Israel, land of religions and history, cities and deserts: our one-week Fly & Ride motorcycle trip through the most evocative places in the South. Itinerary and information.
Late February, one of the best times to discover the Negev desert and the main historical sites of southern Israel, passing through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Video and story of a journey that touched our hearts and all senses.
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Israel is much closer than you might think, just under 4 hours taking off from Milan with one of the many Easyjet flights. A small country but extremely rich in places and cities to visit. On the site GoIsrael find all the information and support you need for an unforgettable trip.
Long live the Fly & Ride!
Our one week tour was perfect for visiting the most beautiful spots in the Negev desert and major cities, such as Tel Aviv and especially Jerusalem. Furthermore, being a country difficult to reach by land, the fly & ride formula is the one that makes everything simpler and more practical.
You land, you take the motorcycle rental and off you go (the international driving license is not needed for rentals). In Tel Aviv there are several companies that rent motorcycles, including medium-sized ones, perfect for this trip. There is no need for anything tessellated as you travel mainly on asphalt and the dirt roads are easy tracks for everyone and everyone.
Bike life Israel is both tour operator and rental. You will find as many as 4 between Honda african twin 2 Honda NC 750 X e 4 Suzuki V-Power 650. With Bikelife Israel it is possible to take only rented motorcycles and ride independently, add a support vehicle with driver or travel with one of their expert guides for one of theirs organized tours more beautiful. You can also request tailor-made tours or choose one of the many proposals that you find at the link bikelifeisrael.com, both to discover all the best of Israel and to venture into the most remote or suggestive places.
We preferred to do the south of Israel to cross the most scenic places of the desert, where at times it seemed to be on Mars. At the end of February, temperatures are cool to mild, while in summer they exceed 40 degrees.
It usually rains very little during the year, especially in the desert, but we were also able to catch a few drops, to the happiness of the local inhabitants. Not even the time to get wet that after the first rays of the sun we were already dry. Those who have more time can also go up to Red Sea, to visit the Timna Park and dive over the coral reef of Eilat.
Tel Aviv and the Beeri forest
Landed in Tel Aviv in the evening, a very lively city at night due to the numerous clubs and restaurants also on the beautiful beach, we rested in the central Brown Hotel Lighthouse, in order to prepare the bags for the next day.
In the morning, loaded the motorcycles and left the bulkier luggage, we left for the northern part of the Negev desert, very green in this period due to the rains coming from the Mediterranean. Along the way south in the direction of Netivot e Sde Boker, you can stop (and even camp) in the gardens famous for the flowering, both mustard and anemones, a kind of protected flowers.
Near Sde Boker you can visit the tomb of Ben Gurion, the founder of the State of Israel, which overlooks a very impressive canyon. Green has abandoned us for several kilometers for the most classic arid colors of the desert, with an ideal temperature around 18 degrees. We travel south, to arrive at the second breathtaking landscape, Ein Avdat Nationa Park. Here you can also take a leisurely walk in the canyon, following the stream that leads to a waterfall.
The Negev and the natural craters
Mipze Ramon is the small town where we stop for two nights to explore the surroundings. It starts right from the homonymous crater, the Makhtesh Ramon, of geological origin, which seems to take you to another planet. There are numerous areas that can be crossed by motorbike, even off-road without any difficulty, such as the Gvanim Wadi. As always you will find several equipped areas where you can camp or stop for a break in the midst of nature and the silence of the desert. Our advice is to always ask for information and directions in the hotels of the town and from local guides, such as Iftach dvash, who will be very happy to accompany you, by motorbike, to discover the desert and the wadi that he knows like the back of his hand.
In addition to the natural beauties you can visit i archaeological sites di Avdat e Shivta, settlements that the Nabataean nomads had built to facilitate trade and passages along the Incense Route that linked Jordan to Arabia passing right here.
Among other things, we also had the good fortune to travel many kilometers in the company of the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, Dani Shahar, with his 40th anniversary BMW GS: a wonderful person with a great passion for two wheels.
