Gordon Tours Israel Blog

Winter in Israel

Icon January 10, 2023
Icon By Shai Navon
Icon 0 comments

Even though Israel is about the size of Vermont, it has an extremely varied climate. And this is especially true when it comes to the Israeli winter.

No two places in Israel are alike in the winter, which officially lasts from November to March. For example, the north of Israel sees rain and snowfall during winter, the Israeli coast keeps its temperatures pleasant with few rain showers, Jerusalem features European-style climate, and the desert basks under an eternally blue sky.

Here are some of the most exciting places to visit in Israel during wintertime:

Safed

At 3,000 feet, Safed is the highest city in Israel, and has been so for around 2,000 years. It appears in many ancient texts, and its gorgeous Old Town and many intact structures built by crusaders have made Safed a top draw for travelers from across the globe.

It is worth a visit all year round, but it’s most sublime right after it’s been blessed with a fresh coat of snow. Safed sees moderate snowfall during the winter months, up to five inches in January, as temperatures fall to lows of around 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

Travelers who visit the snow-covered Safed find the contrast between the ancient houses and cobbled streets and the snow – mesmerizing and unforgettable.

Jerusalem

Speaking of unforgettable and mesmerizing: Jerusalem. And more specifically: Jerusalem during winter.

Jerusalem has a unique climate, owing to its 2,000+ feet of altitude, surrounded by dry riverbeds and valleys from all sides. At an hour’s drive from Israel’s coastal plains, temperatures in Jerusalem suddenly fall to the 40s and 50s F. The rain appears a lot more often, which makes the famous Jerusalem fresh air, featured in canonic Israeli folk songs, even fresher, and the city somehow feels even holier. You simply have to be there to experience it.

As an added bonus, Jerusalem sees some snowfall almost every year. Lucky travelers who arrive during especially snowy winters get to see the rooftops of the Jerusalem Old City dusted with a magical white powder.

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Snowy Mountains

Jerusalem might have a certain altitude and powdery snow, but if you’re looking for more significant snow in a stunning mountain scenery – the Golan Heights is where it’s at.

Israel and snowy mountains don’t seem to go together, but if you venture to the tallest mountain in the Golan Heights, Mount Hermon, you’ll get to ski, snowboard, or sled to your heart’s desire. All while being surrounded by stunning green and white nature. Mount Hermon also offers the best views to the Syrian and Lebanese sides of this mountainous range.

Desert

The polar opposite of Israel’s snowy mountains is Israel’s largest desert, the Negev. It’s an attractive destination for many locals in the wintertime because it only rains about 20 days per year, which makes 90% of the desert winter hospitable and welcoming. Though at night, the temperatures can sometimes dip below 50 F.

On top of the Israeli desert’s natural beauties, new rivers pop up every winter after a heavy torrent that creates localized floods. Following every flood, the desert will boast newborn and temporary rivers, which are an absolute joy to watch.

The Israeli desert also hosts several varied and unique ancient sites that should not be missed regardless when you are visiting. For example, Timna, where locals were mining copper in ancient times; the Nabatean city of Avdat and the Roman town of Shivta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visits to Israel don’t have to be carbon copies of each other. Israel has so much to offer than most brochures suggest. So, if you come on over to the Holy Land for a visit, make sure you’re getting the most out of the trip and enjoy unique experiences that are only offered during the wintertime. Stay warm!

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