The Israeli Summer is already here! Summer in Israel takes place from June to September. Personally, I would recommend travelling to Israel in the Spring (February to May), because of the high temperatures in the Summer, but if you can’t come any other time, here is my ultimate guide to travelling Israel in the Summer.
Israeli Summer Overview:
The Israeli Summer (June to September) is when the temperatures go way up. In some places, such as Eilat, it can climb over 50 degrees Celsius. This means you’ll have a great time on the beachside and in the cool springs. On the other hand, you shouldn’t plan to take long hikes at this time of year.
From the end of June until the beginning of September Israeli kids are on their Summer vacation. This means many attractions will be crowded, especially on the weekends (Fridays and Saturdays) when the parents are also on a break.
Bottom line: Summer is a perfect time to visit Israel if you just want to chill out on one of Israel’s beaches and take it easy. This time of year is also perfect for festival lovers, because some of the best festivals take place at this time of year.
Watch this cool video by Shai Cohen:
Essential Summer packing list for Israel:
- Enough short shirts and pants
- Something that will warm you up in the evenings, in case it gets chilly (this is relevant mainly for those planning to go to Jerusalem, the desert or the Golan Heights area or for indoor activities)
- Good sandals for walking
- Sun hat
- Beach towel
- Bonus – a small personal fan
- Any other things you may need for your trip
Summer travel tips for Israel:
*Every day, pack at least 2-3 liters of water before you leave your hostel
*Start your day as early as possible to get advantage of the cooler hours of the morning or go out at night when temperatures drop
*If you want to cool down with an awesome soft drink, find a place that sells the Tamarindi drink
Top things to do in the Israeli Summer:
*Chill out on the Tel Aviv beachside (or any other beachfront town’s beachside, like Netanya or Herzliya)
*Snorkel or dive in the Eilat Coral Beach Reserve
*Cool down in the springs and streams of Golan Heights
*Visit the many museums of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
*Enjoy the Tel Aviv nightlife
*Explore the city of Tzfat (Safed)
Top things to avoid doing in the Israeli Summer:
*Hiking – The Summer isn’t a good time for hiking (especially in the desert)! The heat is high and not all trails are shaded. Even if they are shaded, the temperatures are still very high. If you won’t carry enough water, it could be dangerous.
*Pilgrimage tours (visiting churches) – Most of the churches in Israel and especially in Jerusalem don’t have A/C or any other cooling system. With all the pilgrims crowded in the small chapels, this could be a very sweaty experience. If you can postpone your pilgrimage journey to sometime else, it would be better.
*Exploring the Negev & Arava – The Israeli sun is a strong one and in Summer it “burns” the Israeli desert. During daytime, the temperatures can be unbearable (around 40-45 degrees celsius). In the evenings, it can be much cooler. Though, if you want to have a great time in the Negev & Arava and see as much of it as you can, Summer is definately not the time.
Top places to visit in the Israeli Summer:
Eilat is one of the hottest places in Summer, with temperature rising over 50 degrees celsius at times. But what makes Eilat a perfect place to visit in the Summer is its beautiful Red Sea, that is usually around 25 degrees celsius during Summer.
You can snorkel or dive in the Coral Reef Reserve, enjoy plenty of water activities or just hang out on one of Eilat’s beaches (Mosh Beach is highly recommended).
Eilat is also a leading shopping destination, thanks to the VAT free shops. In the new Ice Mall in the northern side of Eilat is a nice ice rink if you have some spare shekels for a few minutes of ice skating.
Expected Weather: Very hot temperature ranging from 25 degrees Celsius at night to 50 degrees at day. The air is usually very dry.
Places to Stay: In Eilat, you can either camp (Camping Sites in and Around Eilat) or stay in one of the hostels: Arava Hostel or The Shelter Hostel. Both hostels are a few minutes’ walk from the seaside.
Tel Aviv –
Tel Aviv is super humid in Summer, but it has excellent beaches. Most of them are well maintained and they are a perfect place to get to know people, because they are packed people in Summer.
When you get tired of the beaches you can visit some of the leading Tel Aviv museums, including Tel Aviv Art Museum, Independence Hall and the Palmach Museum (pre-reservation needed).