In order not to miss anything, we advise you to stretch out to Egyptian border, along road number 10. Make a stop a Ezuz, a small village where you can taste typical homemade dishes and a very good pizza cooked in an Italian oven. From here the road that runs along the border is truly beautiful: a solo journey into the desert, occasionally greeting the bored soldiers in the watchtowers. The curves are not lacking, they are not many, but when you go up they increase together with the pleasure that only these views can offer.
Dead Sea and Masada
The following morning we continue towards the South-East, the Dead Sea, but along the way the landscape continues to change and the stops for photos and videos are no longer counted. The first point, a must for us motorcyclists, is it Scorpions' Trail. A real mountain pass that descends from the heights of the Negev through numerous bends overlooking the desert.
At this point, time is running out and we are forced to return to the north, descending into the deepest depression on Earth. The Dead Sea is in fact located 400 meters below sea level, which is why the heat is almost unbearable in summer. But before stopping at the hotel, we go up 1.000 meters to visit the historic hill of Arad, a 5.000-year-old archaeological site, whose castle is only 3.000 years old. A very suggestive and equipped place, like many Israeli national parks, for camping.
If the morning has gold in its mouth, our awakening at 04:00 has a different flavor, sleepy and challenging at the same time. We expect 2,7km of climbing on foot for 450 meters in altitude to reach the top of Masada, the city built by Herod in 37 BC from which to admire a breathtaking sunrise. Our climb from the east side is very tough, but you can "cheat" and do the one from the west, only 700 meters long and very little difference in altitude, or miss the sunrise and take the cable car.
The site is unique, not only for the history and engineering it hides, between spas and aqueducts, but also for the surrounding landscape, unique in the world. Fatigue makes us hungry, and we centaurs can only reissue our legs under the table in a typical Middle Eastern restaurant with an Indian name: at the Taj Mahal in Neve Zohar Sharon awaits you, a charming Yemeni lady who will delight you with many different recipes.
Before leaving the Dead Sea, we dedicate the afternoon to relaxation, between a mud bath and a dip in the very salty body of water in front of the hotel, where the 33% salinity will make you float like mattresses and water to end of February is like us in June, perfect!
The journey is nearing its end, but we don't want to miss anything, so we turn on the bikes and stop at A Gedi, to visit a Kibbutz which houses a botanical garden and theEin Gedi Camp Lodge, where you can sleep in tents, bungalows or in beautiful 70s Citroen minibuses with air conditioning!
Before we get into the chaos and cultural mix of Jerusalem, we detour in Palestine for a quick visit to Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. George. Also put this on your to-do list because it is a magical place. Watch out for the pomegranate juices that the kids sell nearby, they "lappano" a little!
We arrive in the modern part of the city, in two passivated from the historic city. The center is very busy, so we leave the bikes at the hotel to continue on foot. Jerusalem it is not a common city but an indescribable concentration of religions, cultures and history. The alleys are meaninglessly intertwined in a fascinating labyrinth that takes you from the Christian quarter to the Muslim one to the Jewish one without you realizing it. Spices, shops, restaurants, merchants, friars, rabbis, children, churches, mosques… will transport you to a fourth dimension.
We pass by the places of worship of each religion such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and room of the last supper of Jesus, rebuilt by the Crusaders. We visit the Western Wall, also known as the wailing wall and tomb of King David, passing under the minarets of mosques that promptly call the faithful to prayer. Jerusalem is so rich and full of historical sites and stories to tell that we recommend that everyone take one with you expert guide like Doron Sar Shalom, who knows every stone and secret of this mystical city.
Our trip ends in Tel Aviv, which is only an hour from Jerusalem, but on the way don't forget to visit the cellars and vineyards that make this land even more precious. They are young productions but have grown very well and you will feel it from the aromas and goodness of the white and red wines that have accompanied us along the journey. There Clos de Gat winery, is an example of mastery of how in just twenty years their wines have become a national and international excellence.
A Tel Aviv you can rest in beach and have fun in the evening, it is a modern metropolis with the advantage of the Mediterranean for a summer dip. Don't miss the ancient city of Jaffa and Art Museum.
For all tourist information, even in Italian, you can, indeed we strongly recommend that you consult the official site of Israeli Tourism, full of useful tips, guides and all the essential contacts for a simply perfect trip.
For our motorcycle trip we brought: