This tiny country draws millions of visitors from around the world each year, and with good reason. As a guest at The Norman Tel Aviv, you have access to an exclusive collection of organized tours that will make your time in Israel unforgettable.
EXQUISITE EXCURSIONS ON DEMAND
Israel is brimming with attractions found nowhere else in the world: fascinating history spanning thousands of years, a global tapestry of cultures ancient and modern, and spiritual enrichment from the three monotheistic religions – not to mention its one-of-a-kind nature reserves offering once-in-a-lifetime outdoor adventures.
The treasures awaiting your discovery begin right outside the door of The Norman, tucked into corners of Tel Aviv and neighbouring Jaffa; but even the farthest destinations can be reached within just a few hours. And wherever you go, Israeli technological sophistication teams up with traditional Israeli hospitality, enabling you to experience these millennial wonders in 21st century comfort.
Arranging your touring via The Norman Tel Aviv ensures your enjoyment of the best Israel has to offer. Our consultants have designed a wide variety of walking tours, day-trips and extended tours for guests of all ages, interests and lifestyles… with the accent on quality and attention to detail. Kindly contact the concierge.
The best way to experience Israel is to explore each region, one by one, in order to absorb the distinct ambiance, history and landscape that make it so special.
ETERNAL JERUSALEM, THE HEART OF ISRAEL
The must-see sites in this famous “City of Gold” are endless. The archaeological, religious, cultural, artistic and historical discoveries in Israel’s capital are enhanced by exotic sensory experiences and rare shopping opportunities.
Both old and new sections of Jerusalem are packed with museums, archaeological sites, ethnic eateries and stunning views across the countryside. The streets host corner musicians playing to the crowds, public art exhibitions, and quaint shops selling original artwork, jewellery, antiques, ethnic clothing and religious objects. Many fashionable sidewalk cafes and restaurants offer fine dining under shaded awnings.
For most visitors, the Old City takes priority – an inspiring mosaic of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Armenian Quarters, surrounded by 3-meter thick walls and massive gates. Tours in and around the Old City can be tailored to specific interests:
Jewish history: shops, museums and alleyways of the Jewish Quarter, with the restored Hurva Synagogue, the Cardo, the Temple Institute, and of course the Western Wall and Tunnel (2000-year-old remains of the second Jewish Temple); the Shrine of the Book, where the world’s oldest Biblical scroll (at least 2000 years old) is on display; the City of David, King David’s tomb and Hezekiah’s Tunnel (dating back another 1000 years to first Temple times).
Christian history: the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of All Nations, and a panoramic view of the Old City across the Kidron Valley; St. Stephen’s Gate (Lion’s Gate) and the Pool of Bethesda, the Church of St. Anne, the Via Dolorosa (passing the “Stations of the Cross” to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher); Mount Zion, the Church of St. Peter, the Room of the Last Supper and the Church of the Dormition; the Garden Tomb.
Muslim history: the Muslim Quarter and the Temple Mount, location of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock (structures of architectural beauty built in the 7th century).
GO GREEN, GO NORTH: GALILEE & GOLAN
The rolling hills, cliffs and valleys form a dramatic backdrop to locations made famous by the Bible, Jewish history and ancient civilizations. Nazareth (Jesus’ hometown, now Israel’s oldest Arab city), Capernaum, Cana, the Jordan River and other sites are found along the “Jesus Trail”. From Tel Dan and Tel Hazor in the north to the Hula Valley and Mount Gilboa in the south, you can hike through beautiful nature reserves among migrating birds, archaeological parks and wild flowers. Climbing past the millennia to the top of Megiddo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, gaze into the fertile Jezreel Valley, believed by Christians to be the future site of Armageddon. Explore Safed, the home of Jewish mystical Kabbalah and a thriving artist colony; Tiberias, prized for its hot mineral springs; and the Sea of Galilee, whose shape inspired its Hebrew name (Kinneret or Harp).
NORTHERN NEGEV, A DESSERT THAT BLOOMS
The Negev Desert was actually fertile pasture land thousands of years ago, and Israeli efforts at reviving this barren region are attracting worldwide attention. A hike in the wild and lovely Zin Valley lets you experience the wilderness close-up at Ein-Avdat, which helps you appreciate why Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, made his home at nearby Sde Boker. The Ramon Crater (the world’s largest) provides breathtaking desert trails for biking, hiking, rappelling, jeep trips and camel rides. Visit the ancient Nabatean cities that once guarded the Asian-African Spice Route (now UNESCO World Heritage Sites), and tour some of the exciting successes in reviving Nabatean “desert agriculture” to create modern vineyards, orchards and forests.
