January in Full Bloom

October 10th 2011

Traveling during the winter can be much more pleasant than you expect, especially in Israel, which is hot most of the year. Travelers can often take advantage of post-holiday plane fares and fewer crowds by scheduling their winter Israel tours. January 2012 would be the perfect time of the year to schedule a tour. Since tourism in Israel can be particularly busy in December because of Christmas and Hanukkah, January tends to be much quieter. There are still plenty of things to do, however.

First of all, plan for cooler weather. In Tel Aviv, you can expect temperatures of 5-18 degrees Centigrade (41-65 Fahrenheit) with slightly cooler temperature in Jerusalem and the hills. In most cases, a fleece jacket and some rain protection will be all you need.

There is one holiday in January- the Tenth of Tevet. It falls 7 to 8 days after Hanukkah, and is a sunrise-to-sundown fast. The fast is not too stringent, so many are exempt, and it is typically commemorated with a Torah reading and special prayer at most temples.

Because of the cooler weather, outdoor activities can be a real pleasure. If you’re in Jerusalem, start by enjoying a view of the city from the Mount of Olives. Then, you can take a Ramparts Walk, encircling the old city. You can enter at the Citadel moat or the Jaffa and Damascus gates. You can also visit the Western Wall, where Bar Mitzvahs take place on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. On Mount Zion, you can visit King David’s Tomb.

Picking this cooler and less busy time of year can make seeing some of Israel’s historic outdoor sites a pleasant and memorable experience.