Palestine is a tiny country so rich in culture, religion, and food that you will be amazed. It does not sound like the perfect tourist destination for most people, sure. But if you look beyond the stereotypes, you will not regret visiting this beautiful little world.
The number of travelers reaches its zenith around Christmas. Thousands of visitors attend the midnight Mass that takes place in Bethlehem. The small size of the country is a big boon, as it allows travelers to see more in a short trip. If you’re planning to visit Palestine, remember to buy
travel insurance or
travel medical insurance
as a safety net in case anything goes wrong.
Things to Do for Travelers in Palestine
War has ruined tourism in Palestine. However, upon visiting, you may learn how much more there is to the heart of the Holy Land. Historic cities, delicious food, rare wines, the Dead Sea, and so many other places make it a must-visit on every traveler’s bucket list.
Note: Both Israel and Palestine claim Jerusalem as the capital of their respective territories. The dispute over ownership of East Jerusalem and the Old City of Jerusalem in particular is the source of no small amount of conflict. The purpose of including these destinations is not to categorize them as definitively Palestinian, but to provide a list of attractions worth visiting if you’re in the region. To mention them in this article is borderline controversial, but to leave them out would be an omission.
Book a Homestay: Your trip wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t interact with the natives. Booking a homestay will give you insight into the real lifestyles of Palestinians—not to mention the food will be beyond amazing. The people there are known to be extremely kind, welcoming, and easy to talk to. Learn about their pride in their heritage.
Swim in the Dead Sea: You do not need to be a good swimmer to swim in the Dead Sea. The water body is the lowest place on earth at 400 meters (about 1,300 feet) below sea level. Moreover, its salinity is high, enabling you to float without even trying. Your trip to Palestine would be incomplete without a dip in the Dead Sea.
Tour the City of Jerusalem: Jerusalem is the cultural hub of Palestine. The population is composed of Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Armenians, all occupying different parts of the city. This abundance of several communities makes the city one of the most fascinating places in the world. While you’re at it, you must also visit the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, and the Damascus Gate. Jerusalem also has hand-crafted leather shoes that will serve as excellent souvenirs for friends and family.
Scout a Monastery: The Kidron Valley houses old monasteries from Byzantine times. The Mar Saba Monastery is placed into the hillside, still functioning with more than a dozen monks in it. The wide blue skies and yellow buildings bring out a stunning landscape. Although women are not allowed to enter, it is still possible for them to take a look inside from the trails surrounding it.
Attend the Midnight Mass in Bethlehem: The Church of the Nativity is believed to have been built on the site of Jesus’s birth. Christian Pilgrims from all over the world come to attend the Midnight Mass on Christmas. If you’re in Bethlehem around Christmas, do not miss out on this beautiful tradition.
Try the Food in Nablus: The city of Nablus is famous among foodies for serving Mediterranean as well as Middle Eastern cuisine. Along with Palestine’s most popular food items, visitors will also have a chance to purchase dates, olive oil, fair-trade almonds, etc. Nablus markets are rich in spices. Be sure to visit spice shops, where you will find any and every spice there is.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Palestine
You must be vigilant when traveling in Palestine. Areas where Israeli and Palestinian forces come in contact must be avoided at all times, as violent outbreaks are frequent there.
Here is a breakdown of locations with a high security risk:
Avoid travel to Gaza Strip.
Avoid travel toward the border of Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.
Avoid non-essential travel to the West Bank.
Other security risks include the following:
Unreliable travel arrangements may lead to cancellation or delay of transportation during your trip. Arrange such services only through the hotel where you are staying.
Spontaneous mass protests and demonstrations may become violent.
MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is common in Palestine.
The medical facilities are scarce and, hence, costly. Ensure financial security by purchasing travel insurance beforehand.
Palestine Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Palestine is a country with a relatively high security threat. Travelers have to be extra cautious to ensure that they stay safe. Events like violent disputes at the borders, public demonstrations, travel disruption, robberies, etc., put you at high risk of injury.
Medical facilities are scarce in Palestine. Predictably, the ones that are functional are extremely expensive. When there is such a high risk of injury, wouldn’t you rather purchase travel medical insurance than be in a financial crisis later?
Do I Need Travel Medical Insurance for Palestine?
You are not legally required to carry travel medical insurance to enter Palestine. However, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is, the first reason being that healthcare is extremely expensive. Additionally, the safety of travelers is not what Palestine is known for.
Travel medical insurance will cover all your emergency medical expenses. In cases where you need to be evacuated or repatriated, you will receive coverage. When the risk is this high, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Why Buy Travel Medical Insurance for Palestine?
First off, the cost of purchasing travel medical insurance is negligible compared to how much you will benefit from it. More importantly, travelers in Palestine are at risk of incidents like robbery, physical injury, and various other crimes.
Travel medical insurance will cover all those costs and even give you benefits. It will also cover your legal liabilities, accident-related expenses, etc. Unless you think you can afford to spend large sums of money on overpriced medical procedures, purchase travel medical insurance.
Palestine Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Trip cancellation insurance is essential in countries with a volatile political state. Alongside changes in hostility levels with Israel, your travel arrangements may get disturbed. There is a high chance of cancellation or delay. The crimes in the country indicate low employment, so your baggage will also be at risk.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Palestine?
In incidents where a family member falls ill, your travel is disturbed, your hotel bookings are revoked, or you have to cancel your trip for some reason, wouldn’t you like to be reimbursed for all your pre-paid bookings?
Trip cancellation insurance does exactly that. You can get reimbursed for up to 100% of all your pre-paid, non-refundable expenses if you cancel for a covered reason as listed in your policy’s certificate wording. Be sure to check the fine print for details. You may receive added benefits like 24/7 translation facilities, emergency cash services, etc.
Before You Travel to Palestine - Remember These
- Euros and U.S. dollars are accepted along with the Israeli Shekel (NIS). Don’t worry if you cannot get your hands on the NIS.
- Worried about alcohol? Alcohol is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Middle East. But not to worry. Palestine has beautiful vineyards and the best wine.
- Get your travel insurance now. All travelers everywhere face security and safety risks, they’re just a little higher in Palestine. It’s best to be prepared in case of some large, unexpected medical expenses. Enter basic information, compare plans side by side, and choose the one that best fits the needs of your trip.