Best Time to Visit Israel
Israel is a place that can be visited year-round, especially if your primary goal is to explore the holy sites which never go on vacation, while sunshine and blue skies rarely do either. Of course, that’s not all the country offers, with beautiful beaches and cities offers a wide range of cultural attractions and lively nightlife too.
No matter what your reason for traveling to Israel, the best time to visit depends on your personal preferences and experiences you’d like to enjoy. When it comes to weather, expect cooler temperatures from November to March, with some days bringing brief rain showers, while May through October an be quite hot and humid, especially along the coast, and April is a bit of a mixed bag.
Spring/Shoulder Season (April and May)
Spring is one of the best times to visit Israel as the weather will be mild while summer crowds haven’t arrived yet. Other than the Passover holidays, it will be quieter without the hordes of tourists. Expect afternoon temperatures of around 79 degrees Fahrenheit and cool nights. It’s a great time to enjoy bird watching, biking or hiking the hillsides and through the valleys that will be dotted with colourful flowers. In the Hula Valley, millions of migrating birds pass through. Room rates at hotels tend to be cheaper now too.
If you come in April you might witness the thousands of people gathering in Jerusalem of the annual Birkat Kohanim to hear the priestly blessing, as one of the Jewish community’s most emotional and spiritual days of the year.
Summer/High Season (June through August)
While there won’t be any worries about rain getting in the way of outdoor activities, summer is the hottest and busiest time of year in Israel. Temperatures around the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and Eliat are likely to be over 100 degrees while Haifa and Tel Aviv are humid with the mercury rising to the upper 80s. Jerusalem is a bit warmer without the high humidity. This is a good time to enjoy Tel Aviv’s beautiful beaches and the crowds that provide a buzzing atmosphere.
If you visit Israel in August and enjoy sampling cuisine, you may be able to attend the Taste of Galilee Food Festival, a week-long event with traditional, home-cooked foods and local delicacies. Beer lovers can enjoy the Jerusalem Beer Festival in late August featuring more than 100 local and international brews
Fall/High Season (September and October)
Fall is another one of the best times to visit Israel when it comes to the weather which will be sunny and mild, especially ideal around the Sea of Galilee. Temperatures begin to cool, bringing idyllic temperatures perfect for hiking, exploring the picturesque countryside and floating in the Dead Se. Unlike many destinations, however, it’s still part of the high season, attracting big crowds as it’s the busiest time in the Jewish calendar and prices can be high.
Rosh Hashanah is a two-day holiday which can occur in September or October, marks the beginning of the Jewish calendar year, which means businesses will be closed and schools will be out. It also brings the opportunity to experience the traditional shofar (ram’s horn) as it’s blown from synagogues, while honey, apples and sweets are plentiful.
Winter/Low Season (November to March)
Cooler weather returns in November and lasts through March. It snows in the Golan Mountains and occasionally in Jerusalem too, while the coast sees a lot of rain. In most areas it will be relatively mild with temperatures in the 50s, while Jerusalem and the Galilee hills will be downright frosty. This is a good time to take advantage of lower prices and few crowds. If a budget-friendly trip without battling lots of tourists is what you’re after, consider November, before the rainy season fully sets in and before the Christmas holidays. Pilgrims flock to Bethlehem and Jerusalem at Christmastime, which is truly special if you don’t mind enduring the crowds.