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Israel's Timeless Beauty

Float over Earth’s Lowest Point
Israel's Timeless Beauty
Israel’s landscape lends itself to romance, both ancient and modern. Constellations in the desert skies, boutique hotels, and hilltop villas answer many couples’ calls for unique romantic getaways.
By Sivan Askayo, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by Elan Fleisher/age fotostock
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    Float over Earth’s Lowest Point
    Float over Earth’s Lowest Point
    At 1,410 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea—in Hebrew, Yam Hamelach, or Sea of Salt—is the lowest surface point on earth. Furthermore, the extraordinary salt content of the water buoys swimmers to the surface, allowing bathers to read a newspaper or book while floating. At local spas and health centers you can benefit from proximity to the Dead Sea by booking a mud bath or salt-based treatment. Ein Gedi Hotel and Isrotel Dead Sea Resort & Spa cater specifically to couples. After emerging from your treatment refreshed, enjoy the sunset as night descends over the surrounding mountains.
    Photo by Elan Fleisher/age fotostock
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    Beautiful Sunsets
    Beautiful Sunsets
    A beach sunset is a universally romantic experience, and along Israel’s miles of coastline, there are myriad spots to enjoy the scene. In busy Tel Aviv, head to Gordon Beach and grab a table at an outdoor restaurant, order a drink, and watch the nightlife rise as the sun goes down; many places shine lights on the beach to encourage diners to stroll in the sand. Alternatively, watch the show from the ancient ports of Acre and Jaffa, where the ending of yet another day has a somehow poignant feeling. In Caesarea Harbor National Park, contemplate history as the sun illuminates Roman ruins, or visit the southern coastal city of Eilat to see the sunset cast a glow over the desert mountains and the Red Sea.
    Photo by Evgenia Gorbulsky/age fotostock
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    Moonlit Walks and Intimate Eats in Jaffa
    Moonlit Walks and Intimate Eats in Jaffa
    The port city of Jaffa, adjacent to Tel Aviv, is one of the oldest in the world. Built on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, it is also undoubtedly romantic. Brick houses, cobblestone streets, and winding alleys contribute to Jaffa's mysterious and mythological feel. Hidden corners and courtyards come to life on moonlit walks around the city, best concluded with dinner at a local restaurant. Some of these tiny family-owned properties consist of only three tables overlooking the sea from the top of private stairs, while others are found alongside the glittering lights of the marina in the renewed Old Jaffa Port.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    The Beautiful Symmetry of the Bahá'í Gardens
    The Beautiful Symmetry of the Bahá'í Gardens
    Natural beauty has been coaxed into thoughtful, spiritual design at the Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa, a UNESCO World Heritage site that inspires sighs of appreciation from all who visit. The extensive gardens, with their compelling geometric designs, form 19 terraces up the side of Mount Carmel, culminating with the glittering golden-domed Shrine of the Báb, the tomb of the Baha’i prophet. From the top, behold a breathtaking panorama of Haifa Bay and the Mediterranean Sea. The gardens are accessible to the public: Dress appropriately and join couples walking in contemplation along the gardens’ hedgerows, footpaths, and lawns.
    Photo by Megan Eileen McDonough
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    Jerusalem by Night
    Jerusalem by Night
    Jerusalem, powerful and venerable by day, is transformed at night. The walls of the Old City are illuminated, as are landmarks such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, adding to the city’s already mythical aura. To fully appreciate the holy city under the stars, begin with wine and dinner at one of the restaurants in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood, which affords remarkable views of the Old City. Follow with a guided tour of the Royal Quarter, where it’s possible to attend a retelling of the City of David through a sound and light show called "Night Spectacular" that’s broadcast across the courtyard of the Citadel.
    Photo by Jeremy Woodhouse/age fotostock
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    Tel Aviv's White City
    Tel Aviv's White City
    The stark white Bauhaus architecture gives the White City neighborhood of Tel Aviv its name. Walking the tree-lined Rothschild Boulevard allows you to meditate on this UNESCO World Heritage site's innovative urban planning while admiring the modern architecture. Keep an eye out for the Pagoda House, a private home built in 1924 and a fine example of an architectural style known as eclecticism. Admire the art deco and modern design from a seat at one of the boulevard’s many cafés and chess tables, or get all the essentials you'll need for a picnic at Sarona Market, then find some room on one of the complex's lawns. At night, the bright buildings are illuminated, and the historical atmosphere is brought into the present as laughter and chatter from high-end restaurants spills out onto the boulevard.
    Photo by Sivan Askayo
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    Masada’s Melancholy Beauty
    Masada’s Melancholy Beauty
    The archaeological site of Masada rises 1,300 feet above the Judean Desert on the shores of the Dead Sea. It commands the landscape in part for its geography, but also because of its tragic role in history: Following a Roman siege in 73 or 74 C.E., nearly 1,000 Jews took their lives here rather than capitulate to their enemy. Visitors who trek to the top are rewarded with a walk through the vestiges of an ancient civilization and feel the emotional power of Masada, as well as take in one of the world’s most beautiful sunsets as night descends upon the desert and the mountains beyond.
    Photo by Reynold Mainse/age fotostock
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    The Green Hills of Galilee
    The Green Hills of Galilee
    With its sloping green hills, warm climate, hospitable villages, and rich agricultural tradition, the Galilee region draws inevitable comparisons to Tuscany. Weekends here are quiet, contemplative, and romantic. Guesthouses, or tzimer, populate the villages of Galilee; many are luxurious, equipped with pools and spas, and offer sumptuous breakfasts. History enthusiasts may want to explore the Beit She'an National Park, home to one of Israel's oldest cities, while nature lovers may opt for the village of Amirim, where guesthouses promote a healthy lifestyle and serve up hearty dishes of vegetarian food.
    Photo by Duby Tal/age fotostock