5 Activities for Blind Visitors to Israel

October 25th 2018

For the blind or partially sighted, travel can be a daunting prospect. When planning your travels to Israel you might be wondering where to take a blind friend or family member. After all, Israel is famous for its visual beauty, whether in the form of landscapes or ancient cities. Yet for the blind person, these will always remain just a description.

However, there are places in Israel which afford the visitor much more than simple visual interest. A visual impairment means the other four senses come to the fore – hearing, taste, smell, and touch. It’s these senses that can truly bring Israel to life for the blind visitor. And it’s these senses we want to explore more in this article covering a few activities blind visitors to Israel will particularly appreciate.

The Kotel and Tunnels

The Kotel (the Western Wall) is the holiest place where Jews can pray – it being the closest accessible part to the Holy of Holies. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the wall each year and for many, it’s the most meaningfully significant moment of their entire visit. For the blind visitor, the moment is no less special.

There’s easy access to the wall itself and the ambiance is unmistakable. The wall can be touched and prayer notes placed into the cracks. The sound of prayers being recited is near constant. There are also tunnel tours which guide visitors along the rest of the wall underground. These too provide blind visitors with the ability to touch the ancient walls while a guide talks about the history.

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is famous for being one of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet. It’s so salty, there are no fish or plants, hence its name. The waters are renowned for their healing properties as well as the amazing buoyancy the salty water creates.

For the blind visitor, the Dead Sea is an incredible place. You can smell the salty waters from a mile off. The water itself is beautifully warm and the buoyancy means you float rather than swim, making it relatively safe for just about anyone. And you can feel your skin being nourished by the salts.

Golan Winery Tours

The Golan Heights Winery is one of the most well-known wineries in Israel. It’s based, as the name suggests, in Israel’s Golan Heights, in the far north of the country. The winery exports its bottles to more than 25 countries and provides visitors with several tours of its facilities and vineyards.

For the blind visitor with a love of wine, it’s the perfect place to visit to learn more about the wine making process. Whilst there you’ll venture into the aromatic oak barrel cellars, explore the warm scented vineyards, and taste a variety of different delicious wines.

Hamat Gader Hot Springs

One of the most popular attractions in the Galilee is the Hamat Gader Hot Springs. The resort is a short drive from Tiberius near to the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The site comprises an ancient Roman bath structure and a series of natural thermo mineral pools, which the ancient Romans loved.

The complex is perfect for blind visitors. The waters are warm and filled with skin-nourishing healing properties. It’s a place where you could easily spend a whole day, simply relaxing in the pools and enjoying massages.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is Israel’s largest Holocaust museum. It’s a difficult place to visit. Not in terms of accessibility but rather the emotional impact the memorial delivers. The site is dedicated to the lives and memories of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Shoah.

There are numerous interactive historical displays, some of which offer audio elements. The Library features a large-text section for those who are partially sighted.