Tour Israel: Six must-see summer festivals before school starts

These events provide a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your family and experience nature in a fun way – all without straining your budget.

 Summer Heritage Festival in Northern Israel (photo credit: YANIV LEVI)
Summer Heritage Festival in Northern Israel
(photo credit: YANIV LEVI)

Now that it’s August and most of the summer day camps in Israel have come to a close, this is the high season for family outings and trips around the country. Luckily, it is also festival season in Israel, and there are an incredible number of options to choose from this year. These events provide a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your family and experience nature in a fun way – all without straining your budget. Below, you will find a few of the enticing options.

1. Summer Heritage Festival in Northern Israel

For some people, visiting Israeli heritage sites might sound boring, but in actuality it can be nothing short of a fascinating journey through Israel’s vast history, with each site offering its own intriguing story. In an effort to encourage Israelis to learn about and experience more of their national heritage, Israel’s Heritage Ministry, the Council for Site Preservation, the Nature and Parks Authority, and the Israel Antiquities Authority have come together to host the Summer Heritage Festival in Northern Israel.

This festival will take place at 11 sites across northern Israel. It will include film screenings, live performances, guided sunrise and sunset tours in Israel’s national parks, games for parents and children, archaeological excavations, lectures, arts and crafts workshops, and public poetry readings, to name a few.

The sites participating in the Summer Heritage Festival in Northern Israel include Beit Yigal Alon, Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve, Korazim National Park, Kursi National Park, Yehiam Fortress National Park, Sussita National Park, Pioneers’ Courtyard in Kibbutz Deganya Alef, Tel Hai Courtyard, Beit Ussishkin Museum, HaReut Museum in Metzudat Koach, and Ein Keshatot.

The highlight of the festival will be a unique show on August 23 at the Tznobar Complex in Katzrin, with performances by Elai Botner & The Outside Kids, Eliad, Eliana Tidhar, and Akiva, followed by an appearance by Eyal Golan.

 The Arad Festival (credit: IRIT ESHET MOR)
The Arad Festival (credit: IRIT ESHET MOR)

Free entrance. Pre-registration required.Dates: August 16-18 and August 23-25.Main performance will cost NIS 25 and will take place on August 23.Details:

2. Comedy Festival

If you’ve been looking for a way to end your family summer vacation with a smile, I recommend attending the Ephraim Kishon Comedy Festival in Jerusalem. Named after renowned Israeli satirist Ephraim Kishon, the festival brings together talented comedians from all over Israel and is arranged by the Incubator Theater and members of the Kishon family. The festival will feature balloon and juggling workshops, circus performances, storytelling, Dr. Bubble’s bubble show, and ventriloquist performances.

Dates: August 20-24Location: Yes Planet ComplexDetails:

3. Lights Festival

The Tel Aviv Port Light Festival is a mesmerizing spectacle that illuminates the port with enchanting displays of light and color. The festival will feature stunning light installations and projections, as well as interactive works of art that will transform the port into a whirlwind of vivid colors, including one 30-meter-long light installation that blends traditional and innovative techniques to form the shape of a dragon. 

All the light installations at the festival are connected to nature, animals, plants, and sea creatures, as well as legendary and mythological characters, with each section focusing on a different theme: the underwater world, the jungle and safari, dinosaurs, and dragons. So, as you leisurely stroll along the port’s paths, you’ll encounter giant pandas, an octopus, a pride of lions, a turtle, a giant spider, a flamingo band and even an underwater tunnel made from coral.

Free entrance.Dates: August 6-17, from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

4. Ophir Farm Festival

If you have ever toyed with the idea of becoming a farmer for a day, then the Ophir Farm Festival might be just what you’ve been looking for. Upon entering the Ophir Farm, each visitor will be handed a basket and a pair of scissors, with which they can head out to the vineyards and begin harvesting grapes. But first, visitors will learn about the different grape varieties, vine structure, and more. 

After harvesting some grapes, you will move on to the adjacent eucalyptus grove, where you will encounter a number of stations that each represent a stage in the process of turning grapes into wine. First, you carefully separate the grapes from the clusters, then you crush the grapes, squeeze out the juice, and finally strain it. The juice is then poured into a bottle, which you can cork and label with your own personalized tag. This entire process can be accomplished manually or with the aid of machines that are tailored to help children.

Afterward, everyone is welcome to watch a short film about the Ophir Farm. Children can play football, checkers, and other board games or jump around on the outdoor playground equipment.

Dates: August 12-30, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.Prices: Grape picking: NIS 40 – NIS 55Location: Ophir Farm, Alon Hagalil.Details: 072-395-7567;

5. Modi’in Region Summer Nights Festival

If you aren’t able to take any vacation days this August but still want to do something exciting with the kids, then you’ll be glad to know that the Modi’in Region Tourism Association is once again organizing a Summer Nights Festival in the Ben Shemen Forest and surrounding areas.

On August 16, 17, and 18, there will be guided tours in the late afternoons and evenings, such as a moonlit walk with tour guide Yotam Ya’akobson in Tel Hadid; a sunset bike ride through the fields and orchards of Moshav Mazor with a stop at La Bustan coffee cart; a sunrise tour from Tel Gamzu with tour guide Ofir Akiva through the hills of the Ben Shemen Forest; and a twilight tour at Neot Kedumim, which will conclude with dinner cooked out in the open.

Moreover, a variety of workshops will take place throughout the festival, such as a silent disco for the whole family; a sunrise painting workshop with Nurit Rinskey; a basket-weaving workshop inside water; and a clay mask-making workshop, as well as the sale of vintage clothing and accessoriesp; a tour and planting workshop at the Shorash VeAleh hydroponic farm; and a gathering in artist Philip Rantzer’s unique studio.

Dates: August 16-19Details:

6. Arad Festival

Even though it’s so hot in the summertime, especially out in the desert, August is actually one of the best times of year to visit Arad, especially if it is to attend the famous Arad Festival, which will be taking place for the 40th time, on August 21-24.

There will be live performances by Rita, Ivri Lider, Danny Sanderson, Noa and Mazi Cohen, Asaf Amdursky, and Ran Danker. Additionally, there will be children’s shows including songs and stories for children written by Yehonatan Gefen, as well as shows by Yuval Hamibulbal and Rinat Gabai.

Date: August 17.Details:

Translated by Hannah Hochner