10 Rainy Day Activities in Israel - Having Fun Inside
The fact that Israel has such a warm and pleasant climate for much of the year is a huge reason it sees so many tourists. Like many Mediterranean destinations, it's blessed with beautiful sandy beaches, clear blue waters, endless cafes with outdoor seating, and plenty of sunshine. Indeed, between May and November, it’s rare for the entire country to see a drop of rain.
However, whilst rainy days aren’t common in Israel, they do still exist, and so if you are visiting in the winter and there’s a sudden downpour, what should you do? Well, you might not be able to hike, swim or cycle around but the good news is this is a country with plenty of indoor activities to keep you amused for hours.
Below, we’re looking at things you can do that are amusing, entertaining, educational and will keep you dry whilst the wind blows and the rain pours. Whether you’re in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa or one of the small villages in the Negev or Galilee, we’re sure you’ll enjoy them. Hey, you won’t just learn something new but you might get so hooked on it that you’ll try it again. And then you’ll be thankful for the bad weather because if it hadn’t rained, you might never have headed indoors in the first place…
1. Visit a Planetarium in Israel
Ready for an experience that’s ‘out of this world?’ Well, look no further than a trip to Israel’s most well-known planetarium, in Tel Aviv. Situated inside the Eretz Israel Museum, you’ll enjoy a fantastic show, whilst sitting in revolving seats! Learn about different galaxies and enjoy a ‘flight’, where you can explore the universe, each one with its billions of stars (which live, die and then are born again). English performances are available (check ahead of time).
The venue also offers a show on Galileo and the modern telescopes. The planetarium accepts children over the age of 6, so it’s a great family attraction. There’s also ‘Madatech’ in Haifa, which is perfect for science lovers. Inside, you’ll find all kinds of hands-on experiences including a planetarium, interactive exhibitions, a robotics centre, 3D science films and even an innovation centre, that combines science with art.
2. Crack the Code at an Escape Room in Israel
Escape Rooms are a global phenomenon - they’re perfect for any age, have clever designs and are wonderful if you want a bit of intellectual stimulation, as well as a fun day out. Since they’ve taken off in Israel, you’ve got so many to choose from, but here are three we’d recommend:
‘Aladdin and the Magic Lamp‘ - located in Haifa, kids will love searching for clues in the Sultan’s Palace and finding the magic lamp!
‘Trapped’ - perfect for those who don’t scare easily, this Jerusalem escape room finds you in a blood-soaked lab, and with just an hour to save the lives of you and your friends.
‘Mossad’- For aspiring secret-agents, there’s no better place to head than Tel Aviv where, in groups of 2-6, you’ll be put through your paces, with some serious assignments, to find out of you’ve got what it takes to takes to be an Israeli ‘James Bond’.
3. Defy Gravity with some Indoor Skydiving in Israel
A short drive from Tel Aviv is the city of Rishon LeZion and there you’ll find ‘Flybox’. It’s a new attraction in Israel which is becoming increasingly popular and it’s nothing short of indoor skydiving! Thought up in the 1990s, it is an ‘extreme sport’ but in a controlled and safe environment and, even better, it’s not just for adults - kids can try it out too.
How does it work? This gravity-defying activity works by letting you hover over a wind tunnel - you enter by a lift which is generated by fans installed at the top of the tunnel that lifts the air. The tunnel compresses the air and increases the speed up to 275 km (170 miles) per hour. The tunnel you ‘fly’ in is see-through and 13.5 km here, meaning others can watch you as you soar through the air.
As ‘Flybox’ says, it’s a perfect activity for couples, families and small groups alike and suitable for anyone aged 5 and up. You don’t need any experience or skills - there’s an instructor there to advise you, and ensure your safety and comfort and someone else will be keeping an eye on your airspeed. Get ready for take-off!
Skydiving at Flybox, Israel. Photo from: www.flybox.co.il
4. Take Up Indoor Rock Climbing in Israel
If you’re the sporty type but don’t want to get soaked, then try I Climb, which is the largest indoor climbing group in Israel. They have six locations in Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. Their gyms give you the opportunity to lead climb, boulder, top rope and use an auto belay and, additionally, they offer a special climbing experience for kids.
There’s also ‘Performance Rock’ in Tel Aviv, which is the first climbing wall in Israel devoted just to the bouldering method. The wall has more than 100 climbing routes (‘bouldering paths’ or ‘problems’) and there’s a wide range of levels and steps to discover. You don’t need any previous experience - just show up and progress through the ranks!
5. Attend Cooking Classes in Israel
There’s nothing more satisfying than learning to cook a new dish, and Israel’s full of cooking experts who are ready to share their expertise with you.
Galilean Cooking Workshops - nestled in the Galilee, in northern Israel, this company offers you a chance to experience some real Middle Eastern hospitality, in a local’s home. Whether you want to be the guest of Druze, Christian or Muslim hosts, you’ll be assured of a warm welcome - the programme involves two hours of a cookery workshop.
There you will get hands-on instruction in how to prepare traditional dishes before a sit-down lunch, where you try what you’ve made. It’s a great way to spend a few hours and not only will you improve your cooking skills - learning how to make food with fresh ingredients - but you’ll also get an idea of how locals live in the Galilee.
Beersheba, this venture was established by Ariel Pollock Star, who moved to Israel from Cincinnati, USA and couldn’t find bagels in her local bakery so began making her own.
