Has anyone done a short break in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem? If so talk to me about it, did you feel safe? Was immigration a nightmare?
I've been 3 times in the 90s. I felt safe but the situation is complex and I'd check out the latest advice. It's not immigration that is difficult, it's the security before flying with ElAl, but completely understandable and you will need to be at the airport well in advance of the flight.
That said I love Israel, it is an amazing country.
Thanks. The Foreign office advice at the moment is a bit vague.
We wouldn't be travelling from the UK and both have Egyptian visas in our passports with no dates on them.
We have a chance of a weekend away without the children and don't have much choice in our budget from our local airport. It's Thessaloniki, Tel Aviv, Beirut and some very obscure destinations in Russia and Eastern Europe. I am just drawn to Israel for some reason.
Beirut is amazing. Great people food nightlife and lots of historical stuff to see. I was in Israel 6 months ago for a few days. Almost missed my return flight due to the additional security processes and i was there 3.5hrs before my flight. Lebanese people are v cool. Israelis also very nice and hospitable. But obviously a lot of tension between the 2 countries. Israeli immigration were not impressed with Lebanon stamps on passport and I was questioned a lot. Israel don't stamp your passport so may be better to visit there first if you want to do both.
I went to Tel Aviv for a wedding a couple of years ago. I LOVED it. Felt safe even as a woman alone - Insirt if knew other people going to the wedding but didn’t spend all my time with them. Went on a day trip to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea which was one of the greatest experiences of my life. And the food!!! I loved the food above all, would love to go back there just for the food!
Airport security was stressful, yes, and I was very nervous on the flight. But when I look back at the trip that’s not what I remember. If my friend moves back there I will be straight over to visit.
You'll be fine. I'm from Tel Aviv, lots of family in Jerusalem so spend time in both. Both places are not too be missed.
I am surprised by this comment "Israelis also very nice and hospitable."
As we are usually described as anything but!
That's really helpful thanks. We do eventually want to see Beirut. And there are other countries around that we can get to from here that we want to see too but the idea is that if Tel Aviv is ok then we'd go again later in the year and take an internal flight to Eilat. But I get doing all that first.
The flights are not with ElAl. It's Aegean (Olympic) or an Israeli budget carrier. I think called Arkin or something. The time it takes through the airport is a consideration though.
And when I say I'm dran to Israel, I think a lot of that is about food!
I’ve been to both and loved them. I would say I felt safe because there are so many security precautions but the security also makes you aware that there are dangers IYSWIM given the choice I would go back to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is amazing but Tel Aviv is more vibrant and arty. The beaches and markets are great, the evenings are lively with good restaurants and bars. It’s also worth visiting Caesarea for the most amazing Roman ruins, it is an easy day trip from Tel Aviv.
That's what I thought about Tel Aviv and we would stay in the beach areas as we are thinking of going in June. I feel a bit spoilt for choice with hotels though.
Lol about the hospitality comment. That's always subjective to me anyway. Where I live you constantly hear about the people being 'famously hospitable' but I've not seen one single example of it in the 8 years I've lived here!
I've been to Tel Aviv for Work And would love to go back as a tourist. Jaffa is lovely and I really want to see a Jerusalem. It felt very safe there. As a lone woman traveller I got a lot of attention at the airport (the only successful airline terrorise in Israel was a lone woman, I think) but it was fine - just leave plenty of time.
I travel there a lot. It’s really fine, though the security checks are more on than you’ll be used to.
Tel Aviv is nice. Takes approx 5 hours though and it’s not really nice enough to warrant the flight time in my experience. Would rather spend an extra hour / two and go to New York or Dubai.
I love everything about Tel Aviv, the food, the culture, the night life, the beach! Definitely worth going. The Dan Panorama is a lovely hotel too.
On the subject of airport security, I have been to places where I found it to be a bit of an ordeal although I did understand why so is it comparable to places like Istanbul and some of the big airports in America for example?
I get anxious when I travel and also whilst the flight is less than an hour if we only have 2 full days there anyway I'd rather not spend most of that in the airport!
I loved Tel Aviv, great food, lovely people, interesting culture. If you are after a beach scene it’s great but Jerusalem is much more interesting. I felt really safe in both places and would go back tomorrow. I really fell in love with them both.
The airport takes a while to get through, they ask you lots of questions but I did have a lot of stamps in my passport. But just leave enough time to get through.
I live there. I fly back to UK with easyjet (to manchester). No probs with security going out of UK, its like an easy jet flight to anywhere. If you fly ELAL from Heathrow for example, you'll find yourself checking in surrounded by armed police at the furthest end of the terminal, and boarding at the furthest gate from anywhere in the airport.
Flying out of tlv, the security is the same for all flights. You get asked questions whilst queuing for check in. Where've you been, what was the purpose of your visit, who packed your bags, where have they been since you packed them? It's fine, but could delay you if you fly at a busy time. Aim to be at Ben Gurion airport at least three hours before flight.
If you have any other questions, feel free...
I went to Israel twice back in the 90's ( Jersusalem / Tiberius and Tel Aviv / Eilat).Loved the first combination less keen on the second. My experience of the security (flying out of London so ymmv) is that the checks are in depth on a one to one basis - every one on the flight was checked by a security officer who basically conducted an interview. For example when we said we were going to Jerusalem to see the historic sites we were asked which specific sites we were most looking forward to. I also got a lot of questions about why my passport was still in my maiden name ! It was intrusive but strangely less intimidating than US security barking commands and herding people like sheep
Israeli budget carrier is Arkia. Their security is similar to ELAL. I should imagine the staff underwent the same training.
Also, your Egyptian passport stamps will probably raise a few more questions, but they won't stop you getting into Israel.
That's helpful too. I hated US immigration. I have travelled from Heathrow and Gatwick loads of times behind El Al flights and had my handbag swabbed and everything. This time we will be travelling from Larnaca.
I just looked at the Dan Panorama and it looks fabulous but not in my price range unfortunately so my only other questions are can anyone recommend a decent more affordable hotel? And if we go Friday to Sunday will everything except banks and post offices be open?
I flew Easy Jet as they have a regular flight from where I live (big Jewish community here). You have to stay in your seat with seat belt fastened as soon as you enter Israeli airspace. At security on arrival they ask lots of questions about why you are there etc. There is some queuing but it is equivalent to my experiences arriving in the US and better organized! On the way back you have to get to the airport 4 hours before your flight.
Sorry I see I cross posted with loads of people as someone phoned me in the middle of posting!
The hotels by the seafront in tlv (HaYarkon Street) will be similar price range. Sheraton, Hilton, etc.
Fridays are half days. Expect banks and shops to close by 13.00-14.00 in summer. Friday evening is when Shabbat starts. In Tel Aviv, pubs and restaurants are open and busy on Friday nights and Saturdays. Kosher places will be closed.
Sunday is the first day of the week and banks and shops will open Sunday am.
That's helpful. Does that mean that the budget hotels are going to be miles away from the beach and in a rubbish location? I don't want to get it wrong. But I would be looking at spending no more than 150e a night. Less if I can. Just a small b&b will do.
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