While we say goodbye to 2018 and the record-breaking amount of tourism it brought to the Holy Land, we look forward to another incredible year before us. 2019 is exciting for so many reasons: new luxury hotels, international concerts, and festivals that are bigger and better than ever before. If you’ve been constantly planning & putting off your trip to Israel, an Israel tour in 2019 is a fantastic idea, and here are 19 reasons why:

1 – Eurovision

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Last year’s Eurovision got the whole nation together for two reasons: to rally behind winner Netta Barzilay, and to collectively get excited to host the world’s biggest song contest in 2019. Expect appearances from the infamous Dana International and other previous Eurovision winners. Additionally, it is rumoured that the event will be hosted by none-other than the stunning Israeli supermodel, Bar Rafaeli. Be sure to book your accommodation way ahead of time, since many people are planning their Israel tour in 2019 around this event!

2 – Jon Bon Jovi concert

Another huge musical event taking place in July 2019, is Jon Bon Jovi’s return to Tel Aviv. The rock legend will be playing in Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv. As always, it’s expected to be a great show. His 2015 show saw 50,000 audience members singing along to “Livin’ on a Prayer.” We’re sure the 2019 show will be even bigger!

3 – Elections

While not quite a tourist attraction, the Israeli elections were called earlier than scheduled and will now be held in April of 2019. Anyone with an interest in Middle-Eastern politics will surely keep a close eye on the campaigning and lead-up to election day. There’s never a dull moment when it comes to Israeli politics!

4 – Slash Concert

Israel always gets a few big acts that pass through each summer, and 2019 is no exception. If Eurovision and Bon Jovi weren’t enough to keep you satisfied, you also have the chance to see Slash in concert in July 2019. The legendary frontman of Guns N’ Roses will be playing with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators in Tel Aviv. Get your tickets in advance!

5 – Virgin Atlantic Flights

Since Israeli Shai Weiss became the CEO of Virgin Atlantic, he’s been trying to compete for popular routes to Tel Aviv. Lookout for new Virgin Atlantic flights between London and Tel Aviv starting this year. In May, Virgin hopes to fly in 200 fans from London to Tel Aviv to enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest!

6 – Even More Tourism

2018 was a record-breaking year for tourism to Israel. Before that, 2017 was a record-breaking yea for Israeli tourism. (Notice a pattern here?) There’s no doubt that with new airlines coming in, beautiful new hotels, and Eurovision, there will be a huge influx of tourists visiting the Holy Land. With all the excitement, accommodation and entertainment are sure to get booked up quickly, so if you’re planning an Israel tour in 2019, get a move on and contact us so we can help you plan before it’s too late!

7 – Pride Parade

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Tel Aviv Pride is a yearly event that sees thousands of tourists coming each June to celebrate love and the LGBTQ community. Tel Aviv’s parade is known internationally as being one of the best. Last year, there were over 250,000 parade attendees! In 2019, the parade is expected to be even bigger, so if you’re planning your Israel tour in 2019 for June, be sure to pack some rainbow-colored clothes and join in on the fun!

8 – The Dead Sea

Fodor’s listed The Dead Sea as one of the top 50 places to visit in 2019, and we can see why. They describe it “like nowhere else on earth. This shimmering saltwater lake appears in the distance like a mirage in the desert. It’s somehow both otherworldly and right in the middle of it all, surrounded by Israel, Palestine, and Jordan in the heart of the Middle East. It’s undeniably special here and the kind of place that you’re not likely to forget.” Need more reasons to visit The Dead Sea during your Israel tour in 2019? Check out our list of cool facts you didn’t know about The Dead Sea.

Book your Dead Sea Tour

9 – Midburn

Another yearly even that happens in the Negev desert is Midburn. The event is modelled after Burning Man, which takes place in the deserts of Nevada. The Israel version features tons of incredible art installations, different types of wellness events, parties, and show-stopping costumes. Many people fly in from outside Israel just to attend this unforgettable week in the desert.

10 – Michael Jackson Tribute

Another one of the great concerts happening in 2019 in Israel. The Michael Jackson tribute concert will be touring around the country in February, so you can be sure to catch it during your Israel tour in 2019. The “I Am King” performance will include a Live Orchestra, broadway dancers, and classic hits in 20 shows around the country

11- Eilat Ramon Airport

In addition to the new Ovda Airport 60km north of Eilat, a new airport, Eilat Ramon, is set to open in 2019. The new airport will replaced Eilat’s current Eilat J. Hozman Airport. The opening of Ovda Airport saw tons of new low-cost international airlines flying directly into Israel’s south. We’re sure to see more exciting routes when the new airport opens in 2019!

12- Crusader Wall Tour in Caesarea

A new tourist attraction will open in 2019 in the ancient Roman city of Caesarea. Tourists will now be able to walk on the ancient walls with the new Crusader Wall Promenade. This is part of a project to increase tourism to the city. Caesarea has always been a magical place to visit with it’s 2,000 year-old history and archeology, this is sure to be an exciting addition!

