Israeli’s Favourite Travel Destinations | Top 10 Wanderlust Spots

Israelis often resemble trailblazers; constantly looking to get their hands dirty while exploring the far corners of the earth. While many still explore Manhattan’s skyline, Israelis are flocking to Eastern Europe, South America, and Asia for affordable travel and stunning scenery. From the white sand beaches of India’s Andaman Islands to the snow-peaked Andes in Huaraz, Peru, read on for the top 10 offbeat travel spots that Israelis love.

Huayhuash | © AliceinSwitzerland/Camptocamp
Huayhuash | © AliceinSwitzerland/Camptocamp

Huaraz, Peru

While Peru boasts surfing towns and infamous Machu Picchu, Huaraz has quickly become the Israeli gateway to the Andes. Not for the faint of heart, Huaraz stands at over 3,000 metres, yet is incredibly affordable: the bustling market offers three-course meals for a dollar, cozy family-run hostels with homemade breakfasts for only five-dollars, in addition to cheap access to several world-class hikes. If you’re short on time, the Santa Cruz hike is a popular three-day trek, but the Israeli favorite is the daunting 8-14 day Huayhuash (pronounced why-wash) hike.

Best Hostel: Caroline Lodging, Urb. Avitentel. MZ D lote 1, Huaraz, Peru, +51-43-422-588

Best Food: Main Market, Avienda Raymondi, Huaraz, Peru

Best Activity: Santa Cruz/Huayhuash treks via Enjoy Huayhuash, Jiron San Martin No. 657, Huaraz, Peru, +51-43-427-710

Ha Long Bay | © Francesco Paroni Sterbini/WikiCommons
Ha Long Bay | © Francesco Paroni Sterbini/WikiCommons

Ha Noi, Vietnam

Once the stronghold of Ho Chi Minh’s Communist Party, Ha Noi has blossomed into a tourist-friendly city, embracing its traditional past while slowly accepting Western influence. Hoan Kiem Lake is a perfect blend of old and new, buzzing with teenage Vietnamese engaging tourists in English conversations to practice their English. Ha Noi serves as a thoroughfare to one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Ha Long Bay, the over-touristy Sapa Village, and still hidden gem, Mai Chau.

Best Hotel: Tu Linh Legend Hotel, 59 Hang Cot, Hang Ma, Ha Noi, Vietnam, +84 (04) 3828-2626

Best Food: New Day Restaurant, 72 Ma May, Hang Buom, Ha Noi, Vietnam +84 (04) 3828-0315

Best Activity: Ha Long Bay three-day trip, recommended to book through Tu Linh Legend Hotel in person.

Hvar, Croatia

Croatia has quietly become a hotspot for beach and island parties. Arguably the most popular of the islands is Hvar, where Israelis lounge on the beach before parting through the night at one of its myriad of chic clubs. Given its relatively close proximity to Israel, Croatia and Hvar, are favorites for shorter vacations.

Best Hostel: Luka’s Lodge, Lu’ica b.b. 21450, Hvar, Croatia, +385-2174-2118

Best Food/Drinks: Hula-Hula Hvar, Splitsko dalmantina, Hvar, Hvar Island, Croatia, +385-9591-11871

Best Activity: Carpe Diem, Obala Riva 32, Hvar, Croatia, +385-2174-2369

Woody's Elephant Trek
Woody’s Elephant Trek, Chiang Mai | © Nadav Weinberg

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Most tourists flock to Bangkok for shopping, and the islands for their flawless beaches, yet the jewel of Thailand resides in the north. Moving at a slower pace, Chiang Mai is home to the infamous Lantern Festival (usually in late November), along with enviable jungles, zip-lining, and elephants. Arguably the best bang-for-the-bung of this group, hour-long massages cost five dollars and eating your way through the night market will only empty the loose change from your pocket.

