Presentation of the destination
Just 20km south of Tel Aviv through the Negev desert lies the quiet and bookish city of Rehovot. With a population of around 114,000, Rehovot was established in 1890 by Polish immigrants, near the archaeologic site called Khirbat Deiran, which dates back through Byzantine, Roman and Hellenistic periods. Now the city is full of flourishing vineyards, almond orchards and citrus groves, and is world famous for the Weizmann Institute of Science, a postgraduate university and research centre that has produced Turing Award and Nobel Prize winners. As you'd expect from a university city, Rehovot has plenty of cultural activities and interesting things to see, including museums, gardens and libraries, and lots of the Hebrew speakers have excellent English. Rehovot has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and cooler and wetter winters, and the local currency is the Israeli new shekel (NIS). The Israeli time zone is UTC+2.
Points of interests / things to see
The award-winning Clore Garden of Science, part of the Weizmann Institute’s educational outreach programme, is the only entirely outdoor science museum of its kind in the world. With 80 tactile exhibits scattered over 10,000 m² of lush green lawns, it's an excellent destination to discover many scientific laws and phenomena. Spot the solar furnace which can set wood on fire instantly, a 360° rainbow made with sprinklers and a water feature that demonstrates wave power. You can walk on the moon, experience being a human yo-yo, and experiment with sound, whispering to your friend standing the other side of the park. The new EcoSphere is a beautiful geodesic dome, which creates a fantastic microclimate for a variety of organisms. Established a decade ago, the Clore Garden of Science draws over 60,000 visitors every year, from schoolchildren to families to tourists. It runs hands on educational programs and offers a great venue for birthday parties. Address: Clore Garden of Science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 7610001. Admission: Adult 150 NIS/Children 35 NIS. Opening hours: Saturday-Thursday: 9am - 5pm, Friday: Closed. Call 08-9343168 for guided tours.
Chaim Weizmann, the very first president of the State of Israel, and his wife Vera, were born in Russia, living in Germany, Switzerland and England before deciding to build their home in Rehovot. The beautiful modernist structure of their house, situated on a hill overlooking the Judean mountains to the east, was designed by architect Erich Mendelsohn. The large residence, which sits beautifully in its natural environment echoing traditional architectural forms, is often referred to as ‘the Palace’. After Weizmann’s death, the official residence of the president moved to Jerusalem, and in 1978 the house was open to the public as a museum. Inside, discover a nautilus-shaped stairwell and the tastefully decorated bedrooms, study and dining room of the president, as well as the couple's beautiful collection of art and artefacts from around the globe. Outside the garden is full of meandering paths leading between citrus, olive and fig trees and blossoming flowers where the couple is buried together. Address: Herzl St 234, Rehovot, 76100. Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 9am – 4pm. Arrange visits in advance on 972-8-9344499/4500, or by email at email@example.com.
Get to grips with Rehovot’s cutting-edge scientific life at the Levinson Visitors Centre, where some 30,000 curious visitors go each year to learn about the Weizmann Institute of Science, one of the world's leading multidisciplinary research institutions. This lush green campus is home to hundreds of scientists, technicians and students, all working towards the betterment of scientific knowledge. The Levinson Visitors Centre seeks to explore what drives scientists to discover new technologies, develop new materials, and explore space, evolution or the human genome. The interactive displays showcase the latest research projects taking place at the institute, as well as presenting personal testimonies from scientists whose work has led to groundbreaking discoveries. In the main hall there is also a projection show exploring the nature of scientific research. Gift shop stocks a range of Weizmann Institute accessories, clothing and toys and gifts, and next door Café Mada offers a delicious range of kosher breakfast pastries, sandwiches, salads and pastas. Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 9am – 4pm. Address: Herzl St 234, Rehovot, 76100.
