Our recommendation to visit Israel and neighboring countries
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Israel Travel guide
Events and festivals in Israel
Popular festivals in Israel are undoubtedly marked by the Jewish religion, as with the cuisine, which is noticeable in the preparation of the dishes and the way of combining foods. In this sense, festivals in Israel mostly have a marked religious emphasis.
Many of the popular festivals in Israel begin with the playing of the Shofar, a ram’s horn, which is the most traditional way of announcing events in Israel, especially with traditional celebrations. But let’s look, month by month, at which are the events in Israel that you have to bear in mind when it comes to planning your trip.
January and February - Tu Bishvat
On the 15th day of the month of Shevat (January - February), in rabbinical sources, it is called the new year of the fruit trees. This is relevant for the sabbatical year, tithe and other purposes, although this festival is not as religious as others. Rather, Tu BiShvat is a day when trees are planted, and it serves as an incentive for the Jewish National Fund and the local authorities to get involved in reforestation.
March - Purim Festival
Una de las fiestas populares de Israel es la Fiesta de Purim, que tiene lugar a comienzos del mes de marzo. Esta festividad coincide con el decimocuarto día del mes judío de adar. Podría decirse que es una especie de carnaval en la que los participantes se entregan regalos. El nombre deriva de la palabra pur (suerte en hebreo), y rememora el relato contenido en el libro de Estherm, donde se cuenta cómo los judíos se salvaron de ser exterminado por orden del rey persa Asuero.
April - Passover
Of all the festivals of Israel, Passover, also known as the feast of unleavened bread, is the most important time of the Jewish calendar. During this festival, Jewish people remember the end of slavery of their ancestors in Egypt. During the celebration, families get together to share the traditional Easter lamb, which they serve with unleavened flatbread (without yeast). This bread honors the Jews who, when they fled the Pharaoh, didn’t have time to allow the bread to rise.
May - Memorial Day
One of the events in Israel that coincides with the eve of the National Day, is the Memorial Day, which is celebrated on the 13th May. It commemorates those who lost their lives fighting for the country’s independence. For the entire day, torches are lit on the western side of the Wailing Wall or Kotel Hamaaravi. In addition, families honor the dead, making offerings in the cemeteries. In many religious communities, they read chapter 9 of Psalms, which is entitled Concerning the Death of the Son. As you will see, religion is very prominent in each festival and celebration of the Jewish people.
June - Harvest Festival
At the end of May and beginning of June, the Harvest Festival takes place. During this festival, also known as Pentecost, worshippers give thanks to God for the harvest. It also celebrates the moment Moses received the Tables of the Law with the Ten Commandments.
July and August - Day of Mourning (Tisá B’Av)
One of the most popular festivals of Israel which isn’t really a festival is the Tisha B’Av, or Day of Mourning. The ninth day of the month of Av, between July and August, commemorates the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans in 70B.C. During this time, they remove all decorations from the synagogues, at the same time as mourning and fasting.
September - Feast of Trumpets
This is one of the events in Israel that serves as a reminder of the creation of man and woman. As well as commemorating the moment of creation, worshippers start a period of reflection and repentance lasting for 10 days. Once this time has passed, the confinement ends with a large feast: the feast of Atonement or Great Pardon.
This feast of the Great Pardon, is the well-known festival of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur takes place at the end of September, and in more traditional areas a goat is sent into the wilderness, as a symbol of the errors committed by the Israelis.
October - Festival of Tabernacles
During the month of October, the Festival of Tabernacles is one of the popular festivals of Israel which is most celebrated. During the festival, thanks are given to God for the fruits obtained during the harvest and gathering of fruit. Commemorating the ancient Hebrew people, people camp in tents in the desert. It is one of the most joyful festivals of the Jewish calendar, for eight days, participants celebrate abundance and good tidings.
November and December - Festival of Lights (Hanukkah)
During November and December, especially during this last month of the year, some of the best-known popular festivals in Israel occur. Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights. This festival commemorates the consecration of the Temple, during the celebration 9 Hanukkah candles or a menorah are lit.
Bear in mind these celebrations and events in Israel when you are preparing your trip. You won’t just be able to coincide with the festivals of the country's culture, but also find out first-hand about its religious tradition.GO TO EVENTS
Food in Israel
When it comes to deciding what to eat in Israel, you need to bear in mind that the country itself is a mosaic of cultures and religions. This fact means that the typical dishes of Israel are very varied. However, we are going to run through the most popular food from Israel.
Of all of the typical dishes you can try from Israel during your trip, the ones that continue to be the best-known are those you must try.
Salads and snacks
Vegetable salad is a dish eaten with most meals, also in the traditional breakfast of Israeli cuisine itself. Breakfast includes eggs, bread and some dairy products such as yogurt or cottage cheese.
