Israel’s amazing weather is one of this country’s major advantage for travelers, especially during the winter months. The plethora of varied climate zones within a small geographical area allow tourists to hit the ski slopes one day and sunbathe on Mediterranean sands on the next. There are also countless indoor activities like museums, malls, and even bowling.
Winter is holiday season for all denominations and especially Christianity and Judaism. Israel is a unique destination for Christmas celebrations since this is where it all started. Pilgrims can visit Bethlehem for the renowned midnight mass, as well as celebrate at countless locations across the country. Winter is also the season for Chanukah where Jews celebrate the festival of lights with jelly-filled doughnuts, Suvganiot, and grand entertainments for the children.
In countries where Christians reside, particularly the United States, people customarily take tours of neighborhoods to enjoy the elaborate Christmas lights that families take pride in displaying. Ironically, Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, also features fabulous light displays. The 8 candle candelabra is lighted for eight consecutive nights. You can view these by taking a trek through Old City, the Nachlaot neighborhood or attend a public lighting at the Western Wall or in any of the city squares around the country.
If you are in the country for Christmas, you should definitely hang around until at least New Year’s Eve, known colloquially as Sylvester. All of Israel’s major metropolitan areas are play host to a vibrant bar and night club scene, and this comes to the fore for new year’s celebrations where mega clubs offer live music and dance music from among a wide variety of tastes and styles. Tel Aviv has the highest concentration of party venues, but the Talpiot neighborhood in Jerusalem also boasts plenty of clubs with New Year’s specials.
Since the winter temperatures are mild in Israel, this season is ideal for exploring nature. The desert is especially attractive during the winter months. You can descend to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea, and pair this with an exploration of Nabatean archaeological sites in Ovdat near Mizpe Ramon where travelers can take in the amazing view of this natural crater.
Eilat, Israel’s resort city on the Red Sea, is the ideal place to spend a winter vacation for those in search of warm beaches bordered by desert mountain cliffs. The water temperatures never dip below 21 degrees Celsius. Travelers can swim and sunbathe as well as visit various other intriguing attractions. Scuba divers thrive in this city where excursions to explore the depths of the Red Sea reefs are regular and varied, offering dives for beginners and experts. Enjoy Israel’s often overlooked resort town.
Skiing on Mount Herman is also an option if snowfall accumulates. Mount Herman rises to a towering 9,200 feet and is appealing to skiers and boarders alike. There are also a plethora of other activities for those who prefer not to ski. In addition to skiing, tourists can also enjoy Nimrod’s castle, a Crusader fortress located in close proximity to the Golan.
While you are in the North, you can take advantage of Israel’s unique geographic location along a major bird migration route.The Hula Nature Reserve is a world class bird watching site, and there is an annual festival in December when more than 30,000 birds of varying species touch down here for a rest stop on their journey to the south, and warmer climes.
Since the Jordan Valley is known for its extremely hot temperatures during the summer months, wintertime is the ideal season for exploring destinations like Beit Shean. It is so hot that it is consistently rated in the top 10 hottest spots on earth. Therefore, take advantage of the winter weather and explore the wonders of the Beit Shean National Park. Here you will find the reconstructed Roman ruins that include a bathhouse, theater, and famous colonnades.
Another unique Jewish holiday, Tu B’shvat, which usually falls in late winter and is both a religious and secular holiday. It is known as the new year’s celebration for the trees, so it is the customer to plant trees on this occasion. Celebrants also indulge in the consumption of a wide variety of dried fruits that were grown in the land, and a festive meal is enjoyed by all.
Don’t miss Israel’s winter wonders. Book now with Mazada Tours and enjoy superior quality tours at discount prices.
By Brent J. Mitchell