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3 Easy, Affordable Daytrips from Tel Aviv
With its small land mass and relatively easy public transportation system, Israel lends itself to quick, mad-dash side-trips for those intent on seeing as much of the country as possible in a short amount of time. Of course, you could easily spend weeks leisurely making your way up and down the Mediterranean coast, stopping in at desert-surrounded kibbutz-style hotels and remote mountain towns along the way. Or book a vacation package, like the one featured in our Top 25 this week, which takes you all over the country. But for those who find themselves in Tel Aviv, here are three easy day trips reachable in 45 minutes, 1 hour, or 1.5 hours from the bustling capital:
45 minutes away…
Ten miles outside of Jerusalem (which lies an hour east of Tel Aviv), the Cramim Resort & Spa, a chic new property with 155 modern rooms overlooking the rolling Judean Hills, has been an oasis for nature-seeking travelers since opening in late 2013 . The outdoor pool, indoor pool, Turkish hamam, wine bar, and wide list of activities (yoga, hiking, wine tastings) make it a great stopover for folks in need of a nature retreat while making their way between Israel’s two main cities; and if it’s just some quick vino-therapy you need, the spa experts at Cramim are happy to oblige.
60 minutes away…
If strolling through lush, terraced gardens on a sunny day with the whole of Haifa spread out beneath you isn’t the very definition of a relaxing day in Israel, well, we don’t know what is. Gleaming, whitewashed Haifa, which lies about an hour north of Tel Aviv (and can be reached via sherut, or an inter-city shared taxi), boasts Israel’s only subway system, which is a handy way to access the oceanfront city’s abundant museums, shops, and other attractions. Most intriguing by far are the Baha’i Gardens, a series of nineteen terraced gardens open to visitors throughout the year, for free. Be sure to check the web site for upcoming holy days, during which the gardens will be closed.
80 minutes away…
Those looking to get as far away as possible from Tel Aviv’s 24-hour rush will find relief in the Phoenician port city of Akko, also referred to as Acre. Reachable via 80-minute train ride from Tel Aviv, the stunning old city is chock-full of winding alleyways, open-air markets, and stone mosque towers. Visitors can even wander through a 1,150-foot long stone tunnel ($4.30 admission), built in the 12th century, by a military-monastic order that settled here from Jerusalem. If you happen to feel like spending the night, head over to the Efendi Hotel (from $299 per night), an Ottoman-inspired boutique property housed inside two converted oceanfront homes.
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