Best Wintertime Activities In Israel

Photo of Lucy Oleynik
9 February 2017

Israel may not be known for its snow, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great activities to participate in during winter. You’ll never look at winter the same way again with these top winter activities in Israel.

Winter in Eilat

Israel’s popular southern resort attracts thousands of tourists during the hot summer season. Apart from luxurious hotels, posh shopping centers and multiple entertainment activities, Eilat is known for being costly. Luckily, the situation changes once the winter season starts. As the temperature lowers gradually to 22 degrees Celsius, most Israelis put off their trips to the south until warmer times. However, they miss many perks. The weather is still comfortable in the winter, and the prices are twice as low as they are during other seasons. Pamper yourself with a mineral bath, check out the newly opened music fountain, cut loose in a dance bar or listen to soothing jazz and classical music at the Isrotel Theater. This theater has a fabulous ‘WOW’ performance with various international artists and dancers. If you’re in for an adventure, the newly designed TOP-94 Park is awaiting you. Try bungee jumping, climbing, paintball, archery, bike or jeep tours. Don’t forget to finish your active days off with a visit to the Underwater Observatory. You will be stunned by the diversity of the Red Sea.

Move it at the Feelin’ Blues Festival

A cultural event you do not want to miss in winter is the annual Feelin’ Blues Dancing Festival that will take place in Tel Aviv. Its agenda is quite impressive, usually featuring professional dancers and simple amateurs alike. The first night is a pre-party with a mix of blues and Lindy hop music. Either dive into competitions (both solo and pairs) or observe the beautiful performances from the side. The opening party on Friday will be followed by the night of versatile live music performances. You will hear everything from juke joint blues, ballroom blues, electric blues, blues-rock and more. Grab a chance to participate in workshops conducted by world-known professionals on a special training day. Even if you are simply willing to have a great weekend, Feelin’ blues Festival is just what you need.

The Hullegeb Israeli-Ethiopian Arts Festival

In case you wonder about the Israeli Ethiopian community, welcome to the Hugelleb arts Festival. Hugelleb, an Amharic word for ‘open to all’ was selected as a title for a multifaceted event, dedicated to Ethiopian music, dances and theater. The festival was arranged by the Confederation House—an organization in Jerusalem that aims to sort out the differences between ethnic communities of Israel’s capital. Ethiopian culture has evolved into an indispensable part of the Israeli society. The festival showcases musicians of different genres, dancers and actors, who manage to incorporate Ethiopian traditions into contemporary art. This weeklong event occurs in December every year. This year’s festival kicked off with Alemayehu Eshete. Nicknamed ‘The James Brown of Addis’, this legendary singer pioneered the music industry with his soul and jazz-like interpretations of the Ethiopian music. The Addis Acoustic, Duo Ras Deshen and many other outstanding musicians also participated this year.

Hanukkah or Christmas? Get the best of both!

Israel is one of the best places to celebrate two of the most fun winter holidays. When it comes to commemorating the miracle of light, Israelis pull out their frying pans, and cafeterias feature a special Hannukah menu including latkes, deep-fried atayef and of course sufganiyot. Go on a special Hannukah tour in Jerusalem or follow the ancient routes of Jewish ancestors and enjoy the spiritual atmosphere to the utmost. Christmas festivities can also be found around the country. Party at the Holiday of Holidays in Haifa, admire the biggest Christmas tree in Nazareth, explore the Christian sights of Jerusalem and don’t forget to reserve a table in Mike’s place for a real Christmas banquet. Bethlehem is a real treasure for a memorable Christmas Eve, too. The cozy town is brightly decorated, and you get a lot of free concerts, performances and delicious food.

Explore the beauties of Mount Hermon

Though Israel isn’t known for its snow, it does exist. During winter, droves of Israelis head to Mount Hermon. This is the place for having a snowball fight, sledding, skating and skiing. Apart from engaging in winter sports, you should definitely book a weekend at the famous ‘Moving Castles’ hotel. Located in Nimrod, it’s a three-hour drive from the center of the country. The Southern edge of Mount Hermon guarantees spectacular views on mountain slopes from your hotel room. There’s also a fine-dining restaurant called ‘The Witch and the Mikman’ situated just next to the hotel, so you don’t need to worry where to have dinner. To make your stay even more pleasurable, pay a visit to the Druze village Majd alShams to get a sense of local culture.

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