If you’re visiting Tel Aviv, you’re going to want to see more of Israel during your trip. Since it’s a small country, it’s easy to explore many cities by taking day trips from Tel Aviv.
Day trips are a great way to explore Israel’s rich historic and cultural sites without having to pack and change hotels multiple times.
I visited Israel on a business trip and spent every free moment exploring this unique country.
While I did take a day trip to Jerusalem, between heavy traffic and my terrible sense of direction, that was a stressful day. I’d recommend taking a tour of Jerusalem for a stress-free experience.
However, several other cities in Israel were easy to visit on my own, which made them a lot more fun.
Ready to learn about the best easy day trips from Tel Aviv?
Lace up your shoes and let’s go!
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The port city of Haifa is just over an hour’s drive north of Tel Aviv. I recommend taking the more scenic highway drive along the coast of Israel, which comes with tantalizing views of the Mediterranean.
Bahá’í Gardens and Shrine
If you’re only going to do one thing in Haifa, it should be visiting the Bahá’í Gardens and Shrine. This UNESCO World Heritage site is located on Mount Carmel with its beautiful terraced gardens overlooking the Mediterranean.
Keep that camera ready! The Bahá’í Gardens are picture-perfect: vibrant flowers offset against the lush greenery, with the symmetrical terraces marching down towards the azure waters of the sea.
Free tours in English are offered every day (except on Mondays and holidays). The tours start at the top of the gardens and work their way down the steps of the terraces.
The tour guides stop briefly at each plateau for photo opportunities and doses of information about the gardens and the faith.
The tour concludes at the base of the gardens, and from there you can approach the Shrine of the Báb. As you get closer, you’ll be able to observe and appreciate the many architectural details on the Shrine.
The Shrine features columns, arches, gilded balustrades, and intricate carvings – all topped by a magnificent golden dome.
More things to do in Haifa:
- Take a walk on the beautiful Bat Galim Beach
- Visit the Madatech science museum
- Stroll through the Haifa Zoo
- Get a dose of culture at the Haifa Museum of Art or Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art
- Learn about maritime history at the National Maritime Museum
The town of Caesarea is a quick 45-minute drive north of Tel Aviv. It’s a small city with a big attraction: the Caesarea National Park.
Caesarea National Park
The Caesarea National Park is definitely worth a visit if you’re a fan of Roman history and ancient structures.
This sprawling beachfront site is filled with Roman ruins. It’s Israel’s most visited national park, with 900,000 visitors a year.
King Herod’s stone vaults now house the visitors’ center.
In addition to interpretive exhibits, it features a film about King Herod and the building of this city and its man-made harbor. As an engineer, I certainly appreciate the technical skills that went into this project!
The park is extensive and it’s easy to spend a few hours exploring the ruins and enjoying the beauty of the site.
Marvel at the intricacy of the decorative mosaics and the grandeur of structures like the Roman Amphitheater, the Hippodrome, and bathhouses.
There are various dining and shopping venues inside the Caesarea National Park. I found a lovely little shop specializing in making jewelry out of sea glass and picked up some beautiful earrings. They’re the perfect souvenir of my day trip to Caesarea!
More things to do in Caesarea:
- Soak up the sun on Caesarea Beach
- Hit the links at the Caesarea Golf Club (The only 18-hole golf course in Israel)
3. Old City of Acre (Akko)
The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Old City of Acre is an easy drive of about an hour and fifteen minutes from Tel Aviv. (And it’s a quick twenty-minute jaunt from Haifa.)
Multiple civilizations have left their stamp on Acre, so its attractions are a unique blend. Visiting Acre is like having tapas — multiple little tastes and different flavors.
If you plan to visit several attractions and museums in Acre, save money by purchasing a combo ticket. Included attractions highlights:
- Knights Halls (the Hospitaller Fortress)
- Turkish bath
- Templar tunnel
- Ramchal synagogue
- Jewish Heritage Center
- Okashi Museum of Modern Art
- Ethnographic Museum ‘Treasures in the Wall’
The Templar Citadel
Akko has a history of being a Templar stronghold and features a Templar Citadel (the Knights’ Hall). Touring the Templar Citadel is certainly one of the best things to do in Acre.
The Knights’ Hall is an extensive set of excavated medieval buildings, and your entrance is included with the combo ticket.
Many exhibits illustrate aspects of life at the time, providing historical context and perspective. Fans of architecture will enjoy the craftsmanship of the Hall itself, particularly its vaulted stone ceilings.
The El-Jazzar Mosque
The unique green domes and minaret of the El-Jazzar Mosque are visible from all around the city.
I’d say that the interior of the Mosque is one of Akko’s hidden gems!
Natural light floods the mosque, highlighting stunning colors, patterns, and mosaics. It’s worth taking a quiet moment or two of serenity in this holy space.
Note: To enter the Mosque, you’ll have to ensure you are appropriately dressed. Loaner skirts and shawls are provided for ladies if they determine your garb to be insufficiently modest.
More things to do in Old Acre:
- Explore the Templar tunnels, running under the city from the Old City to the port (included in the combo ticket)
- Visit the Turkish bath museum (entrance is included in the combo ticket)
- Do some shopping at the Acre Market
- Explore the Old Port and take a scenic walk along the walls of the Old City (you’ll love the views!)
No matter which of these top day trips in Israel you take, you’ll enjoy some of the country’s unique historical and cultural attractions.
Why not plan to spend a few extra days in Israel and visit all these great cities?
Guest Author: Lisa Garrett is an engineer by profession, a traveler by obsession, and the founder of the Waves and Cobblestones and Travel to Lyon travel blogs. Whether you are planning a two-week trip to France or have just one day in Cabo San Lucas on a cruise, her destination guides and travel tips will help you have an amazing trip.