THE LIVING LEGENDS OF THE DEAD SEA
Travel to the lowest point on the earth and dip into the fascinating Dead Sea, with water so dense nothing can sink. The Sea’s unique health and beauty advantages were prized by Queen Cleopatra, and millions today take advantage of the mineral-rich water, mud, sulphur pools and salts. While here, one can visit the Qumran caves, where the historic Dead Sea Scrolls were found; Masada, the Jewish Zealot fortress that defied the Roman legions; and the oasis of Ein Gedi, once the stronghold of King David and now an enchanting nature reserve.
DESERT WONDERS AT EILAT AND PETRA
An ancient city carved into the rock in the 6th century BC, Petra must be seen to be believed. Travel to this Jordanian site in comfort from the charming Red Sea resort of Eilat, where the azure water, spotless beaches, coral reef and tropical fish offer a year-round sunny paradise framed by unspoiled desert. The 2-day trip to Jordan begins and ends in Eilat, and includes a private jeep tour of Jordan for 2 or 3 passengers per jeep, with an overnight stay in 5-star accommodations.
Experience the tastes and aromas of a multi-national food and beverage culture, which forms an integral part of Israeli life.
Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem
This modern Middle Eastern open-air market is a world of new tastes, smells and bargains. Rows of stalls display fresh produce, spices, baked goods and other ethnic foods. Crowds of shoppers wander in leisurely fashion down the aisles as vendors call out to them to stop and sample their delicacies. Good-natured arguments can be heard as buyers and sellers haggle over prices – another time-honoured Middle Eastern custom. The multicultural tapestry of Israel is represented in the variety of recipes originating in Arabia, Ethiopia, Europe, South America, Caucasus and Central Asia. No wonder it’s a favourite haunt for Israelis as well as foreign visitors.
Levisky Market, Tel Aviv
Founded in the 1920's by Balkan immigrants, who brought their local recipes and ingredients with them, the colourful traditions and quality of this market have been preserved by the sons and grandsons of the original shop owners. They are patronized by chefs from exclusive restaurants seeking the finest in fresh spices, dried fruits and fresh-roasted coffees, as well as olive oils and deli goods. Taste your way through this cuisine capital, meet some of its founders, and take home “secret ingredients” used by top Israeli gourmets.
Flea Market & Old Jaffa
Jaffa is one of the oldest port cities in the world, known for its history, architecture, antique shops and artist quarter. Modern Tel Aviv was founded next door and eventually grew around Jaffa, making it easy to enjoy both the old and the new of this combined metropolis. Tel Aviv's food and coffee culture includes landmark family-owned eateries in Old Jaffa, the main market and the Yemenite Quarter with its own unique cuisine. While there, explore the Bauhaus architectural style that earned Tel Aviv its UNESCO World Heritage status.
Raise a toast to the vineyards of Israel, producers of vintages that have won awards in international competitions.
Carmel Mountains: Visit the Reuben Winery in Givat Ada, as well as the Binyamina & Tishbi Wineries (where the tour also includes taste-testing of gourmet chocolates).
Judean Hills: Private-label wineries are open to visitors by special request from The Norman.
Commune with Israel’s natural wonders, following well-tended trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty.
Sataf (easy to medium): These hills to the west of Jerusalem are graced with evergreen forests, orchards and villages. Five different hiking trails through Sataf provide visitors with wide options, including a circular walk starting and ending at the main entrance and cafe.
Jerusalem Mountains (challenging): Steeper slopes await you at the Gazelle Valley, a 260 km2 reserve in the Jerusalem Forest. Four options lead to Hindak Spring, the quaint village of Ein Kerem, or a breathless climb through the mountains and over a number of streams.
Metzukei Dragot (very challenging): Descend into the canyon of Nahal Dragot, passing the Murabat Caves of Bar Kochba fame, climbing and rappelling down rock cliffs, and swimming the canyon’s pools, and emerging into the Jordan Valley. It’s a full day of testing your limits.