Backpacking in Israel on a Gap Year

Countries  »  Israel

Whether you’re interested in buzzing, modern towns and cities, jaw-dropping historical sites inextricably linked to human history (regardless of your religion or lack thereof), or striking landscapes and countryside, backpacking in Israel is sure to offer an experience unlike anything you’ve had before.

If you’re religious, you may well think of Israel as the Holy Land, and visits to its innumerable sacred sites – particularly Jerusalem’s Temple Mount – may represent something of a pilgrimage. If you’re not, these places remain endlessly fascinating and beautiful, an opportunity to ponder the forces that have shaped our world or simply to take some incredible photos.

Elsewhere you can stuff yourself with hummus, explore traditional markets, and relax on the bar and beach scene of cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. Backpacking in Israel is rarely predictable.

Top Things to Do in Israel


Yes, we know this is broad, as you could comfortably spend a week in Jerusalem and never run out of things to do. Alongside unmissable sacred sites like the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, you can take a tour of the Old City rooftops to find the best views, wander through Mahane Yehuda market, or head a short way out of the city to climb the ancient fortress of Masada.

The Dead Sea

You probably know all about the Dead Sea already, a lake (it’s not actually a sea, sorry) so salty that nothing lives in it and people float awkwardly on its surface. What you might not know is that it’s the lowest point on Earth at some 1,412ft below sea level, making it incredibly difficult to get sunburnt even in hot weather. Winner.

Ein Gedi

Not far from the Dead Sea is Ein Gedi, a nature reserve of breathtaking natural beauty. Whether you’re there for a short walk or a longer hike, the waterfalls offer a relaxing atmosphere, and the chance to spot over 900 species of plant and 200 species of bird, alongside other wildlife, means there’s always something new to see.