Our two weeks in Israel and Jordan were exciting and packed with wonderful surprises. We found our new favourite cocktail bar, swam in the Dead Sea and saw Petra to name only a few of the unique experiences we had on this trip.
Our 2 week Israel and Jordan itinerary will take you to hip spots in Tel Aviv, to the historic city of Jerusalem, for a swim in the Dead Sea, to the awe-inspiring Petra, on a 4x4 excursion through the Wadi Rum Desert and more!
2 Weeks in Israel and Jordan
Days 1-4: Tel Aviv - visit the vibrant city with flavorful food, fun experiences and an excellent nightlife.
Days 5-6: Ein Karem - hang out in this charming neighbourhood and hidden gem in the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Days 7-10: Jerusalem & The Dead Sea - visit one of the oldest cities in the world & float in the salty Dead Sea.
Days 11-13: Jordan - explore an ancient Roman city, visit Jordan's capital city, hike to Petra and 4x4 through the Wadi Rum desert.
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Best time to visit Israel and Jordan
The best time to visit Israel and Jordan is in Spring (April & May) or Fall (September & October) when it's warm, but not too hot.
Avoid visiting Jordan during its rainy season from November - March. This is because if it rains, Petra closes for the day. We went during the beginning of November and had sunny days, but just a few days after, there was a dangerous flash flood in Petra!
2 Week Israel and Jordan Itinerary
Days 1 - 4: Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a fun and quirky city on Israel's Mediterranean coast. The culture, cuisine, music, and nightlife are all reasons you should visit. The people were also the most considerate we've met on our trip and always willing to help us out. We spent a week in the area exploring and have some favourite spots that shouldn't be missed!
Best area to stay in Tel AvivOur favourite area was Florentin, Tel Aviv's hippest neighbourhood with graffiti-lined walls, bohemian cafes, lively bars, and a young creative crowd. The eclectic neighbourhood has so many fun things to do within walking distance.
Our top hotel pick in Florentin: Florentin HouseFlorentin House is where we stayed and we couldn't have been any happier. The eco-friendly space offers spacious industrial-style rooms at an excellent price. It's surprisingly very quiet even though it's on the main strip of Florentin. We loved that our stay included a breakfast voucher that we could use at two cafes across the street. 🛏️ Browse more stays in Tel Aviv.
Best Cafes in Tel Aviv
Most beautiful cafe: TLV Makers
We visited TLV Makers when they first opened in Fall 2018, and were in awe with how beautifully they decorated their space with flora. TLV Makers sells coffee, beer, wine and fresh sandwiches, and hosts workshops, such as a Japanese shibori (a fabric dyeing technique) .
Most quirky cafe: Cafe Levinsky
Cafe Levinsky is a magical place in the Florentin neighbourhood known for their gazoz. Gazoz is soda water infused with fermented fruits, fresh herbs, and flowers. We were lucky to grab a spot in the vintage truck outside!
Best laptop friendly cafe: Cafelix
Cafelix is an artisanal small-batch coffee roaster with outdoor seating where working on your laptop is accepted.
Top Restaurants in Tel Aviv
Best for contemporary Israeli cuisine: Ha'achim
Ha'achim is run by two brothers and has a cool ambience with its own music playlist. The menu is designed for sharing so you can try a variety of dishes. The ribeye steak cooked on a charcoal grill was a highlight!
Restaurant with all the hype: Port Sa'id
Does Port Sa'id live up to the hype? We think so! Port Sa'id has a lively ambiance and features innovative Israeli cuisine from celebrity chef, Eyal Shani. The catch is that Port Sa'id doesn't take reservations, so you'll see locals and tourists waiting in line for up to two hours. We tried going on the weekend and didn't have a chance of getting in so came back on Monday at 6pm. The restaurant was packed, but we luckily got a table right away!