For lunch or evening meal, a salad is served which is known as hummus chip salat, with chips served in pitta bread.
Although pitta bread is Arabic, it is widely eaten in Israel, not in vain, since this country hosts a large Arabic community. It is made from wheat flour, olive oil, water, and salt. It is baked and served as an accompaniment to many dishes.
This typical dish of food from Israel can be served at any time of day. It is made with a semi-circular dough filled with a purée of chickpeas, fried onion, and herbs. Meat can also be added, and for the breakfast version, it is eaten with feta cheese.
As a snack, Torshi is one of the typical dishes of Israel that you have to try. It is pickled vegetables which include cucumber, cabbage, aubergine, carrot, radish, capers, olives, cauliflower, tomatoes, chili and beans. A treasure for vegetable lovers.
Shakshouka has been a typical dish to eat in Israel since the 1950s. It consists of a dish of poached egg in spicy tomato sauce, with cumin and paprika. You can also find a variant of this in Tunisia with the name Chakchouka.
This dish is served as an accompaniment to many meals in Israel. It is a dish of lentils, that can be substituted by rice, wheat or bulgur wheat, with fried onion and olive oil. Its flavor is exquisite, and you can eat it hot or cold.
Almond soup or Shkedei Marak, is a chicken soup to which coriander and lemon juice are added. Another traditional soup is the traditional Israeli lentil soup, made with many alternatives with or without meat.
Freekeh is an excellent option for rice lovers, it is a dish made of greenish color wheat. It is also known as green rice, the trick is in the spices and the onion, which give it a delicious flavor.
Also accompanied by white rice is Orez Shu’it, a dish belonging to the Sephardic Jews, which is made with white beans cooked in tomato sauce. This dish is typical of Jerusalem.
If you like fish, Jraime is one of the best-known typical dishes of Israel. In fact, it is what is eaten during Shabbat, each Saturday. It consists of a dish of chopped fish with tomato sauce, which also contains garlic, olive oil, and spices. You can find the fish fried or grilled, and it is seasoned with lemon juice. Another version is baked fish with vegetables, which is served with different spicy sauces.
As well as the aforementioned main dishes, below you have other delicacies that you must try if you travel to Israel.
If you like pickles, Amba is one made of mango, vinegar, salt, curcuma, and hot chilli. it is one of the dishes to eat in Israel accompanied with falafel or also as a sandwich or Sabich.
This simple sandwich forms part of Israeli food and stands out for its ingredients. Fried aubergine, boiled egg, and parsley are placed in a pitta bread, which is served with hummus, amba or tahini.
For cheese lovers, Labneh is perfect, it is creamy cheese made from goat or cow's milk. It usually forms part of the typical dishes of Israel for breakfast, although it can also be eaten at any time of day.
Bourekas and cakes
Amongst the things to eat in Israel, sweets must appear on the list, on this occasion Bourekas are puff pastry filled with potato. Their simplicity doesn't detract from them, they have a truly exquisite flavor. But it doesn't end there, Sephardic confectionery is appreciated around the world. Apple cakes with cinnamon, date cookies, Jerusalem Kugel, jelly doughnuts, cheesecake and so much more.
Now you know what to eat in Israel, you can plan your trip bearing in mind that Israeli food will take your palate on a journey through numerous flavors and textures. Get organized and try what attracts your attention the most!
For those with a sweet tooth, Jewish sweets are the jewel in the crown of traditional confectionery, don’t hesitate to try them.GO TO GASTRONOMY
Shopping in Israel
You have many typical products to buy in Israel, from antiques to cosmetics, to textiles and spices. This sovereign country in the Middle East is a melting pot of cultures, not just the home of millions of Jews.
The state of Israel welcomes Arab Muslims, Christians, Jews, and numerous ethnic and religious groups. In the same way, its culture, gastronomy and typical products are varied and numerous. Therefore, if you still don't know what to buy in Israel, pay attention to the following list of souvenirs which you can take home with you.
Israel is a country with a lot of history; for this reason, it is one of the perfect places to get antiques. From coins from Roman times to ceramics and all kinds of objects with centuries of history. Strolling through its streets you will find numerous antique shops with a variety of unique souvenirs to buy in Israel.
This country treasures numerous relics, ancient jewels and religious objects from centuries ago. Objects of copper, stone, clay, bronze, gold, and silver form an authentic cultural treasure which is auctioned in large prestigious events. Of course, if you don't have enough of a budget to buy a unique jewel, there are high-quality replicas which are perfect to take home as a souvenir of your trip.
Out of everything that you buy in Israel, textile products are the preferred souvenirs for many tourists. Of all the typical products of Israel, handkerchiefs are undoubtedly the star. Israeli handkerchiefs, also known as Palestinian handkerchiefs, are made of cotton, silk, linen or cashmere. Their variety of designs and colors will make you want to take more than one souvenir.
