With a history that spans for more than a million years, the Palestinian region is enriched with off-the-beaten-path activities, prehistoric cultures, and other adventures to be taken while in the region.
However, co-existing alongside the ruins of Sebastia as well as the fragile countryside villages, a host of locals welcome travelers of all ages to indulge yourself in traditional, Palestinian cuisines, countryside tours, and Muslim religious practices.
If you are planning a trip of a lifetime to the Palestinian regions of the Middle East, there are a few select places that you MUST check out before settling down for your typical tour of the city.
Exploring West Bank and Palestine
A Day trip to the city of Ramallah
If this is your first time visiting Palestine, and you wish to explore the sites where there are fewer tourists about, you’ll be pleased to know that there is an abundance of day trips to Ramallah within easy reach. You can start the day with visiting several religious and historic sites in Ramallah before making your way to the downtown streets.
Don’t miss the Hisbeh market where plenty of handmade crafts are found. This administrative capital is packed with cosmopolitan restaurants and nightclubs so there is plenty of fun to be had here. If you love shopping, this is the place to find the best malls in the region with many boutiques scattered around the city.
The West Bank & City of Bethlehem
Going to the West Bank is rather simple using a shared taxi ride. The trip from Ramallah to the West Bank can take an hour and a half if the checkpoints are open along the route. Although it’s quite rare for tourists to visit this area, it is still a good idea to take a shared taxi and meet the locals. Many Palestinians speak English and are happy to communicate with you in their sweet Arabic accent.
Before planning your trip, you should seek advice from a reputable company that provides travel insurance to Palestine. There are many insurers offering affordable coverage for high-risk countries and with some pretty radical opportunities to go on day-hikes to the lush, northern regions of the West Bank, this is something you don’t want to miss out on especially as Bethlehem is the noted biblical birthplace of Jesus Christ.
Exploring Sebastia ’s Markets & Rustic Villages
The impressive Byzantine churches of Sebastia and its ruined palaces are not to be missed. Tour operators always include Sebastia as the main destination to explore, and to attract more visitors; a new community tourism project has been developed to make this picturesque region a delight to visit.
There are a handful of rustic guesthouses serving tasty breakfasts of fresh Arabic bread, olive oil, and fruit so you can enjoy eating on the terrace with views of olive groves that stretch for miles. You can hire a local guide from the information center to show you the best hiking spots in the village of Sebastia. The information center is located near the railway station and the guesthouses are situated on the edge of the main square.
The West Bank & Dead Sea Countryside
The hiking and cycling tours in the Palestinian countryside are becoming increasingly accessible thanks to the local families that help arrange these for international visitors. The biking itineraries include cycling through the lush mountains of the West Bank, through to the historical cities of Jericho, and Bethlehem.
If you love walking, why not follow the Nativity Trail treks in Christmas time and hike through the north central West Bank, which is open to keen walkers. As the lowest spot on the face of the Earth, you must also check out the Dead Sea as it can offer a fantastic, therapeutic experience that rivals a natural spa treatment.
If you were planning a trip to the Middle East, what would be first on your bucket list?