Israel is a festive country, full of festivals, events and holidays all year round. In one of my recent posts I’ve given you a list of the main holidays in Israel and tips on how to spend them. Now, just before the new year arrives, here are the top annual festivals and events in Israel from January to June. Even if you aren’t planning to take part in the events, I do recommend you check what events are going on during your dates of travel, so you will be prepared for the crowds or changes in traffic.

Some events are very popular, so you might want to book accommodation a while in advance. Here are links for checking accommodation prices in the main cities:

Accommodation prices in Jerusalem,

Accommodation prices in Tel Aviv,

 Accommodation prices in Eilat,

Accommodation prices in Tiberias,

Accommodation prices in Haifa.

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Top January Events in Israel:

Sea of Galilee Marathon: The highest quality marathon event in Israel, that starts in the city of Tiberias, goes along the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee and ends in Tiberias. You’re invited to come and cheer the runners.

Watching the event is free.

Where? Tiberias, Sea of Galilee.

When? The race will take place this year on the 5th of January 2018.

Official Site: Tiberias International Winner Marathon.

 

 

Israman Eilat: This full and half iron distance triathlon is one of the biggest and most exciting sports event in Israel. The race includes running, cycling, and swimming. You can gather along the Royal Beach area at the Northern part of the Red Sea to see the swimming segment and cheer the competitors.

Watching the event is for free. Because of the event, some roads might be blocked during the event’s weekend (24-27 of January).

Where? All over Eilat. The swimming segment will take place near Royal Beach.

When? The race will take place this year on the 26th of January 2018.

Official Site: Israman Eilat.

 

Top February Events in Israel:

International Eilat Chamber Music Festival: A wonderful musical event, hosting international and local chamber music artists. You can also take part in master classes and workshops.

The event requires pre-payed tickets.

Where? Dan Hotel Eilat.

When? This year between 7-10 of February 2018.

Official Site: International Eilat Chamber Music Festival.

 

Winter Red Sea Jazz Festival: This musical event is so popular, that it also takes place during summer. During the festival, you will be able to enjoy a variety of jazz concerts and master classes. There are also late-night jam sessions.

The event requires pre-payed tickets.

When? This year between 22-24 of February 2018.

Where? In different venues in Eilat.

Official Site: Winter Red Sea Jazz Festival.

 

 

Tel Aviv Marathon: One of the leading sports events in Israel, this multi-course marathon is a great event to watch or participate in. The marathon runs along the beautiful seashore of Tel Aviv and through the main streets of the city. Come and cheer the runners! If you would like to participate in the marathon, you can register through the official website.

Watching the event is for free.

Where? The kick off area is on Rokach Blvd in Tel Aviv.

When? The race will take place this year on the 23rd of February 2018.

Official Site: Tel Aviv Marathon.

 

 

Darom Adom Outdoors Festival: “Darom Adom” means “Red South” in Hebrew, because of the colors that the Negev gets during this time of year. Each year after the rainy season, the northern Negev is covered with wonderful scarlet red anemones. This, of course, is a reason to celebrate. For five weekends there are many activities for families travelling to the northern Negev, such as poetry readings, concerts, mountain bike marathons and more. If you won’t get a chance to take part in one of the activities, at least come to see the beautiful flowers.

Where? Throughout the northern Negev.

When? Throughout February.

Official Site: Darom Adom (in Hebrew).

 

 

Top March Events in Israel:

International Jerusalem Marathon: One of the biggest marathon events in Jerusalem. During this marathon you’ll see thousands of people running on the streets of Jerusalem, not only as part of the marathon, but also as part of the half marathon and other shorter races. If you aren’t planning on participating in the marathon events as a runner (which is an option if you register beforehand), you’re invited to cheer the runners from the sides of the streets. It’s free.

Because of the event, some roads might be blocked during the different races.

Where? Throughout Jerusalem.

When? The race will take place this year on the 9th of March 2018.

Official Site: International Jerusalem Marathon.

