“Tel Aviv” and “budget” are not often found in the same sentence. Known as one of the world’s most expensive cities, this Middle Eastern city is generally not a wallet-friendly destination. With everything from the price of hotels to a glass of beer costing more than the average European getaway, it can seem tricky to make a vacation in Tel Aviv work according to your own budget. However, with a few tips and tricks from our local experts, you can enjoy a holiday in Tel Aviv that doesn’t break the bank. Here are our top tips for seeing Tel Aviv on a budget.

Visit the markets

Tel aviv on a budget

The Carmel Market lies at the heart of Tel Aviv and a few minutes walk from the sea. Here you’ll find everything from popular souvenirs, food shops, and tons of fresh local produce. While simply walking around this constantly-bustling market is entertainment in itself, visitors can snag some great deals here. Of course, that all depends on how much you’re willing to bargain. Twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays, there is also a local crafts fair right next to the Carmel Market on Nachlat Binyamin. Here you’ll find artisans from all over Israel coming to sell their work. You can find some truly unique gifts here that won’t break the bank.

Another great place for shopping in Tel Aviv on a budget is the Shuk Hapishpishim in Jaffa. This market is more for recycled second-hand items, and you’ll see a lot of locals shopping around to furnish their apartments. However, there are also some great vintage finds like jewelry and clothes.

Enjoy the street food

tel aviv on a budget

There are tons of chef restaurants to sample if your wallet allows. However, if you’re visiting Tel Aviv on a budget, then the local street food will do just as well to satisfy your tastebuds, if not better! Typical Israeli foods like falafel, sabich, shawarma, or a bowl of hummus typically cost between 15-40 shekels, making these lunches filling and good for those wishing to save on the cost of fine dining. The markets are also a great place to try both Israeli food and dishes from around the world that offer a Mediterranean twist. Not only are foods like falafel, sabich, or shawarma budget friendly, but having your food stuffed into a pita means that you can take it with you to continue sightseeing so that you don’t miss a beat!

Use public transportation

tel aviv on a budget

The public transportation in Tel Aviv is a great way to get around. Between buses, trains, and shared taxis, there is virtually no area of the city that isn’t covered. You can buy a bus pass, called a Rav Kav card in many grocery stores or pharmacies, fill it up with your desired amount, and use the bus system to tour the entire city. No need to rent a car and sit in traffic, there are buses that go everywhere. You can also use the train to go from the south of the city to the north in just a few minutes. That way, you can explore different neighborhoods and attractions, like Hayarkon Park, in no time at all.

It is important to know though, that public transportation does not operate on Shabbat, Friday afternoons until Saturday night. However, there are still shared taxis available that pick up the slack for some major bus routes. Simply flag one down when you see it, jump in, pay the driver, and let him know when you want to get off. Share taxis, otherwise known as a Monit Sherut, are an absolutely necessity if you’re visiting Tel Aviv on a budget.

Tel Aviv City Tour

Self-guided tour with bikes & scooters

tel aviv on a budget

If riding in buses or taxis isn’t your thing, not to worry. You’re still not forced to take an expensive taxi or rent a car. There are tons of shared low-cost transportation options in Tel Aviv. If you want to bike around the city, then bicycles from Tel-o-Fun or Mobike can be easily rented from your phone for as long as you want to use them. Otherwise, there are tons of electric scooter companies that have recently set up shop in the city. You’ll find tons of Bird, Wind, and Lime scooters all over Tel Aviv, and even more people using them to get around! Using one is as easy as downloading the app. Then you can easily explore the city at your own pace and budget with the wind in your hair.

Did someone say happy hour?

tel aviv on a budget

Bar hopping in Tel Aviv isn’t the cheapest. But, if you go to the right places at the right times, you can have a great night that won’t leave your wallet feeling too light. During the week, a lot of bars have great happy hour specials where you can get deals on both drinks and food. Check out the bars on Dizengoff street, such as Spicehaus. You can get great cocktails at a 2 for 1 price and a discounted food menu usually until around 8:30pm. Salon Berlin is another great option, with a happy hour that extends until 1am. Many bars in Tel Aviv have outdoor seating. It’s great for people watching, enjoying the beautiful evening weather, and mingling with locals.

