That’s a hard question, and lately I’ve seen and heard many people ask it. Almost all people include Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in their plans, but then they have a couple more days and wonder where to spend them… “Should I visit the North or the South?” – Here are some pointers that might help you decide!
I’ve lived both in the North and in the South of Israel. Both are charming in their own way. Here are the main differences between the North and the South of Israel:
Green VS Desert – If you like to venture through greenlands, forests and blossoms, then you can find plenty of it in the North. On the other hand, if you like the beauty and quietness of the desert, you should head South. Many travellers that I met were amazed by the desert in the South. It seems like in most places, especially in Europe, there’s no desert like this one. So if you come from a place with no desert, I highly recommend the South!
More Christian Sites VS Less – If you’re coming to Israel to visit as many Christian sites as possible, you will find the most in the North. You can visit Tiberias and see where Jesus might have walked over the Sea of Galilee; you can visit Nazareth, the childhood town of Jesus; and you can also visit Yardenit, where you can baptise in the Jordan River. In the South you won’t find any main Christian sites, except for Qasr el Yahud, which might be the place where Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River.
City Touring VS Hiking – If you prefer to tour cities, you’ll find much more cities in the North, amongst them Acre, Haifa, Tzfat and Caesarea. If you prefer hiking, you’ll find many hiking areas in the South (though you can find a lot in the North, too). There are of course also some cities in the South which you can tour, the main one being Be’er Sheva, but most travellers going to the South don’t visit a lot of cities there. Also, be aware of the season and make sure that it’s not too hot to hike and that there’s no danger of floods.
Fish VS Less – If you’re interested in snorkeling or diving, you’ll be amazed by the beautiful fish that live in the Red Sea, at the most Southern point of Israel, next to Eilat. You won’t find fish like those in the North.
Accessible VS Less – If you’re planning to travel through Israel in public transportation, you should know that there are much less buses running to points in the South. Of course, there are buses running to main attractions like Masada and the Dead Sea, Mitzpe Ramon and Eilat, but if you want to get to the more “hidden” spots, like Timna Park, it will be harder for you without a car. The North is much more accessible, though also not too accessible.
Colder Temperatures VS Hotter Temperatures – The weather in Israel is overall very nice and rarely really cold. Though you should know that the temperatures in the South can get very high – around 45 degrees in the Summer – so if you don’t like to feel like you’re in an oven, you should think about visiting the North instead. The good thing is that in the South there’s not so much humid, so even if the temperatures are high, you won’t sweat too much.
And before I finish, here are the main cities/ attractions in every part of Israel:
In the North: Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Haifa, Acre, Tzfat, Caesarea, the Golan Heights, Mount Hermon.
In the South: Masada and the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, Be’er Sheva, the craters in Mitzpe Ramon, Sde Boker, Timna Park and Eilat.
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