We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Dress Code for tourists

DC Metro Area
Level Contributor
19 posts
27 reviews
Save Topic
Dress Code for tourists

My wife and I will be in Israel next week, staying in part at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem, one of the nicer hotels. What's appropriate dress code for such a place? Will I feel out of place eating dinner there without a tie? Without a sports jacket? Without a suit?

Also while touring, what's appropriate dress? I've seen postings that say not to wear shorts as it kind of makes you a conspicuous American tourist. On the other hand, I lived in Israel 30 years ago and during the summer the Israelis all wore shorts and sandals to work. Has the dress code gotten more formal in the meantime? May I at least assume shorts are appropriate for a day trip tour to Dead Sea and Massada even if not appropriate for the major cities?

Mentioned in this post
Israel
Israel
Middle East
The Inbal Jerusalem
The Inbal Jerusalem
1,963 Reviews
Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Jerusalem District, Israel
Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
15,235 posts
223 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Dress Code for tourists

First of all, we all hope that you and your wife have a wonderful time!

You will not feel inappropriate eating without a tie or jacket. In fact, I would venture that if you did wear these items, you would be in a distinct minority if not the only one. Israeli business dress is more formal than it used to be (remember when Menachem Begin was the first Prime Minister to regularly wear a tie and suit?), but socially Israelis still tend to dress informally although very fashionably.

Sandals are still everywhere. Shorts aren't inappropriate (except at holy sites, where they will bar your entry, on men or women), but they just aren't as common as in North America. Shorts and sneakers tend to be more of an American look, though you will see Israelis in them. I would totally wear shorts for a day trip to the Dead Sea and Masada. I wear them when I'm out in Tel Aviv as well at times. But I usually wear long pants in Jerusalem because I always want to have the option to step into a holy site without wearing one of those ridiculous-looking wrap around skirts they give you to cover your legs.

Again, have a great trip!

Douglas Duckett

Mentioned in this post
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Jerusalem District, Israel
israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
Level Contributor
15,516 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Dress Code for tourists

Sneakers from a well know brand, jeans and a nice shirt will do. Shirt I don't mean one with buttons but any nice top. You Americans have so many words for each garment and I can't keep up. A fashionable T-shirt will be also good.

california
Level Contributor
732 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Dress Code for tourists

During my last visit, I was amazed to see in Tel Aviv, as wide a range of attire and hair styles as you would see in LA, New York or London today. Most surprising was how many tattoos and body piercings we saw on people--mostly very young people, of course--but I had never seen a tattoo in Israel before except for concentration camp numbers on Holocaust survivors. It was a bit shocking, but proves that Tel Aviv has become like most cosmopolitan cities--a hodgpodge of many types of people and styles.

So, in Tel Aviv, I wouldn't worry about what you wear, as long as you enjoy wearing it. As for the other places, I agree with the advice given--shorts are the way to go when visiting archaeological sites in the heat, more modest dress in Jerusalem and at holy places.

Mentioned in this post
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv District, Israel
London
London
England, UK
Israel
Israel
Middle East
Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Jerusalem District, Israel
NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
40,244 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Dress Code for tourists

Wearing a tie in the Inbal would make you stand out. So would a jacket and a suit. Save the jacket for synagogue ( if you go) and the suit can stay in DC. Just wear slacks and a shirt. You will see anything from polo--to 3 button to t-shirt with writing on it.

You don't see Israeli men in shorts in the city--and not really to work anymore. ( even the Egged drivers now have a uniform) but sandals--yup---Dead Sea and Masada--go wear shorts and enjoy.

Mentioned in this post
The Inbal Jerusalem
The Inbal Jerusalem
1,963 Reviews
Jerusalem, Israel
Israel
Level Contributor
1,947 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Dress Code for tourists

I is getting a little cool for shorts. This is the only reason why most Israelis turn to long jeans now at the end of October. You don't need a tie or jacket even to the fanciest places, unless you are invited to a VIP affair. My husband can't remember where his ties or jacket are, and I suspect that even if he'll find his old jacket it will most probably not fit him any more!

Sandals are OK as long as you are not cold and it doesn't rain. Bring your jeans and a pair of pants that are not jeans (something like Dockers are fine. You can wear your sneakers all day. Even for dinners. I disagree with shoshi. They don't have to be from a well known brand. Just clean!

The same goes for your wife. A nice pair of pants for the evening, a nice t-shirt and she is ready to go out! A light jacket would be good for the cool evenings. Just remember that iy can get really cool in Jerusalem!

And don't forget an umbrella. November can be rainy!

Mentioned in this post
Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Jerusalem District, Israel
israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
Level Contributor
15,516 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Dress Code for tourists

"They don't have to be from a well known brand. Just clean." Well...the guy wanted to look good, as for "clean" this is really though and not common.

Israel
Level Contributor
2,805 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Dress Code for tourists

I agree with the abice advise. Except for the fanciest restaurants, you will not be expected to wear a jacket, and no place I know of requires a tie.

And I can't imagine anyone concerning themselves with the brand of your shoes.

Israel
Level Contributor
2,805 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Dress Code for tourists

Oops -- that should read "above advice."

DC Metro Area
Level Contributor
19 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Dress Code for tourists

Thank you all so very much for replies about the dress code. You all are a wonderful resource! Now my wife asks whether she should wear long pants or long skirt or jeans to the Old City.

Mentioned in this post
Jaffa Old City
Jaffa Old City
8,670 Reviews
Jaffa, Israel
Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
15,235 posts
223 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Dress Code for tourists

Any of the above are fine for a woman touring the Old City. I think you may be worrying about the dress issue too much. Israelis are fairly relaxed about that. As long as the legs, torsos, and upper arms are covered, you should be fine touring any holy site. This goes for both sexes, by the way. My friend Joy even got away with capris much of the time in 2005, though I think that may be pushing your luck. But a long skirt, slacks, or jeans are all fine. And if she is wearing a sleeveless top, as long as she carries a scarf or light shawl or jacket to cover her shoulders when needed, you'll be fine.

On a more practical basis, take hats and sunscreen! Even in November, a sunny day can be intense, particularly when you go to Masada and the Dead Sea. And when at the Dead Sea, drink lots of water, whether or not you feel thirsty.

Douglas Duckett

Mentioned in this post
Jaffa Old City
Jaffa Old City
8,670 Reviews
Jaffa, Israel
Get answers to your questions about Jerusalem