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Best time to visit Israel

Toronto
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Best time to visit Israel

I have spent the better part of two hours visiting the Jerusalem Forum and am amazed by the amount and quality of information I have discovered. I've been particularly impressed by the commentary and guidance provided by Suzanne and Doug. You have, in a manner of speaking, become my "favourites".

My husband and I are planning a 14-18 day visit to Israel this year and for starters, would like an opinion on the best time to arrive? Let me tell you first, that struggling through our Canadian winters is always a challenge. We are very partial to warmth, sunshine, blue skies, swimming in tepid waters and wearing sandals, with temperatures around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time we'd try to avoid the height of busy tourist seasons. Is that possible? Would appreciate your advice.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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1. Re: Best time to visit Israel

First, let me thank you for the kind words.

As for your specific question, I think you're best months would be either May or October. At that time of year, you will have the weather you are asking for, and you will actually miss peak season. Peak is July and August, because that is when kids are out of school, but those months can be hellishly hot, so I avoid them. I went for two weeks in May 2005, and the weather was PERFECT. Every day was sunny with temperatures in exactly the range you describe, expect for one day in Tiberias when it hit about 100. I have gone three times in June, and it's hotter then, though not suffocatingly so like July and August.

I also went in October once to similarly perfect weather. The trick there is that this is the holiday season in Israel, not only the High Holy Days but also Sukkot, Simhat Torah, and Shemeni Atzeret. That means higher rates because Israelis are traveling, and room availability will be more limited. Plus a lot of restaurants, etc. shut down on the holidays.

Finally, if it will help, please feel free to e-mail me for a 23-page travelogue/guide I have prepared on travel to the country. It's free and non-commercial in nature.

Have a great time, and let us know if we can help with any other questions.

Douglas Duckett

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Jerusalem
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2. Re: Best time to visit Israel

Hi,

Dates of Holydays 2006:

Rosh Hashana (new year) Sept 22-24

Yom Kipur Oct 1-2

Sukkot Oct 6-14

(Note Sept 22, Oct 1 and 6 are half day holiday)

Most people I know try to avoid spending the holidays in Israel (unless you're religious and actually come to Israel for that) - as Doug said, it's a pick season (esp. in Eilat and Tiberias - the prices are at their highest) and EVERYBODY is out.

Passover is also a good time to avoid - same as high holidays, but worse (no wheat products allowed, a lot of the restaurants are closed) - April 12-19 2006, 2-9 2007.

Consider December - it's a gamble: it might rain occasionally, but you may get some gorgeous weather (around 18-10 Celsius), and in Eilat it's wormer and less crowded.

Jerusalem, Israel
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3. Re: Best time to visit Israel

Actually, I happen to believe that ANYTIME is a good time to be in Israel, though, yes, during holidays, especially around Passover and the High Holy Days through Succot, there are a lot of extra people here with flights and accommodations at a premium.

BUT - the main thing is to decide and then get your flights and hotels booked (unless you are joining a group tour, in which case, that will be part of the package). After that, you can make the rest of your plan...

And when you are deciding what to see and do, be sure to include some off-the-beaten-track spots to visit and local cultural events as Jerusalem and all of Israel actually abound in concerts, book launches, theater, street events, art exhibits and the like! Just heard tonight that Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame will be performing in Tel Aviv (Hayarkon Park) on June 22... in case you're rockers!

While temps begin to warm up considerably in June, it can also be sweater weather at night in Jerusalem and the upper elevations as well as in the desert! Even so, you can swim comfortably in the Med, the Red, the Kinneret (my favorite place to swim here) and even at the Dead Sea, though it will be considerably hotter there - still the lower elevation means the UV rays are actually filtered so it's not as dangerous there as elsewhere to stay out in the sun longer (I read that somewhere, so it must be true)!

I think June can also be a good time to come - while the temps begin to warm up, there really aren't as many tourists around then as one might think! The absolutely slowest time (other than late January-early February) seems to be early August - and yes, it is quite hot here then, which might be why!

November can also be good, though the weather does begin to get colder then and yes, we hope to have rain!

Whatever you decide, post your questions and concerns here so that we can all give you our 2 agorot worth of advice! And do be sure to get Doug's Israel Guide - while it IS free, it's also priceless with the help it gives!

Hope to see you this year in Israel!

suzanne pomeranz, jerusalem, israel

Sydney Australia
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4. Re: Best time to visit Israel

We were there in December(before Chanukah) and it was VERY warm.

Obviously some places are warmer than others but I totally agree with Suzanne- just GO!!!!!

Decide what is important to you-religious festivities, the whole tourist thing or visiting family,,,,,,,,,,,, just go. You will NOT be disappointed.

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5. Re: Best time to visit Israel

I agree with Suzanne - beginning of June is my best bet. December might have its quirky warm days, but it's when everybody wishes and prays for some rain to come down already!

Maryland
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6. Re: Best time to visit Israel

Hello Douglas,

My wife and I are planning a trip to Israel in early March and would like to request your travelogue/guide. Since we will have only 5 days in Israel, other than Jerusalem, what other cities/places would you recommend for our visit.

Thanks

Fred

vatchafs@yahoo.com

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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7. Re: Best time to visit Israel

The guide has since grown to 42 pages (this post was 2 trips ago), and I send it as a .pdf file attachment via return e-mail. So just e-mail me at Labatt@fuse.net, and I will be happy to send it to you. And that goes for anyone else reading this.

In keeping with the guidelines of this site, the guide is completely noncommercial and no-strings. I have no financial stake in it; I just like helping people plan their trips.

Douglas Duckett

Tel Aviv, Israel
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8. Re: Best time to visit Israel

June and October days are usually as hot as July/August, just not humid. Early May is my recommendation, there is no rain and the temps are generally in the 70's to low 80's. The days are long, so you will have lots of time to sightsee and the Mediterranean waters won't be cold (the sea in Eilat will be, though). As mentioned, April is tourist season, big-time.

Or you could get away from your winter here! March is mild and balmy, little if any rain, lots of sun, and usually warm enough for short sleeves and sandals during the day, though you may need a light jacket in Jerusalem.

IMO, Eilat is best in November, when the days are warm and so is the water.

Texas
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9. Re: Best time to visit Israel

I was in Israel from December 15 to January 17 and the weather was perfect every day. Usually about 75 to 80 degrees. It was not overcrowded in Israel at that time and you can get away from the Canadian winter for a while.

Do not go in the summer when the weather will be 100 to 115. Sunny in Toronto is nothing like sunny in Israel. I believe that summer months are busy tourists months (generally because people are traveling with their children) in Israel and hotels will cost more. Some bed and breakfasts list high season prices and low season prices.

Israel has a name for hot windy days when people have to stay inside. It was mentioned on this forum but I don't remember the term. Even though I am from Texas I cannot tolerate the searing heat of summer.

Jerusalem is about the same latitude as central Texas. Israel has a tall narrow profile so the Negev in the south is even hotter. Also you may enjoy going to Petra Jordan if you have time.

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10. Re: Best time to visit Israel

The name of the hot windy days is "hamsin".