Are you looking for what to wear in Israel for an upcoming trip? You have absolutely nothing to worry about.
It may surprise you to learn that Israel is a relaxed country when it comes to fashion. The country is likely not as conservative as you thought. You’ll also be surprised to learn that Tel Aviv is steadily climbing towards the title of one of the fashion capitals of the world. So yes, you can wear whatever you want and not get a second look!
In comparison to Europe, it can be said that Israel’s fashion sense is quite similar but perhaps even less formal. For the most part, local people dress very casually in jeans, shorts, T-shirts and sneakers. Even business people have a penchant for dressing in casual clothes. And the same goes for special occasions such as weddings.
There’s no actual dress code in most places in Israel but if you visit some religious sites in Jerusalem or some of the rural areas of Palestine, you’ll see more conservatively-dressed people. You’ll be expected to avoid wearing shorts, short skirts, shoulder-baring shirts and tight-fitting outfits when visiting churches and other religious sites. You may even be required to cover your head with a scarf on some occasions.
The most important thing to consider when deciding what to wear in Israel is that you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking and depending on the time of year, it could be either very cold or very hot, so dress comfortably.
I have been to Israel more times than I can remember (and in fact, I am going again soon), in all seasons, and I will share the best Israel packing list with you so that you’ll be prepared for all occasions.
Make sure to read my post The Best Places To Visit In Israel.
What To Consider When Planning Your Israel Packing List
What you decide to put on your Israel packing list will depend on what you’ll be doing while touring the country and the time of year you travel there. With some careful planning, you’ll have no problem packing for your vacation.
Like other Mediterranean countries, Israel knows four distinct seasons. But it’s not the same everywhere in the country.
In winter, which is from December to the beginning of March, you’ll experience cooler temperatures and lots of rain with January being the rainiest month (and trust me, it can rain a lot with floods and all). Snow is possible in the mountain regions ie in the Golan, and even in Jerusalem.
In summer, which is from May well into the end of September (with some very hot days in April too), rain doesn’t fall at all, but it is very very humid and the temperatures are so hot, I recommend avoiding travel to the country at this time. In fact, temperatures can go above 104°F (40°C) in some areas!
Taking these conditions into account, if you wish to travel at the best time of year, you’re best to travel in October or November when it’s not too cold nor too hot and there’s very little rain, or between March and May, when days are even longer.
The type of trip
Whether you’re planning to do some hiking along the Israel National Trail or the Jesus Trail, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea or floating on the Dead Sea, exploring the ancient cities, or a combination of all of these things, you’ll need to pack accordingly. Just be sure to pack one conservative outfit if you wish to visit holy sites.
Will you be doing a lot of walking between hotels? Will you be traveling by bus or train? Or will you be renting a car or using taxis during your visit? Keep in mind that it’s hard to get around on foot or via public transportation with a heavy, bulky suitcase in tow. If you have access to a vehicle, it won’t be so bad – except for parking which can really be a nightmare.
If you are flying to Israel from Europe, you may be using a budget airline like Ryanair or Wizz, which all have extra fees for checked in luggage. One way to save some money when you’re on a tight travel budget is to pack less so you don’t have to pay those pesky airline baggage fees. I know what you’re thinking; how on earth can I pack only a carry-on? Believe it or not, it’s much easier than it sounds. It’s easier to do this when you know you only have limited space in your luggage.
Planning your outfits will also save time, space and ultimately, money. With your outfits already picked out, you’ll avoid taking extra things that you don’t need and you won’t waste time at your destination trying to decide what to wear. Of course, if budget isn’t an issue, you can pack as much as you wish, but why would you when it’s so liberating to travel without the hassle of lugging around more than you need?
Make sure to also read my post How To Pack Light.
Now, let’s discover what to wear in Israel, whatever the season you’ll be visiting, and what items should not be missing from your Israel packing list.
What To Wear In Israel
What to wear in Israel in Spring / Fall
Hint: The weather is unpredictable during spring and fall in Israel, and could go either way so layers are key. Places like Tel Aviv will be way warmer than Jerusalem during the fall and spring months, so make sure to keep that in mind too.
A waterproof / rain jacket
Some rain does fall in October and November so be sure to pack a light waterproof or rain jacket. Kuhl makes some top quality one and if you pick a neutral color they are also easy to dress up for an evening out (not that you need that, in Israel).
