Winter in Israel – Temperatures & Weather in Israel
BY Lee Saunders DATE 21/11/2021
What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness! Well, ‘Israel’ and ‘cold’ are not two words that really go together, but as we drift into winter, the temperatures and pace of life definitely take a pleasant dip and make it the perfect time for a visit, the ideal escape from your COVID blues.
Israel’s Winter – Mild weather, wild adventures
Israeli summers might be ideal for the beach, but summers can be too hot for the desert and for doing anything extremely active. The mercury drops between November and January. The weather in Israel dips, with Tel Aviv showing 73 F (23 C) in November, falling to 63 F (17 C) in January. In the hills of Jerusalem, the temperatures are cooler, registering 68 F (20 C) in November, dropping to 55 F (13 C) in January. Rain is possible in both cities, even very likely in Jerusalem, giving the Holy City a unique glow and sheen. Showers rarely last for hours and offer the perfect chance to venture into one of Israel’s many museums or indoor malls.
These days, snowfall in Jerusalem may be rare but not unheard of all. In fact, last year, Jerusalemites were out on the streets, with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build snowmen and create snow angels. Sitting majestically in the Golan Heights in the far north of the country, Mount Hermon Ski Resort is Israel’s only winter ski and snowboard resort, just two hours from the desert. At the other end of the spectrum, temperatures are generally higher in the south of the country. Eilat, for example, has about 300 sunny days per year, and snorkeling in the Red Sea is possible year-round with sea temperatures at an almost constant 77 F (25 C). Also close to Eilat is the desert and the Red Canyon, which are much more comfortable to explore in winter.
What to Wear in Israel During Winter
After hibernating for so long due to travel restrictions, winter in Israel is a wonderful time to explore. The weather in Israel is somewhat wilder, but it is hardly a north European or Canadian winter. Pack away vests and tank tops though and bring light jackets and long sleeves. The winter months can get quite cold, especially in the evenings. Make sure you pack jeans and pants, a light rain jacket in case, and some thin sweaters.
Winter in Israel Means More Exploring
The weather in Israel from November onwards is an ideal time to take a swim and it is definitely not too chilly. Eilat is a great option here but also December isn’t too cold to swim in the Dead Sea either. This lake, which is more than 1,400 feet below sea level, is so salty that bathers can float high enough to read a newspaper without getting it wet. You have to take your mud selfie and winter is the perfect time to do it! If you want to keep your feet on terra firma, Tel Aviv in winter offers you an abundance of restaurants in which to dine, and was recently voted 2nd best in the world in the food and drink category and 8th best city in the world by Time Out. Even in the COVID era, you can sit outside at sidewalk cafes and bars, with many heat lamps adding to the cozy atmosphere.
So, what do I need to know about winter in Israel?
How cold does it get in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?
The weather is generally comfortable in wintertime, with averages from 59-77 F ( 15-25 C). At night, it can get down to 50ºF / 10ºC. The wet season starts in November and goes through April. However, as we are seeing across the globe, weather can be unpredictable. You might be surprised to learn that it usually snows at least once a year in Jerusalem! It also gets quite cold in the desert.
What is the coldest month?
January tends to be the coldest month, with average temperatures in Israel hitting 57 F (14 C) and it is often the wettest month, averaging 55.7mm of rainfall.
What should I pack?
Depending on the forecast, many of the pieces recommended for summer can apply in winter, with a bit of layering. Try a t-shirt under a thin sweater and pack a light jacket.
Can I go skiing?
Mount Hermon is open for up to about 50 days of skiing and boarding year, attracting about 300,000 visitors, generally between January and March. The resort has over a dozen ski runs and five chair lifts.
Written by Lee Saunders