Budget accommodation

tel aviv on a budget

While the city has some great hotel chains and boutique hotels, they’re not always the best if you’re trying to see Tel Aviv on a budget. Hostels have become a popular choice. Depending on the season, you can get a bed for around $25 a night. Over the last few years, the hostels in Tel Aviv have become a lot higher quality, so even the most weary traveler will find it to be a pleasant stay. There are also a ton of Airbnb options so that you can feel like a local in your own Tel Aviv apartment.

Hang by the beach

tel aviv on a budget

Lastly, if there’s anything that you should be doing when visiting, it’s the beach. If you’re here visiting Tel Aviv on a budget, there’s no better way to do it than by relaxing by the water. You can rent a beach chair and umbrella for around 20 shekels. Or you can simply bring a towel and some watermelon and enjoy the Mediterranean sun and waves. On the weekends, walking down the tayelet (boardwalk) is a hectic but enjoyable experience. You’ll likely see a variety of different street performances in a stretch of only a couple kilometeres.

Tel Aviv is an expensive city. If you know where to go and when, you can make your visit here a lot more budget-friendly. What you save in accommodation, food, and shopping, can easily go towards fun day trips to get you out of the city for a few hours. Check out our amazing day trips from Tel Aviv and start planning your next vacation with Mazada Tours!

Contact Mazada Tours

With 273km of stunning coastline, there are quite a few choices for sunbathers and beachgoers in Israel. While some people prefer the hustle-and-bustle of the lively city beaches, some may prefer a quieter retreat to nature. Thankfully, Israel has it all covered when it comes to beach options. From north to south, and everywhere in between, here are our picks for the best beaches in Israel.

Achziv Beach, Rosh Hanikra

rosh hanikra beach

You can begin your tour of the best beaches in Israel at the northern-most tip of the country, Rosh Hanikra. After spending a few hours touring the stunningly-blue grottoes and learning about the location’s history, head down towards Achziv Beach for a relaxing break. In the summer months, this beach is known for the hatching sea turtles that are released back to the sea. You can also find other interesting sea life here, including octopi and sea urchins. With the looming cliffs of Rosh Hanikra as your backdrop, this beach is the perfect relaxing spot for those who want a quiet break from the noise.

Kinneret Beach, Galilee

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If you find yourself exploring the beautiful sights of the Galilee region, a stop at the Kinneret, or Sea of Galilee, is defintiely worth it. Though it doesn’t have the sandy appeal of the Mediterranean, the Kinneret boasts warm, calm water perfect for swimming. If you don’t like salt water or big waves, this is a great place to cool down after a day of touring all the fantastic religious sites in the area. There is plenty of shade as the sea is lined with palm trees and other greenery, making the Kinneret great for families and young children. It’s also popular, especially with young Israelis, to camp on the banks of the water. So if you want to spend the night outdoors, pitch a tent and enjoy a barbecue and a night among the stars in the open fresh air of the Galilee.

Galilee Holy Sites Tour

Dor Habonim, Haifa

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The best beaches in Israel are all unique and offer something different to cater to all beach-going styles. If you’re more outdoorsy and like to work before you relax, then Dor Habonim beach and nature reserve is the ideal spot for you. Located south of Haifa, this area offers a few beautiful hiking trails with gorgeous panoramic views of the Mediterranean blues. On the trails, you’ll find a few different beaches set between rocky grottoes where you can relax for a while. While it’s not the easiest beach on the list to get to, visitors are rewarded with rugged beauty, tranquility, and smaller crowds.

Caesarea

caesarea beach

Caesarea should be a stop on your Israel tour regardless of the beach. Known for its ancient Roman ruins, this site makes for an interesting tour on your trip to Israel. If you want to fit both history and beach time into your busy schedule, this is the perfect spot. After visiting the amphitheater and other ruins, go for a dip in the water at the beach set by an ancient Roman aqueduct dating back to 1 BC. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also visit the underwater museum. Go for a dive to discover a whole other set of treasures and ruins on the ocean floor. As a mix of adventure, history, and natural beauty, Caesarea is easily one of the best beaches in Israel!

