Israel in January

Dec 10th, 2009, 06:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 38
Israel in January

Hi There,
My wife and I will be traveling to Israel (from New York City, US) in January and wanted to get some thoughts from people who live there or have been there in January to get an idea of some "must see" and "must do" things. We will only be there 1 week. I've heard amazing things about the beaches but since we are going in January I'm not sure this is still something we would do..

We will be renting a car and want to get all around the country but we will not be leaving Israel so please no suggestions in surrounding countries.
Thanks in advance!
scottsara is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
A good guidebook is always helpful.

That said, Jerusalem (which can be cold in Jan, especially at night) deserves at minimum 4/days; where you can do 1/day south to Masada and Ein Gedi. The remaining time can be spent in TelAvi, north via Caesarea to Haifa/Acco, and if time allows to Safed.

That's your week. Remember though that Friday night and all day Saturday, many of the tourist sites are closed, public transportation is likely to be limited or non-existent. Tel Aviv is somewhat more liberal on the Sabbath.

sandi is offline  
Dec 10th, 2009, 01:16 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 412
Masada may be tough in January. If there are heavy rains in Jerusalem and the north, the roads near Masada flood and are closed, sometimes for several days. This has happened to me

You may still be able to get in some walks on the beaches, but don't count on swimming!

Other must sees depend on you--your ages and interests, interest in religious or archaelogical sites (and which religions), museums, nature, restaurants, etc.
No lack of things to see and do, but the weather may require you to be a little more flexible in your itinerary
AlexA is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 05:33 AM
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We are Jewish and in our late 20s. Definitely trying to expereience Israeli Jewish culture and history and also have fun partying at night with the locals.

Thanks for the help so far, please keep em coming!
scottsara is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 08:17 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 412
Time Out magazine has a Tel Aviv/Israel edition that's great for restaurants, clubs and events. It's a weekly in Hebrew only, but they seem to put out an abbreviated version in English every month or so.
AlexA is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 11:43 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 429
Almost ALL tourist sites outside of Jerusalem ARE OPEN on Saturdays, but you should always check the weekend hours. In Jerusalem, the Old City is open as usual (except for the Jewish sites) and some sites are open in the new city, - e.g. the Israel Museum

Both the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz/IHT English editions print detailed entertainment guides every Friday.

For 1 week I suggest 3 days in Jerusalem, 1 day Dead Sea, 1 day Tel-Aviv, 2 days Haifa-Akko, Galilee.

You don't need a car in Jerusalem. In fact it's a liability with all the contruction currently going on. If you rent a car for the entire week then make sure that your hotel has parking.

Assume the weather will be cold, particularly in Jerusalem, and there is a 50% chance of rain; dress accordingly. You can hang out on the beach on a nice sunny day but nobody goes into the water in January.
mbgg is offline  
Dec 19th, 2009, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 126
we always travelled in jan. and feb. it can be chilly and sometimes rainy. having said that, you will not be overrun by other tourists and restaurants will not be crowded. i love that time of year in israel.
judo is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2009, 05:45 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 38
Can anyone recommend any good restaurants? We are not Kosher but would love to try some authentic Israeli/Middle Eastern cuisine.

scottsara is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2009, 10:22 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 429
"Time Out" - Tel-Aviv has on online addition with many good restaurant recommendations:
Go to page 78 and look for Middle Eastern or fish restaurants.

A good choice is Dr. Shakshuka in the Jaffa flea market which has North African Jewish food. There are also many Arab restaurants further south in Jaffa on Yefet St. and good fish restaurants along the coast.

Here is another website that lists many restaurants all over Israel:
You can look them up by area or category.
mbgg is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 02:59 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 31
I may have missed you, but this may interest others. If you want to Israeli Jewish culture experience then staying in Jerusalem for Saturday, finding a synagogue to join in Saturday morning prayers and strolling around the city is a great experience. Otherwise leave the city for that day. Tel Aviv parties very late Friday night and is late to rise Saturday morning but by noon most of the parks and beaches are full.
If it is a nice day most of the country will be out in the Nature parks or in café's.
MiaMom is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 04:20 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
I haven't done this, but I've been told if you go to the Western Wall on Friday evening you may be invited back home to someone's house for Shabbat. I think that would be very interesting.
Saturday evening, oneg Shabbat, be in Jerusalem near Ben Yehuda and see the whole place come alive. At least it did last May.
tinydancer is offline  
Feb 9th, 2010, 06:16 AM
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Thanks to everyone.. we are back and had an AMAZING time

Tinydancer.. You are very right about being invited to someone's' house for Shabbat on Friday night at the Western Wall. I went with my wife and a friend and all of us were invited back to someone's house for Shabbat dinner with their family. Very hospitable people and a great way to get the full experience of Shabbat in Jerusalem.
scottsara is offline  
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