FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
United

Lesser-Known Facts of Israel’s Most Popular Landmarks

by Angelique Platas

May 4, 2020

Massada. Photo: Itamar Grinberg

Destinations / Middle East

As May is Jewish American Heritage Month, we’re shedding some light on the incredible history of Israel. This can be an eye-opening lesson any day of the week — especially with the kids cooped up at home, running low on history and geography lesson plans.

 

Any future world traveler or self-proclaimed wanderer will be intrigued to know some of the lesser-known facts about Israel’s most-visited landmarks. If the Dead Sea and Negev Desert are on your list of must-sees when travel resumes, here are a few fun facts to take with you:

 

The Dead Sea

 

While many already know the Dead Sea is considered a natural wonder beloved for its medicinal properties, not many know it’s actually located within a natural wonder. The Dead Sea sits at the deepest point of the Great Rift Valley, the world’s longest geographical phenomenon, covering more than 4,000 miles, crossing 20 countries. Formed from a rift in the Earth’s crust, the Dead Sea is believed to be more than 3 million years old.

 

Float, Dead Sea. Photo: Itamar Grinberg

 

The Dead Sea may be 10 times saltier than sea water, but it’s not the most salt-concentrated body of water in the world — that title goes to Gaet’ale Pond in Ethiopia and Don Juan Pond in Antarctica, alternating between first and second place for highest salinity for decades.

 

Considered a wellness wonder for centuries, Cleopatra was a big fan and early adopter —  some of the world’s first spas were built around the Dead Sea.

 

Despite the sea’s incredible density, making it especially difficult to break through the surface and sink below, you can dive in the Dead Sea. Don’t expect to see any marine life, but seriously skilled divers will be blown away by the geological formations below.

 

Dead Sea Salt. Photo: Itamar Grinberg

 

The Negev Desert

 

Israel’s Negev Desert and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula are the only places in the world where the geological phenomena (erosion cirque) exist, known as the Makhtesh Ramon, or Ramon Crater.

 

The Negev Desert is home to Masada, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of last remaining strongholds from the First Jewish-Roman War. The historic fortress sits alone on the rock plateau and is known as the site of a mass suicide by the Jewish people who refused to surrender. Before the Jewish rebellion, the fortress dates back to the time of King Herod (30 BCE).

 

Masada. Photo: Itamar Grinberg

 

While perched atop a hill, Masada is actually below sea level, as the region near the Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth. The surrounding area boasts incredible acoustics, actually known as an echo balcony, and hosts world-class musicians and orchestras, including performances by Andrea Bocelli. It’s said if you shout into the desert from the balcony, you will hear it come back to you as a crowd response. Historians believe this could have been used as a battle trick by the rebels to make their numbers sound far greater and (hopefully) ward off enemies.

 

Masada. Photo: Itamar Grinberg

#WhereverFamily

Insta Feed
Cruises
Jul 8, 2024

Margaritaville at Sea’s “Islander” Makes Maiden Voyage

Family travelers will delight in Margaritaville at Sea’s Islander, which set sail on her inaugural voyage in June 2024, departing from Port Tampa Bay to Cozumel, Mexico, on a four-night journey. The ship boasts 12 decks accommodating 2,650 passengers. The ship will now continue to sail four- and five-night cruises to Key West and Mexico, before venturing to Belize, Jamaica and Grand Cayman on six- and seven-night itineraries in 2026.

United Continues Its Global Expansion

United Airlines keeps soaring to new heights, recently announcing another expansion of its leading global route network. The airline added new non-stop flights between Newark (EWR) and Marrakesh (RAK), Morocco; Tokyo (NRT) and Cebu (CEB), Philippines; and Houston (IAH) and Medellin (MDE), Colombia. That’s not all: United also plans to increase flights to popular worldwide destinations including Hong Kong (HKG); Seoul (INC), South Korea; and Porto (OPO), Portugal. Following the recent agreement to increase flights between the U.S. and Chinese governments, the airline now adds four weekly flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai (PVG).

Hotels
Jul 4, 2024

Peak Pursuits Adventures Awaits from East West Hospitality

East West Hospitality offers family travelers exciting experiences in California and Colorado with its new Peak Pursuits program. With help from East West Hospitality’s expert Guest Experience team, guests may customize the curated itineraries to best fit their needs.

Slideshow
Jul 2, 2024

7 Canadian National Parks for Family Travel

It’s time to start dreaming of your next family trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through these Canadian national parks with us.

Travel to Madrid with the Family and Find Activities to Keep Everyone Happy!

If life were a city, it’d be Madrid. Sometimes it can be quite the challenge to find a destination just right for the whole family. Different tastes and ages make agreeing on where to go seem impossible. Unless, of course, the destination you have in mind is Madrid. With all of its new immersive museums, musicals, soccer stadiums and monuments like Royal Palace, anyone who suggests coming to the capital is sure to get a unanimous yes!

Cruises
Jul 2, 2024

Holland America Line, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center Invited Fans to Name Rescue Moose

Holland America Line and Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center teamed up to offer family travelers a chance to name a rescue moose. Suggestions were accepted on a designated post on the cruise line’s Facebook and Instagram pages through June 23. Holland America Line gives cruise-goers the chance to view Alaska’s wildlife responsibly from its ships and on shore excursions. AWCC rescues injured and orphaned animals, offering them spacious enclosures and quality care.