Western Coast Private Tour

Netanya

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The beach in the lovely city of Netanya is a fantastic spot to kick-back and catch some sun. Set beneath the city cliffs, visitors to this beach need to take a glass elevator down to the sand. The waters here are calm enough for a relaxing swim. There are also fun activities like surfing lessons or volleyball. On the weekends the beach gets busier, and at night you might find a DJ and a dance party going on as well.

Tel Aviv

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When discussing the best beaches in Israel, Tel Aviv’s coastline is a clear contender. As one of the main attraction of Israel’s most modern and lively cities, this beach definitely isn’t the place for people looking for a quiet break. Tel Aviv’s beaches are almost always busy. In the summer months it can be hard to find a spot unless you go early. However, don’t let that deter you. The beach is wonderful for people-watching, cooling down after exploring sunny Tel Aviv, and absorbing the international vibe of the city. The city’s beaches are divided by location. There’s Banana Beach, Hilton Beach, Gordon Beach, and Metzizim Beach, just to name a few. Generally, the farther north you go on Tel Aviv’s beaches, the quieter it gets. However, many people enjoy the non-stop atmosphere of the busy sections, where you can almost always find surfers, a volleyball competition, musicians playing on the boardwalk, and people from all walks of life enjoying the sun and salty air.

Palmachim Beach, Rishon Lezion

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Not far from Tel Aviv near the city of Rishon Lezion, you’ll find Palmachim Beach. This beach is relaxing and scenic. It’s also surrounded by some cliffs perfect for walking along to get a panoramic view of the place. Unlike the neighboring Tel Aviv beaches, there aren’t many amenities here. Visitors like to pack a cooler full of food and set up a spot to spend the day and enjoy a family picnic.

Dead Sea

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This is undeniably one of the most memorable beaches in Israel. The mineral beaches of the Dead Sea make for an amazing day trip. As the lowest point on earth, The Dead Sea is a “must-see” when coming to Israel. Visitors love to cover themselves in mud, walk into the still waters, and float on the surface as if by magic. Since it’s in the desert, the weather here is perfect. The beach can be visited at any time of the year. While you’re visiting, you can make your stop here even more memorable by booking a spa day or massage overlooking the Sea.

Dead Sea Spa Tour

Coral Beach Nature Reserve, Eilat

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We’ve finally reached the most southern-point in Israel: Eilat. The Coral Beach Nature Reserve is definitely one of the main draws of Eilat. Eilat sits on the Red Sea. Unlike the Mediterranean, there is much wider variety of marine life going on here. Rent a snorkel at the Coral Beach Reserve and dive into the calm waters to explore the world underneath it. There’s a huge variety of fish to be seen. The best part is that you don’t even have to be a diver to see them. They’re very visible even if you’re just floating on the surface. If you have the time, you can also head to the nearby Dolphin Beach, where there are often dolphins who swim up to shore to say a quick hello.

Now you have a better idea of the best beaches in Israel. We challenge you to pick your favorite ones and visit them on your tour to Israel! Of course, if you want to see them all, you’ll need to consult with the experts to fit them all in your itinerary. We can help you see the most magificent beaches in the Middle East AND a variety of other fascinating historical and cultural sites. Contact us today to start your planning!

The colder months are upon us, and while many choose to hide away in layers of sweaters at home, there are some things in Tel Aviv that are just better in the winter. Tel Aviv’s sweltering summers may be too much for some, but visitors can rejoice in knowing that the winter in Tel Aviv can be just as fun. Here are 8 cool things to do this winter in Tel Aviv:

1. Take a Surf Lesson

The Mediterranean isn’t know for it’s big waves like many other bodies of water. In the summer, the sea is calm with some pleasant waves. However, during the winter, they get bigger, enticing droves of Israeli surfers to strap on their wet suits and hit the waves. The winter in Tel Aviv is the best time to catch some waves, and if you’re new to surfing, there are plenty of lessons available to wannabe surfers of all ages.

