Israel combines past and present and holidays in Israel appeal to everyone from spiritual tourists to those seeking out culture, after a beach break or simply looking to see what the truth behind the news stories is.
Contemporary Palestine comprises two territories of israel; the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean Sea and the West Bank bordering Jordan have been engaged in a protracted struggle for independence, often marred by terrorism and violence.
Travel to Israel and Palestine to visit a number of well-known cities; Jerusalem, the heart of the Holy Land, houses sites of great religious and historical significance; Bethlehem, within the disputed Palestinian West Bank territory, throbs with pilgrims drawn to Christendom's oldest complete and working church, whilst Jericho is both the oldest continually inhabited city on earth and the lowest in the world, lying 260m below sea level; Tel Aviv has a diverse cultural mix and some of the best beaches in the Middle East whilst Haifa is home to spectacular views and the beautiful Baha'i Gardens.
The popular port of Eilat on the Red Sea has glorious coral reefs fringed by fine beaches and is a perfect environment for diving, swimming, windsurfing and water-skiing. In contrast the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth at 400m below sea level, caters to tourists interested in its health and beauty benefits and the chance to float on its salt-rich waters.
Explore the Negev Desert by camel or 4WD to see empty expanses of arid, stone-strewn wilderness, or travel to Wadi Qelt, where a natural spring, nature reserve and the ancient monastery of St George of Koziba await exploration.
For many visitors to the Middle East and North Africa, it's the local markets that provide the real attraction (or distraction, depending on how you see it). From Istanbul's Golden Horn to the shores of the Gulf and beyond, here's a selection of the best.
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