Erez Speiser
Getting more tourists to explore Israel by Foot

Winter is coming – The best time to visit Israel

Winter (Erez Speiser)

Selecting a winter vacation destination can be a challenge. You have an easy solution – It’s an excellent time for a vacation in Israel. Whether you are a backpacker or a luxury traveler, you will find great things to do in Israel during the winter months.

Why in the Winter?

It’s never freezing in Israel. In the colder areas in northern Israel, average winter temperatures are 7-15 °C.  In the Dead-Sea area and the south 10-20 °. The more significant difference is in rainfall. While the north gets about 40% of rainy days, In the south it is less than 20%. Winter is also off-season. As a result, prices are lower, and the main tourist attractions (Like Masada, for example) are much less crowded.

Eilat

This touristic city on the shores of the Red Sea is super crowded and extremely hot during the summer and beginning of the fall. Personally, I can’t stand it during that period. However, during the winter, the town’s character changes completely. The crowds are gone, leaving the beautiful beaches empty and tranquil. The water temperatures never get below 20 °, and on a sunny day, a swim is possible. The city and its surroundings offer a wide variety of attractions that will fit any person with any budget. To list just a few: Scuba diving, natural parks, fabulous restaurants of all kinds, shows, clubs, and the beach, of course.

Dead-Sea and Masada

Winter is the perfect season to explore the Judean Desert. Temperatures are perfect for hiking in the Ein-Gedi natural reserve or for climbing to Masada on the Snake Path. If you aim for a Masada Sunrise tour, you can wake up at a more decent hour (Compare to other seasons). The water temperature of the Dead-Sea does not go below 20°C, and on warm and sunny days, you can enjoy floating on the salty water.

Masada by Erez Speiser

Negev Desert

Winter is the best season to travel in the Negev Desert. Most of the days are dry with clear blue skies. Because of its altitude (Up to 1,000 m ASL), temperatures are lower compared with other areas in the south and can get around freezing point during the night. It is the best place if you are looking for an outdoor adventure: Hiking, Rappelling, ATV, Mountain biking and sandboarding. The Negev is the perfect venue for all of them.

Tel-Aviv

There is always plenty of things to do in Tel-Aviv. The city is located in the center of Israel, and therefore rainfall is not significant. (About average between north and south in the statistics mentioned above). Temperatures are mild, and there are many sunny days. Much more pleasant than the hot and humid summer.

Jerusalem

Jerusalem gets even less rain than Tel-Aviv; however, due to its high elevation of around 800 m ASL, temperatures are low in Israeli standards, about 4-13°C. If you plan to spend time outside be prepared, or choose from the many indoor attractions the city has to offer.

Beaches

Israel long Mediterranean coastline is dotted with dozens of beaches. During the summer, the beaches are probably the #1 popular spot for Israelis and tourists, as well. Thus, making them very crowded. In the winter, the crowds disappear. The water is too cold for swimming, but there are plenty of mild sunny days that are perfect for a picnic on the breach. Another great option is to take a hike on the more secluded spots along the coast.

The Medetiranian by Erez Speiser

Galilee and Golan Heights

The north is the wettest and coldest area in Israel. Still, by European and North American standards, the weather is perfectly fine for traveling. However, you should be attentive to the weather forecast. Rainfall comes typically in “sets”. When such a “set” arrives, you have a good chance for 3-5 days with lots of rains and strong winds. On the other side, between these rainy periods, there are plenty of mild sunny days perfect for outdoor activity. The landscape is green and full of wildflowers. To sum up, don’t be afraid to head north, but prepare an alternative plan if the weather forecast is not on your side.

About the Author
Erez Speiser, born 1966 in Israel lives in Rakefet in the Galilee. By education a mechanical engineer. For the last decade he holds a marketing position in a multinational metal cutting tools company. Erez is passionate about nature and the outdoors, enjoys hiking, mountain biking & surfing. Erez loves Israel and tries to promote hiking tourism in the country. He is the founder & manager of www.hike-israel.com
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