The Ultimate Summer Guide to Israel (Updated 2023)

Summer is an excellent time to visit Israel if you like laid-back vacations, beautiful beaches, lively streets, and festivals. The Israeli kids finish school at the end of June, so the streets and nature reserves fill up with Israeli families in the summer, especially on the weekends (Friday and Saturday). If you don’t mind the heat, the crowd, and the higher prices – here’s your complete guide to summer in Israel.

Recommended read >> How to survive the heat in Israel.

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When is summer in Israel?

Officially, summer in Israel starts at the end of June and runs until the end of September. But I would say that weather-wise, summer begins at the end of May when temperatures usually start rising. In recent years, October was also a hot month.

As mentioned in the intro, the Israeli kids finish school at the end of June – the elementary schools finish on the 30th of June, and the high schools on the 20th of June. They come back after summer vacation on the 1st of September.

Important things to note when visiting Israel in the summer

  • Start your days early. It gets boiling outside! In some places, it can get up to 50 degrees Celsius. If you’re planning to be outdoors, start your day as early as possible and try to end your outdoor wanderings before noon. You can also walk around in the evenings when it’s a bit cooler. 
  • Drink A LOT! As already mentioned, it an get really hot, so it’s important to drink a lot. Tap water is safe in Israel, so you don’t have to buy mineral water. You can buy a reusable bottle and fill it wherever possible. Try to bring a bottle with a large capacity (at least 1 liter), and if needed, bring a number of bottles. It’s recommended to drink at least 2.5 liters in the summer, depending on the activities you’re doing. Check out reusable water bottles on Amazon.
  • Be aware of the jellyfish season. If you plan on going to the beach, make sure to check if there are jellyfish in the water. Usually, they come at the end of June or early July and stay for about a month. You can check the Jellyfish Map and read more about the jellyfish in my post. Jellyfish appear only in the Mediterranean Sea, so if you go to the Sea of Galilee or the Red Sea, you don’t have to worry.
  • Long hiking is not recommended. If you like hiking, don’t come to Israel in the summer. It’s too hot and humid. Instead, I’d recommend you come in spring. Check out my complete guide to springtime in Israel. 

Top things to do in summer in Israel

Go to the beach

Summer is the ideal time to go to the beach in Israel, and you have many great beach options. You can go to the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Galilee, or the Red Sea near Eilat. The Dead Sea is also an option, although the water gets very hot there during the summer.

Israel has a long coast with the Mediterranean, so it’s the most accessible. In the summer, the water is warm and relaxing. Most tourists choose to go to one of the Tel Avivian beaches, but there are also excellent beaches outside of Tel Aviv, such as Achziv Beach, Dor-Habonim Beach, and the beautiful beaches of Netanya. Just make sure to check the Jellyfish Map before you go.

A cooler option is the Red Sea. Eilat is one of the hottest places in Israel, but the water temperature rarely changes and stays more or less at 25 degrees Celsius throughout the year. So, unlike the Mediterranean’s warm waters, you can enjoy a cool and refreshing swim in Eilat. Read >> The Top 5 Beaches in Eilat.   

If you’re more into freshwater, you can head to the Sea of Galilee. The beaches are pebbly over there, and unlike the beaches in Eilat and along the Mediterranean, many beaches around the Sea of Galilee require some entrance fee, especially if you’re coming in a car.

No matter where you choose to go, you can enjoy the water, catch some tan, or try out some water sports. In the Mediterranean, you can try out surfing, in Eilat scuba diving, and in the Sea of Galilee, you can do kayaking or motor boating on the lake.

One of Eilat's beaches

Explore the fascinating museums in Israel

Israel has a great number of museums. To be precise, it has more than 230 museums, which is more per capita than anywhere else on the planet. And that’s good because it means you’ll have plenty of places to go when it gets too hot outside.

Here are some of my favorite museums in Israel:

  • The Israel Museum in Jerusalem – One of the leading cultural institutions in the world, the Israel Museum has the most extensive archeological collection connected to Biblical Israel. It is also home to the most ancient copies of the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Schools, held in the Book of the Shrine. Read >> The Highlights of the Israel Museum.
  • Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem – The Holocaust Museum in Yad Vashem is one of the most moving museums I’ve ever visited. It tells you the story of the Holocaust from beginning to end through video testimonies, original artifacts, and written testimonies. And it’s free of charge. You just need to book your visit in advance to ensure entry
  • The Palmach Museum in Tel Aviv – This small museum tells the story of the Palmach, the elite fighting force of the Haganah founded during the British Mandate. You move from one room to another, joining a group of Palmach members on their journey from recruitment to the Independence War. You must book the visit in advance, so check out the Palmach Museum’s website.

Of course, those are only a few of the museums in Israel. There are many more! If you like museums, make sure to Google “museums in Israel” before you come.  

The Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Enjoy the Israeli nightlife

The summer is the ideal time to enjoy the Israeli nightlife. More people are out, and it’s not too cold outside. In Jerusalem, it might get chilly in the evening, but it’s refreshing after a long hot day of touring.

Check out >> Abraham Tours’ Pub Crawl in Jerusalem.

Read more >> Pub crawling Tel Aviv.

Explore the Spring Valley

When it’s hot outside, it’s a good opportunity to explore the natural springs of Israel. One of the top locations for spring hunters is the Spring Valley, also known as the Beit She’an Valley, on the way to the Galilee. This region is filled with natural water springs and streams.

One of the top places to go is Gan Hashlosha, the Sachne. This beautiful national park has several water pools fed by natural springs with a temperature of around 28 degrees Celcius all year. In the summer, it’s best to reserve your visit in advance on the park’s website.

Right next to this park, there’s a free-entry park called the Spring Valley Park, which includes the Kibbutzim Stream and two main water springs – Ein Muda and Ein Shokek. It’s usually packed with people, so make sure to come early. You can walk inside the stream, which is super refreshing, or take a golf cart or bike to one of the springs.  

The entrance to Nahal Kibbutzim

Walk in the water tunnel of the City of David

Most people visit Jerusalem on their trip to Israel. If you plan to go there too, one of the most refreshing places in summer is the City of David. At first, you wander around the archeological ruins of the most ancient part of Jerusalem, a city dating back over 5,000 years ago. But then, you start climbing down to one of Israel’s most impressive underground water systems.

At the end of the system, you can choose whether to walk through a dry tunnel or be adventurous and walk through the Hezekiah Tunnel, a dark tunnel with freezing flowing water that leads to the ancient Siloam Pool. It’s super fun! At some points along the way, the water reaches over the knees, so if you’re coming will small kids, you will need to hold them. And make sure to bring flashlights!

Learn more on the City of David’s official website.

Main summer events in Israel

  • White Night Tel AvivTel Aviv was named “the White City” by UNESCO thanks to its well-preserved Bauhaus buildings. During “White Night Tel Aviv,” various free events throughout the city take place all night long, including live shows and multimedia displays. This event usually happens at the end of June.  Watch the video below by Walk With Me
  • The Tel Aviv Gay Pride Month: In June, thousands of tourists and Israelis make their way to Tel Aviv to celebrate the Gay Pride Month. The highlight of the events is the annual pride parade, which is the largest and most impressive in the world. The events take place in June. 
  • Klezmer Music Festival in Safed: Klezmer is a type of Jewish folk music. During the Klezmer Festival in Safed, dozens of Klezmer bands come and perform in this mystical city. The streets are filled with music and fascinating tours and activities. This festival usually happens in August. 
  • Hutzot Hayotzer Fair in Jerusalem: This huge fair features artisans from around the world. There are also live music performances, which require a separate entry ticket. In any case, entry tickets are required. This event usually takes place in August. 
  • Summer of Stars – the Meteor Shower: The area around Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev is known as one of the best places in the world to do stargazing. During the Perseids meteor shower in August, Mitzpe Ramon offers a variety of activities for the whole family, including professional stargazing, guided tours in the desert, and different lectures.  

Jewish holidays in summer

  • Tisha B’Av: This is one of the main fasting days on the Hebrew calendar. On this day, the Jewish people remember several disasters that are believed to have happened on this date, the most important being the destruction of the First and Second Temples. If you visit Jerusalem on Tisha B’Av, you will see many people praying at the Western Wall. Usually, Tisha B’Av falls in July.   
  • Rosh Hashanah: This is the Jewish New Year. On this day, Jewish families gather to celebrate the beginning of the Hebrew calendar and eat special foods like apples with honey and pomegranates. Because it is a religious holiday, public transportation does not operate during the holiday, and many shops and attractions are closed, too. Usually, Rosh Hashanah falls in September. Here are 5 ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in Israel.

Read more >> Holidays in Israel and how to spend them during travel.

What to wear in summer in Israel?

Usually, summer is hot in Israel. Very hot. In some places – like the Dead Sea, Tiberias, and Eilat, the temperature can rise to over 45 degrees Celcius. In other areas, it can reach around 40 degrees Celcius. So, it’s essential to come prepared with light clothes, sandals or breathing shoes, a wide-brim hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the mighty sun.

If you plan to swim in the sea, float in the Dead Sea, or immerse in one of Israel’s natural springs or streams, bring a swimsuit.

Read also >>

What to wear in Jerusalem?

The ultimate packing list for Israel

Conclusion

Summer is a hot time in Israel. The Israeli kids are out on vacation; beaches and national parks are more packed than usual, and prices are higher. But if you love to heat and want to come to Israel in the summer, I hope this post helped you in your first steps of planning.

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If you need any more advice, please don’t hesitate to send me a message on my Facebook page or to contact me at lior@backpackisrael.com.

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Yours,

Lior

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