The Best Weekend Getaway in Israel Starts Here

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

I am a total over-thinker, over-planner, and over-doer. And when it comes to birthdays, all hell breaks loose.

I usually start planning out birthday presents and festivities four months in advance.

Finally, after years of trying every idea in the book, I found a constant that never disappointed and always made the celebration that much more special. VILLAS.

Goodbye hotels and hello private-villa-that-makes-me-feel-like-I'm-living-Cardi-B's-life.

Villas in Israel are super easy to find. Firstly, there are tons of websites where you can search for "zimmer", which is essentially a private villa that can be found throughout Israel from North to South. Secondly, you can use Airbnb! We've used both methods to book a villa over the years and I find Airbnb to be cheaper but "zimmer" searches to have more amenities like jacuzzi, pool, and included breakfast.


Here are some reasons to book a villa or zimmer for a birthday weekend (or any fun celebration):

  • You have private access to amenities

  • Private breakfast (if included)

  • Private kitchenette

  • Cheaper and competitive prices to hotels

Basically it's a lot more private! So if having your own private jacuzzi/pool to yourself for the weekend with a kickass homemade breakfast delivered to you where you get to dine over gorgeous views, then this is totally for you. Not to mention the thousands of shameless pictures you can take with your tripod by the pool because there's no one else there!


Here are some of my favorite villas:


Giv'ot Bar

This was in September 2019. There aren't so many pictures of the actual villa itself (although super gorgeous), we spent so much time by the pool learning how to dive and forgetting to put sunscreen on. ;)

This villa was on my radar for a really long time before we ended up there for Daniel's birthday weekend. It was SUPER affordable at just around $180 a night (cheaper than zimmer or hotel alternative), breakfast was included and it was a quick 15-20 minute drive from the city center of Be'er Sheva (120 shekels taxi).

The breakfast was definitely something to make a note of. Fanny (the host) brought us down each morning a platter that consisted of omelets, cheeses, olives, sliced veggies, jams, bread and tea made from plants from her garden!

We loved her homemade tea so much we ended up stopping by a shop on our way home to purchase all of the plants missing from our garden to make her tea at home!

Not to mention that breakfast was served poolside with the beautiful and serene views that expanded from her property. We even joked the second morning that we are way too excited since we ran outside bright and early with the sunrise to start our awesome breakfast!

Check out the Airbnb: here



 


Zimmer Al HaMedbar (zimmer on the desert)


This zimmer is SO popular and there's an obvious reason why! A private indoor jacuzzi and a private outdoor pool overlooking VAST desert hills will get anyone visiting year round. We visited this zimmer in February of 2019. It was way too cold to go in for a swim (I tried for a minute and immediately knew it was a bad choice), but we had the indoor jacuzzi so none was lost! This also happened to be a killer location for going on a small hike to see the sunrise over the hills (you could even see it without the hike). Another plus for this zimmer was the accessibility to a BBQ which isn't as common and if it is it usually isn't available for use on shabbat.


Check out that view!!! We made sure to get up early on the two mornings we were here just so we could have our morning coffee with the sun coming up over the hills. I can only imagine how much fun it is to swim in the pool during the hotter summer days!


You can't see it pictured here but there were always about 15-20 cats that hung out with us outside, Usually I am totally against cats, especially when they are strays but the ones that seemed to hang out with us around the zimmer didn't end up being too bad! Probably because Daniel kept feeding them biscuits.

We went for short walks in the morning (super chilly in the desert in winter!) to soak up the sunset and get a peak to the Kinneret.

Definitely recommend packing with you warmer clothes and closed shoes if you plan on going for a morning walk, it gets super cold in the desert at night!

In the evenings we fired up the BBQ outside and grilled some steaks and veggies for dinner. It was freaking AWESOME. There's really nothing cozier than a steak dinner inside a warm cabin on the edge of vast desert views.