In the night, one of the greatest things you can experience is Tel Aviv’s nightlife. Jump from one bar to another until the early morning.
Expected Weather: Hot temperature ranging from 20 degrees Celsius at night to 30 degrees at day. The humidity is super high with over 60% humidity during the day, which means you’re going to sweat a lot!
Places to Stay: There are plenty of great hostels in Tel Aviv. If you want to be near the sea, try out Tel Aviv Beachfront Hostel, which is situated right on the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Promenade. Another excellent hostel is Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv. It is a bit far from the beachside, but its facilities are top quality.
Tzfat (Safed) –
Safed is the city of Kabbalah and also one of the coolest cities in Israel (weather-wise), with temperatures around 30 degrees in Summer. In Summer, temperature in Safed isn’t as hot as in other places in Israel, so it’s a good opportunity to explore the small, mystical Old City of Safed in Summer.
Walk along the beautiful alleys, enter the many art galleries, talk with the local people about the mystics of the city and Judaism, enjoy the music coming out of the houses and just breathe in the extraordinary air.
Expected Weather: Hot temperature ranging from 20 degrees Celsius at night to 30 degrees at day. The great thing about Safed is that humidity levels are quite low, with only about 40% humidity during the day, which makes the temperature much more bearable.
Places to Stay: There are some hotels inside the city, but if you want a cheaper stay you can check out Safed Inn, which is about a 10 minutes’ drive from the Old City by taxi.
The Golan Heights –
If you’re searching for some cool temperature during the Israeli Summer, you might find it in the Golan Heights, which is one if the highest regions of Israel.
Although the Golan is less green in Summer, it is still a nice place to visit. The best experience in the Golan in Summer is the springs and streams, where you can cool down from the heat.
One small and beautiful spring in the southern Golan is Aiah Spring (עין אי”ה), that overlooks all three countries: Israel, Jordan and Syria. You can get to the spring be rented car. Waze: מעיין עין אי”ה.
If you have some shekels to spare, you can visit the fantastic Hexagon Pool (HaMeshushim Reserve) in central Golan. It costs 22 Shekels per adult to enter.
Expected Weather: The temperatures are slightly different throughout the Golan, but on average they range from around 20 degrees at night to around 35 degrees during the day.
If you haven’t been to Jerusalem, you should definitely go in spite of the heat. Evenings in Jerusalem are usually cool even in Summer and some activities can be done at that time, like hanging out in Machane Yehuda Market or exploring the alleys of the Old City. When it’s out outside, try visiting some of Jerusalem’s top museums, including The Israel Museum and Yad Vashem Museum (Yad Vashem, by the way, is free of charge). And of course, don’t forget to take part in the many events and festivals taking place in the city in Summer.
Expected Weather: The temperature is quite hot, with temperatures ranging from around 20 degrees at night to around 30 degrees during the day. The average humidity is 40%, which makes the temperatures more bearable.
Places to Stay: The best place to stay in Jerusalem is in the city center. I highly recommend Abraham Hostel Jerusalem, but there are also other recommended options, such as The Post Hostel and Rich’s Place in the City Center.
Jerusalem – a must visit
Top Summer festivals and events in Israel:
Tel Aviv Pride – This week-long event celebrates Israel’s LGBT community life in a series of colorful events. The main event is the Pride Parade, which makes its way through Tel Aviv. This year – 8 June 2018.
Lights in Jerusalem Festival – In this fabulous festival the Old City of Jerusalem is lit by many artistic lights displays. You can walk along designated trails and explore the wonders of the four different quarters at night. This year – 27 June to 5 July 2018 between 8PM to 11PM, not including Fridays. Free entry.
Israel Museum Wine Festival – In this four days event, visitors of the Israel Museum can sample wines of the leading wineries of Israel in the unique Art Garden. This year – 1-2 August 2018. Ticket purchasing required through the Israel Museum website.
Safed Klezmer Festival – Enjoy a magical musical experience in the streets of Safed. Some performances require a ticket, others are open to the public. This year – 14-16 August 2018.