Best Bars in Tel Aviv
Best cocktail bar: Bellboy
Now our favourite cocktail bar in the world, Bellboy creates the most unique cocktails we've ever seen. We ordered cocktails in a viking horn, a conch shell, a camera lens, mini bathtub with rubber ducky.. and there's even more to discover! It's done in a classy way with fitting swing music playing in the background. The food is also exquisite and the presentation all around excellent. Go at happy hour (6-8pm) for 50% off of all their cocktails! You'll need to make a reservation in advance.
Best for the party: Kuli Alma
Kuli Alma is an underground nightclub that focusses on music and art. We were there for their Halloween party and they went all out with the decor! Check out their events page to see what's going on.
Best Markets in Tel Aviv
- Cheapest market for trinkets: Jaffa Flea Market
- Best market for unique local products: Nahalat Binyamin
- Best market for food: Carmel Market
Top tip: don't miss Panda Pita at Carmel Market! It was one of the best meals on our trip.🧆 You could also book a tour with a local guide through GetYourGuide or Viator to learn more about Tel Aviv's culture, food, architecture and history. We like how they offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before. Check out these highly rated market tours:
Days 5-6: Ein Karem
After all of the going out in Tel Aviv, we were looking for a quiet nature escape. The ancient village of Ein Karem in the outskirts of Jerusalem was just that. It's known as one of the most beautiful and charming neighbourhoods of Jerusalem. Spend your day relaxing, exploring the historical sites and cute restaurants, or go on a hike in the area to enjoy the nature.
When we were exploring the village, we found a poster for a music event completely written in Hebrew. We decided to go, although we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. The venue was at the top of a hill in someone's home and luckily a nice woman showed us the way and even took the bus with us there.
The risk paid off! We had homemade chai tea, sat on pillows and listened to incredible Indian classical music. If you find a poster for a music event like we did, go for it! ;)
How to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Ein Karem
Unfortunately for us, we partied too hard at Kuli Alma on Halloween and our bus trip to Jerusalem was a nauseating experience. When you're not hungover, the trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is quite easy.
- There are non-stop busses that go all day from Tel Aviv Central Bus Station or Arlozoroff Terminal to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. The bus journey takes under one hour.
- From the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, it's a 20-minute taxi or 30-minute transit to Ein Karem.
- For transit from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station to Ein Karem, first take Bus 39 to Yefe Nof Light Rail Station. Next take Bus 28 and get off at En Kerem/HaMa'ayan.
Where to stay in Ein KaremWe stayed at a quaint B&B located just up the hill from the village. It was the perfect nature escape. If you're looking for a more luxurious stay with amenities, consider Alegra Boutique Hotel. The 1850s Arabesque building features stylish suites, a rooftop pool, sauna and spa treatments.
Days 7-10: Jerusalem & The Dead Sea
The atmosphere in Jerusalem was very different from Tel Aviv. Where Tel Aviv is a modern city, Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. The walls of the old city in Jerusalem were made in the 1500s and inside them sit some of the world's holiest monuments today. The space is shared by Christians, Jews, and Muslims all having an array of beliefs that you can't imagine to take in with just a single visit. Take time to walk around and explore the Old City both during the day, and night, when the cobblestone streets are deserted.
Where to stay in JerusalemWe spent much of our time exploring the old city, so we highly recommend staying somewhere central within walking distance to the Old City. We were unfortunately disappointed with the hostel we chose, but there are other great places in the area. On Booking.com we like to sort from best reviewed and filter out a location rating of 8 or higher. Here are some of our top picks walking distance to the Old City to get you started:
- Best apartment-style hotel: Mamilla View Suites. In a prime location close to many restaurants and bars. Only a 9 minute walk away from the Old City. It's located on a busy street so expect to hear some street noise.
- Best value hotel: My Jerusalem View. An 18 minute walk away from the Old City, but only 5 minutes away from Machane Yehuda, one of the best markets in Jerusalem. Rooms are modern with nice views. The rooftop offers panoramic views of the Jerusalem.
- Best inside the Old City: Old City Boutique Hotel. Located inside the Old City walls in the heart of the Christian Quarter. This is a good choice if you plan to spend most of your time in the Old City exploring historical sites.