Jeans / comfortable pants
Jeans are perfect for the weather in October and November because they’re comfortable and ideal for the temperatures that time of year. Also, jeans are very versatile in that they can be worn casually or you can dress them up in a pinch by simply wearing a nicer top or adding some accessories to your outfit. I have all sorts of jeans but my favorite is a pair of skinny jeans I bought on Kuhl. They are incredibly comfortable!
One or two pairs of leggings
Like jeans, leggings are very versatile. Pair them with a long sweater and boots for a casual look or pair them with a dressier top and pretty accessories for a more polished look. They’re also great to use as pajama bottoms, if you need.
Long sleeve T-Shirts
You just never know what kind of weather you’ll get in October and November in Israel so a few long sleeved T-shirts are perfect for those days when it’s slightly cooler. They’re also great for layering. They can be worn over a smaller shirt for days when it starts off warm and turns cold and they can be worn under a heavier sweater for those days when it turns warmer in the afternoon. Kuhl makes some lovely t-shirts that go from very sporty and casual to dressy.
One or two short sleeve T-Shirts
There are very warm days in October and November, as well as in April (in fact, more summer-like than anything else, especially along the coast), so packing a couple of short sleeved T-shirts will keep you cool on those days and they’re easy to layer under warmer tops when it cools down.
A couple of lighter sweaters
Most days this time of year are a mix of warm temperatures during the day, and cool temperatures once the sun goes down, so lighter sweaters are perfect for these conditions. Pack a couple of them to layer with T-shirts.
A warm sweater
For the rare day when it gets very cold – and most likely for Jerusalem, pack a heavier warm sweater that can easily be layered with other items. Pick a neutral color – I am a fan of blue – that you can mix and match with jeans and leggings.
A nice dress for the evening
Yes, Israel is casual and most people dress casually to go out in the evening but it’s always nice to dress up when heading out for a night on the town especially if you’ll be going to a nicer restaurant such as Adom at the First Station in Jerusalem. Pack a nice dress for these evening occasions. For men, a nice pair of pants and nice shirt will do just fine.
What to wear in Israel in Summer
You won’t need any heavy clothes during the summer months because the temperatures soar. The heat is almost unbearable – you will likely want to rip your skin off – but you can maximize your comfort by packing the right clothes.
Light cotton or linen pants
On days when shorts are not suitable for where you’re going, light cotton or linen pants will keep you cool and protected from the hot sun and covered for visits to religious sites. Check out Kuhl website as they make some really comfortable, easy-wear pants.
Cotton T-Shirts and tank tops
It’s perfectly fine to wear tank tops in Israel. You’ll see local people wearing them all the time, especially along the coast in Tel Aviv or Haifa, and in Eilat, where people are even less formal. You’ll need a few of them and some cotton t-shirts too because they’re light, airy and perfect for the extremely hot days you’ll experience in summer.
A couple of pairs of shorts
Shorts are another item that you may have thought was taboo in Israel but are perfectly acceptable. Pack a couple of pairs to mix and match with your t-shirts and tank tops. Kuhl has a nice selection of them that go from super sporty for the day, to dressier ones for a night out – though you will likely need mosquito repellent at night!
The maxi dress is the perfect item of clothing for women. Pack at least one to wear on hot days and the loose, flowing material will keep you cool. It’s also perfect to wear on those days when you’ll be away from your hotel all day and need to wear something that can go from day to night without any effort.
If you’ll be heading to the beach, lounging poolside, or hanging out on patios, make sure to have at least one cute sundress to wear for such occasions – it’s what to wear in Israel at the beach.
A nice dress for the evening
If you prefer to ditch the casual look for evening outings, make sure to pack a nice dress to wear to dinner or wherever the night takes you. Men should pack a nice linen or cotton pair of pants and a nicer shirt.
A light cardi
Yes, it gets very hot in Israel in the summer and yes, the evenings often stay quite hot. However, you may end up sitting in an air conditioned restaurant, or visiting a museum or even riding a bus and will well wish you have something to cover up a bit – I know from experience!
One or two bikinis / swimsuits
Israel has some of the nicest beaches in the Mediterranean, and Tel Aviv is home to one of my favorite pools in the world (Gordon Pool) and lounging seaside is a popular activity among both locals and visitors. Pack one or two bikinis or swimsuits so you’re ready to jump into those clear, blue waters when the opportunity arises.
