Winter in Israel: Weather, Destinations & Activities

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With cool conditions and fewer tourist crowds around, winter in Israel is the perfect time to explore some of the country’s top destinations, from the historic city of Akko to the vibrant coastal city of Haifa. Experience the festive atmosphere of Christmas in Nazareth while exploring its historic churches and landmarks. Enjoy winter sports and celebrate Hanukkah and New Year with the friendly locals.

Israel in winter is also the perfect time to indulge in some mouth-watering traditional cuisine, like shakshuka and hummus. From historical and cultural landmarks to outdoor adventures and winter festivals, Israel has something for everyone during the winter season. So bundle up, and get ready for an epic winter tour in Israel.

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Weather and Temperature in Israel during Winter

The sunny side view of Tel Aviv
Escape the winter chill and bask in the warmth of Tel Aviv's sunny winter days.

Winter season in Israel begins in the month of December and lasts until mid-February. Winter temperatures in Israel generally range from around 9°C to 18°C. January is the coldest month in Israel, with the mercury often dropping below 13°C.

Overall, Israel experiences a relatively mild winter, making it an ideal destination for travelers looking to escape the harsh winter conditions in other parts of the world. Coastal regions like Tel Aviv and Haifa see particularly warm weather around this time, while places such as Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are much colder, with occasional snowfall.

Winter also brings heavy rainfall in many parts of Israel, especially during December. So be prepared for the possibility of rainy weather during your trip. Additionally, strong winds are common in hilly and coastal areas during this season, so it is important to take appropriate precautions to stay safe and comfortable.

Despite the colder weather and rain, there are still lots of things to do in Israel throughout winter, from touring museums and cultural attractions to going on a hike in the northern areas. It is wise to check the weather first before planning your trip to Israel in winter.

  December January February
Avg high 18°C (64°F) 17°C (63°F) 18°C (64°F)
Avg low 9°C (48°F) 8°C (46°F) 8°C (46°F)
Rainfall (mm) 80 110 110

For a more seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Israel.

Other related articles:
Israel in December
Israel in January
Israel in February

Why Visit Israel in Winter

Christmas tree in Church of the Annunciation.
Experience the holiday spirit where you can witness Christmas come alive in a unique cultural blend.

Israel's mild winter weather, combined with its rich culture and history, makes it an ideal destination for winter travel. Here are some reasons you should consider a trip to Israel in winter.

  • Fewer crowds: Winter is considered an off-season for tourism in Israel, which means fewer crowds and shorter lines at popular attractions. Therefore, you can enjoy a more relaxed and authentic experience without the hustle and bustle of the peak tourist season.
  • Lower prices: Flight, lodging, and tour costs are typically less expensive during the off-season of winter. This can be a great opportunity to save money while still enjoying all that Israel has to offer.
  • Outdoor activities: Winter in Israel offers unique activities that are not available at other times of the year. For instance, you can go skiing in Golan Heights, or stroll in the desert. From hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding in the Golan Heights, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Israel during the winter months.
  • Festivals: Israel observes festive celebrations including Christmas and New Year's Eve in December. You can also witness the country lit up with candles and lights as Jews celebrate Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights. These festivals offer a unique opportunity to experience Israel’s rich cultural traditions and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Top 4 Destinations in Israel during Winter

Israel is home to the rich history, culture, and diverse landscapes, which can be best enjoyed during winter without being worried about the stifling summer heat. Below are some of the best places to visit in Israel during winter.

1. Jerusalem

The Western Wall and the Golden Dome of Rock in Jerusalem on sunset.
Discover the magnificent beauty of Jerusalem in winter, where ancient history meets modern charm.

The old city of Jerusalem is a must-visit destination in Israel, and winter is a great time to explore its many historical and religious landmarks. From the Western Wall to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, there is no shortage of fascinating sites in the city. During the winter months, a trip to Jerusalem offers experiences of holiday markets, outdoor ice skating, and special celebrations to mark the festivals like Hanukkah and Christmas.

Major attractions: Western Wall, the Church of Holy Sepulchre, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, and Tower of David Museum.


  • Winter in Jerusalem experiences relatively mild winter weather, making it comfortable for outdoor sightseeing and exploration.
  • Jerusalem in winter is festive with Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations and holiday markets throughout the city.
  • Enjoy unique winter activities like skiing on Mount Hermon and hot springs in the nearby Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.


  • With shorter daylight hours during winter, you will have limited time for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
  • Some restaurants and shops may be closed during the low season, and the nightlife may be less lively compared to summer.

2. Haifa

Shrine of the Bab and lower terraces at the Bahai World Center in Haifa.
Experience the magic of the Bahai Garden in winter, when calm and natural beauty combine in perfect harmony.