🥔💨 Burnt Potato: The Post Hostel. We wanted to like it, but had to listen to a very loud buzzing generator located outside of our window in the courtyard. It was loud even with the window closed. We made two attempts to switch our room, but they couldn't make it work since all rooms in our category face the courtyard. Beware!
Must do experience in JerusalemOne of our best experiences was having a home-cooked dinner in Jerusalem with great conversation to match! Betzavta is the Airbnb of finding Israeli locals to host you for dinner. The company is great, because they match you up based on your interests. Their mission is to bring travellers and locals together to enjoy Israeli home cooking and good conversation. Later on, our new friends even gave us a little tour of the food market, bonus!
Where to eat in Jerusalem
Best restaurant: Menza
We were walking around Friday evening in Jerusalem on Shabbat, Judaism's day of rest, and were having a hard time finding a place to eat. From sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, most businesses close. Luckily we found Menza, a modern brassiere open 7 days a week, that serves fresh food and cocktails. We ordered ribs and a burger on a homemade bun. It was delicious! We also liked sitting on their outside patio and people watching.
Best place for cocktails: Gatsby Cocktail Room
Gatsby is a 1920s-style prohibition bar with an Art Deco interior for cocktail lovers. In Jerusalem, it's hard to find cocktail bars like you find in Tel Aviv, so we were in for a treat! Since it's a prohibition bar, there is no sign. Look for a fake green-grass covered door by a coffeeshop, and you'll know you've found it.
Best food market: Machane YehudaMachane Yehuda is a market with a ton of food stalls. There are over 250 vendors with fresh produce, spices, and culinary delights. Go on an empty stomach and don't forget to grab a cup of fresh squeezed pomegranate juice! Walk through yourself, or hire a local guide to introduce you to the best of the market on a food tour. Here are some highly-rated food tours through GetYourGuide and Viator:
Best views of Jerusalem
Best view of the Old City: The Austrian Hospice
In the hustle and bustle of the Old City, there's a tranquil and quiet sanctuary known as The Austrian Hospice. It was created in 1863 as a pilgrims' guesthouse for primarily Austrian pilgrims. Go up the steps and ring the doorbell for them to buzz you in. Once inside, you'll walk up some stairs to a Viennese palace-styled hospice and cafe.
We ordered coffees and schnitzel, and sat outside on the beautiful patio! You can pay a small fee to go to the very top of the hospice and see a birds eye view of the Old City.
Best panoramic view of Jerusalem: Tayelet Haas Promenade
The Tayelet Haas Promenade has the best panoramic view of Jerusalem, where you can stroll on paved walkways or sit in the green grass and enjoy a picnic. To get there by transit, take the bus south to Hebron Road/Daniel Yanovski Road. From there, walk east on Daniel Yanovski Road and the promenade will be on the lefthand side at Trotner Park.
Day Trip to the Dead Sea
You will also want to save a day to float in the Dead Sea. It lived up to the hype and turned out to be one of our favourite activities we did in Israel. It felt like floating in outer space!
The Best Dead Sea Beach
The best beach at the Dead Sea is Kalia Beach. There is a entrance fee of 60 NIS (~$17 USD), however you don't have to purchase packs of mud like you do at other beaches. The natural mud at Kalia Beach contains minerals and removes skin impurities, so get dirty and have fun. Our skin was silky smooth after. Since the Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth (420m below sea level), the oxygen level is very high. All things combined make for an amazing health experience!
Kalia Beach also has clean facilities, snacks, a gift shop and the "Lowest Bar in the World".
How to get to Kalia Beach from Jerusalem
From the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, take Bus 486 ten stops to Kalya Beach stop. Make sure to look up departing times on Google Maps, since it doesn't leave very often. From there it's about a 15 minute walk to the beach. Don't miss the abandoned village along the way covered in artwork. The total journey should take you about 50 minutes.
Important: make sure you push the "stop" button on the bus, or else the driver will drive past your stop! We learned the hard way.