Best Hostel: Julie Guesthouse, Prapokklao Road Soi 6, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66-053-274-355

Best Food: Night Market at Chang Puak Gate

Best Activity: Woody’s Elephant Trek, 59/3 M.1 T.cuodchang A.Mae Tang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66-08-1531-5363

Havelock Island, Andaman Islands, India

Far away from the busy metropolises of India’s mainland, are the often forgotten Andaman Islands. Closer to Thailand than they are to India, Havelock offers a truly isolated experience. With essentially no internet, tourists are “forced” to indulge in white sand beaches, breathtaking diving, some of the best seafood curries and masalas in the world.

Best Hostel: Green Imperial, Beach No. 5, Havelock Island, India

Best Food: Mohan’s Restaurant, Vijay Nagar Beach No. 5, Havelock Island, India, +03192 282 023

Best Activity: DiveIndia, State Highway 5, Havelock Island, India

Turtle while snorkling in Exmouth, Australia
Snorkling in Exmouth, Australia | © Sharon McKellar

Exmouth, Australia

Despite it’s daunting price tag, Australia has become an ever popular destination for Israelis. On Australia’s West coast you will find Exmouth, a tiny town that packs a beautiful punch. Exmouth stands as the gateway to the Ningaloo Reef, a national park that’s entirely underwater! Bring snorkels, coconut water for the heat, and always pay attention to the unpredictable tide.

Best Hostel: Aspen Parks Exmouth Cape Holiday Park, 3 Truscott Crescent, Exmouth, Australia, +61-1-800-621-101

Best Food: The BBQ Father, Murat Rd, Exmouth, Australia, +61-8-9949-4905

Best Activity: Snorkeling in the Ningaloo Reef

Laguna de los Tres and Fitz Roy
Laguna de los Tres and Fitz Roy | © Nadav Weinberg

El Chalten, Argentina

Argentina’s El Chalten might just be the most perfect trekking town in the world. A quaint hiking town with no trail fees, you can pack a tent, food, water, and a map and head off on your own. There are several impressive–and incredibly difficult–hikes including “The Windy Pass,” but by far the most famous is the Fitz Roy. Hikers camp below the lookout at Rio Blanco and begin the ascent at day-break, hoping to reach Laguna de los Tres–for the best view of the Fitz Roy–at sunrise.

Best Hostel: Aylen-Aike Hostel, Trevisan 125, El Chalten, Argentina

Best Food: La Tapera, Antonio Rojo y Cabo Garcia, El Chalten, Argentina, +54-02-96-249-3195

Best Activity: Fitz Roy Trek

Batumi, Georgia

A recent revival, Batumi maintains its centuries old charm–when it was flush with cash as an oil port–with renovated buildings and streets. Situated on the Black Sea, Batumi offers world class beer, fresh wine, and plenty of nightlife. About 60 kms away is the Ureki beach with its unique “black magnetic sand,” said to have therapeutic qualities.

Best Hostel: Batumi Hostel, Lermontovi Street 10, Batumi, Georgia, +995 555 507705

Best Food: Batum Brewery-Restaurant, 49/4 Zviad Gamsakhurdia St/Chavchavadze St, Batumi, Georgia, +995-568-81-42-36

Best Activity: Ureki Beach

Varna, Bulgaria

For Israelis looking for a mix of beach and museums, Varna has emerged as a crowd favorite. With the famous Roman Baths and Stone Forests, tourists enjoy plenty of history, while taking in the stunning Golden Sands beaches. Come ready to party as Varna’s party scene rivals its more famous European neighbors.

Best Hostel: Flag Varna Central Hostel, 13a Bratya Shkorpil Street, Varna, Bulgaria, +359-897-408-115

Best Food: Di Wine Restaurant & Wine Cellar, 2 Bratya Shkorpil St, Varna, Bulgaria, +359-87-860-6050

Best Activity: Sea Garden

See what these destinations look like on a map.

travel map
Top 10 Offbeat Israeli Travel Spots

By Nadav Weinberg

Passionate about travel and finding the offbeat spots, Nadav founded Paq. The app adds a layer to Google Maps, crowdsourcing real-time chats about any place in the world, and enabling users to discover the best hostels, food kiosks, and activities with price transparency, while warning others of dangerous locations. You can download Paq here.