Book your Caesarea Tour

13- Eilat Jazz Fest

The Red Sea Jazz Festival takes place in February, and features both local Israeli acts and international artists. Definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in live Jazz music!

14 – Six Senses Shaharut Hotel Resort

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Six Senses Shaharut photo courtesy of Six Senses

A luxurious hotel resort by the Six Senses chain is slated to open in 2019. The hotel will be in Israel’s Negev desert in the Arava Valley. It will include 58 suites and villas with private pools, and a private high-end spa for guests. The hotel is focused on sustainability and wellness. It will also include a Camel ranch and an open amphitheater, and Bedouin-style tents for an authentic Middle-Eastern experience.

15 – Jerusalem Marathon

Run 5k, 10k, a half-marathon, or the full 42.2KM in the annual Jerusalem Marathon! (We also won’t blame you if you just want to stand on the sidelines and cheer). Due to its hilly terrain, the Jerusalem Marathon is known to be a tough one. Runners from around the world come to participate in this challenging event. Is 2019 your year?

16 – Tel Aviv White Night

Tel Aviv’s annual White Night falls at the end of June. It typically includes a night of fun live musical shows, art installations, street parties, food stands, and more. The event is popular with locals and internationals, and has fun events for the whole family.

17 – Christmas in Bethlehem

If you didn’t get to spend your 2018 Christmas holiday in the Holy Land, then let’s help you get here for 2019. There’s no better way to spend Christmas in the Holy Land than visiting Bethlehem for an unforgettable midnight mass. See what else you can do for Christmas in Israel here!

18 – Purim

Another annual holiday and event that takes place around the country is Purim. Typically, children dress up, bake triangular shaped cookies, and enjoy a fun day to celebrate this holiday. However, leave it to Tel Aviv to turn this children’s day into a massive party! Every year, thousands of people get decked out in incredible DIY costumes and attend any of the hundreds of street parties and events happening around the city. Jerusalem is also known for having huge Purim events. Iff you’re here for an Israel tour in 2019 in the month of March, be sure not to miss out!

19 – White City Center

Known for it’s unique Bahaus architecture, Tel Aviv is known as the White City due to all the white buildings that dot the Mediterranean Sea. A new center, set to open in a historic building in 2019, will preserve this historic architecture and tell its story. It will also be a place for events, and it will offer tours related to the beautiful architecture.

As you can see, there are no shortage of things going in in Israel this upcoming year. Contact us today to help you plan your Israel tour in 2019!

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If you find yourself visiting during the month of December, there are plenty of ways you can celebrate Christmas in Israel. Despite the fact that the majority of the country is Jewish, there are still very unique ways in which you can celebrate the holiday. In fact, the Christmas you spend in the Holy Land might become your most memorable Christmas of all! Take a look at all the amazing events happening around the country, and feel free to reach out to us if you need help planning your own special Christmas tour in Israel.

Christmas in Israel_chrismas in jerusalemChristmas in Jerusalem

Israel’s capital city is magical year round. However, tourists agree that during the holiday season, there’s just an extra spark that makes visiting there even more special. Here are some things to see while you’re celebrating Christmas in Jerusalem:

  • Wander around the Christian Quarter of the Old City and visit the iconic Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where you can enjoy a beautiful midnight mass.
  • The Jerusalem YMCA usually puts on Christmas events, such as a youth choir concert which will be happening this year on December 24th.
  • Stroll down the Via Dolorosa, where visitors reenact Jesus Christ’s famous route with a cross on his back. To make this even more special, experience it with hundreds of others on Christmas Eve.
  • Also at the YMCA between December 15-18, you’ll find an exciting Christmas market with something fun for everyone. Children can enjoy clowns and visit Santa Claus, and there are live shows, music, Christmas lights, and food and drink stalls for the whole family.

Christmas in Israel_Christmas in tel aviv and jaffaChristmas in Tel Aviv & Jaffa

Chances are you’ll find yourself spending some time in Israel’s most metropolitan city when you visit. Though Tel Aviv doesn’t have as much Christmas cheer as many other cities, it’s still possible to get into the holiday spirit while you’re here.

  • Go for a stroll in Old Jaffa. On your way, admire the gigantic Christmas tree by the clocktower that is gorgeously lit up.
  • Also in Jaffa, you’ll find a winter market on December 22nd and 23rd. You can enjoy some warm winter treats, an exciting fair, and even an ice-skating rink! Bring your whole family for what’s sure to be a fun day.
  • While you’re wandering around Jaffa admiring the sparkling lights around you, you can also find Christmas events happening at different churches in the area. Check out the Franciscan St. Peter’s Church, Immanuel Letheran Church, or the Armenian St. Nicholas Monastary, all of which are opened for visitors.

Christmas in Israel_christmas in NazarethChristmas in Nazareth

If you’re spending your Christmas in Israel, visiting Nazareth is a no-brainer. As the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Nazareth is a fantastic place to get into the holiday spirit.

