Instagrammable places in Israel - the most photogenic places in the Holy Land

Israel is an incredibly photogenic country and also one that we had seen very few photos of before our visit. Unlike Bali or Vietnam there are very few famous photography spots in Israel so we had a great time finding a few classics as well as seeking some of our own.

These spots will take you to some of our favourite places in the whole country and hopefully provide you with a lot of ‘wows’ both on and off the beaten track.

Here’s our favourite Instagrammable spots in Israel and how to get there.


Instagrammable places in Israel

The Cenacle - Jerusalem’s backstreets

Jerusalem is an incredibly photogenic city but one of our favourite spots was right beside the Last Supper Room. The gap between the two walls perfectly frames The Cenacle and it makes for a really atmospheric shot.

The Cenacle in Jerusalem

Jerusalem gets really busy and this spot can be a bit of a circus so we’d recommend going early in the morning for a clear shot. We probably went a little too early (around 7.30am) because we had a lot of shadow, a few hours later would probably be better.


Getting to The Cenacle

This spot is easy to find. Head to the Zion gate and walk south towards The Cenacle and the Last Supper room. You’ll come across this opening within a minute or two.

 

Dome of Rock, Jerusalem

The Dome of Rock is one of the most iconic buildings in Jerusalem and its bright gold dome makes for the perfect backdrop to a photo.

The Dome of Rock from the Temple Mount

Accessing the Dome of Rock is limited if you aren’t Muslim so it’s likely you’ll be here with a few others but people move along quite quickly. Note that you have to have your arms and legs fully covered when visiting the Temple Mount.


Getting to the Dome of Rock

The Temple Mount is completely closed on Fridays and Saturdays, and only opens from 8-11am and 2-4.30pm on Sundays - Thursdays. You can only access it via the wooden bridge in the Western Wall Plaza if you are not Muslim and be prepared to queue!

 

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

This is the most iconic shot in Jerusalem, if not the whole of Israel. It’s a panoramic lookout offering a fantastic view of the whole city.

The Dome of Rock from the Mount of Olives

We decided to visit at sunset for some lovely golden light but soft light in the early morning would be better for getting a clearer picture with more detail.


Getting to the Mount of Olives viewpoint

The viewpoint for sunset from the Mount of Olives is just outside the Seven Arches Hotel. You can drive and park right beside it.

 

The Dead Sea

Getting a shot floating in the Dead Sea is pretty much mandatory. There are so many places you can access the Dead Sea, this shot is from just in front of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Ein Bokek but everywhere in the Dead Sea looks pretty much the same so your choices are endless.

We’d recommend going at sunrise if you can for some truly amazing light. This shot is actually taken at sunset as we had misty conditions each morning we were in the area. You’ll find that most people leave the Dead Sea in the late afternoon so around sunset we had the whole area to ourselves, as you would at sunrise, which makes for such a relaxing experience.


Lonely Tree at the Dead Sea

This is a great place to shoot if you have a drone but you could take a handheld shot if you have a dry bag you are very confident in as getting out to the island takes around 20 minutes ‘swimming’. Swimming in the Dead Sea is definitely a lot harder than it looks when all your body wants to do is float.

If you have a drone wait for the person swimming to make it out to the island first to conserve the battery. We found the water looked the most beautiful when doing a top down shot.

If you have clear conditions early morning after the sun has risen above the mountains should give you great light and the best chance to have no one else around. If not we’d advise going towards the end of the day when most people have left, as the island is just off the public beach it gets really crowded for most of the day.

You can read more about getting to the Dead Sea tree here.



Red Canyon, Eilat

Red Canyon took us right back to the Southwest of America, it really is that stunning. The most beautiful spot for photography is the narrow section of the canyon which you reach after roughly 20 minutes walking. The path is largely flat with a few ups and downs but it is stony so sandals won’t be very comfortable.

Once you reach the start of the slot canyon to enter the section in our photo you need to go down a couple of ladders and a part with metal rungs etched into the canyon wall. If you are nervous about this section we’d say it looks worse than it is. Once you are on the ladder/rungs it is totally fine unless you have severe vertigo (the drops are not big).

