When the winds start to howl and the rain chills you to the bone, Israel only gets more interesting. Leave behind the hikes of the fall and spring, and the beachy days of summer — we’ve got your winter activities all planned out for you.
You can always hit a museum (Israel has tons of them!), a movie theater or mall. Below are other excellent indoor options you may not have known about.
These indoor activities for the athletically inclined will really get your blood pumping.
With four locations (Haifa, Petah Tikva, Beersheva and Metulla), this is the perfect place to jump your way through the afternoon. You can bounce with the babies or parkour with older kids to your heart’s delight. Another iJump in Tel Aviv is closed for the winter period and reopens March 21.
- FlyBox, Rishon LeZion
Offering the thrill of jumping out of a plane without ever having to step foot onboard, FlyBox is the only way to experience life at 10,000 feet from the padded safety of the indoors. For ages four and up.
- Monkeys Climbing Gym, Netanya
Monkey around at this top-notch climbing gym, lined with walls made specially for bouldering, a type of freestyle rock climbing requiring no equipment. A coffee bar and a separate area with colorful climbing walls for children make it an ideal family-friendly outing, inside.
Just like in tourism-forward Dubai, our very own Ice Mall in Eilat is the only place in Israel where you can find a tax-free mall fitted with an indoor Olympic-sized ice skating rink and mini amusement park. While the winter is milder down at Israel’s southernmost point, the occasional rain shouldn’t cramp your style, or your moves in the rink.
If you’re not a fan of ice, you still might get a kick out of the arcade, over-sized games, virtual reality simulators, and 7D theater experience. If you have little ones in tow, make sure to stop by the winter-themed igloo-shaped Gymboree play area. Or if you just feel like relaxing, you can always grab a shoko cham (hot cocoa) from one of the cafes and take in one of the free 7pm ice shows that take place several times a week (details on the site).
You could visit some of Israel’s award-winning boutique wineries, or take these indoor tours that will have your senses buzzing.
- Milk & Honey Distillery, Tel Aviv
Get a leg up on the new whisky trend at one of two of Israel’s first whisky distilleries. Take the tour and enjoy the samples. It is a new era for Israeli spirits, and you’ll be in good ones when you duck into the warmth of this groundbreaking distillery/museum.
- Olea Essence, Katzrin (Golan Heights)
Ever wonder how olive oil is made? Ever wonder how olive oil soap is made? Wonder no more. Next time you are headed to the Golan Heights and feel a storm coming on, pull into this visitors’ center in Katzrin. Take a guided tour of the eco-friendly olive press and skin-care center and taste gourmet flavored olive oils.
- Coca-Cola Sensory Center, Bnei Brak
Ten multimedia rooms tell the 120-year-old story of Coca-Cola and the global distribution of its brands, with the Israel Tunnel devoted to Coke in Israel. There’s a 3D ride, an activity park and a music room with Coke-themed instruments to play. You get to see the bottling operation and of course there’s a tasting room. Call 1-800-596-596 to request an English tour any day for 15 people or more, or for small groups during holidays.
These workshops require you to plan ahead and book in advance, but you’ll be glad you did when you step into the warmth of these indoor studios, and leave with your amazing handmade souvenirs.
- Artesana Glass Workshops, Mevo Horon
First witness firsthand how glassware is made, and then take your turn designing and decorating your very own glass plate, bowl or dish.
- Galita Chocolate Factory and Workshops, Kibbutz Degania or Kibbutz Tzuba
Take a seat and get ready for a serious sugar rush. This chocolate house offers workshops year-round in its Kibbutz Degania (Sea of Galilee) factory store or Kibbutz Tzuba (outside Jerusalem) location. Workshops accommodate children and adults, and families can work as a group.
- Lol & Pop Israel, Ramat Gan
The sweets you produce in this workshop at Israel’s first boutique kosher confectionery may look like glass, but trust us, they are far from it!
- Kakadu Wood Art, Moshav Tzafririm, Elah Valley
You don’t have to be an expert at handcrafting to design and paint a wooden carpet, hamsa, door sign, coaster or other decorative or useful object at this famed Israeli studio 10 minutes from Beit Shemesh.
- Clicaso Pottery Painting, Kfar Saba
Pick your pottery, then personalize it as you like, see it through the entire process of design and finishing, and take it home! No knowledge of ceramics is necessary, and you’re contributing toward a good cause — the studio collaborates with Enosh Israeli Mental Health Association to help rehabilitate those with disabilities through meaningful work opportunities.
FUN AND GAMES
Seeking some good clean fun? Here are some activities that will get you up and out of the hotel.
- Escape Room Israel, nationwide
There’s nothing like an Israeli-themed escape room! When else will you have the chance to pretend you are a Mossad agent, outside the school playground? With elaborate plots, twists and turns, this thrilling group game venue is available in Ashkelon, Binyamina, Jerusalem, Rishon LeZion, Beersheva, Eilat, Rehovot, Tel Aviv and Petah Tikva. Make sure to book well in advance.
Scare yourself silly at this abandoned Jerusalem hospital turned spooky haunted house. Literally not for the faint of heart, this downright terrifying horror attraction is only open from 6pm-3am, and involves elaborate setups and real-life actors who make sure to give you an over-the-top supernatural experience in Israel’s holiest city.
- Me on the Mic nationwide
With locations in Haifa, Petah Tikva, Rehovot and Tel Aviv, this karaoke studio brings a little piece of Japan, and a lot of fun, to Israel. State-of-the-art multimedia and lighting systems let you control song choice and volume. Rent a room in advance and order some food, or arrange for a private event. Sing your heart out, bad weather be damned.
Pamper yourself silly with a steamy day inside one of Israel’s many boutique spas.
- Ghatta’s Bath, Acre (Akko)
Get scrubbed, rinsed and massaged in this traditional Turkish bathhouse, which specializes in the art of the ancient hammam. Lounge on the heated rock platforms, steam in the saunas, and you will completely forget about the winter blues
- Setai Luxury Spa, Sea of Galilee and Tel Aviv
With a laundry list of deluxe treatments, including hot rock massage, warm mineral-rich algae body wraps and custom blended aromatherapy, this spa is a gentle cocoon. To book at Sea of Galilee: 04-843-2222. To book in Tel Aviv: 052-467-6904.
Set on an organic farm complete with idyllic fruit orchards, this Safed-area boutique hotel and spa uses essences and herbs sourced from its own property to pamper you. This is a paradise you’ll want to run away to, any season.
Drenched down to your socks? Find your port in the storm in one of these amazingly comforting soup hot-spots.
Nothing has the power to break up the cold like a hot burst of the fenugreek, Middle Eastern spices, and slowly stewed tender meat that are the signature of Yemenite oxtail soup made in this family-run restaurant.
- HaMarakia, Jerusalem
Enjoy an authentically warm Jerusalem atmosphere, just removed from the busy tourist area downtown. Use thick slices of freshly baked old-fashioned bread to sop up one of the fabulous selections of warming vegetarian soups. We recommend a steaming bowl of very Israeli orange-sweet potato soup, and a seat at the communal table.
- Keton Jewish Bistro, Tel Aviv
Known for traditional Ashkenazi staples, Keton, operating since 1945, offers the holy trinity of kreplach, matzah balls and cholent. No matter which you choose, we’re willing to bet that you’ll be a happy, blissed-out camper.
- Mententen, Tel Aviv
Mententen comes to Tel Aviv straight from Tokyo, from where its star chef, Makoto Okazaki, hails. This ramen bar (not kosher) is made to warm you from the soul outwards.