Map from Google - Israel
The climate in Israel is characterized by hot and sunny summers, and a long period of sunshine, with clear skies from April to October. The rains (where they occur) are concentrated from November to March.
The climate is Mediterranean along the Mediterranean coast
(see Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya), with mild, rainy winters and hot, sunny summers, during which the air is humid but tempered by breezes. In Tel Aviv, the average temperature in January is 57 °F, while in July and August it's about 79 °F. Heat waves from Egypt can occur especially in the period April-June, when they can raise the temperature up to 105 °F even on the coast.
Here are the average temperatures of Tel Aviv.
Average temperatures - Tel Aviv
The rainfall, concentrated in the winter months, is around 23 inches per annum. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Tel Aviv
On the Mediterranean coast, the sea is warm enough for swimming from June to November.
Sea temperature - Tel Aviv
In the interior
(see Jerusalem, Nazareth), the climate becomes more arid, but also more continental, due to both the greater distance from the sea and the elevation: Jerusalem is located at 2,300 feet above sea level, Bethlehem, in the West Bank, at almost 2,650 feet, while Nazareth is located at a lower altitude, around 985/1,640 feet. In these inland areas, intrusion of cold air masses from Russia can bring even snow in January and February (but sometimes also on early March), usually above 2,000 feet. During summer, the air in this area is dry and the heat is usually tolerable, but sometimes warm air masses from the Egyptian desert can bring scorching heat even here. In Jerusalem
, the average temperature in January is 48 °F, while in August it's 76 °F. Here are the average temperatures in Jerusalem.
Average temperatures - Jerusalem
The annual precipitation is around 22 inches, concentrated in the winter months, while from May to mid-October it almost never rains. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Jerusalem
Further to the east, in the Jordan valley
, which goes even below sea level (not only around the Dead Sea, but also south of the Sea of Galilee), the winter is still mild, but the summer becomes definitely hot. Rainfall is scarce, and the landscape, excluding the areas where the river's water is used to irrigate fields, is therefore semi-desert. In Tiberias, 16 inches of rain fall each year, as usual, with rainfall concentrated in the winter months. Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Tiberias
, in the areas bordering Sinai and the Red Sea, we find the Negev Desert, which has mild winters and hot summers. Unlike the Mediterranean coast, summer is not the best time for a stay at the beaches of the Red Sea: in Eilat, the average daily temperature in July and August is 90 °F, with a minimum of 79 °F and maximum of 100 °F, but sometimes it can exceed 113 °F. On the other hand, in April and October, the maximum temperature is around 86/90 °F, and the sunshine is still guaranteed.
Average temperatures - Eilat
In Eilat, the rainfall is very poor, since it doesn't even reach 2 inches per year.
At Eilat, the Red Sea is a bit cool for swimming in winter, while it is very warm in the summer months.
Sea temperature - Eilat
When to go
The best times to visit Israel are spring and autumn
, and in particular the months of April, May and October. Easter is therefore usually a good time to visit places of historical and religious interest in the country.
For a beach vacation, on the Mediterranean coast the warm and sunny season is long and runs from mid-May to mid-October, although as we have seen the sea is still a bit cool in May.
The Red Sea is warmer, but as mentioned in summer the heat is too intense for sunbathing, especially from June to September, while in winter from December to February, pleasant days alternate with others which can be little cold: so here the best periods for a beach vacation are the month of April, and from mid-October to mid-November.
What to pack
: in Jerusalem and inland hills: warm clothes, jacket, hat, raincoat or umbrella, scarf for the wind, hiking shoes; in Jordan Valley and Eilat: spring/autumn clothes for the day, jacket and sweater, umbrella for the area located north of the Dead Sea. In Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean coast: spring/autumn clothes, sweater and jacket, raincoat or umbrella.
: in Jerusalem and inland hills: light clothes, sun hat, sweatshirt for the evening, scarf for the wind-borne sand and dust, hiking shoes. In the Jordan valley and Eilat: lightweight clothing of natural fiber, desert turban; in Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean coast, light clothing; a light sweatshirt for the evening.
For the reef, snorkeling equipment, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.