By Deena Levenstein
- The Dead Sea (Photo by Itamar Grinberg at goisrael.com)
Spring & summer are glorious times to visit Israel and if you understand a bit about what to expect during these months, you’ll be able to climb Masada happily, walk the streets of Tel Aviv with not a care in the world and take a magnificent jeep ride through the Judean desert with smile in your heart.
In other words, know what to expect in spring & summer and you’ll be able to prepare thoroughly for your trip to Israel.
Israel’s spring and summer climates
Don’t believe anyone – there are more than two seasons a year in Israel, they’re just a little more subtle than those in most of North America and Europe.
April and May’s average highs are around 22-25 C / 72-77 F. June through September and even October offer truly honorable highs of approximately 27-30 C / 81-86 F.
- Growing sunflowers in Upper Galilee, at foot of Mt. Hermon (a ski resort in the winter) (Photo from goisrael.com)
And those averages are to say nothing of the heat waves.
Heat waves in Israel are split into two types: those from the desert – dust, orange skies and all – and those from the sea with due humidity.
As for rain, there may be a bit in spring but during the summer months, you may as well pack an extra pair of sandals before you pack any rain gear.
March has an average of 8 rain days, April has 4 rain days, May has 1 and June, July and August have none.
(That means that the time it rained in August is something we’re all still talking about to this day.)
All that being said, while temperatures are generally high in Israel during the summer, different parts of the country offer slightly different climates. For example, Tel Aviv and Tiberias are more humid while Jerusalem is dryer and cooler. Evenings in Jerusalem (which you might spend strolling the Old City alleyways or hanging out in the Mamilla Mall) and in the desert (in the Bedouin tent where you might enjoy an evening of sweet hot tea and pita freshly baked on a taboon) can actually be cool.
The Dead Sea and Eilat? They’re simply very hot and very dry.
Bottom line: When preparing for your trip, have sunny and hot in mind.
(These numbers are based on the averages in Tel Aviv in Jerusalem. Look up averages for anywhere in Israel here.)
Religion in Israel
- Tourists fitting in at the Western Wall (Photo by Deena Levenstein)
Due to Israel’s long history, it has a very rich and eclectic religious presence. Be prepared for visits to the holy places or places with ultra-Orthodox Jews (such as Me’ah She’arim in Jerusalem) so you can feel completely comfortable and respectful – this will let you truly get the most out of these experiences.
The general rules are that men and women should have their knees and shoulders covered and wear loose-fitted clothing. Women should preferably wear a skirt or dress (or wear a shawl around their waist).
Casual is best
Israel is generally very casual. Take advantage and enjoy your most comfortable clothes while here (you might also fit in a bit more in this way). Even at a traditional Shabbat meal or at a wedding or bar/bat mitzvah, people are usually dressed more casually than they would be in North American communities.
And with that in mind…
Plan to wear casual and light clothing a very large majority of your time here, things like t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, light pants and summer dresses.
- Jeep ride in the Judean Desert (Photo by Deena Levenstein)
Chances are the only time you’ll need a sweatshirt, sweater or light jacket is when you’re inside. Hotels, museums, restaurants and other indoor venues are usually kept very cold. And when it isn’t a heat wave, high altitude places like Jerusalem might warrant an extra layer in the evening.
It is of utmost importance to prepare well for the sun’s glorious rays. Don’t get on the plane without:
- Sunglasses and
- A hat
Most of the time you’ll need to have water on you. Consider bringing a refillable water bottle or else just purchase bottles of water here.
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