No one needs to be told that summertime in Israel is hot. But the summer is also a time of great fun around the country. There are festivals and activities galore just waiting to be enjoyed.
From water fun to tunnel tours, hiking in streams to rafting down rivers, enjoying a concert to relaxing on the beach, there really is something for everyone.
NoCamels offers 5 cool ways to beat the heat.
Swimming, water slides, paddling and rafting are all cool options for a hot, summer’s day. Head for the beach – Israel’s gorgeous coastline has great sand-sea-and-sun options (all 13 of Tel Aviv’s beaches hold the Blue Flag eco-label).
Or, go for a swim at one of the country’s amazing swimming pools – from the landmark Gordon Pool in Tel Aviv, overlooking the Mediterranean, to the Secret Pool in the Galilee, situated among olive groves, there are many splash options to choose from.
If swimming doesn’t fulfill the adrenaline boost you’re looking for, there are over 10 water parks peppered around Israel to do just that. Another local summer favorite is heading out into nature to enjoy a dip in the country’s natural springs. Or, try a water hike through a stream or gorge. And don’t forget rafting down the Jordan River – it’s called kayaking in Israel but these are not the standard narrow watercraft propelled by a double-bladed paddle but rather a blowup raft.
Kfar Blum and Hagoshrim are all about this family-fun wet river experience. Although if you’d prefer to do real kayaking, that’s an option, too. You can rent kayaks or paddle boards at beaches around the country. There’s also extreme kayaking to the Rosh Hanikra grottos.
Go indoors to enjoy air-conditioned exhibits. There are tens of museums across this country bursting with displays on the themes of art, history, heritage, science, nature, Holocaust, Judaica, archaeology and multidisciplinary issues.
From the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to Madatech in Haifa, and everything in between, there are amazing collections of local and international artifacts just waiting to be ogled.
“The museums are an added value of enrichment; they don’t replace the need to be outdoors. They further enrich and allow young minds – and not just young minds. The main feature of these museums is they are there to enrich and build on the experience of the outdoors,” Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East, told NoCamels in an article on the country’s nature museums.
Eat Ice Cream
In summer, eating ice cream is a favorite pastime no matter where you are. In Israel, eating ice cream has become a must-do thanks to the growing scene of artisan and gourmet ice cream makers.
You can still find vanilla and chocolate in the display cases, but there’s also white chocolate-pistachio, cannabis, sour cream-apricot, chocolate-sea salt, cardamom and other zany but delicious flavors.
“Ice cream in Israel is of a very good quality, it gets better every year, and it will get better,” Itay Rogozinsky, chef glacier and owner of the Vaniglia ice cream chain, told NoCamels.
For many people it is unfathomable to attend a festival during the daytime in August in Israel. That’s why there are so many night festivities on hand. The Red Sea Jazz Festival brings jazz musicians and fans from the around the world to Eilat in late August every year.
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The Caesarea Nights of Love Festival and the Kinneret Nights of Love Festival bring local music acts to the Caesarea Amphitheater and Beit Gavriel Amphitheater.
The annual Wine Festival at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem may be one of the month’s most popular evening festivals. It includes four days of art and Israel’s leading wines.
If you’d prefer to hop amongst the wineries, there’s another wine festival up in the Galilee – in Hebrew, Bein Hacramim — that mixes wine tasting and music.
There’s also the famous Klezmer Festival in Tsfat. Municipalities also host night concerts in open-air places around their cities.
For more August 2019 events, check out the Tourist Israel blog.
Israel is a land of caves. And there’s no better way to beat the heat than to escape the sun into the coolness of an underground cave.
Perhaps the most accessible is the Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve, which is a “cool” experience in every sense of the word.
Or, you can also be an archaeologist for the day with the Archaeological Seminars – Dig for a Day activity, in which you get to excavate, sift, and explore an extensive cave system within the Beit Guvrin National Park, the ancestral home of King Herod and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The site “shows evidence of underground industrial complexes dating back to the Hellenistic (Greek) period, some 2,200 years ago. Remains of olive oil production, weaving installations, columbaria, water cisterns, and baths confirm a high level of material culture for the time,” according to Archaeological Seminars.
The digs are led by experienced and knowledgeable guides under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authorities and last approximately three hours. They are open to all ages and are held year-round, weather permitting, but you have to book in advance.
For the more extreme among us, there are rappelling/spelunking trips into the depths of natural salt caves. Of course, you can also enjoy underground coolness with a tunnel tour.
If you’re in Ramla, head over to the Pool of Arches for a rowboat experience of ancient water cisterns.