Spanning Haifa, Acre, the Golan Heights, Jezreel, Tiberias, and Safed, northern Israel is a diverse landscape of cities, some overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and others situated in sweeping green expanses nestled within the mountains and beyond. In northern Israel, lush orchids, boutique wineries, adventurous hiking trails and picturesque landscapes await.
With many highlights to relish in summer, it’s really the best time to go to Israel, specifically the North. and with temperatures peaking at 93˚F, remember to pack your sunscreen and hat before gallivanting out for the day.
Not to be missed are the spectacular views from the Golan Heights, seen from many vantage points across this tranquil land, distinctive for its luscious mountainous terrain, fresh springs and freely flowing rivers. Although it would take you closer to a week to hike its entirety, there are numerous trails and water hikes for all levels.
Israel’s national lake, Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), the lowest freshwater lake on earth, is a natural wonder in the midst of agricultural expanses. Hop on a motorboat and skim around its clear waters, marveling at the scenic terrain. Also, make a stop in Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, founded back in the early Roman period—a site of religious significance with many cultural sites to explore including an archeological park and the city’s famous fish market.
Then there’s bird watching in the Hula Valley at Hula lake Park, a glorious spot to witness thousands of birds (390 species which pass through the region!) in the stunning valley. A true labor of love, the Hula Valley’s mammoth restoration project by the KKL-JNF saw an area once populated by swamps transformed into a natural haven for wildlife and vegetation.
Winter is the best time to go to Israel. Winter in Israel is also the best time to visit Mount Hermon, the tallest peak in Israel at over 9,000 feet above sea level, which becomes a nirvana for ski lovers. Although snow is rare in Israel, it does fall in the north, so much so that you can enjoy a weekend of snowboarding, sledding and skiing the slopes. Make sure to book ahead as the resort is only open for around 50 days of skiing a year.
For those who didn’t know, Israel is a top destination for some of the finest wines (it’s been said that the country has produced wine for thousands of years). And you can sample some of the finest at a choice of wineries scattering the north—Assaf Winery, Pelter Winery, Golan Heights Winery and Lotem Winery, to name a few.
And even with a chill in the air, you can still soak up the beauty of Acre’s Old City, a well-preserved port within the walls of the city; and the captivating grottos at Rosh HaNikra, unbelievable geological creations resting on the most northern point of the country’s coastline.
Whilst the weather in Jerusalem during summer months can top 84˚F, the winter months can dip to lows of 44˚F. Every few years, the city is showered with snowfall, and rain is common throughout the winter. No matter what the weather has in store, it’s always the best time to go to Israel and Jerusalem as the year-round tourist destination offers something for all types of travelers.
Take a break from sightseeing to weave through the hundreds of stalls at Jerusalem’s renowned Mahane Yehuda Market, soaking up the smells and tastes of Israel. Known to the locals as the ‘shuk’, the market has grown into a destination of culinary extraordinaire with many eateries scattering the internal and periphery and ascended upon day and night.
There’s also no better time than summer to experience the city by foot on a walking tour, like Abraham’s Holy City Jerusalem Tour which guides you through history to visit the holiest sites to Jews, Muslims and Christians, including the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock and the Via Dolorosa.
And let’s not forget the festivals! Jerusalem comes alive during summer with a repertoire of events. From the wine festival and beer festival, to the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival (known as Mekudeshet) and the spectacular Festival of Light, summertime brings a flurry of activity to the holy city.
Jerusalem is home to dozens of museums which are open year-round, so if the weather turns, drop into a few and discover history, culture, religion, art, music and more up close, with the Israel Museum, Bible Lands Museum, Bloomfield Science Museum and Herzl Museum on the line-up!
In the evening, purchase tickets for The Night Spectacular, which runs on selected days throughout the year and presents an exquisite light and sound show depicting a historical journey spanning thousands of years, projected against the backdrop of the Tower of David.
Just like summer in Jerusalem, winter is also a popular season for festivals. The Shaon Horef Cultural Festival is a special opportunity to take to the streets with hundreds of artists and musicians for free performances and more. Jazz lovers are in for a treat at the International Music Showcase Festival, spotlighting a mix of Israeli jazz alongside music ensembles and genres across rock, indie and electronic. And of course, Chanukah is always a time for celebration across Israel, and in Jerusalem in particular, you can catch the candle lighting at sunset by the Western Wall, not to mention, sample creative varieties and flavors of freshly baked sufganiyot (doughnuts) during the holiday!
Tel Aviv enjoys 300 days a year of sunshine, with a very short, albeit often rainy, winter, when temperatures tend to drop in December and pick back up in March. So when is the best time to go to Israel, Tel-Aviv? Always! Regardless of the weather, there’s an endless list of things to do and places to explore in the non-stop city.
Tel Aviv’s hot summer sees temperatures in June hovering in the low 80s, reaching above 90˚F by August. And when the heat cranks up, you can bet both Tel Avivians and visitors flock to the beach in their hoards for a splash in the cooling Mediterranean waters. You can also sunscreen up and hit the volleyball courts, outdoor gyms or take to the water itself for SUP or surfing! Equipment is available to rent at various locations including Israel Surf Club. Be mindful, during May to September, jellyfish are out in full force, even in shallow waters, so watch your footing!
Other popular spots to soak up the weather are at the city’s green lungs, from the sprawling Park Hayarkon in the north, featuring pedal and rowboats, plenty of greenery and miles of bike lanes, to Gan HaPisga (also known as Summit Garden) in Jaffa—a sublime spot overlooking the Tel Aviv skyline. Stop by the Wishing Bridge featuring zodiac signs to make a wish on yours!
