Yom Ha’atzmaut is Israel’s Independence Day, where Israelis come together to celebrate the declaration of the State of Israel. This year, festivities start from sundown on Wednesday, 18 April and last until sundown on Thursday, 19 April. It’s a huge day in the Israeli calendar and offers an endless array of celebrations, from street raves to museum events. If this is your first time commemorating, check out our suggestions below for where to celebrate Israel’s 70th year in style.
Watch the Official Celebration in Jerusalem
The official Jerusalem state celebration for Yom Ha’atzmaut kicks off at Mount Herzl, Israel’s military cemetery, with a torch-lighting ceremony at 7:45pm. The ceremony will feature a military parade, the IDF disabled veterans’ band, poetry reading and more. Although attendance is by invitation only, the whole ceremony is televised.
Mt Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Watch the Yom Haatzmaut Fly Over Air Show
Every Yom Ha’atzmaut, the Israeli air force performs an air show which can be seen over much of the country. The show includes flyovers and acrobatics and is a real sight. One of the best places to watch the aeronautical acrobatic show is on one of Tel Aviv’s gorgeous beaches. After you watch the show, you can sit and relax or get a few friends together to play a game of matkot, Israel’s national beach sport. This year the show begins at 1.15pm on Thursday, April 19.
Gordon Beach, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Independence Day Fireworks Displays
A main event in Tel Aviv for celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut is a fireworks display, held at Rabin Square from 9pm. Fireworks will paint the sky whilst giant screens in the square show clips of scenes throughout Israeli history. You can also head over to the Zion Square in Jerusalem to take part in festivities from 9pm. Expect to see Israeli flags and paraphernalia everywhere and kids going crazy with foam guns.
Rabin Square, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Zion Square, Jerusalem, Israel
Go to a Tel Aviv rooftop party
Rooftop parties are part of the culture in Tel Aviv, particularly so on Independence Day. If you don’t have an invite to a friend or mutual friend’s roof then worry not – there are plenty of other options, including the MidBar Independence Day Rooftop Party on Wednesday, April 18. With several DJs performing, from mainstream music to techno and psychedelic tunes, and extremely cheap alcohol, this is set to be an awesome night. The event is from 9pm to 4am and tickets can be bought on the door, costing 40 NIS. Space is limited and it is a first come, first serve policy, so arrive on time!
Party in the streets of Tel Aviv
The Yemenite Quarter, or kerem hateimanim in Hebrew, is a charming, quaint neighbourhood tucked away behind Carmel Market. Outdating the city of Tel Aviv itself, it is a mix of humble Yemenite restaurants, hipster cafes and bars. It also hosts numerous street parties and is the place to be on the eve of Israel Independence Day: its narrow roads will be packed with people partying. Head to either Tarmab Street or Rabbi Akiva anytime after 9pm on Wednesday, April 18 and lose yourself in the exuberant celebrations and great DJ performances. Alternatively, go to Rothschild Boulevard for more wild street celebrations.
Rave in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park
The sprawling Hayarkon Park in north Tel Aviv is hosting a huge rave featuring some of electronic music’s most renowned artists, including Seth Troxler and Charlotte de Witte, in addition to Israeli talent such as Red Axes. The event will begin on Wednesday, April 18 at 10pm, lasting until 8am the following morning. Tickets must be bought in advance and cost 220 NIS.
Explore the new Independence Trail
Located at 1 Rothschild Boulevard in the heart of Tel Aviv, this new trail leads visitors to some of the nation’s most significant historical monuments and displays its cultural and national heritage. The 1km walking route will bring two stories to life that are central to the story of modern Israel: The birth of Tel Aviv, the first Jewish, self-governed, Hebrew speaking city, in 1909; and how Tel Aviv would make way for the birth of the State of Israel 39 years later in 1948. This is a great free option for celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut while learning about Israel’s fascinating and tumultuous history. It begins on Thursday, April 19 from 10am to 5pm.
BBQ in HaYarkon Park
There’s a reason why Yom Ha’atzmaut is known, unofficially, as Israel’s national barbeque (or mangal in Hebrew) day, so why not celebrate in true Israeli style by setting up a small charcoal grill outside and barbequing your favourite meat and vegetables? One beautiful spot to set up your BBQ is HaYarkon Park. It’s filled with greenery and trees, in addition to its picturesque lake, making it the perfect location for a Yom Ha’atzmaut barbeque. Just don’t forget to pack your nafnaf (a plastic or cardboard fan) to keep the coals glowing.
HaYarkon Park, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Party at Jerusalem’s Machne Yehuda Market
One of the liveliest spots in Jerusalem is its famed market, which is a culinary paradise by day and a buzzing drinking spot at night. With numerous bars to choose from, and a young, exuberant crowd, this is the place to be in the Holy City. We recommend the event at Beer Bazaar, in which you can dance to the music of DJ Zohar and sample the best of Israel’s burgeoning craft beer industry.
Independence Day Celebration at the Tower of David Museum
Jerusalem’s excellent Tower of David Museum is opening its gates to all, with free activities for the whole family focusing on the symbols of Jerusalem and the State of Israel. You’ll find guidance stations, games, theatre spectacles, and live music. A special Independence Day show will take place at 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm, and will showcase songs and stories that have become important parts of Israeli history.
Additional reporting by Reuben Lewis
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.