While on your gap year with Aardvark Israel you will see a huge amount of the country and get to go on many exciting trips. However, we won’t fill up all of your time so that there will be some weekends where you can continue to explore the country with your friends.
You may use this time to revisit some of the places you particularly enjoyed the first time round or you could use it to try something different that we haven’t managed to squeeze into the schedule.
One option for a great weekend away from your apartment is to go to Haifa. Haifa, one of Israel’s prettiest cities, rises up Mount Carmel away from the Mediterranean shore. The city is full of famous sites, the most prominent of which is the Bahá’í Gardens and World Centre. Haifa offers a fascinating mix of the old and new; some of the older districts, containing churches and mosques, are a real pleasure to walk around while the newer parts of the city also contain Israel’s only underground train. The city is also a fantastic example of coexistence and as such it has a very unique atmosphere within Israel and you are sure to enjoy spending a weekend getting to know it.
Israel is mainly thought of as a hot country and as you are no doubt aware most of the country is desert. However, one of the country’s best features is the diversity of the landscape and thanks to this it is actually possible to go skiing. If you travel to the northernmost point of Israel and visit Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights, you can spend the weekend enjoying the beautiful snow covered slopes. The resort is usually open from January to March and there are a wide range of ski trails so everyone can have fun, from complete beginners to the most experienced skiers. Furthermore, the ski resort is located in the Hermon Nature Reserve so there are many beautiful hikes to enjoy and even if you visit when the resort is closed it is still a wonderful place to spend the weekend.
Of course sometimes you need to relax and you can’t spend every weekend engaged in intense physical activity. Many Israelis enjoy going to Eilat for a weekend of relaxation, sea and fun in the sun. The weather in Eilat is fairly hot all year round and you can be sure of some good weather at almost any time of the year. The city has a vibrant night life full of beach side clubs, cafes, restaurants and more. There is also an amazing aquarium to explore which is actually set under the sea and gives you a truly unique look at aquatic life. Furthermore, despite the warm weather, Eilat is also home to one of Israel’s few ice rinks.
If you have more refined tastes you could consider spending a weekend exploring some of Israel’s wine country. Israel’s wine industry is flourishing and there are new wineries opening on a regular basis. Wines are now produced throughout the country, from the Golan Heights to the Judean Hills and there are a huge number of wineries which offer free tours and tastings. Many of the wineries are kosher and as such will be closed on Saturdays; however, it is normally possible to visit them on a Friday morning and the non-kosher ones are often open on Saturdays as well.
If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and would like a quiet weekend relaxing with friends then you could take a trip to the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). It is possible to find a lot of cheap accommodation in the area, either in the city of Tiberias or in various hostels or holiday homes around the lake. Here you can enjoy quieter beaches than those in Tel Aviv and a more peaceful experience. At the same time, the region offers some beautiful hikes so the more active amongst you are sure to have a great day of walking followed by a relaxing swim. You can also rent a bicycle and ride around the entire Sea!
There are many more things to do and places to visit during your free time with Aardvark Israel and these are just suggestions. The more time you spend in Israel the more you are likely to want to do and see and as you can probably tell, there is certainly enough variety to make sure that everyone can have a fun weekend away.