Haifa is a charming city situated on Israel's northern coast renowned for its cultural diversity. Home to Jewish, Arab, and Christian communities, the city is a perfect place to see and experience this diversity. In winter, Haifa enjoys mild temperatures ranging from 10°C to 18°C, ideal for exploring its many museums and art galleries, as well as taking part in outdoor activities. A trip to Haifa during winter is also great for exploring the city’s lively nightlife scene and its diverse culinary landscape.

Major attractions: Baha'i Gardens, Haifa Museum of Art, Stella Maris Monastery, Mount Carmel National Park, and Haifa German Colony.


  • Compared to other parts of Israel, Haifa enjoys temperate weather during winter, which is perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
  • Haifa hosts various cultural events and festivals during the winter season.


  • Some public transportation options may have limited schedules or routes in winter, which may make it harder to get around.

3. Eilat

Tourists at Underwater Observatory Marine Park in Israel.
Escape the winter chill by diving in underwater wonderland at the Underwater Observatory Marine Park.

A resort town with a thriving nightlife, Eilat is located on the Red Sea's coastlines at Israel's southernmost point. Famous for its pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs, Eilat makes it a premier destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. In winter, taking an Eilat tour is an excellent time for those looking to escape the colder temperatures. The average temperatures range from 18°C to 25°C, making it an ideal place for sunbathing and swimming.

Major attractions: Coral Beach Nature Reserve, Underwater Observatory Marine Park, Timna National Park, Dolphin Reef, and Eilat Promenade.


  • As Eilat enjoys a warm winter climate, this is an excellent place to visit if you want some winter sunshine.
  • You can enjoy water sports including snorkeling and scuba diving in Eilat during winter.
  • Many bars, clubs, and restaurants stay open till late at night.


  • Beaches and local attractions are crowded during the winter break and holiday season.
  • Occasional bad weather could lead to the cancellation or postponement of some outdoor activities.

4. Nazareth

Basilica of the annunciation in Nazareth during cloudy day in Israel.
Experience the winter magic at Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation, a spiritual trip you'll never forget.

The northern Israeli city of Nazareth is well-known for its biblical sites. The city also boasts a vibrant Arab culture, with bustling markets and local cuisine, making it an excellent destination for those seeking an authentic Middle Eastern experience. In winter, a trip to Nazareth takes on a special charm as it celebrates Christmas, with events that attract visitors from all over the world. The winter temperatures here range from 10°C to 16°C, making it ideal for exploring the city's historic sites and hiking in the nearby hills.

Major attractions: The Basilica of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well, The Old City Market, St. Joseph’s Church, and Mount Precipice.


  • Nazareth is known as the "Christmas City" and hosts various Christmas events and celebrations during the winter season.
  • Nazareth hosts various cultural events during the winter season.
  • You can find affordable accommodation options in winter.


  • Nazareth can experience rainy weather during the winter months, which may limit outdoor activities.

Top Activities During Winter in Israel

Cranes flying in the evening in Hula Valley, Israel.
Experience an unforgettable bird-watching adventure at Hula Valley Nature Reserve during winter.
The Tower of David in ancient Jerusalem Citadel, near the Jaffa Gate.
With fewer crowds and ideal weather, take a journey back in time and learn about the intriguing history of Jerusalem's Tower of David.
  • Go birdwatching: In winter, Israel becomes a bird watchers' paradise as millions of migratory birds pass through or flock to the country. Visit Hula Valley Nature Reserve and International Birding and Research Center to see an impressive variety of bird species, including cranes, storks, and eagles.
  • Visit historic landmarks: Winter is an excellent time to visit the historic sites in Israel. Take advantage of pleasant weather and low crowds to explore Israel’s rich cultural and historical heritage with guided tours of popular attractions like Jerusalem’s Old City, the ancient city of Akko and the ruins of Masada.
  • Skiing and snowboarding: Although Israel is a Mediterranean country, it still offers skiing and snowboarding opportunities during winter. For this, head to the Mount Hermon Ski Resort in the north, which offers slopes for beginners and advanced skiers alike.

Travel Tips to Visit Israel in Winter

  • Regardless of when you visit, Israel is a year-round destination. So book your trip and accommodation well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • The weather during winter in Israel is unpredictable, so check the weather forecast before planning any outdoor activities.
  • It is important to respect cultural and religious customs. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites and be mindful of Sabbath observance.
  • Check business and tourist spot schedules in advance, as some may be closed on holidays during winter months.

Israel’s winter season offers a unique and captivating traveling experience. The country also hosts various festivals and events during this time. From snow-capped mountains to warm beaches to plenty of historically significant sites and religious festivals, winter in Israel has an abundance of destinations and activities that visitors can enjoy amid cool climes and low tourist crowds.

If you are planning a winter trip to Israel and want to explore the country according to your own preferences and itinerary, consider creating a customized trip to Israel with our travel experts. Check out our guide on how many days to spend in Israel for more travel tips.

Published by Astha Joshi, updated on April 27, 2023

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