Inspired, hip, vibrant
Special because …
Four millennia of history
Melting pot of cultures and cuisines
Ancient traditions, modern vibe
At the threshold of three continents and two seas – blessed with an extraordinary past, uncommon spiritual diversity, and some of the world's most exotic beaches – Israel is fast becoming a popular (and awe-inspiring) wedding and honeymoon destination for savvy couples.
The Place to Stay (Yesterday & Today!)
Ports beloved in antiquity by traders, pilgrims, explorers. Deserts traversed by Bedouin tribes and merchants in camel caravans. Landscapes decorated with the domed tombs of sheikhs, silent monasteries, windswept castles of crusaders, and centuries-old synagogues. This country's been a hip destination for centuries!
Ready for a unique alternative to a formal wedding at home or traditional honeymoon? Here you go: Israel is small (just 290 miles long and 85 miles wide), richly surrounded (it lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, bordered by ancient neighbors – Egypt on the west, Syria and Jordan on the east, and Lebanon to the north), and punctuated with cosmopolitan city resorts and intimate rural retreats.
Choose a five-star hotel in Jerusalem that overlooks the Old City, a trendy resort along the shores of the Med in Tel-Aviv, or a private guesthouse in the country (Tsimers in Hebrew) – from rustic to chic.
Café Society & More
It's a "café life" – with sidewalk establishments in every city and town. Sit for hours lovingly gazing at each other over Israeli-favorite Café Affuch [upside-down coffee], a super-yummy cappuccino-latte combo.
While the award-winning evening cuisine of renowned restaurants, such as Jerusalem's (classic European and kosher) Gabriel on Shlomtzion HaMalka Street or nearby Canela (Israeli-Mediterranean fusion), is not to be missed, don't forget that Israelis love to eat at all hours. And their favorite nosh? Falafel, of course! Where to find it? Nearly everywhere.
Things to See & Do
By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea – the beach is divine: The season on the Mediterranean coast begins in April and ends in October. Surf [or learn to surf!] at Tel Aviv or Haifa. Want more time beachside? Lake Kineret, the Red Sea, and Dead Sea go all year long. Plus, on Kineret you can water-ski and parachute surf. And the Red's Eilat [the base of King Solomon's fleet in antiquity] boasts the only coral reef in Israel: Coral Beach Nature Reserve. Adored by diving clubs the world-over, enjoy scuba of snorkeling here.
Shopping, shopping everywhere – markets, boutiques, galleries . . . unusual all. Choose beautiful blue-and-white Armenian pottery. Olive wood and mother-of-pearl Bible covers, boxes, and broaches are reminders of fine craftsmanship passed from generation to generation. Mezuzahs are the perfect new home together [or housewarming] present. The mineral rich waters of the Dead Sea make your skin and hair feel silky-smooth … and yes, it's bottled, so take some home!
Cheers to you – wine for 3,000 years has been part of the celebration of Jewish holidays and the Sabbath. And in 2008, Wine Spectator first declared that "Israel's wines are world class." There are more than 200 wineries across the country – tiny, small, massive – producing red, white, and sparkling. Pay a visit to toast your new life together!
Israel Museum (Jerusalem) – Shrine of the Book houses the legendary Dead Sea Scrolls. Billy Rose Art Garden is one of the finest outdoor sculpture settings of the 20th century with works by modern masters including Lipchitz, Moore, and Picasso.
White City (Tel Aviv) – This enclave of Bauhaus architecture – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – lies at the city's center and boasts more than 5,000 Modernist-style buildings. Wander to your heart's content; after reflect on its beauty at a seaside café.
Dead Sea (Jordan Rift Valley) – The world's first health "resort" [beloved by Herod the Great!] marks Earth's lowest point. Super-high salinity makes it impossible for flora or fauna to flourish, but keeps you buoyant. Float … then coat yourself in therapeutic mud.
Who Got Married/Honeymooned There?
James Van Der Beek & Kimberly Brook (Tel Aviv)