Heathen in the Holy Land: Why Israel isn’t just for religious pilgrims and history nerds

For previous posts from our new “Heathen in the Holy Land” series, go here and here.

Visiting Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the last remaining part of the Holy Temple and one of Judaism’s most sacred sites, is a sobering, thought-provoking, and almost otherworldly experience. But I wouldn’t call it fun.

Sadly, many who haven’t visited Israel think that all Israel’s attractions are like this: important historically or religiously and certainly enriching to visit, but a little too much like the tourist’s equivalent of having to eat all your vegetables and not getting dessert.

So in this post we’re going to steer away from the religious and historical aspects of Israel– as much as it’s possible to do that in a country so dominated by religion and history– and instead focus on what makes Israel fun.

Whether it’s ATV riding through verdant green valleys near the Israel-Lebanon border, horseback riding overlooking the Sea of Galilee (where Jesus famously showed off), or floating in the super-bouyant Dead Sea, Israel has plenty of activities to challenge everyone from out-of-shape, potential Biggest Loser contestants to Bear Grylls wannabes.

Check out the following slide show to see what I mean. [Captions of admittedly uneven levels of hilarity provided free of charge.]

%Gallery-48458%Disclosure: This week-long trip to Israel was sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Tourism. Unlike the trip, my opinions were not paid for because, dammit, my integrity is not for sale.