One of the best things to do in Israel is to take a stroll through its many bazaars. In them, textiles are the star products, compare, choose and haggle the price. Surely you will find what to buy in Israel in one of these peculiar establishments.
The cuisine of Israel is very tasty; this is mainly due to the use of spices in the kitchen. From the spicy to sweeter flavors like cinnamon, the spice stalls in the market are the perfect places to get one of the most coveted souvenirs of Israel.
Kosher cuisine is one of the most aromatic and delicious you can taste, but not only that, the Arabic cuisine and its spiciness are also present in the dishes of this country. Spices such as chili, basil, oregano, parsley, sesame zaatar, sweet and spicy paprika, cumin, or turmeric are just some of the most used.
Another of the gifts to buy in Israel and to count on when it comes to giving a gift are beauty products. The best-known are the properties of the Dead Sea mud, with which soaps of great cosmetic quality are made. These soaps are one of the souvenirs of Israel which are the most bought by tourists.
You can get all kinds of products for body and facial treatment: creams, masks, massage oils, wraps, etc. The natural properties of these products are highly appreciated by the great personal care brands.
Jewelry and goldsmithery
Another of the typical products and souvenirs of Israel are the artisan objects. The Jewish people have been working precious metals for centuries: candlesticks, vessels, glasses, cutlery and decorative objects. But also bracelets, necklaces and all kinds of jewelry suitable for all budgets.
What better souvenir to buy in Israel than a pendant with plant motifs or inspired by the Hebrew alphabet. The silver in combination with precious stones, or simply the meticulous and detailed work of the artisans, make each piece unique.
Varieties of coffee and tea
Coffee is another of Israel's souvenirs which will delight your friends and family. The Arabic variety with cardamom is an authentic delight. Not only can you take it as a gift, but also to have a good coffee and remember your trip to this historic country.
On the other hand, the varieties of black teas, especially hibiscus, are among the best you can find. If you are a tea lover, in Israel you will find mixtures from the area which will make you want to take home kilos and kilos of this precious liquid.
Finally, don't forget to try their wines and their precious olive oil. Two typical products of Israel which, although they are not well known, well deserve a good tasting. Although Israel is a dry country, it produces a wine with a peculiar flavor that is highly appreciated by locals and visitors alike.
Now that you know what to buy in Israel and what the most appreciated typical products are, don't forget to include a visit to the markets to get one of these souvenirs in your list of things to do.GO TO SHOPPING
Israel tourist attractions
More information about Israel
A holiday to Israel will take you on a journey through history, culture, and religion. A long, narrow Middle-Eastern country, Israel has a lot to offer travelers. The country has a varied topography; forests, lush valleys, rocky deserts, and a stretching Mediterranean coastline are all encompassed within the borders of this relatively small nation.
Beach resorts, exceptional history sites and thriving cities, full of cultural offerings, makes travel to Israel a diverse and fulfilling experience. Often occupying a space in the public imagination, due to ongoing political struggles and its complex history, Israel is home to some of the holiest sites in the history of civilization, making a touring holiday the perfect choice for visitors with an interest in both religion and history.
A tour of Israel is an eye-opening and affirming experience, no matter if you are traveling for leisure or out of religious interest. Although the country is the biblical Holy Land of three of the world’s largest faiths: Christianity, Islam & Judaism, there is more to Israel than the history of the holy land. Tel Aviv showcases a modern, trendy and cosmopolitan side to Israel whilst the countries natural wonders, such as the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, amazes travelers who bathe in the salty waters. Nevertheless, Israel is often a destination for religious pilgrimage, with Jerusalem serving as a sacred destination for Muslims, Jews and Christians alike.
The state of Israel was created following World War Two in 1948, although the history of the land of Israel stretches back thousands of years and the land has been invaded by almost every old world empire. On a package holiday to Israel, it is hard to ignore the evidence of the country’s eventful past, seen in the diverse population, where people of all religions, races, and backgrounds make their lives in one of the world’s oldest lands. The country’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, the former of which, although often confined to prayer and religious usage, was revived as a public language in the last century by the Jewish population who fled Europe to find refuge in this promised land, where they had settled over 3,000 years before.
Israel is a country which fascinates and intrigues travelers. An unfathomably long history mixed with a rich culture and natural wonders ensures it is a holiday destination that should not be missed.
Information before traveling to Israel
Passport with a minimum of six months validity.
No advance visa is required. Visas are issued for free on arrival in the country.
UTC + 02:00.
Israeli New Shekel.
Hebrew and Arabic.
Tourist Office websiteVisit website
220 V. No adapter required.
Other useful information
Many businesses open from Sunday to Friday and close on Saturday.
There are no mandatory vaccinations for travellers from EU countries.
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