Alongside its fascinating religious history, Israel packs in cosmopolitan cities, rolling hills, multi-coloured canyons and year-round sunny beaches.
With holy sites and sacred stories oozing from its ancient landscapes, most travellers flock to Israel to walk through the pages of history. But with a coastline bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee, plus liberal and vibrant cities, there’s more to this beautiful land than first meets the eye. Here, you can float in the salty waters of the Dead Sea, walk through multi-coloured wave-like walls at Red Canyon, and party by the Med in Tel Aviv – all within a country around the size of Wales.
Best time to visit Israel
Israel typically has hot and sunny summers, with clear skies from April to October and a rainy season from November to March. The west coast has a Mediterranean climate, with average summer temperatures of around 26 degrees and milder winters of around 14 degrees. Inland Israel tends to be a few degrees cooler in areas of higher altitude such as Jerusalem, while to the south the Red Sea area gets very hot and dry in summer, with temperatures often peaking at over 40 degrees in August. Spring and autumn are generally the most pleasant times to visit.
Israel holiday highlights
Cosmopolitan Tel Aviv is an eclectic mix of winding stone walkways, Bauhaus buildings and lively Mediterranean beaches. Highlights include the Old City of Jaffa, which is a treasure trove of historic architecture, and The White City – a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the world’s largest collection of Bauhaus buildings.
Jerusalem is one of the most fabled cities on Earth, teeming with tales of biblical proportions at sites like the Garden of Gethsemane, the Cenacle in King David’s Tomb, the Western Wall and the Via Dolorosa.
Beyond Israel’s cities lie its beach resorts. Israel’s Mediterranean coastline stretches for 170 miles – perfect for soaking up the country’s 300 yearly days of sunshine. Between the northern reaches of the Red Sea and the Eilat Mountains is the lively beach resort of Eilat – a favourite with divers, snorkellers and sun seekers.
For a slower paced holiday by the water, the Sea of Galilee is a special place where Jesus was said to have lived and taught some of his most famous sermons. And then there’s Israel’s most famous natural wonder: the Dead Sea. This pool of seriously salty water in the Negev Desert is so salty that no visible organism could live in it and its salt crystals make for the ultimate natural pampering session.