Exploring the Haram el-Sharif in Jerusalem’s Old City

When visiting Jerusalem’s Old City and exploring the Armenian, Christian, Muslim and Jewish quarters take the opportunity to go up onto the rectangular platform that was built by King Herod 2000 years ago that straddles the hill above the Tyropean valley. To Muslims this is the Haram el-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary; to Jews and Christians […]

Top 10 destinations in 2013

Here are our top 10 destinations in 2013. We selected places that have a lot of history and culture, or natural beauty. Plan early because some destinations, such as Burma, have limited hotel availability. (1) Burma The country is opening up to the outside world and sanctions against it are being dropped. It is much easier […]

Israel packs a lot into a small country

The next time you think about packing your bags and traveling, think about visiting Israel, a destination that packs a lot into a small country: mountains, desert, sea coast, forests and history. Israel is situated on a moving tectonic plate separated by a section of the Great African Rift and the legendary Jordan River is chilly […]

Guide to Herodium, Israel: location of Herod’s Tomb and Palace

Not far from Jerusalem lies Herodium, a palace/fortress on the top of a man-made mountain with a view all the way to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. It is one of my favorite places and I guide there often. Herodium is unique among sites like Masada, Jericho and desert fortresses that Herod […]

New boutique hotels in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is finally catching up with other cities in the number of chic boutique hotels. This is a welcome development, as the mainstream chain hotels in Tel Aviv are massive, old-fashioned and characterless buildings with poor service, catering mostly to tour groups.  Many of the new boutique hotels are located in the historic core of […]

Top five autumn breaks in Europe and the Middle East

Looking for go away for a weekend this autumn in Europe? Here is Mapplr’s top five autumn breaks from lively cities to tranquil countrysides: (1) London: The Olympics is over and so is the Golden Jubilee, but what they’ve left behind is a city that has been renovated, cleaned up and beautified. You’ll find refurbished […]

Vashti: fresh Mediterranean cuisine by the Jaffa Clock Tower, Tel Aviv

CLOSED: This restaurant has shut down.  Vashti is a recently opened restaurant in Tel Aviv, close to the Jaffa Clock Tower, an area that has seen a renaissance in the last five years. The kitchen is in the hands of Merav Davidson, one of Tel Aviv’s youngest chefs, a woman who began cooking at the […]