Israel offers a variety of winter activities, from skiing and snowboarding on Mount Hermon to exploring the ancient sites of Jerusalem. So, when is winter in Israel? It falls out during the same winter season as most of North America and Europe. Israel’s winter weather features cold days and colder nights. Winter temperatures in Israel average between 39.2°F (4°C) and 57°F (14°C).
However, here’s why winter is the perfect time to visit, whether you’re traveling solo or with the whole family. This exciting guide will relay seven of the best winter things to do in Israel.
1) Ski on Mount Hermon
One of the most popular winter activities in Israel is skiing and snowboarding on Mount Hermon. Located in the Golan Heights, this mountain stands at an impressive 2,236 meters above sea level. The skiing season usually runs from late December to mid-March. The area offers a wide range of ski slopes for beginners and experienced skiers alike. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or just want to take a stroll down the slopes, there’s something for everyone!
2) Try a Gourmet Donut for Hanukkah
Hanukkah is one of the most celebrated holidays in Israel. It’s also a great time to try some delicious food. The traditional treat for Hanukkah is sufganiyot – or donuts. The most popular variation is jelly-filled, but come the winter season, you will find every flavor of gourmet donut available. There will be many kiosks and bakeries selling these tasty treats all around the country during Hanukkah time.
The best place to spend Hanukkah in Israel is in Jerusalem. This city is steeped in history and tradition. You can explore the ancient sites, wander through the colorful markets, spin the dreidel with locals, and try these delicious seasonal desserts. Make the most of your experience with a Hanukkah tour, where you’ll learn all about the festival of lights while discovering Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighborhood.
3) Escape the Cold to Eilat
With temperatures dropping in the north, Eilat is a great destination to escape the cold. This resort town on the Red Sea is full of beautiful beaches. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do there like diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and more. Eliat also has some incredible nature reserves nearby – such as Timna National Park – for those who want to explore Israel’s wild side during their winter holiday. Whatever you’re looking for, Eilat is full of some of the most fun things to do in Israel.
4) Celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem
If you wondered, “Does Israel celebrate Christmas?”, the answer is a resounding yes. Christmas in Israel is a unique and beautiful experience, especially Christmas in Bethlehem. Many special events and activities take place during the holiday season. These include Christmas markets, music performances, and other festivities.
It’s also an amazing time to visit some of the holiest sites in Christianity, such as the Church of Nativity and the Grotto of the Shepherds. You can even plan to take a Christmas Eve tour of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. You’ll see gorgeous sights, like Manger Square and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and get to experience a midnight Christmas Eve mass.
5) Take a Hike
Israel is home to numerous trails and hiking spots suitable for all levels of hikers. The winter months provide cooler temperatures which makes it a great time for this sport. Many trails in Israel offer stunning views of nature, historic monuments, and more. Plus, most national parks remain open throughout the winter season. Browse our hiking tours list to find something just for you or join our sunrise hiking tour in Masada to uncover the beauty South Israel’s terrain.
Explore the Golan Heights, Negev desert, Galilee region, and more unique places in Israel. You can even take a hike with ATV buggies! However, be sure to check weather forecasts beforehand in case of rain and muddy trails in order to err on the side of caution.
6) Celebrate the New Year in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv hosts numerous New Year’s Eve parties that will surely make for a memorable experience. Just remember that locals refer to New Year’s Eve as Sylvester! Ring in the New Year with a visit to Israel’s beautiful and vibrant city of Tel Aviv. Here you can explore the city’s famous nightlife, take part in different festivities and events, or just relax on one of its many beaches.
7) Shop for Gifts at Israel’s Markets
The winter season in Israel is the perfect time to buy special gifts for your friends and family. You can find a wide variety of handmade crafts, jewelry, spices, and souvenirs at local markets throughout the country. The best places to shop are Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market and Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market, both teeming with lively sounds and sights. Consider taking an immersive food tour that can awaken your senses to spectacular new flavors.
Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold with Tourist Israel!
From skiing and snowboarding to exploring historical sites, all kinds of winter activities can be found in Israel. Whether you’re traveling solo or with the whole family, Israel is an amazing place for a winter getaway. During this time, visitors can also celebrate the holidays such as Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s. Make sure to plan and take advantage of all the winter things to do in Israel with a tour from Tourist Israel.