Summer in Israel
Yep, it’s that time of year again - the rains are long behind us, the skies are clear and blue and the days are stretching endlessly ahead of us. It may only be May in Israel now but we know summer’s on the way - in fact, it’s positively round the corner. Everywhere you look, you’ll see flowers blooming - poppies in the Galilee, jacaranda in Tel Aviv and roses in Jerusalem.
El-Mona Gardens, Gulis, Israel. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
Is it hot in Israel in summer?
Casual Israeli fashion comes into its own - no one dresses formally in Israel so expect to see lots of women in colorful sundresses and men in t-shirts and shorts (with the obligatory sandals, to finish off the outfit). But by June and July, it will be hot. And we mean hot! Summer in Israel is always fun.
What is summer in Israel?With the average summer temperature in Israel (hitting 30 degrees in Jerusalem or more and the humidity of Tel Aviv making for a sweaty experience), you might want to factor in afternoon naps, so you’re fresh as a daisy for long lazy evenings out. Of course, if you’re a beach bunny, Israel is the perfect place to be between mid-June and late September - and for the cost of a sun lounger and umbrella, you can wile away your days next to the Mediterranean.
But when you’ve had your fill of the beach? Well, that’s why we’re here - to point you in the direction of other ways to enjoy your Israel vacation - by hiking in a nature reserve, checking out a new museum exhibition, taking a food tour, exploring some wineries, trying out some of the endless water sports on offer or simply sitting in a sidewalk cafe, watching the people go by. Not to mention the special events and festivals in Israel that always pop up here in the summer. Without further ado, let’s have a look at ways to spend your summer vacation in Israel. Enjoy!
Akhziv National Park, Israel. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
Cultural Events and Festivals in Israel in summer
Festival of Light - Running throughout June of this year, Jerusalem’s Festival of Light promises to bring the Old City to life, by illuminating the city walls and cobbled streets with all kinds of light installations. Whether you know this extraordinary part of the world well or it's your first time in Israel, there, you will surely be captivated as you make your way along the different tracks (all marked in varying colors), in and around the Old City. The festival is a fantastic way to see Jerusalem by night, and also boasts guided Jerusalem tours, shows, and performances from guest artists.
Jerusalem Wine Festival
The annual Jerusalem Wine Festival will take place at the Israel Museum in mid-August and, like every year, is bound to be a great social event. Showcasing (and celebrating) some of Israel’s best wines, as well as a few international offerings as well, go along not just for the wine and cheese but also to enjoy the musical offerings and the ambiance of the beautiful outdoor Sculpture Garden, where it is hosted.
Laila Lavan (White Night) in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv literally stays open all night at this festival (which, in Hebrew, means ‘White Night’) and the city comes to life, with endless musical performances, dancing, galleries open until the wee hours and sunrise yoga at the beach. It’s all free and it’s incredible fun - just take a long afternoon nap so you can fit in as much as possible. This year’s date is expected to be between the end of June and the beginning of July - watch this space. Most probably, July 1, 2022.
The Pixies in Concert
If you’re a fan of American Alternative Rock, then you’re in luck because of the iconic band. The Pixies in Israel, are performing in Tel Aviv on Monday 22nd July at the Expo Centre. With their infectious melodies and reputation for screeching vocals and searing guitar chords, this is a concert you really don't want to miss.
The Upper Galilee Voice of Music Festival
If you love chamber music, then head north for the Upper Galilee Voice of Music Festival, held in Kfar Blum in the Upper Galilee, running from 28th June to 2nd July. In scenic surroundings, enjoying performances by artists both from Israel and around the globe. And in addition to the main event, there will also be a children’s festival, with unique workshops for the youngsters.
National Parks in Israel
Israel has an extraordinary number of national parks and nature reserves, all full of fantastic hiking treks, amazing flora, and fauna, and surrounded by streams and waterfalls that never cease to delight their visitors. Some of the ones we’d recommend most highly include:
Akhziv National Park - this gorgeous area has sea turtles, rock pools, lagoons, steep sandstone cliffs, and an ancient fishing village. There’s also a lovely bathing beach, picnic facilities, and a nice camping area if you want to spend a few days out in nature. The Rosh HaNikra National Park includes the famous underwater caves, with a cable car ride for fun!
Tourists at Nesher National Park, Israel. Photo credit: © Dan PorgesGan HaShlosha - close to the Jordan Valley, near Beit Shean, is this well-known nature reserve, boasting all kinds of bathing pools whose waters come from springs in the nearby Amal River. The water is a comfortable 28 degrees all year round and is a wonderful place to come and soak. Surrounded by palm trees and lush greenery, it’s arguably one of Israel’s most beautiful spots. The park also has a tower and stockade, and an archaeology museum, and isn’t far from Mount Gilboa, if you want to do some serious hiking!
Ein Gedi - on the eastern edge of the Judean desert is this marvelous nature reserve, and it’s perfect to explore, either alone or combined with a trip to Masada and the Dead Sea. Here, water flows year-round and you can trek through baths, natural pools, waterfalls, and canyons. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the fabled leopard that supposedly lives in this oasis. Ein Gedi is full of lush vegetation, all kinds of flora and fauna, and an easy drive from Jerusalem.
