5 Outdoor Places to Visit During Israel’s Winter Season

October 2nd 2019

Summers in Israel can be very hot, and for many people, the heat and near-constant sunshine can be a little too much. This is especially the case for the elderly, infirm, and the very young. That’s why many visitors choose to arrive in the cooler months of the winter season. 

If you’re planning to tour Israel in December, January, or February, then there many great places to visit outdoors. These are sites where you can enjoy amazing walks, beautiful scenery, and truly savor the history and atmosphere, without the heat.  

There’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

Here are just 5 outdoor sites which afford visitors a wonderful winter welcome:

  1. The Dead Sea and Ein Gedi

The Dead Sea might seem an obvious destination for winter visitors to Israel, and for good reason. The water temperature remains warm throughout the year. The air temperature however, can vary, between hot and a little cool, depending on local weather conditions at the time.  

Just next to the Dead Sea is a truly beautiful gem within the desert hills, and that’s the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. A rich oasis of greenery, vegetation, and sparkling waterfalls await the visitor who will immediately notice the amazing juxtaposition with the surrounding desert landscape. 

  1. Masada National Park

A few kilometers south of Ein Gedi is the Masada National Park, which features the incredible remains of an ancient mountaintop fortress. It was here, soon after the destruction of the Second Temple, where a Jewish rebel group held out against the might of the Roman Army, before committing mass suicide to avoid being taken prisoner. 

In summer, the climate in the Judean Desert is extremely hot but in winter it’s very comfortable indeed. A perfect climate to thoroughly explore this ancient site and hike the strenuous “Snake Path”. 

  1. Eilat & the Red Sea

The Red Sea city of Eilat lies at Israel’s southernmost point. It has a hot desert climate and is a perfect vacation destination for visitors all year round, including in the middle of winter. This friendly and welcoming city has a number of attractions and is an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding Negev Desert. 

The nearby Coral Beach provides snorkeling and scuba diving activities while the Underwater Observatory offers a drier way to see the local sea life up-close. And if you love dolphins, then the Dolphin Beach is a must-see. 

  1. Timna Nature Reserve

Approximately 25 kilometers north of Eilat is the awe-inspiring Timna Valley Park. Located in the Negev Desert, the park is a desert wonderland, and home to the world’s oldest copper mine. Huge sandstone formations and mountain ranges combined with expanses of flat desert terrain and vegetation make this an amazing sight. 

If you love exploring desert landscapes but would prefer to avoid the intense heat of summer, then a visit to Timna in winter is a great time to enjoy a warm and beautiful hike. 

  1. Mount Hermon

What if snow is what you’re after? Israel has that too! In the far north of the country are the mountain ranges of Mount Hermon. In winter, they are covered in snow, and are a popular destination for skiers from across the country and from around the world. 

From the mountains, which reach up to over 9000 feet, you can see right across the region, including into Lebanon and Syria. There are numerous ski trails and equipment rentals, as well as ski training centers for both adults and children.  

The great thing about Israel, and its compact size, is that you can wake up in the warm desert in the south and go to bed in a heated cabin in the snowy northern mountains.