If you are a frequent visitor to eHebrew.net, then you know that immersion is a great way to learn Hebrew. The best place for immersion of course is Israel. (Just keep in mind that many Israelis know some English and will immediately start practicing it with you once they hear you speak. Don’t get intimidated. Just hold your ground, and they’ll “switch” back to Hebrew mode in no time!)
So, if you are planning to be in Israel, and you want to stretch your travel dollars to the fullest, make sure you take advantage of these amazing top 10 things to do in Israel for free.
Top Things to Do in Israel for Free by Region
To make this guide easier to use, I’m breaking it down by region:
Free Things to Do in Jerusalem
The Old City. The Old City is separated into four distinct sections: Jewish, Armenian, Christian, and Muslim. Each quarter of the Old City has its own feel and flavor. Throughout the Jewish quarter you’ll find many archaeological sites- especially around Chabad Street and the Western Wall. There is literally a story behind every stone of the Old City, so keep that in mind as you wander among the city’s alleyways, markets, side streets and hidden courtyards.
Once inside the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, be sure to visit the Western Wall, as well as the archaeological garden beneath Robinson’s Arch.
If you want to get a bird’s eye view of the city and its surroundings, and you don’t want to pay for the ramparts walk you can do the free “roof tops walk.” One of the best entrances to the rooftops is off of Chabad street. Just look for a set of narrow metal steps on the right as you walk down Chabad Street just as it meets St Mark’s Street. It offers the easiest walkway as well as great views of the four quarters.
If you would like a guided tour, then check out the Sanderman free tour. Just keep in mind, though the tour is technically free, you may want to still tip your guide.
There are also many free festivals and events that take place in and around the Old City throughout the year, such as the Light Festival and Sounds of the Old City.
The Haz, Sherover and Goldman Promenades. Located in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, these walkways offer some of the best panoramic views of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. The three promenades are adjacent to one another and run from Jabal Mukabaar Park in the east to Abu Tor in the north.
Wohl Rose Park. The Wohl Rose Park sits in the middle of the government complex in Givat Ram next to the Supreme Court, directly opposite the Knesset.
Named one of the 11 most beautiful rose gardens in the world, this 19-acre public garden is home to 15,000 rose bushes representing more than 400 varieties. It also has expansive lawns, hills, a fishpond, waterfall, sculptures and a sixth-century mosaic floor.
Yad VaShem. Yad Vashem is Israel’s memorial to the millions murdered in the Holocaust. The exhibits include haunting film footage and videos of survivor interviews, historical documents, artifacts, personal items, memorial structures, gardens and several commemorative installations.
Free Things to Do in Tel Aviv
A trip to Tel Aviv just wouldn’t be complete without visiting these three spots:
Gordon Beach. Given that it’s entire western border is one big beach front, it’s a no-brainer that a trip to the beach is a must. Among all the beaches, Gordon beach is perhaps most famous among tourists and locals alike.
Tel Aviv-Jaffa Promenade. This busy walkway connects Old Jaffa in the south
to the northern neighborhoods of the city. Come here for oceanic views, picturesque sunsets, people-watching, and plenty of great food
Old Jaffa. Old Jaffa is one of the world’s oldest cities and seaports in the world. Over the past few years it has been a magnet for a wide range of designers, artists and culinary artists. Make sure you check out the Clock Tower, the flea market, and peek inside some of the numerous galleries and museums.
Free Things to Do in Tiberias
Sea of Galilee (Kinneret Lake).The Kinneret is the largest freshwater lake in Israel. Scattered around the lake you’ll find many beaches as well as a picturesque biking path.
Old Tiberias. You can check out the archaeological park (next to Sheraton Moriah and Golden Tulip hotels) as well as the promenade, past the Turkish citadel, to the famous Etz Hachaim synagogue of Rabbi Chaim Abulafia.
Burial Places of the Sages. Several great Jewish sages are buried throughout Tiberias, such as Rabbi Meir Ba’al HaNes the Rambam, Rabbi Yohanan Ben Zakkai, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (the Ramchal). Many flock to these tombs throughout the year to pray and recite Tehillim.
Free Things to Do in Haifa
Sitting on the slopes of Mount Carmel, Haifa has some of the most stunning views in Israel of the Mediterranean sea and surrounding areas. Here are a few things you can do in Israel’s third largest city for free:
Baha’i Gardens. This beautiful terraced garden covers the northern slope of Mount Carmel and is Haifa’s most recognizable landmark.
Louis Promenade. This short walkway along Yaffe Nof Street offers an amazing, panoramic view of the Haifa Bay, Acre, Mount Hermon and Rosh Hanikra.
Beaches. Like Tel Aviv, no trip to Haifa would be complete without a visit to one of its many beaches. The most popular are Bat Galim beach and Dado beach as well as Hof Hasheket, in the Haifa Bay area behind Rambam Hospital, which offers a lake-like swimming experience.
Other Free Things to Do in Israel
The Old City of Tzfat (Safed). Safed is one of the four holy cities in Israel (The other three are Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias). The old section of Safed is lined with narrow cobblestone alleys full of artist galleries, ancient synagogues, private homes and small guest houses. It also has an ancient cemetary where many great Torah Sages are buried, such as the great kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal), and Rabbi Yosef Caro.
The Old City of Akko. Akko is one of Israel’s most ancient cities and is located on the shores of the Mediterranean at the northernmost tip of Israel. The old city contains numerous historical structures and archaeological sites including, the Crusaders’ Fortress, ancient walls, and the Synagogue of the Ramchal.
Masada. If you’re in good physical shape, you can walk up the snake path and visit King Herod’s fortress for free. Just make sure you bring lots of water! If you are going there during the warm summer months, then try to get there early in the morning or in the late afternoon, or else frying in the hot sun may make the experience less enjoyable.
So if you’ve been keeping count, then you’ve realized that there are more than top 10 things to do in Israel, and there countless other places that didn’t make the list. Rest assured if you plan on visiting Israel, and you don’t have much money to spend, you’ll still have plenty of things to do throughout your stay.