Nowhere quite captures the spirit of the city like al fresco dining in Tel Aviv and Jaffa by night. Tables and chairs line the sidewalks and cobble streets, packed with diners who feast on their choice of fare. North Abraxas and Santa Katarina are frequented go-tos by the locals, whilst Onza and Cafe Pua are some of Jaffa’s hotspots.
As late evening draws, Tel Aviv’s port becomes a converging spot for partygoers who can drink and dance to their heart’s content in the open air, all night long.
In the winter season, temperatures can fall to a low of 46˚F, although heat waves have been known to occur during this time. It’s smart to be prepared for unpredictable rainy spells with waterproofs and an umbrella in tow.
Tel Aviv’s dynamic offerings do not stop though, even when the weather shifts. For example, home to a flourishing fashion scene, there are indoor malls for exploring at Dizengoff Center and the luxurious Fashion Mall Tel Aviv, brimming with local and international brands.
For a bite of indoor eating, Sarona’s spacious indoor food market is the place to sample a flavor of food from across the globe. The complex opened back in 2015, born on the land once housing the city’s German Templar Colony. The restoration project features a sprawl of restaurants, local businesses and retail stores for your choosing.
You can also indulge in a spa treatment, at the likes of Yoko Kitahara, a luxurious spot embracing Japanese tradition in Jaffa; catch an independent film at the cultural landmark Cinematheque in the center of the city; or explore one of the city’s many museums such as the Museum of the Jewish People which relays the story of Jewish people throughout the generations.
And despite a possible chill in the air, the bars and clubs remain packed year round, meaning your next cocktail is just around the corner. Also, many festivals and events take place during winter, such as the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, featuring an annual line-up of top performers.
Remember, Tel Aviv is rarely very cold and experiences a milder winter period compared to some other cities, with sporadic sunny days. This explains why beaches are still open and busy throughout December and January — perfect for a brisk walk along the promenade or even a dip in the sea!
The country’s south, spanning the Negev and Arava Valley, has a sweltering desert climate, particularly during summer. It’s best to go to this part of Israel depending on your preference of the warm summer climate, or during winter which can bring cloudy skies and chilly evenings.
Eilat is a year-round spot for sun, sea and fun on a small stretch of the Red Sea shoreline, overlooking Egypt and Jordan. With temperatures soaring to 104˚F in summer, you can bet it’s beach weather! Snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, water sports and all manners of beach activities will keep you entertained throughout the day, with evening drawing crowds to revel in the outdoor nightclubs including the electrifying Selena—the destination for partying.
On the way to Eilat, make a stop at Mitzpe Ramon to visit the crater, known as the largest ‘erosion cirque’ in the world. Lookout points allow you to capture pictures of the crater in its full, landscape glory. Aside from this, Mitzpe Ramon, a small town of a few thousand, has been revived in recent years as a destination for desert activities of abseiling, Jeep touring and even cycling for those who prefer to get around on wheels.
And winter desert days are made for hiking, where visibility remains clear and the cooler air allows for a more energized climb or trek. Red Canyon, Ein Advat National Park and Nahal Peres are popular hikes of various lengths and accents.
Also, the Red Sea reaches highs of 64˚F this time of year which is ideal for divers who want to explore the underwater world without the usual rush of tourists.
Timna park, an expansive stretch of around 70,000 dunams, where breathtaking geological sites, formations and beautiful landscapes are up for discovery, is another must-visit when in the south. With winter days reaching around 68˚F, you can explore the region without overheating! On your adventure through this sandstone paradise of ancient wonders and fascinating remains from the Egyptian Temple, you’ll see the renowned geological structures of the Arches, alongside Solomon’s Pillar and the giant red sandstone mushroom, it’s bottom eroded to create the distinctive shape.
Sinai & Jordan
Both Sinai and Jordan are year-round tourist destinations, although, given their desert climate, you will find the summers very hot, with quite a drop in temperature during the winter. Nonetheless, it’s always a good time to visit these breathtaking regions.
Sinai and Jordan can reach the scorching temperature of 104°F, making for a hot and humid visit. But if vacationing in the heat is for you, then the Red Sea and other beaches of Sinai will be to your liking. For those who love the water, paddle-boarding, snorkeling, diving and even jet skiing are for your choosing.
And on dry land, sandboarding and jeep trekking are popular activities to try your hand at!
Jordan is known for shining 300 days of sunshine over the country, with a dry and bright climate throughout most of the year. Given the lower humidity in the mountain heights, blazing days turn to cooler evenings. Reef diving at Aqaba, Jeep tours of Wadi Rum and wandering Amman Citadel in the country’s capital are all popular summertime activities.
Winters in Sinai can be cold with temperatures dipping into the 30s, and as they drop, some of the mountains present a dusting of snow, especially Mount Catherine, the highest mountain in Egypt standing at 2,629 meters. Next to it is Mount Sinai, a mountain on the Sinai Peninsula which is said in the bible to be where the Ten Commandments were passed to Moses by God. Standing at 2,285 meters, visitors can enjoy a four-hour round hike to the peak, even in the winter months. Just make sure to pack warm clothing!
Experience all that Israel has to offer with our list of the top 20 things to do in Israel. From exploring ancient sites and tasting local cuisine to hiking through breathtaking landscapes and immersing yourself in the rich culture and history of the region, our list has something for every type of traveler.