 

 

Tel Aviv Fashion Week: If you’re interested in fashion, you might be interested in participating in this fancy event. To watch the fashion shows, you need to purchase a ticket.

Where? Tel Aviv. Location not yet updated.

When? This year’s dates aren’t set yet. The event usually takes place in mid-March.

Official Site: Tel Aviv Fashion Week.

 

Open Restaurants Festival Tel Aviv: A culinary event. For more info, check out the official website: Open Restaurants Festival Tel Aviv.

 

International Birdwatching Festival in Eilat: If you’re fond of birds, this is a festival for you. A bit north of Eilat stands the Birdwatching Park of Eilat. During March, thousands of birds are supposed to arrive in the area as part of their spring migration. Together with bird lovers from all over the world, you can watch the birds in the park and get professional explanations. On other days, the park stands quite empty and there’s usually no one who give explanations, so you might want to leverage this festival.

The entrance is free.

Where? In the birdwatching park north of Eilat. You can walk to the park (about a 40-minutes’ walk) or you can catch any bus going out of Eilat on road number 90 and ask the driver to get off at the Eilot roundabout. From there, you’ll have about a 20-minutes’ walk.

When?  This year between 15-22 of March 2018.

 

Sounds of the Old City Festival: This is a magical event, that fills the Old City of Jerusalem with magnificent sounds of traditional music. During the festival, you’ll be able to walk through the four quarters of the Old City, the Armenian, the Jewish, the Muslim and the Christian quarters, and enjoy a whole new experience in each one of them.

The entrance is free.

Where? The Old City of Jerusalem.

When? This year between the 20-23 of March 2018.

Official Site: Sounds of the Old City Festival.

 

Top April Events in Israel:

Haifa International Children’s Theater Festival: A nice festival if you’re coming to Israel with your kids. During the festival, you will be able to enjoy colorful open-air performances in the area next to the Haifa Municipal Theatre or purchase a ticket to one of the theatre shows taking place inside the theatre.

Where? Haifa Municipal Theatre on 50 Pebzner Street.

When? This year between the 1-3 of April 2018.

Official Site: Haifa International Children’s Theater Festival.

 

 

“Zorba the Buddha” Meditation and Dance Festival: Come and celebrate Zorba in the enchanting and relaxing desert. This is one of the best meditation festivals in the area.

You will need to purchase a ticket to take part in the event.

Where? In Desert Ashram in Shitim settlement, on road number 40. There is an option of a shuttle from Tel Aviv. Check that option on their official website.

When? This year between 3-7 of April 2018.

Official Site: Zorba Festival.

 

Automotor – International Motor Show: If you’re a car lover, this event might be for you. During the event, you’ll be able to enjoy splendid car shows, displaying a variety of cars and motorbikes, including some very special cars.

This event requires a ticket. You can purchase online.

Where? The Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center in Tel Aviv. Reachable by train.

When? This year on the 4th of April 2018.

Official Site: Automotor.

 

Top May Events in Israel:

International Museum Day: Like in the rest of the world, we in Israel also celebrate the International Museum Day, with dozens of museums open free to the public. If you’re interested in visiting museums in Israel, you might want to shift your trip towards May.

Where? Throughout Israel.

When? 18th of May.

 

Midburn Festival (Israel’s Burning Man): You’re welcome to take part in this 6-days event, during which a temporary city is built from scratch in the Negev Desert. Then, the people live in this city, that allows a communal life style and radical self-expression. This is your chance to experience near-freedom. After 6 days, the city is burned down to the ground, as if it never existed.

You will need to purchase a ticket for the festival.

Where? In the Negev, near the exit from road number 40.

When? This year the event will take place between 14-19 of May 2018.

Official Site: Midburn Festival.

 

 

Houses from Within Tel Aviv: This is a very special event, that lets you discover the different buildings of Tel Aviv, learn about their architecture and about the people that work, live or go through them. There are a wide range of tours in different locations around the city. Make sure that the location you want to see has tours in English. Not sure if there are.