  • The city will officially light its Christmas tree on December 17th.
  • Visit the Christmas fair & market, where everyone can enjoy different stalls of food, drinks, and crafts. The fair takes place between December 17th-22nd.
  • Nazareth’s annual Christmas parade will be held on December 23rd and begins at 3:30pm. It’s advised to go early so you can get a good spot!
  • All the churches in Nazareth will have a Christmas mass. The most popular one is at the Basilica of the Annunciation, and it begins at 7:00pm. There will also be a festive mass at 10:00pm.

Christmas in Israel_christmas in bethlehemChristmas in Bethlehem

Christmas in Israel isn’t complete with a visit to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. This city is known for it’s incredible and spiritual celebration, which is attended by many people every year.

  • Wander around Bethlehem, where you’ll find Churches with many different holiday events going on. Admire the stunning lights and decorations around the city, and nativity scenes adorning the streets of Bethlehem.
  • The most popular Christmas event in Bethlehem is the midnight mass on December 24th. Thousands of people, Christians and Muslims alike, gather at Manger Square for this special day. Many people attend and it can be difficult to get into the Church of the Nativity, so it is best to leave it to the professionals to organize. Contact us to plan your visit to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.

Christmas in Haifa

It’s also possible to celebrate Christmas in Israel in the north of the country. Jews, Muslims, and Christians living together in harmony in this unique city. If you’re in Haifa for Christmas, there are a number of interesting things to do:

  • There are events happening nightly on the streets of Haifa, where you can enjoy a lit up Christmas tree, arts & crafts displays, and live music. The area around the German Colony is particularly known for its Christmas decorations and events.
  • The yearly Holiday of Holidays festival celebrates the holidays of the three major religions found in the city: Hanukkah, Christmas, and Eid-al-Adha. For an especially unique way to celebrate the holiday this year, head to Haifa and learn about different cultures and traditions. The event runs between December 6th-22nd.
  • The Stella Maris Monastery hosts a Christmas mass as well as a Christmas morning mass. Visitors can also go here to enjoy singing Christmas carols.

Wherever you may be for the holidays this year, whether you are spending Christmas in Israel, at home, or somewhere else, all of us at Mazada Tours wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! If you need help on making your holiday tour in Israel even more special, contact us today and let us help you plan a perfect Christmas.

Thanks to a mild winter, Israel doesn’t experience the holiday season like other countries. Christmas is never white and you won’t find massive lighting decorating the main streets. However, this doesn’t mean that the holiday season in Israel is any less exciting. With Hanukkah and Christmas usually falling within the same couple of weeks in December, there are multiple events around the country to please even the most hardened Grinch.

Unlike Christmas, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the miraculous burning of oil on the ancient temple’s menorah for eight days when there was only enough oil for one. Therefore, you will find exciting events happening on all nights of the holiday.

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The Old City of Jerusalem is always spectacular to visit, but the festival of lights makes it an even more special experience with all the lit Menorahs around the city. Visit the Western Wall on any night of Hanukkah to take part in the lighting of the 2-meter-high bronzed Menorah. Lighting takes place every night of the holiday at 4:30pm, except for Friday at 3:30pm and Saturday at 7:00pm.

If you’re in the north, make sure to stop by Haifa for any of the Holiday of Holidays events taking place throughout the month of December. Go to discover different cultural events surrounding the major holidays of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Ramadan. There are different concerts, exhibits, shows, and antique fairs to keep you busy for even longer than eight days! Even farther north in the scenic city of Safed, you will find events for the whole family during Hanukkah, many of them focusing on artistic, historical, and religious activities. Check out their calendar of events for more details.

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Make sure to stop by any of the bakeries around the country to sample some mouth-watering sufganiot (donuts). Get the classic jelly-stuffed donut or opt for a fancier version topped with chocolates, nuts, candy, or anything else the master bakers have come up with this season! If you’re in Tel Aviv and want to get into the spirit of the holiday, you don’t need to trek all the way to the capital; celebrate Hanukkah like a local and light the menorah in Gan Ha’atzmaut (Independence Park).

For those wishing to experience Christmas in Israel, there are still many unique options for you too! Head over to Bethlehem for the famous Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity. Get the full experience of the birthplace of Jesus by joining our Christmas Eve tour, which includes an unforgettable Christmas Feast!

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If you’re in Nazareth, there will be special events all month in preparation for Christmas. Stop by the Christmas Market for a street fair and the lighting of the Christmas tree between December 17th – 22nd. You can also go and watch the Christmas Parade on December 23rd, starting at 3:00pm. Take part in a special Christmas Mass at the Basilica of Annunciation on December 24th, or visit any of the Catholic churches during the evening of December 25th.

While Jaffa is magical year round, it is even more of a special visit around Christmas time. Since Jaffa is home to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike, the meandering alleyways of this old city are decked out with lights, menorahs, and Christmas trees. The official lighting of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Christmas tree is on December 17th and 6:00pm at the Clock Tower.

Interested in celebrating Christmas in the Holy Land? Don’t miss out on our exclusive Christmas Eve tour!