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Visiting Israel

//Visiting Israel
Visiting Israel 2018-04-24T16:06:38+00:00

VISITING ISRAEL

See our interactive map of Israel here.

When to go

Have a look at our weather information below and the Jewish holiday calendar found here to help you decide when to visit Israel. You may want to get caught up the atmosphere of Passover, for example, but note that accommodation prices are much higher than usual when there are major local holidays taking place. We are on hand to help answer any further questions you may have about the best time to visit.

Weather

Summer in Israel runs from April to October. It tends to be warm and dry. Winter is from November to March and is usually mild. In the hilly regions like Jerusalem and Safed, it’s drier and cooler than the rest of the country. There can be heavy rainfall in the centre and north of Israel. The northern Negev area has much less rain, and the southern areas have very little rain.

There are regional variations:

  • The coast has humid summers and mild winters
  • The hill regions have dry summers and moderately cold winters
  • The Jordan Valley has hot, dry summers and mild winters
  • The Negev has semi-desert conditions throughout the year
  • The Dead Sea (the lowest point on earth) can reach very high temperatures at the height of summer – make sure you have sun block and plenty of water!

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Local time

Greenwich Mean Time + 2

Do I need a visa?

If you are from Europe (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany (born after 1 January 1928), Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland), then you will be issued tourist visas free of charge upon arrival in Israel.This also applies to visitors from Australia, Fiji Islands, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Central African Republic, Losoto, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland, Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, St. Kitts & Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad & Tobago, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and the USA.If you have no nationality, you must hold a valid laissez passer, plus a visa back to the country that issued it.You must have at least six months valid passport at the time of your return from Israel.The Foreign & Commonwealth Office have updated travel advice for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories – the Israeli Parliament passed a law on 6 March 2017 which gives authority to deny entry to foreign nationals who have publicly called for a boycott of Israel and/or settlements, or who belong to an organisation which has called for a boycott; you should contact the Israeli Embassy in London for further information if required.

Is it safe to travel to Israel?

Israel is a comparatively safe country to travel in. Tourism to Israel has increased steadily and around 2 million tourists visit each year. Tourists can enter Bethlehem and Jericho in the Palestinian area without prior clearance or authorisation, however you will need to take your passport with you. We advise you to check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for any security warnings, and to use your own discretion.

Customs and etiquette

This excellent website will give you a great insight into how to behave in Israel and what to expect from the locals – check it out and it will be time well spent!

Currency and Shopping

The currency in Israel is the New Israeli Shekel. An idea of the exchange rate can be found here. US dollars are also accepted. If you are making a large purchase, you may be able to get a discount if you pay in US dollars, because Israeli VAT is not applied to transactions made in a foreign currency. Major credit cards are also accepted in almost all shops in Israel. Travellers’ cheques cannot be used in Israel.

Gratuities

Gratuities for your guide and driver are not included in the cost of your tour. If you want to tip them, we would suggest around 20 Israeli Shekels (c. £4.50) per passenger per day for your guide and around 12 Israeli Shekels (c. £2.50) per passenger per day for your driver (equating to around £50 per passenger for a 7 day trip). These are payable direct to your guide and driver at the end of the tour. Please note this is entirely at your discretion. If using a taxi during any free time, it is worth noting that taxi drivers do not expect a tip.

What should I wear?

It’s fine to wear casual clothing for almost all scenarios in Israel. However, when you visit religious sites, modesty is required. Women should cover their arms and legs, and we would recommend carrying a shawl, just in case. Men should avoid wearing shorts at some religious sites and may be required to wear a head covering (paper skullcaps may be available in some places, for example the Western Wall). If you’re out and about in the evenings when it’s cooler, take a light jacket.

Electricity

In Israel the electric current is 220 volts AC, single phase, 50 hertz. Most electrical sockets are three pronged but many can also accept European two pronged plugs. You can purchase adaptors or transformers in Israel.

Phoning the UK

You can call home by dialing 00 44 followed by your local area code (minus the 0 at the start) and the phone number, e.g. 00 44 1234 567890.

Is the water safe to drink?

Tap water is regarded as safe to drink, however we recommend you drink bottled water which you will find widely available. We strongly recommend that during the warmer months, you have plenty of fluids, especially if you are out and about walking.

Can I bring my medication with me?

Yes, it’s fine to bring standard “over the counter” medication into Israel with you and it can also be bought locally. We advise you to speak to your doctor if you have any prescribed medication, vials requiring refrigeration, or any medication that requires syringes, and take an official list of any controlled medications with you.

Do I need any vaccinations?

No vaccinations are required to enter Israel, but we strongly recommend you consult your doctor to ask if there are any vaccinations that you may personally require. You should do this as early as possible before departure.

What’s open on Shabbat?

Some restaurants will be open. Most private businesses and all public offices are closed on Shabbat. Public transport does not operate on Shabbat in most cities. You can access television and radio broadcasts on Shabbat.

Are all restaurants kosher?

Most hotels and restaurants serve kosher food, and they will usually display a kashrut certificate to show this.

General

In order to get the most out of your holiday, we recommend you research the places you’ll be visiting and prepare for the climate. Take sun block, as even in December it is possible to get a little sun burnt!