Most events are free.

Where? All around Tel Aviv.

When? Dates aren’t set yet for this year. The event usually takes place during one of the late weekends of May.

Official Site: Houses from Within Tel Aviv.

 

Menashe Forest Music Festival: If you love the woods and music, this is a festival for you! During the festival, you’ll be able to enjoy great musical performances amid the Menashe Forest. If can also check an option of sleeping in the forest during the festival.

You will need to purchase a ticket for the festival.

Where? In the heart of Ramat Menashe Park, not far from Megiddo. Check for shuttles from the main cities by contacting the festival’s operators at pniot.yearot@gmail.com.

When? Dates aren’t set yet for this year. The event usually takes place near the end of May.

Official Site: Menashe Forest Music Festival (in Hebrew).

 

Israel Festival: This is a huge interdisciplinary festival known world-wide. The festival includes drama, music and dance performances that require a ticket and free outdoor performances.

You will need to purchase a ticket for the festival.  If you are a student, you get 50% off the ticket, so don’t forget to bring your student ID.

Where? Throughout Jerusalem: at the Jerusalem Theatre (20 Marcus Street), Sultan’s Pool (Derech Hevron St. 1), the Israel Museum (11 Derech Ruppin), the Eden-Tamir Music Center (29 Hama’ayan St) and at Zion Square (25 Shamai Street).

When? This year from the 24th of May to the 9th of June 2018.

Official Site: Israel Festival.

Top June Events in Israel:

Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade: Tel Aviv is known for its gay community and every year during June the city comes to life in magnificent colors as the Gay Pride Parade passes through. Come support the gay community and enjoy the wonderful and fun atmosphere.

Where? The parade leaves from Me’ir Park and ends with a great party at Charles Clore beach.

When? This year the parade will take place on the 8th of June 2018.

Official Site: Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade.

 

 

International Student Film Festival: This is one of the top cultural events in Tel Aviv, promoting academic artistry. It is considered one of the three best festivals of its kind in the world. During the festival you’ll be able to see the works of students from the Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television, but also from other schools around the world. The festive week is filled with interesting films, master classes, workshops, exhibitions and parties.

Where? Tel Aviv Cinematheque, Sprinzok Street.

When? This year the festival will take place between 10-16 of June 2018.

Official Site: International Student Film Festival.

 

Jerusalem International Book Fair: The Jewish people are known as the “People of the Book”, so it is no wonder that the international book fair is so celebrated in Jerusalem. If you love reading, you might want to walk around the fair’s stalls and get inspired by the many books. You can also try to read the Hebrew titles.

The entrance is free.

Where? The First Station in Jerusalem (David Remez Street 4). Can easily be reached by bus.

When? This year between 11-15 of June 2018. It opens on 11th of June at 6:00 PM and closes at 11:00 PM. The following days, it opens at 11:00 AM and closes at 11:00 PM.

Official Site: Jerusalem International Book Fair.

 

White Night Tel Aviv: A great celebration taking place during one night in Tel Aviv, from the early hours of the evening to the next day. Throughout Tel Aviv you’ll find different exhibitions and activities. This is a very popular event, which draws Israelis from all over the state.

Most events are open for free. Some require a payment.

Where? Throughout Tel Aviv.

When? The dates for this year aren’t set yet, but the event usually happens near the end of June.

 

Sunbeat Music Festival: This is the leading summer musical event in Israel, which takes place on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. During the festival you’ll hear great beats from local and international artists.

You will need to purchase a ticket for the festival.

Where? Next to the Sea of Galilee.

When? The dates for this year aren’t set yet.

 

 

Jerusalem Opera Festival: This is a grand opera event, set in the outstanding outdoors of the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem.

You will need to purchase a ticket for the festival.

Where? The Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem.

When? The dates for this year aren’t set yet.

If you know of any more festivals or events from January to June in Israel, please let me know.

 


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Yours,

Lior