The summer sun in Israel gets very hot and it doesn’t take long to feel the effects of it if you don’t properly protect yourself. Pack a sunhat that will protect your head on those hot afternoons and double as a stylish accessory.
What to wear in Israel in Winter
In winter, the temperatures drop significantly – especially in Jerusalem – and rain is frequent. In some areas of the country, you may even see some snow this time of year. Make sure to dress for these conditions.
A winter jacket
While you’ll need a heavier jacket in winter, a down parka isn’t actually necessary. Just make sure to pack something warm. I recommend a waterproof jacket to keep you dry when you’re exploring in the rain. Make sure to check out Kuhl’s website as they have some really good jackets.
A pair of jeans
For versatility and warmth on cooler days, you should pack at least one pair of jeans. Jeans are great because they can be worn more than once to be mixed and matched with other items in your wardrobe.
One or two pairs of pants
For days when you want to wear something less casual than jeans, pack one or two pairs of pants in neutral colors. I have several in blue and they are super easy to wear.
Long sleeve shirts
A few long sleeve shirts are a good idea to pack for a winter trip to Israel. They’re easy to layer under and over other items and they can be easily mixed and matched with jeans and pants. Kuhl has some great ones!
A thick sweater
You should pack at least one thick sweater for those days when it’s very cold. Make sure it can be easily layered with other items so you can take it off and put it on as needed throughout the day.
A beanie, scarf and gloves
It does get cool in Israel but there’s no need to pack for a polar expedition. However trust me when I say that you will wish for a hat some days, especially in Jerusalem! A light beanie, scarf and pair of gloves are great to have in your day pack when you get a chill while out exploring.
Other Things To Include In Your Israel Packing List
Footwear in all seasons
There are many important items that you’ll need to include in your Israel packing list but not many things are more important than comfortable shoes. Chances are you’ll be doing a lot of walking and there’s nothing worse than sore feet while on vacation.
In summer, a good pair of walking sandals are perfect for exploring during the day. By night, a nicer pair of sandals, ballet flats, or espadrilles add a dressy touch to any evening outfit.
In the cooler, wetter season, a pair of comfortable waterproof boots are great for walking but you could also get away with a pair of sneakers on drier days. A pair of dressier ankle boots will do for evening outings.
Bags and purses
During the day, you’ll need a larger bag or day pack to carry all of your belongings with you. As long as it’s something that will fit your cell phone, wallet, extra change of clothes if needed, sunscreen and water, you’ll be fine! During the evening, you’ll only need a small purse to carry your phone and wallet.
Best luggage for Israel
A nice carry-on suitcase or cabin zero is all you’ll need if you’re on a budget or just going to Israel for a few days. If you only pack what you need, it’s possible to slip on and off a plane without the hassle of checking your luggage and picking it up after your flight. And think about the money you’ll save by not checking any luggage.
If you’re going on a longer trip, you’ll need to pack more so you’ll need a bigger suitcase with wheels so it’s easy to transport from one place to another.
Packing cubes are great for any size luggage, especially if you’re someone who likes to keep everything organized in your suitcase so you’re not tearing it apart looking for things. All you do is place them inside the suitcase and divide your items into neat little piles in the cubes.
Keep your personal hygiene items all in one place by keeping them in a separate toiletry bag. If you are staying in a hostel, make sure it has a hook so you can hang it by the sink or by the shower when needed.
Tap water is safe to drink everywhere in Israel so you can refill your water bottle on the go. My favorite water bottles are the Super Sparrow ones. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. In the summer months, they will keep your water cold for hours.
Depending on where you’re traveling from, you may need a plug adapter to charge your devices.
Charge your phone on the go with a fully topped-up power bank. There are many on sale on Amazon, for all sorts of budgets.
You may not need them much in the cool, rainy season but it’s a good idea to always have a pair of sturdy sunglasses on hand. It0s an item I literally never travel without!
In summer, the sun in Israel gets very hot, particularly in the afternoon. Be sure to pack sunscreen and wear it on your face and body if you want to avoid a painful sunburn.
Sometimes proper hand washing isn’t available while you’re on the move. This is where a bottle of hand sanitizer comes in handy. You’ll be touching many surfaces that are touched by many other people so you want to avoid catching a bug.
Conclusions On What To Wear In Israel
Although the fashion world has its eye on Israel as the next big thing, you don’t need to go overboard trying to look your best all the time. It’s easy to decide what to wear in Israel: the country embraces casual comfort and individuality so you can wear what you want and no one will really care!