Israel may be small in size but it is teeming with top notch museums just the same. In fact, according to CNN, Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world, easily causing a visitor to become quite overwhelmed. In the interest of helping you narrow down your list, here are our three favorites:
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art looks rather unassuming from the outside. The lobby and ticket office also appear rather plain leaving one to perhaps second guess paying the 48 shekel charge to get in. But the promise of some very famous works by Van Gogh, Picasso and Pollock is enough to lure a visitor inside to discover that all is not as it seems.
The space is much larger than expected with an extensive variety of exhibitions set apart by floor. From Renaissance through Impressionism to the Twentieth Century, including Israeli and international artists, there is something here for everyone.
The art museum features a variety of media as well, including paintings, sculptures and even electronics. Like most museums, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art includes a gift shop and a cafe. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon.
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is conveniently located on several bus routes (9, 18, 28, 70, 90, 111). For adults, 48 shekels will get you a ticket and the hours of operation change based on the day so be sure to check their website when planning your visit. The museum is closed on Sundays.
Considered the largest cultural institution in Israel, the Israel Museum is a must see. You could easily spend several days at this museum and still not see everything so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and allow ample time to explore.
We enjoyed the historical exhibitions the most, including the famous Dead Sea scrolls, numerous artifacts from biblical times, and even pieces of the oldest Bible on earth.
In addition, the scale model of the historical city of Jerusalem was helpful in visualizing important events, such as Jesus’ route to his execution. And if the Israel Museum does not have all the artifacts you are looking for, the Bible Lands Museum is just across the street.
The Israel Museum, open 7 days a week, is located in Jerusalem a short distance from the Central Station. When you exit Central Station walk to the right staying on the same side of the street to find the bus stop. Buses 14 and 35 will take you to the museum. Admission costs 50 shekels per adult. Opening hours vary from day to day so be sure to check the website before planning a visit.
A visit to Yad Vashem will most likely be very emotional, so we recommend not including it in a busy day of sight-seeing. The exhibitions are multi-media, highlighting and documenting the Shoah, including manuscripts, posters and footage. Schindler’s list is housed here along with numerous other accounts of rescues from this grave time in history.
In addition to being a historical museum, Yad Vashem also serves as a memorial to those who were killed. The famous Hall of Names, Hall of Remembrance and the Children’s Memorial are included in Yad Vashem’s vast grounds, which include beautiful trees commemorating those that helped Jews escape the Nazis. We found the Children’s Memorial to be the most powerful and moving memorial we have ever seen.
Yad Vashem is located in Jerusalem near the Mt. Herzl light rail stop, which is only six stops (and the final stop) from Central Station. A free shuttle will take you the rest of the way. Admission is free and like with most Israeli museums, the hours of operation change according to the day so be sure to check the website while planning a visit. Yad Vashem is closed on Saturdays.