The enterprise took off and she then established a collaborative cooking workspace, which she shares with other women-led ventures. Join her workshop and you won't just learn how to make these New York delights, but you’ll take six of them home with you (plain, sesame and onion - something for everyone!)
Dan Gourmet in Tel Aviv - fantastic if you’re more than a beginner - they offer all kinds of food classes including Asian, Italian, pastries and the popular ‘Who’s Afraid of Fish?’ Nor will they be offended if you ask them questions about traditional Jewish cooking!
6. Enjoy a Ceramics Workshop in Israel
Down in the Dead Sea, you’ll find the studio of Estee Barak, who’s been making ceramics for over 30 years. Not only does she exhibit but she also offers workshops both in decorating ceramics and pottery throwing. Learn how to decorate a plate with Japanese firing methods or make your own pot on a wheel! Workshops last around 2 hours and can also be combined with a day trip to Masada and Ein Gedi.
There’s also Keren Or’s lovely studio in Zichron Yaakov, close to Mount Carmel and Haifa, which offers workshops for couples, families, groups and individuals. Try your hand at ceramic sculpting, painting on plates/pots already fired, or have a ‘pottery for two’ afternoon tailored to your specific requirements. She also offers ‘team building’ days, for anyone who’s in need of workplace motivation!
K-Clay ceramics studio, Israel. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
7. Ice-Skating in Israel
Up high in northern Israel sits Metula, which is a charming little town right next to the border with Lebanon (on a clear day, you can see for miles). In 1995 an activities and sports centre opened here and as well as swimming pools, a bowling alley, saunas and a shooting range, it offers an Olympic-size skating rink. Yes, and one that actually meets international standards) and with seating for over one thousand people.
So for anyone who wants to have fun on the ice, this is the place to come - you can bring your own skates, rent a pair or simply sit and watch professionals practising with their trainers. (And if skating whets your appetite, and it’s a really cold winter, then take a short drive over to Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights…ok, it’s not inside but when snow falls, it’s a wonderful place to come and ski!
Ice Peak, Holon - just 20 minutes drive from Tel Aviv, this skating rink is very organised and makes for a great family activity in Israel. Modern, clean and well-maintained, your ticket gives you access to the ice for 45 minutes at a time (your time slot will depend on the colour of the bracelet you’re given).
8. Book a Chocolate or Candy-Making Workshop in Israel
How many of us don’t like a sweet treat, now again and again? Well, if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make some delectable sugary creations for yourself, attending a chocolate or candy-making workshop is the perfect rainy-day activity in Israel.
Sarina Chocolate - about an hour’s drive north of Tel Aviv, on Moshav Ein Vered, feel free to indulge yourself. Childrens’ workshops take 2 hours and include making lollipops and chocolate paintings; adult workshops take around 3 hours and include learning how to create pralines, truffles and chocolate fondue!
ToMoCandy - also not far from Tel Aviv - in Raanana - check out ToMoCandy. Here you can learn how to make vegan-friendly, gluten-free rock candy, at one of their fun and interactive workshops. Create your own personalised candies, and take home lollipops and two jars of your own handcrafted sweet treats. Perfect for birthday events as well as rainy days!
9. Indulge at a Spa in Israel
On a grey and gloomy day, everyone deserves a treat, so why not indulge yourself at a spa? Israel has so many good ones but the two we’d recommend are in the north and south of the country.
Carmel Forest - this little slice of paradise is nestled up in the Carmel, and offers one of the best spas in northern Israel, if not the entire country. For anyone who wants to escape the rain (and also anyone who’s stressed, tense or overloaded with life’s responsibilities) this is the place to head.
Not only will you enjoy hospitality in a luxurious session but you’ll eat incredibly well. Carmel Forest offers wet and dry saunas, treatment rooms, a solarium, Turkish bath, swimming pool and jacuzzi and in addition to a range of spa treatments there are all kinds of health and wellness workshops on offer too, led by experts.
Bereshit Mitzpe Ramon - with its spectacular location, overlooking this extraordinary Makhtesh Ramon Crater in the Negev desert, Bereshit is one of Israel’s top hotels. Not only does it have fabulous desert views, gourmet restaurants and beautifully-designed rooms, it also boasts a luxury spa. Like the Carmel Spa, it’s owned by the Isrotel group so you’re assured of high-quality service here.
10. Hang Out at a Bowling Alley
Finally, how could we miss out on the ultimate, fun rainy-day activity that everyone loves? Yes, it’s bowling. Israel has plenty of modern bowling alleys, well-designed with huge display screens and shiny alleys, so why not head off to one of them for some fun? It’s a great activity for the family, for groups and even for ‘date night’ (with a little alcohol thrown in).
Arbel Bowling, in Netanya, is perfect for a fun night out and they also have an arcade, mini bumper-car area and laser tag activities. There’s also ‘Good Lanes’ in Maale Adumim, close to Jerusalem, which offers events for children’s birthdays, including pizza and refreshments and a special gift for the birthday boy or girl.
And fear not adults, their bowling alley is also available for a private hire - enjoy pool tables, a lounge area, karaoke, a large projector screen and your choice of music. WIth ten electronic lanes, you can make a real party of it. Bring on the rain!
If you are not afraid of the rain, join a day tour in Israel operated by Bein Harim. Bein Harim tours depart every day, rain or shine!