about one hour drive from Tel Aviv, in Palestine. Famous for being the birthplace of Jesus, it is home to sites of religious, historical and cultural interest for Christians around the world.
A day trip is ideal to visit the Church of the Nativity and the Grotto of the Nativity. You can also see the Milk Chapel – according to legend, this is where Mary breastfed baby Jesus. As some drops of milk fell of her breast, they colored the chapel of a bright white.
Finally, you absolutely must see the Separation Wall. Famous for hosting several murals by Banksy, the faceless graffiti artist, this wall is testimony of the conflict and of the suffering of people.
Make sure to read my post Everything You Need To Know Before You Visit Palestine.
There are no direct buses that connect Tel Aviv to Bethlehem. You will have to go all the way to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem and from there take the bus (231 or 234) to Bethlehem. With this in mind, you may want to opt for a guided tour that will make things significantly easier. Consider this Jerusalem, Dead Sea and Bethlehem full day tour. Alternatively, you can go on this tour of the West Bank or a tour that also goes to Jericho such as this one.
Jericho and the West Bank
Jericho was founded around 8000 years BC, but research shows that people used to live in the region already in 10000 BC. Located at 260 meters below sea level, this is also the lowest city in the world.
Landmarks not to miss include Mount of Temptations and Qurantul Monastery. This is the place where Jesus fought with the temptations Satan was giving him. Take a cable car to get there and enjoy the views. You can also go to Wadi Qelt, where St. George’s Monastery is located. It’s a perfect sunset spot.
There are no direct buses from Tel Aviv to Jericho – you will have to change in Jerusalem and take a bus to Mitzpe Jericho. The best option is to actually join one of the guided day trips from Tel Aviv to Jericho such as this one. If you want to explore more of the West Bank and visit Ramallah, the current administrative capital of Palestine, Jericho, the Jordan River and the Baptismal Font and Bethlehem, consider this best of the West Bank full day tour from Tel Aviv.
Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea
Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea are close to one another and make for perfect day trips from Tel Aviv.
Masada fortress became famous for the siege which ended with the mass suicide of the community of Zealot Jews who lived there, who were unwilling to surrender to the Roman forces that had conquered the region. You can get there via a cable car ride, or walk the snake path to the top – but I only recommend you do so for the sunrise (start hiking well before the sun rises) as the temperatures tend to be quite hot in this part of the country.
Not far from the Masasa, you can visit Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, a lovely oasis where you will find lots of hiking trails, wildlife and beautiful waterfalls and swimming spots.
Finally, the Dead Sea is a great addition. Many claim that it is the highlight of their trip to Israel and it is easy to see why! Located more than 400 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is famous for the high percentage of salt that make it impossible for any creature to survive there, and to swim. You can at most float – and even then, you really need to be careful no water gets into your eyes or into any wounds, as it would really hurt!
It takes between 2 and 2 and a half hours to get from Tel Aviv to the Masada. There are public buses going there, but the best way to get there is to either rent a car or go on a guided day trip. The best guided tour is this Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea tour. Alternatively, you can join this Masada, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea guided tour.
Nazareth, Galilee and Tiberias
Much like Bethlehem, Nazareth is a sacred place for Christians, as this is where Archangel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. On the place where this happened there now is the Basilica of Annunciation. Other than that, the city has a nice market with narrow scenic alleys and the White Mosque.
Not far from Nazareth, Cana of Galilee, is the place where Jesus performed one of its miracles. Other places of interest include in the region include Zippori National Park, home to a lovely archeological site; Horns of Attin – part myth part archeological site; Moshav Arbel with its ancient synagogue and Mount Arbel, from where you can get impressive views of the Sea of Galilee.
Tiberias and other sites around the Sea of Galilee such as Capernaum and Mount of Beatitudes also deserve being visited.
You can get from Tel Aviv to Nazareth by public transportation – there are direct buses leaving from HaHagana bus stations. The ride takes about one hour and a half. If you want to visit more places in Galilee, you should either rent a car or opt for a guided day trip departing from Tel Aviv such as this one.
The Golan Heights are perfect for a hike, and excellent for day trips from Tel Aviv. Not far from the Sea of Galilee, they are known as the best peaks of the country, where you will find forests, lush vegetation, farmland, vineyards and a plethora of hiking trails.
The best way to reach the Golan Heights from Tel Aviv is by car. Alternatively, you can opt for a guided day trip like this one.
The lovely Akko is the closest Israeli one to the border with Lebanon (just 18 km) and it is right on the shores of the Mediterranean sea. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a maze of narrow alleys, lovely little squares and a market where you will enjoy getting lost. You will find some excellent fish and seafood restaurants too.
Make sure to visit the Citadel and the City Walls – Akko was originally built by the Crusaders. In the last few months, a series of secret tunnels built by the Knights Templars around 800 years ago have been found below the city. You can also visit Al-Jazzar Mosque, built in the 19th century.
Akko is about 120 km from Tel Aviv. You can get there by car or by public transportation via Egged buses or train. Once in town, you can easily walk around. Alternatively, you can opt for a day trip departing from Tel Aviv such as this one or this one.
