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Millions of travellers visit the 'Holy Land' of Israel on a spiritual quest. Considered sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews, the sites of Jerusalem; Jericho; Galilee; Bethlehem; Nazareth, and the Garden of Gethesame (to name but a few) are some of the most evocative and enchanting places on earth. Biblical and historical highlights include the town where Jesus spent his childhood; Capernaum, the synagogue where Jesus taught; Tabgha, where the miracle of loaves and fishes occurred; the Temple Mount; King David's Tomb on Mount Zion; the Dead Sea Scrolls; and the Western Wall. But for others, Israel's beaches, historical ruins, eco-tourism, and cultural diversity are equally as captivating and alluring.

Tel Aviv is undoubtedly the most cosmopolitan city in the Middle East. It is a beach city that combines the old and the new and is the country's centre for entertainment, culture and commerce. From northern Tel Aviv's modern leisure port, to the historic old-quarter artist colony of Jaffa, stand fine examples of the idealism that has formed this 100 year-young city. Full of cafes, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, monuments, art galleries and museums, this lively metropolis is one of the most exciting cities in the world; with a youthful vibe that's both cutting edge and consciously different from Israel's traditional values and lifestyles.

The 3000 year old city of Jerusalem is a fascinating amalgam of ancient and modern, oriental and western. The majestic, holy city is a source of enchantment with a wonderful sense of history, spirituality and drama. Extraordinary historical sites, fascinating museums, narrow alleyways, and delightful hotels all entice visitors to spend more time in this eternal city. Jewish West Jerusalem is characterised by broad avenues, busy streets and squares, cafes, restaurants and a vivacious nightlife. East Jerusalem is a 19th-century, predominantly Arab, neighbourhood with a slow but colourfully chaotic pace of life. The Old City, enclosed within awesome 16th-century stone walls, is a labyrinth of winding lanes where most of Jerusalem's main sights are found. The spiritual Wailing Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Israel's parliament, and the Memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust are must-sees as is the panoramic view over Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. The city's well-preserved architecture, bustling bazaars and intriguing shops deserve more than a quick glance so visitors should plan to stay a while.

The Dead Sea shoreline is situated 400m below sea level and is the lowest elevated land on earth. It draws visitors to enjoy the unique experience of floating in the naturally bouyant waters, promising health restoration and utter relaxation. Nearby Massada reveals the ancient remains of Kind Herod's stunning fortress, lording over the Dead Sea and desert; and Qumran caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were found.

The glitzy, Miami-like resort town of Eilat lies 200km south, just over the Negev Desert. Built around the shoreline and encircled by red mountains, its canyons, golden beaches, calm azure waters and magnificent sunshine lure visitors to enjoy activities such as snorkelling, sunbathing, hiking and bird-spotting. Although it has the reputation as a hedonistic party town with warm water, cold beer and nightclubs, it is also known for a striking variety of geological wonders, desert scenery and wildlife.

Israel's climatic seasons are the same as those experienced throughout Mediterranean Europe. May is the best month to travel, with average daily temperatures in the mid-20s. Winter is generally cold and wet in most areas. Summers can be extremely hot, long and sometimes oppressive. The Red Sea resort of Eilat has a good climate for beach holidays all year round.

Click here for our suggestions on events and places to go at various times of year.