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Israel Holidays

Gem of the Eastern Med

Follow the waves of the Mediterranean as far east as they go, and you’ll end up on the shores of Israel – a holiday destination that ticks plenty of boxes. Go for the history, the almost year-round sunshine, and the miles of sandy coastline. Modern Israel is the place where religious history and cosmopolitan flair collide, so get ready for the best of both worlds.

Holy sites are dotted across the capital city of Jerusalem. Admire the Western Wall, take in the view from the Mount of Olives, or simply ramble around the city and see what hidden gems you can find. Venture out of the city to the Dead Sea and float across the unbelievably still waters for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Away from the serenity of the Dead Sea you can live life in Israel’s fast lane – Tel Aviv. Between the beach, the culture, and the vibrant nightlife, a visit to this energetic city is anything but boring. Fill your days with museums, water sports, and lively food markets, and fill your nights will rooftop bars and trendy clubs.

Experience the old and the new Israel all at once – from the modern cities to the ancient towns and from the desert to the Red Sea, this little country packs a punch as a holiday destination.

All regions in Israel

Three tips for a top trip

Try classic eats

Traditional dishes include falafel, hummus, sabich (aubergine, egg, hummus and pickles in a pitta), shawarma (thin layers of grilled meat) and labneh (a creamy, yogurty cheese).

A pocketful of shekels

The Israeli new shekel is used across the country, and gets its name from a biblical currency. The shekel is divided into 100 agorot. Tipping 10-15% is standard in restaurants.

Plan for Shabbat

Most shops, businesses and tourist sites close from Friday evening until after sunset on Saturday for the weekly sabbath. You can get out and about, but there may be limited services.

Don’t-miss dates in Israel

March

A great time to visit the coast, as it’s sunny and not too hot. It’s also a good time to hike, with plants and flowers turning hills and valleys into a gloriously lush spectacle.

Israel Festival

This major music and theatre festival in late May and early June always features some big international productions, and brings a lovely atmosphere to Jerusalem’s streets.

Hanukkah

The Jewish festival of light runs for eight days in December, and features candle-lighting ceremonies and plenty of delicious food – notably doughnuts and potato cakes.

Best things to do in Israel

Explore Jerusalem

The past is vividly present in the Western Wall – often known as the ‘Wailing Wall’ – and the City of David. Museums contain treasures including the Dead Sea Scrolls, and underground passages lead to mysterious shrines.

Party it up in Tel Aviv

Look out to the sea and forward to the future in Tel Aviv, where beach life, vibrant bars, big-name DJs, inventive cocktails and craft beer create a bubbling brew.

Kick back in the Dead Sea

Its air hazy, its water mineral-packed and dense with salt, the Dead Sea is unique. There are some excellent spas here, as well as some nice hiking trails.

Your Israel questions, answered

Summer is the best time to visit Israel for its beaches. June to August are typically clear, hot and sunny, which is ideal for swimming and water sports. Many musical events and festivals take place in the summer, such as Tel Aviv's Pride celebrations in June, or Jerusalem's beer festival in August. For touring historical and religious monuments, you'll find the weather is kinder and more temperate in spring and autumn. You'll experience the best of nature in April and May, with flowers and migrating birds making their annual appearance. September and October are a good time to visit for milder temperatures.
Israel has a long Mediterranean coastline with plenty of sandy beaches. Around Tel Aviv you can choose from 10 or more individual beaches, each with their own characteristic following. At Caesarea you'll find the rural but well-maintained Beit Yannai Beach, located in a nature reserve. It's a popular venue for water sports, especially kitesurfing. Also at Caesarea is the famous Aqueduct Beach, which can become busy with tour bus visitors. The most unusual attraction of Israel must be the Dead Sea beaches, where you can visit health spas or just float in the salted water and admire the views.
Which part of Israel you choose for your holiday depends on what you want to do. For beach bathing and modern nightlife, you'll probably want to head to Tel Aviv. Here you'll be able to enjoy contemporary music, food and lively festivals. The city is also a world-renowned LGBTQ-friendly environment. For cultural exploration and religious monuments, Jerusalem draws visitors from all over the globe. From here you can also visit the famous Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, or hike up Mount Masada. Don't worry if that sounds too exhausting – you can always take the cable car.
If you want to swim, laze around and sunbathe, then you'll want at least a week and maybe two. If you're based in Tel Aviv and want to visit a kibbutz or some famous attractions, you should add on an extra few days. If you're more interested in Israel's history, you should stay at least a week in Jerusalem to explore the many famous monuments. Spending two weeks in either city will give you plenty of time to visit the Dead Sea and Mount Masada. Then you'll have freedom to relax and enjoy the sights at a comfortable pace.
Falafel is everywhere in Israel, small deep-fried fritters made of chickpeas. Hummus is also very popular, and sabich, a mix of hummus, hard boiled eggs and aubergines. These foods are typically eaten with pita bread and salads. Khachapuri pastry is popular for breakfast or lunch, which is stuffed with cheese and has a fried egg on top. Meat-eaters aren't ignored, as schnitzel is popular and you can try various meats in the Israeli kebab, or shawarma. Sfenj are Israel's version of doughnuts, and knafeh is a sweet, cheese pastry dessert soaked in sugar syrup and sprinkled with chopped pistachios.
Nearly everything closes on Friday before sunset until Saturday after sunset for observance of the Sabbath, or Shabbat. The Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, is two days between 5th September and 5th October, followed by one day between the 14th of those months for Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement. Passover occurs sometime between March 26th and April 25th, and is marked with an official holiday on the first and seventh days. There are many other Hebrew religious observances throughout the year, and Independence Day is also celebrated on a day between April 15th and May 15th.