Caesarea - this national park is home to magnificent Herodian ruins, including impressive Roman aqueducts, bathhouses (complete with mosaic floors), an ancient harbor, and the remains of both a hippodrome and theater (where summer concerts are often held at night). Nearby are lovely beaches, where you can picnic and swim. Caesarea is an easy day trip from Tel Aviv, and can also be combined with a visit to Haifa.
Banias - flowing down from Mount Hermon, the crystal clear waters of Banias make it a top pick for nature reserve lovers. Although you can’t swim in the waters, walking along the suspended circular walkway and seeing the amazing waterfalls up close, make it a great day out. There are two entrances to Banias, both with their own ticket booths, and a range of trails, depending on how much of a challenge you want.
Gan Hashlosha (Sahne) National Park, Israel. Photo credit: © Manu Grinspan. Published with permission of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority
Camping in Israel
If you’re traveling to Israel on a budget, then a fun and affordable way of doing it is by camping. All over the country, you’ll find well-equipped and reasonably priced camping grounds, so whether you want to hike in the Negev, explore a fortress in the Golan Heights or wake to the sounds of the Mediterranean waves, somewhere between Tel Aviv and Haifa, there’s a site that’s right for you.
In our opinion, camping around the Sea of Galilee is really one of the most beautiful ways to spend a few days. The area is lush and green, but it’s also full of attractions - churches and synagogues, the famous Yardenit baptismal site, and a huge water park, which is the perfect activity for kids.
Water Sports in Israel
If you’re not into sedentary holidays, then partaking in some of Israel’s many water sports is the perfect way to enjoy yourself. There’s kayaking on the Jordan River, after which - if you’ve still got energy - you can take a jeep tour along the border with Syria. If you’re down in Eilat, and you’re licensed, then you can’t take a dive along its coral reef (or, if you prefer, just hire a snorkel and fins). There are also jet skis for hire, all around this Red Sea resort, not to mention the opportunity to take an organized trip to Petra since Eilat is slap bang on the border with Jordan.
Day Tours in Israel
Day tours are a great way to see Israel and their advantages are many - you have the services of a professional guide (so you will learn a lot), transport is taken care of (so you don’t need to rent a car and cope with the sometimes chaotic roads) and you’ll fit a lot into one day (ok, they start early, but that means you really do get to see a great deal).
Spots like Masada and the Dead Sea and the Galilee and Golan Heights aren’t that accessible by public transport, so being driven there on a comfy air-conditioned bus really makes sense. Taking an organized day trip in Israel is also a great idea if you’re a solo traveler and want to meet other travelers.
At Bein Harim, we offer a wide variety of group and private tours, as well as Israel tour packages and if you’re interested in booking one, don’t hesitate to contact us or check out Bein Harim's Instagram page for photos of our many destinations.
Сaesarea Port, Israel. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
Beaches in Israel
The fact remains that beaches in Israel are still one of the biggest draws of this country. Stretching endlessly along the coast, whether you’re up in the north, close to Acre, slap bang in the center in Tel Aviv, or down in the south, nearer to Ashdod, you’re always going to be able to find a beach that suits you down to the ground.
Israeli beaches are almost always free and are usually good for amenities - cafes and restaurants, showers, changing rooms, toilets, and play areas close by for kids. You’ll also see plenty of workout stations, where you can tone up your abs or get a cardio session for free. And that’s before you’ve even dipped a toe in the water.
When spending a day at the beach, you’ll also see the locals in their element, playing matkot (a quintessential Israeli game, which involves two bats and a ball, and lots of yelling!) and volleyball (the locals are friendly, so feel free to ask to join in).
The Mediterranean in Israel is gorgeous in the summer and at the height of July and August, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in a warm bath when you jump in the waters. And if you’re not a fan of water, just rent a chair and parasol, put on your sunglasses (and plenty of lotion), and kick back with a book or your headphones.
Museums in Israel
Finally, for days when the mercury is sizzling inside the thermometer, you can always take refuge in one of Israel’s museums or art galleries. There are so many, including the world-famous Israel Museum, in Jerusalem, where you can see a replica model of the Second Temple, sculptures in the outside garden, and the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which are housed in their own specially-designed building. There are also underground Western Wall Tunnels to explore, close to the Western Wall, the Tower of David, and, of course, the narrow alleyways of the Old City, and its four historic quarters.
Tel Aviv comes into its own too with the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Yitzhak Rabin Center (telling the story of the late Prime Minister and his relationship with the State of Israel), and the Museum of the History of Tel Aviv, exploring the fascinating backstory to this city which was born as late as 1910 but is now as modern as modern can be.
There are also museums worth exploring in the north of the country, including MadaTech in Haifa, which is ideal if you want your kids to learn about science in an interactive and engaging way. If you are in Israel for the summer, go ahead and book some guided tours with a decent tour operator.