Tourism in Israel is one of Israel's significant sources of income, with a record 3.6 million tourist arrivals in 2017, and 25 percent growth since 2016 and contributed NIS 20 billion to the Israeli economy making it a record. Israel offers a plethora of historical and religious sites, beach resorts, archaeological tourism, heritage tourism, and ecotourism. Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world. In 2009, the two most visited sites were the Western Wall and the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai; the most popular paid tourist attraction is Masada. The most visited city is Jerusalem and the most visited site was the Western Wall.
Country Code: 972
Credit Cards: Major credit cards are accepted throughout Israel.
Currency: New shekel (NIS)
Departure Tax: There is no departure tax at the airport but crossing over into Jordan is a cost of 101 NIS ($30)
Drives on the: Right
Electricity: 220 V (European Two Prong configuration)
Ethnic Groups: 75% Jewish,21% Arab,4% other
Location: Israel is located in the Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea with Lebanon to the north, Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the south and west.
Official Language(s): Hebrew, Arabic
Religion: Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Baha'i
Time Zone: IST (UTC+2)
Tipping: Tipping is customary in Israel but in select spots. In restaurants, 10 - 12% is average and most staff request tips in cash, not added to credit card bills. Locals rarely tip taxi drivers.
The winter months of November to March are the coldest in Israel with snow in the northern reaches of the Golan Heights, and occasional snowfall in Jerusalem. The coast experiences the heaviest rainfall at this time though temperatures in places like Eilat are reasonably pleasant still.
Jerusalem and other highland areas are splendid in the summer (June - August) when temperatures are high with balmy evenings, and little chance of rain. Tel Aviv and the far south of the country are usually several degrees warmer, making it the perfect place to soak up the sun beachside. If you plan on visiting the Dead Sea or Negev Desert be sure to pack a hat to protect you from the sun.
The seasons of spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October) are the best time to visit Israel when temperatures are pleasantly mild throughout the country. During these spring and autumn months pack clothes that you can wear in layers, so that whether sunny skies or cold weather you will always be prepared.
Steeped in religious significance, Israel is home to numerous sites of historical and cultural significance to Jews and members of other religions. Yet Israel is far more than just an open-air history museum, as can be seen by vibrant cities like Tel Aviv that have their finger on the pulse and are embracing modernity at a spectacular rate. Israel is the perfect blend of the old and the new and its festivals fully reflect this attitude.
Established initially as a music festival, the Israel Festival has now become the leading Israeli event of the year and is the country’s chance to showcase the hottest, freshest talent in a multitude of different disciplines. Dancers, musicians, actors, and artists all take to the streets and stage to display their phenomenal skills, each contributing to the prestige of the festival and the excitement of the program.
White Night Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv has so much to offer and is such a lively and bustling city that someone decided, why not keep the city open all night so people can enjoy it for even longer? Thus, the creation of White Night Tel Aviv came about. Shops, restaurants and historical points of interest stay open all night long with parties on every street corner across the city. Pulsing music will flow through the airwaves all night long as the city of Tel Aviv forgoes sleep for this exciting festival.
Karmiel Dance Festival
Once a year, Karmiel hosts one of Israel’s most prominent dance festivals as 250,000 people from all over flock to witness the non-stop performances that take place throughout three days. Showcases, workshops, and competitions all make up the agenda for this lively festival with every genre imaginable finding its place somewhere in the program. Make your way to one of the venues for a visual treat, suitable for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Klezmer Music Festival
Held in the Old Jewish Quarter and the Artist Quarter of Tzfat, the Klezmer Music Festival lasts for three days with a program consisting of free performances that take place between 9pm and midnight. There are also workshops and jam sessions for those looking to learn a bit more about traditional forms of Jewish music. Bringing children along? Not to worry, the festival caters well to young ones with various activities on offer such as magic and storytelling shows and demonstrations of some of the unusual Klezmer instruments.