On your way back, take bus 486 or 444. Check out timing on Google Maps, so you don't wait too long.🤠 Or, leave it in the hands of a local guide. Browse Jerusalem to Dead Sea day trips on Viator.
Days 11-13: JordanTaking a trip to Jordan is made easy when done with a tour, because they sort out all of the work with visas. We chose Abraham Tours, which which was well organized and the perfect itinerary for 3 days. We were able to start our tour in Israel and end up back in Israel. Our tour bus had comfy seats and offered free wifi. Each night we stayed at Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp in a private glamping style tent. You can easily book your 3-day Jordan tour with Abraham Tours from Jerusalem through Viator. If you cancel up to 7 days before your departure you will get a full refund.
Don't miss our list of 12 things to know about your Jordan tour with Abraham Tours.
Here is what we did on our tour:
Our first day we explored Jerash, a city we've never heard of that literally made our jaws Jerop. As we walked through the ancient Roman ruins, it was easy to imagine what life would have been like 2000 years ago, with streets for chariots, fountains and a large amphitheatre. It was one of the 10 great Roman cities of the Decapolis and was hidden for centuries until a traveller found it buried in the sand.
After our visit to Jerash we drove to the capital city of Amman where we walked around in the Amman Citadel. You can see amazing panoramic views of the city from the historical site located in the downtown area.
The second day we experienced one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Petra. It felt incredible seeing it in real life! To get to the entrance of the treasury you have to first walk 2 km through a canyon. It's an easy flat walk, and takes about 30 minutes. Once you arrive, you will see the famous treasury, camels laying about, tombs, and vendors selling souvenirs.
How to see the best view of the treasury in Petra
There are two ways to hike to the Petra Treasury overlook:
- The first way: hire a local guide to take you the short and steep way. Warning: it is very steep, but only takes about 20 minutes to get to the top. We took the short version and had fun climbing and hiking up the rocks. It can be dangerous, so ensure you have a guide with you if you decide to do it. Once at the top, there was a blanket laid out where we could take a picture with the treasury in the background.
- The second way: take the longer but less steep Al-Khubtha Trail. The scenic trail starts beside the Palace Tomb and will take you between 2-3 hours round trip. You can hike the route yourself or hire a local guide to help you. You will be rewarded with beautiful views of the Treasury at the end.
Wadi Rum Desert
On our third day, we rode in the back of a 4x4 truck through the magnificent Wadi Rum Desert. We saw in the distance the set of Star Wars filming and heard they hired 400 Jordanian soldiers as storm troopers. How cool is that!
Jordan is a progressive middle eastern country, and we always felt safe and welcome. A fun fact, King Abdullah II of Jordan went to high school school in the US, was enrolled in the UK's Royal Military Academy, and gets around by flying his own Black Hawk helicopter. He's a badass!Your drop off point can be in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv on Day 3 of the tour. We grabbed an inexpensive hotel in Jerusalem called the Kaplan Hotel for the last night before our flight the next day. The nice man running Kaplan ordered us a taxi from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport for a good rate. 🛏️ Browse more hotels in Jerusalem
Day 14: Travel day
With the tour in Jordan ending back in Israel, it makes it easy to add Jordan as an extension to your trip and then fly back out of Israel.
We hope you enjoyed this two week Jordan and Israel itinerary!
Start planning your trip to Israel and Jordan
- 🐫 Jordan tour from Jerusalem: book your 3-day Jordan tour with Abraham Tours through Viator. You can cancel for a full refund up to 7 days before departure.
- 💡 Travel tips: see our list of 12 helpful things to know about your Jordan tour
- 🌃 Accommodation: Booking.com is our go-to for finding places to stay. Sort by top reviewed.
- 🥙 Fun activities: browse GetYourGuide and Viator for a list of guided tours in Israel. They have free cancellation up to 24 hours before.
- 🧆 Have a home-cooked dinner with a local: Betzavta is the Airbnb of finding Israeli locals to host you for dinner.
- 🛫 Flights: use Skyscanner to compare flights across different airlines (we recommend booking direct with the airline however).
Check out our travel vlogs of Israel and Jordan!
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