Located between Rehovot and the neighbouring settlement Ness Ziona, Ayalon Institute Museum is a bit of a hidden gem. This former clandestine ammunition factory was constructed in 1945 by Zionist leaders during the British Mandate. The Brits were easily tricked, thinking the building was just a kibbutz, but actually the site concealed a huge bullet-making operation. To keep up the charade, the Jews built housing, communal dining facilities, and agricultural buildings to house chickens and cows, as well as a vegetable garden. At its peak the factory produced 40,000 bullets a day, using imported copper that the Jews claimed was for making kosher lipstick. Although the building ceased operation in 1948, the facility did not become public knowledge until 1975. In 1987 the factory was restored to its former glory, and it now houses a fascinating museum. Call in advance to reserve your place on a tour, where you'll see much of the original machinery, as well as the sun-tanning room used by workers to get a deep outdoorsy tan and avoid arousing British suspicion. Address: David Fiks St., Rekhovot, Kibbutz Hill, Science Park. Phone: +972-(0)8-9406552. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If all that learning about science and history has tired you out, why not head to one of Israel's most beautiful beaches, Palmachim. This quiet undeveloped stretch of coast has wild rocks to give way to yellow sand, and is a nesting site for sea turtles. Rarely crowded even at the peak of August, the reserve has excellent facilities run by the Natural Parks Authority, including outdoor showers, toilets, picnic benches and kiosks. The water is crystal clear and clean, and you can even explore the ruins of the Bronze Age Yavne-Tam sea port, caves and burial area. Spot the helicopters landing at the nearby airbase, try your hand at flying a kite and enjoy the views of Tel Aviv to the north. Thankfully, recent plans to build a ‘monstrous’ 350-apartment holiday resort were thwarted by environmentalists and local residents, but the area’s not immune to modern developments: after all, IKEA is just around the corner. Entrance with a car 25-30 NIS. Palmachim is situated 12km west of Rehovot.
Israel's second city is located just 20 km north of Rehovot, and is well linked by public transport, so it's worth nipping up to visit the ‘city that never sleeps’ for some 24-hour partying, or to visit the White City, the world's largest concentration of Bauhaus buildings, declared a UNESCO site in 2003. There's the ancient port of Jaffa, Dizengoff Square and its colourful fountain and a host of beachfront cafes and clubs to enjoy. It’s 20-30 minutes by train, or catch buses 201 or 301.
Head south through the desert to reach lively university town Beersheba, where you’ll discover the ruins of the biblical city of the same name, as well as the commonwealth WWI cemetery and the huge concrete land art installation of the Negev memorial, offerings stunning views over the city from its commanding hilltop location. Be’er Sheba is also chess capital of the world, with more grandmasters per capita here than in any other city. Catch the train from Rehovot.
Deep in the dusty heat of the Negev lie three massive ‘makhtesh’ craters, whose 250-million year old rocks bear traces of village settlements, burial sites, ancient water systems and trade routes dating back to prehistory. The largest of these, the Ramon Crater, is the largest erosion crater in the world, and is abundant in fossils and desert wildlife. The name ‘makhtesh’ refers to the similarity between the craters and their namesake mortar and pestle grinding bowls. Head to the town of Mitzpe Ramon to begin your exploration.
Visit one of the world’s oldest cities, ancient Jerusalem. Sacred to all three Abrahamic religions, claimed as the capital by both Israelis and Palestinians, destroyed twice and attacked countless times, the city has a rich history to discover. The old city, divided into the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim quarters, is a World Heritage site packed with incredible religious destinations, including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Dome of the Rock. Take bus 439, 434 or 435 and you'll be there in less than an hour.
Vacation rentals in Rehovot (Center District)
How to get there ?
Most visitors will fly into Tel Aviv’ Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel's main airport. Here passenger planes arrive from across Europe, as well as from America, Turkey, Russia, Jordan and even Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. From Tel Aviv the train to Rehovot takes around 25 minutes, but trains only operate on weekdays until Friday noon. Rehovot is well connected by train to Ashkelon, Ashdod and Yavne in the south, and to Lod as well as Tel Aviv in the north. Bus services link Rehovot with other major cities in the area, departing from the bus station, which is located centrally by the huge American-style shopping mall, although buses also pick up along Herzl Street. Once you're in, the town is small enough for all major attractions to be reachable by foot, although some places will require the use of a car or taxi. If you are thinking of exploring the area, it is well worth hiring a car so that you can get off the beaten track, visiting remote beaches, small villages or view points that public transport bypasses.
Rehovot city hall
Hotels in Rehovot (Center District)