2. Enjoy the Stormy Weather

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It’s a fact that some people just prefer the smell of rain to the feeling of sun on their faces (I know, we don’t understand it either). Winter in Tel Aviv can be quite wet, with regular rain, wind, and storms. While this forces most people indoors, wandering around the boardwalk can bring some beautiful sights of crashing waves and thick clouds. Make sure to bring a cover for your camera so it doesn’t get too wet!

3. Watch a Stunning Sunset

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Every Tel Avivian knows that the winter sunsets are far superior to the summer ones. When the storm clouds settle down and the rain clears, the sun sets and brings with it bright colors that are hard to miss from anywhere in the city. The beach is a popular place to watch the sun go down, but we recommend finding a spot closer to Old Jaffa. The sight of the setting sun and colorful sky behind the old Clock Tower of Jaffa is like a painting and is worth seeing if you’re here for the winter in Tel Aviv.

Want to get out of Tel Aviv? Here are 10 cool things to do around Israel during the winter.

4. Grab Some Seasonal Fruits in the Carmel Market

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Regardless of the season, Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market is always bustling. Most of the produce in Israel is local and not imported, which means we have the freshest fruits to choose from on a daily basis. However, you have to enjoy them while you can because the produce available in Israel really depends on the season! During the winter months, the local citrus fruits are king. Make sure to pick up some juicy oranges, grapefruits, clementines, and pomelos to snack on during the day.

5. Watch the Wind and Kite Surfers

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Unless you’re experienced, we don’t suggest taking up this hobby on your trip to Tel Aviv. However, on a windy day you’ll notice tons of people out on the boardwalk watching the brave wind and kite surfers fly over the surface of the water. On any windy day during the winter in Tel Aviv, you can look up and notice the different colored parachutes dotting the sky.

6. Warm Up With a Cup of Sachlav

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If you’re wandering around the city and looking to duck in to a coffee shop to warm up from the cold winter in Tel Aviv, be sure to ask for a sachlav. Sachlav is a Middle Eastern drink that hits the spot more than any hot chocolate can. Its base is made up of warm milk thickened with ground sahlab orchid bulbs. The base is typically scented with vanilla, orange, or rose water, and then sprinkled with cinnamon, dried fruit, or nuts. It’s the perfect thick drink to warm up with on a cold winter day.

What else should you eat on your trip to Israel? Find out our suggestions for the dishes you just can’t miss out on!

7. Visit Some of Tel Aviv’s Museums

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Tel Aviv has some great museums to visit on a rainy afternoon. Pop into the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to enjoy both local and international artists. The permanent collection includes Picasso, Klimt, Dali, and more. The Museum of the Jewish People is also a great museum with displays about the history of the Jewish diaspora over thousands of years. The smaller Bauhaus Museum is also worth checking out for those interested in Tel Aviv’s unique architecture.

Looking to escape from the rain? Here are our top ten things to do in Israel when it’s raining.

8. Go for a Pampering Spa Day

winter in israel
Image from Sheva Spa.

Lastly, you deserve a day to relax and unwind. The winter in Tel Aviv can be dark and tiring. However, you can easily lift your spirits by enjoying a pampering spa day overlooking the stunning Mediterranean sea. Our personal favorites are the Sheva Spa at the Hilton Tel Aviv hotel, and The Setai Hotel Spa in Jaffa. Whichever spa day you choose, you definitely won’t be disappointed that you spent your day rejuvenating indoors and away from the rain and wind!

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below how you’d spend your day during the winter in Tel Aviv!

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.

Like Christmas and New Year, Valentine’s Day in Israel isn’t as commonly celebrated as it is in much of the Western world. While this may be comforting for many singles who cringe at the sight of anything red and pink, hopeless romantics of the Holy Land won’t find the usual array of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates or googly-eyed stuffed animals anywhere on February 14th. For those wishing to inject a little more romance into an otherwise average day in Israel, we have some easy suggestions for you this Valentine’s Day.

