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Given the problems between Israel and several of its neighbours added to the problems in several Middle East countries due to the Arab Spring, and perhaps some other closed borders or unsafe countries, if I really want to get to Israel from Europe without flying is it currently possible and which route would be least dangerous and least risk of being disallowed entry at border crossings etc?

The important part is at the middle east end. The Europe end doesn't really matter since travelling among the European countries is a piece of cake in comparison.

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Your default way would be via Syria and Jordan, but I'd say that's not safe. You may need to look into ferries from Greece or Cyprus – Gagravarr Sep 16 '11 at 16:00
If it was via Syria and Jordan is the route beyond either then totally obvious? I heard the border region with Turkey and Syria is not safe right now. Does Armenia have a border? I could be there in a few months. Also are all other land routes besides Jordan impassable? Sorry for my fairly complete ignorance \-: – hippietrail Sep 16 '11 at 16:07
I believe your two options are trying to get a ferry from Cyprus, or overland it from Egypt (friends in Egypt say the situation is much better now) – Gagravarr Sep 16 '11 at 16:13
Aha. Now I have to look up the route from Egypt to Europe... I think there is plenty for you to make an answer (-: – hippietrail Sep 16 '11 at 16:19
The route from Europe to Egypt is hardly going to be straight-forward, since you cannot go through Libya nowadays. Even Algeria is supposed to be quite difficult to get in and out of. So you might have to go from Turkey into Iran, then briefly through Iraq and Kuwait, then Saudi Arabia, then Egypt. Not practical, but technically is overland. The alternative is to find another way through Africa, but with Ebola in the west, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the CAR's crisis, insecurity in Mali and instability in South Sudan, it's hard to think of a route! – Rafael May 25 '15 at 6:56
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Promoting comments to an answer...

Looking at the ever useful Seat61 page for Israel, there are three typical routes. One is via Turkey, Syria and Jordan. My understanding of the current situation in Syria is that this one is out. Next up is a direct ferry from Greece, but that isn't running currently. Finally there are suggestions that you can get a ferry from Cyprus on to Israel, I'd suggest you try looking into that.

If you wanted to get to Jordan avoiding Syria, then you'd have to go through Iraq, which isn't any better! I think you'll have to consign yourself to not overlanding it via Turkey any time soon. Ferry in is your best bet.

One other possible option is via Egypt. Friends in Egypt tell me that the situation in the country is much better now, however relations between Egypt and Israel aren't great (to say the least...). That'd likely mean taking the ferry from Venice to Alexandria and then onwards by land to the border (and hope it's open). Snag is, that ferry is reported to have issues at the moment too, as it normally stops in Syria on the way

Looks like your only bet is the Cyprus ferry, assuming their website is telling the truth about it running at the moment...

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Obviously it will be much easier to get there than getting back (because of visa issues) – Grzenio Sep 19 '11 at 14:49
There shouldn't be any visa/passport stamp issues via Greece and Cyprus, but you're right it's an issue for overland via neighbouring countries – Gagravarr Sep 19 '11 at 16:55
Borders with Egypt are working fine as usual (of course you would enter from Taba not Rafah), and relations between Egypt and Israel are more than great as they have always been. Some people in either countries might not love the other, others will always try to ruin these relations and spread rumors on both sides. But thank god both governments have had perfectly good relations for almost 40 years. May they forever live in peace – msk Nov 21 '11 at 7:04
Israel does not currently stamp passports anymore. They use printed entry cards instead. – andrewmh20 Feb 21 at 12:50
@andrewmh20 At least for the Yitzchak Rabin border crossing (entering Eilat from Aqaba, Jordan) this is not (yet?) true. I got a stamp in my passport in May 2016 when entering Israel. (I did not get one leaving Israel via Ben Gurion airport, though.) – Jan Jun 6 at 0:45

The title and the body ask different questions.

Strictly overland is going to be very problematic. It would require passing through at least one of Iraq or Syria. Large parts of both are currently under the control of ISIS and Syria currently has multiple factions fighting for control. Possibly you could edge your way round the east and south of Iraq into Jordan but I doubt it would be an easy trip.

On the other hand if you just want to get there without flying then there are Mediterranean cruises that stop off in Israel

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In 2015 no passenger oriented ferries operate to/from Israel, however some cargo companies will take passengers as well. Grimaldi certainly does, I am not sure whether anyone else does. It's significantly more expensive than flying to Israel.

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