10 Unusual Things to Do in Israel
When people think of Israel, they think of the historical and biblical sites in the region, the amazing food, and places sites such as the Sea of Galilee and most importantly, they want to learn more about the roots of their Christian faith.
Many experienced travelers enjoy the tourist sites, but we also like to wander around looking for those hidden culinary gems overlooked by the Yelps of the world: the homemade cheese prepared by a local farmer and those spots that are usually cherished only by the locals.
Here we are including a list of our favorite unusual things to do in Israel that will make you feel like a local!
Photo by orenshatz
Beit Guvrin-Maresha Caves
The Beit Guvrin-Maresha Caves are a must-see for nature lovers. Its 480 caves attract more than 200,000 visitors a year and are located in central Israel, between Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Gat. They were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.
The caves had been used for 2,000 years as stables, water cisterns, worship sites, hideouts and gravesites. This impressive geological system is comprised by approximately 10,000 caves, so the possibility of new discoveries and hidden treasures are endless.
The caves vary in size with the largest cavern taking about 20 minutes to walk from the entrance to the other side. Some of the trails have access for strollers and wheelchairs.
Photo by Chris Yunker
The Carmelit is a subterranean transit system located in Haifa, Israel. The system interconnects three cities; the Financial District, Hadar and Carmel Mercazi at the top of Mount Carmel. The colorful funicular goes up and down with the help of a cable and makes 6 stops along the way. It’s also considered the shortest metro system in the world.
The colorful ceramic mosaics found in each station, a stop at the Haifa Zoo or the Gan HaEm gardens makes this a fun and unusual thing to do for tourists!
Medical Clowning Program at Haifa University
While doctors usually wear a white coat and stethoscopes, in some hospitals in Israel you will find professional medical clowns looking to heal others with the power of laughter and cheerfulness.
The University of Haifa in Israel offers clowning therapy classes for those that believe in the effectiveness of alternative healing methods. The use of imagination, games, comedy and silliness encourages patients to have a positive attitude towards their treatment.
Who would have ever thought that a red nose and a cheery attitude could make such a huge impact?
Photo by Ricardo Tulio Gandelman
The ancient city of Tel Hazor is located in the Upper Galilee region and includes some of the most important archaeological remains in modern Israel. It was once the most fortified city in Israel and it is mentioned in the Book of Joshua as “the head of all the kingdoms” (Josh. 11:10).
This archaeological site was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2005 particularly because of its 30 acres in the upper structure and its 175 acres underground. Some of the most impressive remains found are religious figurines that date to the Middle and Late Bronze Ages when the Canaanites lived in the city.
Photo by יואב
Meah Shearim is one the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem populated mostly by orthodox Jews. Life here revolves around strict observance to Jewish law, prayer and the study of Jewish religious texts. You will see men dress in black with long beards and women dressed very modestly. This is not a tourist attraction, it’s more of a cultural experience where you will be able to observe and walk the streets with locals.
If you would like to learn even more about Meah Shearim, try a restaurant where they serve Kosher food or search for Judaic items in the small shops.
Photo by Brian Negin
The “Mifletzet” – Hebrew for “monster”, is a famous sculpture located at a playground in the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood. The frightening monster slides are the perfect background for a Facebook photo and if you happen to be traveling with kids, it will make a huge impression with them.
The monster monument is meant to help kids conquer fear. Since its creation in 1972, kids around the neighborhood have embraced it and tourists around the world enjoy it’s avant-garde appeal.
Red Sea Star Restaurant
In the Red Sea Restaurant during a visit to the beautiful city of Eilat, you will find the only underwater restaurant and bar in the world. This $8 million attraction took 10 years to plan and build and is certainly worth the visit. The kitchen is located on the top of the restaurant and the food travels down an elevator once ready to serve.
The changes in the conditions underwater, the fish, dolphins, sun and moonlight change the ambience of the restaurant adding to the unforgettable experience.
Photo by Yoninah
Tisch Family Zoological Park
Also known as the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, the Tisch Family Zoological Park is located in the neighborhood of Malha in Jerusalem. It’s a popular attraction because of the animals that reside in the zoo, mostly wildlife featured in the Hebrew Bible.
The favorite attractions in the zoo are the monkey exhibits, the lake, waterfalls called “Moses Rock” and the two story boat meant to resemble Noah’s Ark.
Photo by Almog
Arraba Statue of Liberty
The Arraba Statue of Liberty is a replica of the Statue of Liberty located in the Village of Arraba in Israel.
The origin of the statue is unknown and while it’s a bit wider and whiter than the original, what matters is the feelings it invokes when you bump into a familiar face while traveling through Israel.
Photo by Hanay
This ancient city is a submerged Neolithic village located off the coast of Atlit in Israel. The city was flooded and went underwater approximately 8,000 years ago and the remains found there date to 6,900 BCE. Bones, fishing hooks and domesticated animals along with the remains of 65 people are part of the remains found in this archaeological wonder.
While visiting, make sure to take a diving trip of the ruins and while you’re planning, investigate the Phoenician Harbor, the sunken foundations of which date back to between 700-600 BCE!