Sunset Bike Ride on the Beach

shutterstock_528282457No bike? No problem. With Tel-O-Fun bikes readily available at multiple stands around the city, you’ll be able to rent bikes by the hour to enjoy the 14 kilometres of Tel Aviv’s beaches. When you get tired, hop off your bikes to enjoy a stroll by the water and enjoy a spectacular Mediterranean sunset.

Stroll Through Old Jaffa

shutterstock_554627308The Old City of Jaffa is a unique city full of charm and surprises, making it the perfect place for a romantic evening. The ancient stone buildings, meandering alleyways, and chic galleries make this a perfect dreamy date destination. Enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants by the harbour to the sound of gently lapping waves and the sight of the sun setting behind rows of sailboats.

Picnic & Boat Ride in Hayarkon Park

shutterstock_698891233In the north of the city, you’ll find one of Tel Aviv’s best kept secrets: Hayarkon Park. Pack a light lunch of fresh local breads and pastries (don’t forget the amazing Israeli wine!) and picnic in the park by the lake. Rent a boat or paddleboat and venture out into the waters to get a panoramic view of the peaceful park and its gardens.

Spend a Romantic Evening Indoors

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Looking to slow things down a bit after a hectic week? We get that. While Netflix & PJs may be you & your partner’s go-to easy evening inside, why not opt for a change of scenery with a getaway in one of Tel Aviv’s most luxurious boutique hotels? The Norman is located right next to the thrilling Rothschild boulevard, but with the gorgeously decorated rooms, a world-class bar, a gorgeous rooftop infinity pool, and mouth-watering fine dining, why would you even want to leave the hotel?

Nothing Says “Be My Valentine Like Roses

shutterstock_692854465Why get your lover a dozen red roses when you can enjoy 19 acres of 400 varieties of roses from around the world? The Wohl Rose Park in Jerusalem a public garden located across from the Knesset. The park won awards as one of the most beautiful rose gardens in the world, so we’re sure it will be the perfect place to impress your honey.

Visit a Winery

shutterstock_145599823Israel’s north has no shortage of wineries to visit. You can easily spend a day touring the different wineries in the Carmel region with your loved one. Many wineries also offer tours of their facilities and tastings of the different varieties of wine they produce. Imagine yourself taking in beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea with a glass of wine in one hand and your loved one’s hand in the other while Cupid shoots an arrow overhead. (Okay, we can’t promise you Cupid, but the rest we can definitely take care of!)

Helicopter Tour for Two

shutterstock_1015577404Wine sounds nice, but you’re the kind of couple that wants to add some excitement to each outing. Why not take a helicopter tour of the Carmel and Galilee regions? Get a bird’s eye view of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, and land next to Château Golan Winery where you can enjoy dinner together. Professional tip: this is a great place to pop the question, and after an unforgettably romantic day together, we can almost guarantee that she’ll say yes!

Relax by the Dead Sea

shutterstock_145798055So maybe slathering mud all over your body isn’t the romantic getaway you were thinking of, but we promise you won’t regret a Dead Sea spa experience! Pamper yourselves at the lowest point on earth with a couple’s massage. You’ll both end the day feeling rejuvenated and thoroughly relaxed, and you can even take the experience home with a visit to a Dead Sea cosmetics shop where you’ll be able to purchase all the mineral-rich skin care products that this area is famous for.

See Flowers Bloom in the Desert

shutterstock_405520864Every year in the month of February, the Negev desert hosts the Darom Adom festival, where the landscape of the northern Negev blooms with thousands of red anemones, Israel’s national flower. This is truly a remarkable sight to see, and with only four weekends a year where you can witness this spectacle, you won’t want to miss it! The festival also features poetry readings and concerts to appease those creative romantics.

Stargaze in Mitzpe Ramon

milky-way-stars-night-skyA tried-and-true classic, stargazing in Mitzpe Ramon is an unforgettable activity that can be done at any time of the year, but isn’t Valentine’s Day the perfect excuse to take a short roadtrip out to the desert? Grab your partner in crime and a thermos full of something warm, and enjoy the silence of the desert under a blanket of stars at the first international night-sky park in the Middle East.

 

Need some help planning a perfect getaway with your loved one? You don’t need to wait for Valentine’s Day – contact our travel experts today!

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!