Haifa and Rosh Hanikra
This lovely, laid back city is famous for the beautifully symmetrical Ba’hai Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can pleasantly explore the center of the city on foot, wandering around the streets of the German Colony area, and then head to the beach for a walk before driving to the top of the Ba’hai Gardens for the impressive views.
North of Haifa, Rosh Hanikra if a beautiful cave of sandstone with pools and waterfalls. There even is a cable car to the top fo the rock from where you can enjoy incredible views of the Mediterranean.
Haifa can be reached by bus from Tel Aviv; it takes little over one hour. You can also drive there and visit other sites such as Caesarea on the way. Alternatively, you can opt for a guided day tour that will hit all the most famous places such as this one or this one.
Caesarea National Park is perfect for day trips from Tel Aviv if you have a soft spot for Roman archeological sites. The city and its harbor were founded by Herod the Great during the first century BC. He dedicated the city to Caesar Augustus. Among the ruins, you will be able to spot the thermal baths, the amphitheater, the hippodrome, the aqueduct, the royal palace and the temple of Augustus.
Much of the site today is under water – and if you are into diving, it’s really a great excursion.
The entry fee to Caesarea National Park is 39 NIS (little over $11 USD). The site is open daily from 8:00 am to either 5:00 or 6:00 pm depending on the season. It closes early on Shabbat (Fridays).
Zichron Ya’akov and the Carmel Winery
Not far from Haifa, Zichron Ya’akov is where to go wine tasting. You will find a series of excellent wineries, especially the Carmel Winery, and get fabulous views of the sea, a number of lovely cafes and a lovely center to explore. Its vibe is pleasant, slow paced. It’s the perfect place to relax.
The best way to reach Zichron Ya’akov is by car. It’s around one hour drive. If you don’t have a car or don’t want to rent one, you can do a guided tour that takes you to the wineries. You can book one here.
Be’er Sheva is a great lesser known city in Israel. This small town in the middle of the Negev Desert isn’t exactly the most beautiful one, but it has a few interesting sights. Among the nicest sights in Be’er Sheva there are the Old City, where you will find Abraham’s Well and some nice cafés where you can enjoy a meal or a drink, and the Bedouin Market.
Be’er Sheva is well connected to Tel Aviv by train. The trip takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once in town, you can easily walk around or use the public buses.
Gaza border is not exactly a merry place and you shouldn’t consider going unless you are really interested in learning more about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. If you do decide to go, rest assured that this is by far one of the most interesting day trips from Tel Aviv.
The best way to visit is on an organized tour with a guide that will explain the history, the politics and the logistics of the conflict.
You can’t actually cross the border into Gaza – only NGO workers, International Organization workers and journalists with special permits can do that. You will be driving around the perimeter, meeting local workers who cross the border daily and visiting places of historical significance.
As you won’t actually cross the border, you will only have an Israeli guide – but he will do his best to give both sides and perspectives of the conflict. The tour departs twice a week from Tel Aviv and you can book it here.
Petra isn’t close to Tel Aviv, and it’s not the easiest place to visit of day trips from Tel Aviv. You should consider spending a few days there as part of a longer trip to the Middle East. This is an incredible, very large archaeological site; a city that started being built as early as 500 BC and whose highlights are the Treasury, the Monastery, and the High Altar of Sacrifice.
TIP: Make sure to wear very comfortable clothes and shoes for your trip to Petra as you will be doing lots of walking.
It takes more than 6 hours of driving to get from Tel Aviv to Petra, and you’ll have to factor in the time at the border too. The only way to do a day trip from Tel Aviv to Petra is to actually do a guided tour that includes flights. You can book it here or here.
Make sure to read my post 13 Things To Know Before You Visit Petra, Jordan.
Other Posts About Israel
Make sure to read my other posts about Israel – they will be of great guidance when planning your trip:
- 33 Tips For Traveling To Israel
- A Guide To Renting A Car In Israel
- How To Plan The Perfect Trip To Israel
- The Best Places To Visit In Israel
- A Complete Guide To Israeli Food
- 29 Things To Do In Jerusalem You Can’t Miss
- Where To Get The Most Impressive Views Of Jerusalem
- What You Must Know Before Visiting Temple Mount And Dome Of The Rock
- What You Need To Know About Shabbat In Jerusalem
- 9 Fantastic Day Trips From Jerusalem
- 21 Absolutely Unmissable Things To Do In Tel Aviv
- 15 Great Tel Aviv Beaches
- Where To Stay In Tel Aviv: Recommendations By An Almost Local
- Tel Aviv Vegan Food Guide: The Best Vegan Restaurants In Tel Aviv
- A Guide To The Things To Do In Haifa, Israel
- 17 Truly Unmissable Things To Do In Eilat, Israel
- Everything You Need To Know To Hike The Jesus Trail
- Masada Sunrise Guide: Hiking The Masada Snake Path
- The Best Bars In Tel Aviv For The Best Tel Aviv Nightlife
- The Best Airbnbs In Tel Aviv