If you’re done and dusted with the major Israeli attractions (perhaps you’ve been to Israel before or you’re simply looking for something a little bit different), we’ve come up with a list of TEN crazy and alternative attractions/activities to try on your next visit to the Holy Land!
Some of them are cute and off-beat, some are truly C-R-A-Z-Y!
Take it away Sam…
1. Get an insight into life in Hebron!
OK, you might have heard of the constant tensions between Palestinians and Jewish settlers in this historic city. But how about finding out for yourself what it’s really like there? Spend the morning talking to Jewish settlers and the afternoon talking to Palestinians – you’ll get a true picture of what life is like, from both sides! It’s an inspirational tour to get you thinking (find out more about the tour here), and definitely one of the most alternative tours you’ll see in Israel (check out our complete range of tours HERE)!
2. Dive in the Dead Sea
We all know that you can’t really swim in the Dead Sea, although you’re probably aware that you’re going to have to come for a float, just for the ultimate Israel experience! However, if you’re keen to escape the hordes of tourists and looking for something very unique it’s time to consider diving in the Dead Sea!
It’s very doable if you’re a licensed diver and if diving among the glittering salt crystals that lie below the surface is up your street, it’s just gotta be done! It’s not cheap, around $600, but it’s a full day out and one helluva experience! For more details check out the Dead Sea Divers on Facebook.
3. Learn Krav Maga and fight like a MoFo
Krav Maga is, of course, an Israeli phenomenon that has conquered Hollywood and become one of the must-learn contact sports across the world! Krav Maga is actually based on a self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli security forces, and is a combination of techniques sourced from boxing, wrestling, aikido, judo and karate.
When in Israel you can actually go right to the source, with some excellent training facilities across the country. Check out the organization’s official website for more details and locations.
4. Soothe those aches and pains at a Snake Spa
Oh yes, nothing like a slithering snake to banish those aches and pains. And if you’re particularly snake-friendly, head to the Barak Snake Spa in northern Israel, where you can get a nice little massage by Florida and California King snakes – and wrap up your session with some mice on your feet!
Definitely not for the squeamish, you can find more details on their Facebook page (unfortunately they never responded to our messages, so we hope you have better luck!).
5. Meet Jerusalem’s Ultra Orthodox
The Ultra Orthodox Jews make up a sizeable chunk of the population in Israel. They are also much maligned due to their mysterious religious traditions and offbeat culture, and are known as Haredim or “God fearers” – but really are nothing to fear! To get a genuine glimpse of life in one of the main Ultra Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhoods (definitely not someting that 99% of the tourists visiting Israel will ever get to see), check out this budget-friendly tour.
6. Bang your bongo at Tel Aviv’s Drum Beach
Every Friday afternoon, just before sunset, Tel Aviv’s Drum Beach turns into the funkiest beach in Israel! Watch out for a posse of drummers and performance artists, who are likely to turn your Friday afternoon into something a little more fun and interesting. Crowds often gather on the nearby rocks to watch both the performers, the drummers, and of course, the sunset. Check out the video below for a slice of what this funky beach is all about…
7. Skydive over FOUR countries in ONE jump!
We tried it as part of one of our amazing family summer adventures, but if getting your adrenalin really pumping through your veins is on your agenda, try skydiving over Eilat!
To be honest, jumping out of an airplane high above Eilat isn’t too family friendly (I believe there is an age minimum of 12 but I could be wrong), but if you’re looking for something just that little bit crazy (and hey, you’re reading this article!), this is an opportunity to have a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience as you hurtle earthward while overlooking 4 countries (Israel, Egypt, Jordan and…who can guess the fourth?)! The video below will give you a taster of what it’s like, for more details, click here.
8. Abseil/Rappel down the cliffs of the Ramon Crater!
The stunning scenery of Machtesh Ramon (otherwise known as the Ramon Crater, located next to the town of Mitzpe Ramon) is simply breathtaking! Get as close to the edge as you can (as close as official fencing will allow), and yep, you’ll feel that adrenalin! But wait a minute – how about abseiling/rappelling down those amazing cliffs??!!
We did it ourselves a couple of years back, and it’s an awesome experience! And yep, our desert partners can guide you down the cliffs, just like in the video below. For more info, click here.
9. Meet the amazing Medicine Man of Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market
If there’s one market character you have to meet in Israel (and there are quite a few in most of Israel’s best markets), Uzi-Eli is your man. Uzi, located in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market and also known as The Medicine Man and The Etrog Man, sells a number of fresh healthy shakes, including etrogat, a combination of etrog and the gat leaf.
And if he sees the opportunity, he’ll soon be spraying you on your face with one of his healthy skin concoctions, or rubbing something green and slimey on your neck – you have been warned! Check out the clip below for an idea of what he’s all about, he’s a real character!
10. Visit Achzivland, the world’s smallest nation!
Wait a minute…there’s another nation within the tiny piece of land we know and love as Israel?! Well yes, there is, and it’s name is Achzivland! Originally created in 1971 by renowned hippy Eli Avivi (who sadly died in 2018), Achzivland lies next to the ancient port ruins of Achziv, just south of the border with Lebanon. Now the “nation” is run by Eli’s wife Rina, and you can stay overnight and even get a symbolic passport stamp as a souvenir from your visit! Check out the video below for a quick glimpse of this remarkable micronation or contact them on Facebook!
OK, if that little list wasn’t enough, we’ve rounded up some additional crazy and alternative options for you, check them out:
Eat the most secret hamburger in Israel: If you’re looking to try something a little bit off-the-radar, try hunting down the most secret burger joint in Israel, with burgers cooked up by The Professor – full details in this video!
Tel Aviv Bus Station Tour: OK, this might not sound overly crazy, but this architectural nightmare of a building is full of secrets and stories. Now you can even join a tour to discover its hidden secrets – find out more here.
Matkot Museum: Matkot (paddle ball which you’ll find played on EVERY beach in Israel) is the sound of the summer in Israel – and the colorful Amnon Nisim has created a unique and very cute museum dedicated to the sport. Find out more here.
Eat at Na Laga’at, restaurant of the blind: This now famous center (it was the first of its kind in the world) will push your senses to the limit with a restaurant where you dine in total darkness, a cafe, and a great little theater. Find out more here.
Get yourself a traditional tattoo in the Old City with Razzouk: If getting inked on your visit to Israel is on your wish-list, check out one of the world’s oldest tattoo shops, deep in the Old City of Jerusalem. Started in 1300 and now run by Wassim, a family descendant, you can check them out on Facebook.