Israel’s a four season travel destination. There’s rarely a bad time of year to visit. Nevertheless, each season has its own conditions that will influence your trip. So when should you go? It all depends on your own availability for travel and your interests.
Here are some things to take into consideration when choosing the dates for your trip.
Winter: Late December – February
Other than the last week of December, this is a low season for Israel tourism. You may be lucky to nab cheaper airfare and better deals on some of the best hotels during this period. You’ll avoid crowded conditions at the major tourist destinations in the winter.
Expect cool conditions along the Mediterranean coast and in the deserts and chilly to even cold weather in the higher elevations of Galilee and in Jerusalem. You’ll likely see some rain during this season, so make sure to bring a hooded rain coat along. And what a beautiful sight when the Holy City gets the occasional dusting of snow!
During the last week of December, many Jewish families with children choose to tour the country while their kids are on winter break. If you’re thinking of a bar or bat mitzvah trip during that week, be sure to plan far in advance for that sought after period.
And, of course, Christian pilgrims will find celebrating Christmas at Manger Square in Bethlehem a very moving part of their Holy Land tour.
Spring: March – early June
Spring is one of the best times of year to tour our country. For the most part, you can expect mild temperatures, but a sharav, or ‘hamsin’ as the heatwave accompanied by dusty conditions is known in Arabic, occasionally sweeps through the country from the desert during this season.
Tourism, especially Christian tourism, will be at its peak during this time – so expect to see some crowds at key tourist destinations.
During the month of March you’ll see almost an explosion of wild flowers around the country and the hills of Galilee look almost as green as the Irish countryside.
The Jewish Festival of Spring is Passover and that week brings Jewish families from around the world to our shores to celebrate “this year in Jerusalem.” During Passover, hotel prices will skyrocket as Israelis take to the road and fill our hotels for their own holiday celebrations.
Holy Week and Easter in Jerusalem can be a spiritual experience for Christians, as long as they align expectations concerning the crowds in the Old City.
The first half of the month of June is one of the best times of year to visit the country. Summer arrives a bit later in Israel than in much of North America. So temperatures in early June may be milder than back home. If early June works for you, you’ll want to reserve your trip even a year in advance. There’s much demand, especially for those first two weeks of the month.
Summer: Late June – September
Tel Aviv’s the ‘capital of Mediterranean cool.’ And that title becomes most evident during the summer months. You’ll encounter our Mediterranean café culture at its most vibrant during the summer.
If a beach experience is of interest to you, there’s no question you’ll want to visit during the summer. You’ll quickly understand why National Geographic has labelled Tel Aviv’s beaches some of the nicest urban beaches in the world.
Come prepared for the hot conditions of summer. Dress accordingly and stay hydrated. And you can have a great experience in the Land. It’s a plus to not have to worry about rain interfering with your touring – you can be sure every single day of your summer visit will be blessed with blue skies and endless sunshine.
At the tail end of our summer, the Jewish High Holiday season begins. Starting with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and followed by the solemnity of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, this a time for family gatherings. When choosing your dates for touring, make sure to take note of these holidays. Yom Kippur, in particular, will most assuredly have an impact on any visitor in the country during this period.
Fall: October – early December
Just like the spring, the autumn, too, can be an ideal time for touring in Israel. This is a very much in-demand period. Any trip you’d like to schedule for fall, should be reserved far in advance. With the exception of the occasional hot and dry conditions of the sharav that can sweep through the region in autumn, expect mild temperatures in this season. The rainy season officially begins in mid-October, though rain rarely will put a damper on your plans during the fall.
Following Yom Kippur, the Jewish Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles) takes place during the fall. It’s a beautiful time of year when you can see the temporary booths Jews build outside their homes to celebrate. But along with these often elaborately decorated temporary dwellings, Sukkot ushers in a week of crowded conditions – especially in the northern area of the country and in Jerusalem – as local Israelis take to the roads to celebrate the holiday with their families. If you’re thinking of an autumn visit, it’s very important you investigate the exact dates for the Sukkot holiday during the planning of your trip.
So when’s the best time for your visit to David’s Land? You decide.