Tel Aviv is a surfer’s Paradise

The coastal city of Tel Aviv, which sits on the east Mediterranean, was recently voted as one of the best cities for surfers in the world. Stab Magazine in Australia included the city in its list of top ten surfing cities, alongside Cape Town, San Francisco and Barcelona. Dolfinarium Beach gets a lot of surfers that fancy a bit of a bay protected partly by a breakwater, which makes it nice and easy for weaker waders to get out into the waves.

In the summer those waves are 28 degrees hot and can get pretty crowded with non-surfing swimmers. The best way to avoid human obstacles is to get out there before 6am, a time when the surf is also way better than later in the day.  You can always head over in the winter and expect more open beaches but colder, 12-14 degree water.

You are also likely to find lots of kite surfing and watermelon with feta cheese around this part of Israel.

It is tiny

Despite being home to more ancient religious holy sites than any other country in the world, Israel is smaller than the boot on Italy’s foot.

And, on foot, you can make your way from one end to the other in less than three days. However, if you prefer renting a car and driving, the trip from north to south, or south to north if you so choose, will take less than 5 hours.

In fact, this country of just 66 years would fit comfortably into the top surface area of Lake Michigan, before probably sinking.

Half of the country is a Desert

More than 55 percent of this diminutive country is covered by the Negev, although huge developments are quickly increasing the population.

Located in the south of Israel, the Negev was recently touted by lonely planet as one of the best regional travel destinations in the world.

There are wine tours here as well as old trade routes, with tours to see the ancient ruins of the Nabateans, along the old Spice Routes, regularly available.

The Dead Sea is the Ultimate Natural Health Spa

Almost everything in, around and above the Dead Sea will make you feel better because of the unique environment.

It is fairly well documented that the black sea is full of salt, a fact backed up by the hundreds of online pictures of people with their thumbs up, mouths open and legs in the air.

The 32 percent salt content, compared with 3 percent in your average global ocean, rubs against the skin and increases blood circulation massively.

Blood oxygen levels are also greatly improved because the air is ridiculously full of it. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and, at 1,315 feet below sea level, is the complete opposite of, say, the top of a mountain where the air is thin. In a sense, then, the air around the Black Sea is ‘fat’, and is really good for you which seems a bit ironic.

Thermo Mineral Springs can be found dotted around the area and are regularly used by people with joint disorders.  Similarly effected visitors also get involved with the Black Mud, a potent natural mineral cocktail of sludge. After a treatment skin is said to feel cleansed and blood circulation increased.

You can find out more by emailing the Dead Sea Research Center.

The Bank Notes have Braille on Them

Israeli officials decided to put braille markings on the bank notes to provide an easier service for the country’s blind residents, plus any visually impaired visitors. This makes Israel one of the only countries to do this and has been the recipient of praise from just about everyone.

Every Year There is a Race Across the Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee Swim is the largest amateur competition in Israel and attracts thousands of competitors every year.

Now running for more than 60 years, the race from from Maagan beach to Zemach beach is a slight change from the days when Jesus was walking over the H20 here.

There is choice between a 1.5km or 3.5km route but all competitors must have started their time before 930am.

You can register for the swim here and get into the water come September time.

It is also worth saying that the surrounding area is amazing in terms of history and natural beauty, with Nazereth just a few miles inland from the fertile, Somerset-green land around the Sea.

There are Thousands of Tech Companies 

Israel has more than 3,000 tech companies and holds claim to the invention of AOL Messenger, Windows XP and voicemail.  So finally there is someone to blame for all of those annoying ‘call me back’ voicemails from friends that like to be annoying, or people selling you broadband.

The country’s standing in the tech world is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that only Silicon Valley has more high-technology companies.

Although it is unclear if these tech companies had anything to do with it, the cherry tomato was apparently also ‘engineered here back in 1973.

Winter is Cold        

Despite being recognized as a sub-tropical climate, the weather in Isael can get pretty uncompromising in the winter.

Temperatures in February and January are often only slightly better than the UK & Ireland. The rain likes to fall in the winter months if the sky isn’t busy being overcast. Jerusalem is traditionally the coldest city although the Galilee Hills are recognized as the chilliest place during winter.

Amazingly, there can even be snow on the ground some years so maybe even bring your skis if you’re planning to visit during winter.

Seeing this holy land covered in snow is definitely something many people never get to see and is not a bad idea at all if you fancy a unique trip away.

To make sure you can make the most of the beautiful beaches, though, be sure to book up for the summer, spring or autumn.  At this time the sun is almost always shining and the water is as warm as anywhere in the world.