Another must (for me) when going to a zimmer is the jacuzzi. Since we don't have a bathtub at home I get so stoked to pop in a bath bomb and relax in warm water with a cold glass of wine. Even now just writing about it makes me long to draw myself up another bath with some Judge Judy to boot. One essential I bring with me to a zimmer with a jacuzzi (other than the bath bomb and the wine) is bubble bath! The foamier the better! I definitely still have some ratio control learning to do when it comes to how much to put in, I've faced a few "the water doesn't cover my butt and the foam is bellowing over the sides" scenarios 😬.



 


North Zimmer

For this zimmer we are going North! We were here in September 2018 which is definitely still considered as summer in Israel, but I'm assuming due to being located so far north up in the hills made is SUPER chilly. Like, I packed only sundresses and bathing suits when I definitely needed to be wearing jeans and a light jacket. This zimmer was an awesome experience for us. It's situated in the small quiet community far from any major cities and most locals seemed to work in some kind of organic farming production. For example, the guy we rented the villa from makes his living off of selling his own grown olives and olive oil products!

The community was so quiet and relaxed, we would stand out on the balcony during breakfast and dinner and just here a dog barking in the distance or kids playing down the street. It was crazy different than the city noises we're used to!

This remoteness of this villa was also a huge plus at night, it was crazy how clear the sky was and how many little stars dotted the sky!

It was insanely gorgeous and we actually downloaded one of those star tracker apps to see what was going on above our heads. One of the amenities of this villa was a jacuzzi (of course) but it was actually outside! As I mentioned, the community is super small, quiet and remote, but another thing to mention is that this villa actually sat on the highest outer edge of the community and was the last house on the road. Meaning the garden surrounding the hot tub was totally secluded although it was outdoors. I spent SO much time outside in the hot tub gazing up at the stars that when we got home I had major neck pains from looking up for such long period of times and a cold that lasted for TWO WEEKS! I have to be real though, totally worth it.


Like I mentioned before, villas that come with breakfast are a huge bonus. Otherwise you'll have to lug a lot of food with you in case you're in a place like this where there aren't too many restaurant choices near by. We received breakfast in this cute wicker basket to our doorstep each morning (at an hour we decided with the owner before hand), and unpacked the breakfast on the porch.

This breakfast was oh-my-god amazing. I've never been a fan of hotel breakfasts but villa breakfasts are not to be compared!

Which makes sense! Rather than large sums of prepared food that was cooked for hundreds of guests, you get a home-cooked breakfast that was made just for you!

For dinner one night we wanted to go out and our host recommended us a few different restaurants a small drive away (20 minutes!), the kicker is that all these restaurants were in Arabic neighborhoods. I think it's important to mention they are Christian Arabs living in these neighborhoods and not Muslim Arabs which are veeerrry different and way less scary. Still scary for someone who is a total scaredy cat but I knew that he wouldn't recommend these places if there was really something to worry about.

The dinner we ate in the Christian-Arab neighborhood was one of the best I have ever had.


Oh. My. God. was it incredible!!! SO freaking delicious there are no words! The restaurant we went to was family owned, had their own locally-made wine and was super affordable. We ended up ordering so much food. From beef stew, to grilled eggplant, parsley salad, creme brulee and whatever other side dish that jumped out at us. Everything was so flavorful, colorful and so memorable that we tried to mimic some of the dishes when we came home. And I definitely need to mention the super sweet hospitality, the owners named the restaurant after their son (and our waiter ;)), Rey, and the entire time greeted us with smiles and fun small talk. It definitely made me feel like kind of silly making so many movies in my head about going into one of these neighborhoods.

We ended up having a really quiet weekend with great food, awesome views, small quaint hikes from the backdoor of the villa and endless stargazing. 10/10 recommended. Book here.


 

To sum it up, villas/zimmers are a definite must for a weekend get away. You get with it privacy of amenities you wouldn't get at a hotel (pool, jacuzzi, views, etc.), you get a kickass breakfast (if you go with a place where it's included), and you also get a chance to experience new local locations and activities that are totally awesome and not overflowing with other tourists and families. Make sure you pack with you a light jacket, even in the summer and the desert you could find yourself needing one and bubble bath soap to upgrade your jacuzzi experience!!


 

#israel #travelisrael #weekendgetaway #birthdayideas #villas #zimmer #zimemrisrael #airbnb #vacation #travel

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