Nowhere showcases Israel's ancient past like the Heritage-listed Masada, a remote desert fort where Jewish warriors made a final stand against the Roman Empire in 73 CE. It's perched on a rocky plateau and offers a fascinating glimpse of life in the 1st century when Israel was known as Roman Judea.
A series of paths wind through the Roman military encampments and make it easy to admire ancient structures. Keep an eye out for strongholds used by Jewish Zealots, palaces raised by Jewish Zealots and bases used by the 10th Legion during the Siege of Masada.
For breathtaking views, hike to the summit of Mt Eleazar, where you can admire the desert. Pick up a map from the Masada Visitors Centre and visit at sunrise to beat the crowds and see the plateau illuminated in reds, yellows and golds.
Masada is in Israel's Southern District, a two-hour drive from Tel Aviv and 1.5 hours from Jerusalem. Local buses running to and from the Dead Sea stop a few hundred metres from the Masada Visitors Centre. Many visitors arrive from Arad, a 30-minute drive south-west.