Jerusalem Beer Festival – Enjoy dozens of beers in the heart of Jerusalem. Besides the beer, the festival is also full of great music, food stalls and a clothing and accessories market. This year – August. Dates not set yet. Ticket purchasing required.
Hutzot Hayotzer Fair – This great festival takes place every year in the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem. It combines music with arts & crafts and is an event in which dozens of artists meet together from around the world. You can stroll through the artists’ stalls or purchase a ticket to one of the great musical shows. This year – August. Dates not set yet. Anyhow, ticket purchasing is required.
Red Sea Jazz Festival – A four-days musical event in the hot city of Eilat, with top local and international artists. This year – August. Dates not set yet. Ticket purchasing required.
Jewish holidays in the Summer:
Tisha B’Av – An annual fast day in Judaism, which commemorates several Jewish disasters, including the destruction of the distruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Tisha B’Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, but usually most people you’ll see fasting on this day are the religious Jews (unlike Yom Kippur, during which almost all Jews fast). There is no change in public transportation this day. Tisha B’Av usually takes place at the end of July or beginning of August.
Rosh Hashana – The beginning of the Jewish year. On this holiday families and friends gather together, eat apples and honey and pomegranates as a wish for a sweet and fruitful new year. This is a two days holiday, during which there is no public transportation. Rosh Hashana usually takes place in September.
Yom Kippur – The most holy day on the Jewish calendar, the day of atonement. Many people in Israel fast for 25 hours, don’t use electronical devices such as smartphones, don’t drive or ride transportation. During this day there is no public transportation and to respect this day it is advised not to use private transportation as well. Yom Kippur usually takes place in September.
Suggested itinerary for a Summer in Israel (7 Days):
Land in Tel Aviv
Day 1 – Enjoy half a day on the beach and experience Tel Aviv’s nightlife
Day 2 – Visit some of Tel Aviv’s museums and explore the streets in the evening
Day 3 – Take a morning bus ride to Safed. It will take around 4 hours. When you arrive, start exploring Safed’s Old City.
Day 4 – You can spend the morning in Safed if you want to see anything else and then take a bus ride to Jerusalem. This will take about 3 hours and will require you to change buses at least once. When you arrive in Jerusalem, you can spend the night in the cool bars of Machane Yehuda Market.
Day 5 – Explore the Old City of Jerusalem and Ben Yehuda Street for shopping. You can also visit City of David if you want to walk in the Siloah Tunnel which is full of flowing water.
Day 6 – Visit one of Jerusalem’s leading museums (the Israel Museum or Yad Vashem museum). Afterwards, take the 5PM bus to Eilat.
Day 7 – Snorkel in the Coral Reef Nature Reserve in the morning and then spend free time on one of Eilat’s beaches.
Book a flight out of Ovda Airport the following day. If there’s no flight to your country from there, ride back to Tel Aviv and take a flight from there.
Estimated cost of trip (not including flights, transportation to and from airport and food) – 1,130 NIS
*3 nights stay in Tel Aviv – around 300 NIS in a hostel
*Tel Aviv nightlife expenses – around 70 NIS (online booking with D-TLV Pub Crawl – highly recommended!)
*Tel Aviv Art Museum – 50 NIS
*Bus ride from Tel Aviv to Safed – around 42 NIS
*Night in Safed – around 100 NIS in a hostel
*Bus ride from Safed to Jerusalem – around 61 NIS
*2 nights in Jerusalem – around 200 NIS in a hostel
*Jerusalem nightlife expenses – around 50 NIS (online booking with Abraham Hostels Pub Crawl – highly recommended!)
*City of David – 28 NIS
*The Israel Museum – 54 NIS (or Yad Vashem for free)
*2 nights in Eilat – around 140 NIS
*Coral Reef Nature Reserve – 35 NIS
To make your life easier with the transportation, purchase a Rav-Kav transportation card at the Ben Gurion Airport or in one of the main bus stations. Read my Full Guide to Public Transportation in Israel.
Keep in mind that there is no public transportation during Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening) and Jewish holidays, so make sure that you don’t plan to ride a bus on a day there isn’t transportation.
Have a great Summer in Israel!
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