Getting to Red Canyon

Red Canyon is easy to get to. Go to Highway 12 that heads out west from Eilat and keep going for about 10-15 minutes. You’ll see a sign on the right which leads to a dirt track and the car park for the trail through the Red Canyon.

 


Upper Pools, Wadi Arugot, Ein Gedi

As well as being one of our favourite hikes in Israel, Wadi Arugot also has one of the country’s most photogenic spots. You can take either the wet or dry hiking path to the pools (the wet is more fun!) and once you reach the end you’ll find a series of emerald pools.

All are beautiful but the best one is the first one you come to as it is by far the biggest. The best time to come is as soon as the park opens at 8am so you can beat the crowds. Whilst it isn’t anywhere near as popular as nearby Wadi David it still gets busy later in the day.

If you want to take a shot looking down on the pools you’ll be happy to know that there is a dry route around to the right side of the first upper pool so you won’t need to bring a dry bag for your camera.

Getting to the Upper Pools at Wadi Arugot

The trail to the upper pools starts at Wadi Arugot in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. You’ll need to hike about 4.1km to get to the Upper Pools, the wet route will take longer than the dry route but is more fun.

 


Mount Arbel - Galilee

The rocks at Mount Arbel with a view out to the stunning Sea of Galilee make for the perfect photo spot. We actually wanted to go at sunrise but found that it is a national park which doesn’t open until 8am! We didn’t have time but if you do and you’re up for the challenge one way around this is to hike up from Tiberias town centre, (which takes around two hours) and enter the reserve the back way.

If we had longer this is what we would have chosen for the chance to see sunrise over the Sea of Galilee. If not then go for 8am before the tour groups begin arriving soon after. Incidentally the park shuts at 4pm in winter and 5pm in summer so you can’t come for a reverse sunset either.

This exact spot is at the end of the Carob Tree Lookout walking path (around a ten minute walk from the car park) and just a few steps down from the main lookout (you’ll see the steps to your right). Some of the rocks seemed a little precarious so watch your step, we chose not to stand on the most ‘instagrammable’ ones because it looked too iffy!

Getting to Mount Arbel

The Carob Tree Lookout is in Mount Arbel National Park which is a 15 minute drive outside of Tiberias. You will need to pay an entrance fee of 29 Shekels (approx $8 USD).

 


Mitzpe Ramon

There are lots of fantastic lookouts at Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev Desert, but we actually like the one at the Visitor Centre for photos. Anywhere along the cliff edge beside the Visitor Centre works well for photos. We went at sunset (which is in the opposite direction), if you can stomach an early start sunrise or just after would be the prettiest light.

Getting to Mitzpe Ramon viewpoint

Mitzpe Ramon is 84km south of Be’er Sheva and about an hour’s drive. The viewpoint is to the right side of the Visitor Centre, overlooking the crater.

 

Masada Fortress

Watching the sunrise over the Dead Sea is pretty much de rigueur when visiting Israel and it was definitely one of our highlights. The cable car doesn’t run in the early morning so the only way up to the top of the fortress is to hike.

The most commonly used route is the Snake Path and it should take around 40-60 minutes to reach the top. The pathway opens exactly one hour before sunrise.

Once you get to the top head right and you will immediately see the fortress walls running along the edge of the cliff top. Sitting pretty much anywhere along these walls (as long as you are at the front section) is a perfect place to get a beautiful view of the sunrise.


Getting to Masada

Masada is about a 15 minute drive north from Ein Bokek. We recommend parking at the Eastern Parking and starting your hike from there. Alternatively you can go later and take the cable car to the top.

 

Our Camera Gear

Our brand of choice for camera gear has been Canon for many years and we love their L-Series lenses. Whilst they are heavier than some other brands, the image results are worth the additional weight. We’ve also used a few drones in our time (check out our guide to which drone to buy here) but currently own a DJI Mavic Pro.

Here’s the camera gear we use the most:


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Are you planning a trip to Israel? Are there any photography spots we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!


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