The ancient sights of the Holy Land draw visitors from around the world with 3.5 million tourists visiting in 2010. The wondrous religious sights are not the only attraction however. Fabulous beaches, renowned cultural events, excellent food and wine plus outstanding wellness, spa and eco vacations make the region inviting for all types of visitors. Israel and Jordan are certainly alluring lands with much to offer today’s traveller.
The beautiful land and seascapes of Israel and Jordan are steeped in ancient history and spiritual heritage. It can be an overwhelming experience for visitors to take in sights and places of such great historic and religious significance in places like Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, Masada, the Baptism Site of Bethany Beyond the Jordan and ancient Petra, carved out of the mountain side, dating back as far as 7,000 BC.
These modern countries offer many other destinations, well known for recent historic events and natural beauty, as well as some outstanding activities not to be missed:
- See some of the most striking desert scenery in the world at Wadi Rum near Aqaba, Jordan. This is where T.E. Lawrence began his revolt against the Turks in 1917 and the area was used in the filming of the movie, Lawrence of Arabia.
- The city of Tel Aviv is well known as a cultural and entertainment centre, home to some stunning Bauhaus architecture as well as great beaches. It’s one of the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in Israel.
- Active adventures abound with some unique opportunities. A rare mix of desert cliffs, alpine meadows, rivers and forested ridges offer year round activities with excellent rappelling, skiing, hiking, river rafting and kayaking. Divers can enjoy an underwater tour of Roman antiquities at Caesarea while beach and water sport vacations are popular at the many excellent Mediterranean and Red Sea resorts.
- Enjoy a variety of music festivals in the region like the Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival, Red Sea Jazz Festival, the annual Jerusalem Woodstock Revival and the Al Balad alternative music festival. The most breathtaking concert location is at the fortress of Masada in the Judean Desert which overlooks the Dead Sea. This venue is renowned for its world class operatic productions in this dramatic setting.
- You might be surprised at the excellent quality of food and wine you’ll enjoy during your stay. Jordan offers a wide range of delicious Arabic food and wine. Drinking strong Arabic coffee is a customary tradition. Israel is a noted destination for food aficionados due its great cultural diversity which is reflected in the food scene around the country. The new haute Middle Eastern cuisine is served at fine restaurants in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Try the local wine with your meals as Israel’s wine industry is thriving.
There’ll be more on the fascinating and alluring worlds of Jordan and Israel later this week!