Visiting Israel during high season? Here are 5 tips that will help you make the most of your vacation while avoiding the hassle as much as possible. While Israel is a great destination year-round due to phenomenal weather, because of school holidays and work vacations, there are high seasons that draw in many tourists from around the world. Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, Hanukkah to New Years, and the summer season attract the biggest crowds. With a record-breaking 4.5 million tourists visiting Israel in 2019, you can imagine that in a tiny country as small as Israel, places get pretty crowded. Follow these 5 tips when visiting Israel during high season to deal with the crowds and experience all that Israel has to offer in the most relaxing way possible.
AVOID the LInes
There are few things more frustrating than waiting in line, especially in Israel where lines are notoriously ‘balagan,’ a Hebrew word for chaos. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to avoid the hoards of people. Stress and vacation definitely do not and should not go together.
The VIP fast-track service at Ben Gurion Airport allows you to take the fast-track at the airport through passport control, customs, and baggage claim. It is great for those traveling for business, families, and travelers simply looking for a relaxed airport experience. The service can be booked for both departing and arriving flights.
Another thing you’re going to want to do is arrive early to any place you’re going. Whether you are trying to snag a good spot on the beach on a Saturday in Tel Aviv or go to one of the best breakfast spots in Tel Aviv, you’re going to want to get there early to avoid the lines.
Make Reservations in Israel during high season
If you are traveling in Israel during high season, you’re going to want to make sure to book everything far in advance, especially if you want to stay in one of Israel’s best luxury hotels. While there are tons of new hotels popping up, there is also a growing number of tourists visiting Israel. During peak times, it’s especially popular for groups to visit. Make sure to book your stay several months before your trip. Want to save the hassle of booking accommodation yourself? Book a tour package.
Like hotels, restaurants also get booked far in advance, especially the best restaurants in Israel. Reservations for the entire week might be completely booked already a month out. Make sure you book in advance regardless of where you are going because most restaurants get crowded and you could find yourself waiting a long time to be seated.
Another pro-tip is to book private transfers. Buses often get very crowded during holidays and the summer, because there are more tourists and kids are out of school. You can avoid a lot of stress by booking private transfers all over the country.
GET OUT OF THE CITY
Cities are always going to attract the biggest crowds of people, especially in Israel’s high season. The Old City of Jerusalem gets flooded with tourists coming to see all of the important religious sites. Tons of tourists come to Tel Aviv, of course, even using it as a base to explore the rest of Israel. But, a lot of Israel’s true magic lies outside of the cities. The Dead Sea and Masada are a must, but keep in mind that these places will be more crowded. For more remote places that will have fewer people, visit the Golan Heights, the Galilee, and Mitzpe Ramon. If you have the time, a trip down to Eilat can be an excellent addition, as well as a hop over the border to the “lost city” of Petra. Or how about going really remote and spending a night in a martian bubble tent in the Wadi Rum desert? While you may be there among other people, you will have much of the vast desert to yourself and an unpolluted skyline.
Many amazing spots throughout the country can be reached by public transportation. However, keep in mind that if you’re traveling during the Jewish holidays, there is no public transportation on many days. As a tourist, you will have a difficult time getting around. Joining a tour can make it possible for you to travel around the country and see all of the popular tourist attractions. Booking a private tour can especially help you avoid crowds and have an exclusive experience. The trip can be customized according to your travel desires and private visits to popular sites can be arranged.
Discover New Beaches
The beaches in Tel Aviv are fun, young, and exciting. But, the half a million people living in Tel Aviv also think so. The beaches can get very crowded during the summer months, especially on the weekends. Some people love being in the center of all the action. But others prefer a more solo experience. Luckily, if you’re the latter type, there are tons of great beaches to visit all around Israel. If you are looking to suntan with fewer people around you, definitely get out of the beaches in the city center and discover some of Israel’s other amazing beaches.
Know The Season
As we said, traveling in Israel is great all year-round. But, depending on the season, there are some things you should keep in mind. What’s true of all popular seasons is that the price goes up and that there are crowds. If you are traveling during Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years, plan for rain. While it tends to rain for only a few days at a time or even just portions of the day, you should prepare yourself beforehand that some of the activities you are planning to do might get canceled and find some possible rainy day activities. If you are traveling during the summer months, keep in mind that it will be extremely hot. July, and especially August, are the hottest months. You’ll want to find some summer activities to keep you cool and out of the scorching sun.