Saturday in Israel: Everything You Need to Know about the Shabbat

Saturday in Israel can be a very quiet day because it is considered a religious day of rest. In this article we will explain all there is know about experiencing a Shabbat in Israel and what are the best things to do on this day to make the most out of it. Because of the cultural and religious significance of Saturday, Israel winds down late Friday afternoon till Saturday evening. Because of the Shabbat, Saturday day trips from Tel Aviv should be planned in advance. This is because there will be a lot less available activities, and it will be hard to wing a Saturday day trip from Tel Aviv. Shabbat in Israel (Saturday) can either be the most enjoyed day in this country, or you can find it a slight hassle. With enough preparation, activities and proper expectations, we are here to help you have the best Israeli Shabbat experience.

Some tourists dread Saturday in Israel because of the culture shock. But the travelers who are adequately informed with tips about traveling to Israel will say that Saturday was the best day for them. We personally think that it’s a must to spend Saturday in Israel. This is the opportunity to really see and feel the Israeli culture at its height. Here’s how to make the most of your Saturday day trips from Tel Aviv.


The Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest, and Israel takes it seriously. You will find there is no public transportation from late Friday afternoon, till Saturday evening. Once Shabbat is finished, trains and buses will resume their usual route and schedule. Your best bet for transportation is with a Gett Taxi. This is similar to Uber, and you can order a cab from an app on your phone. Additionally, there are many bike and electric scooter rentals that are available.

Times of Shabbat are dependent on the seasons and not consistent. You can find out what time Shabbat will be welcomed in, and what time it will be over on the internet. The general rule of thumb is three to four hours before Shabbat on Friday, most shops will be closed. An hour before Shabbat you will be hard pressed to find any sort of public transportation. And Saturday evening, an hour after Shabbat has gone out, everything will be up and running. This includes trains, buses, malls, shops, restaurants and bars.

The Difference Between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Saturday

Saturday in Jerusalem will be observed, felt and seen a lot more than in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is more secular than Jerusalem. This means you will find a lot more restaurants and grocery stores open in Tel Aviv on Saturday. Whereas in Jerusalem, whilst there are stores open 24/7, they are few and far between. Just because Jerusalem is significantly more shut down then Tel Aviv, does not mean your day trip from Tel Aviv on Saturday should circumvent Jerusalem.

Restaurants on Saturday in Israel

There will always be options for someplace that is open to eat dinner or lunch on Saturday. There will be a larger range of options in Tel Aviv. But even in Jerusalem there are Ethiopian, Arab, Asian and so many other cuisines that will be readily available. Additionally, there are options for a pizza and other take-aways. Don’t forget, Jerusalem is a major city, and if you need anything, trust Google or ask locals. People will be friendly as they understand it can be confusing to be in such a seemingly shut down city. The locals will try their best to direct you to where you need to go.


A Saturday day trip from Tel Aviv must include Jerusalem. Shabbat in Jerusalem is an experience that will last a lifetime. We recommend going to see the Western Wall on Friday evening to see throngs of people welcoming in the Shabbat with song and dance. It truly is quite an experience to see hundreds of people dressed in their finest, exuding palpable joy in welcoming in their holy day and it is a beautiful way to experience Israeli culture. Since it will mostly be filled with people observing the Shabbat, it is recommended to not display your phone or other electronics publicly as to respect their observance.

Going to Jerusalem for a Saturday day trip from Tel Aviv does not mean it has to be one of religious tourism. There is a lively nightlife in Jerusalem on Friday night, and after your trip to the Western Wall, you get to experience both sides of Israeli culture by enjoying the music, food, jovial atmosphere and alcohol that Israelis can do best.

You will also find that most museums in Israel stay open on Saturday so your Saturday day trip from Tel Aviv can be to most museums, even in Jerusalem as they are open and run like normal.

Spending Saturday in Israel by Tel Aviv

Saturdays in Tel Aviv are for the beach, as any local will tell you. Should you find yourself looking for a Saturday day trip from Tel Aviv, go to the beach. The most busy day of the week, and packed with families that come from all over the country, you are sure to have a great Saturday and make new friends. You can never go wrong with Tel Aviv’s world renowned beaches, and everything is open like normal, from restaurants, to lifeguards so your Saturday won’t feel limited in any way. There are many beaches in Tel Aviv, so check which one interests you the most here.

Saturday day trips from Tel Aviv

Another great way to experience a day trip on Saturday, is by visiting the Ramat Gan Safari Park. Located just 5 miles outside of Tel Aviv, see the largest collection of animals in the entire Middle-East. This is a great way to spend the Saturday in Israel and it is great for children and adults. It also is a wonderful way to spend the Saturday in Tel Aviv in the winter as it is accessible all year round. You can go in your own car, or book tickets for the guided train tour that will guarantee hours of entertainment.

Dead Sea

A great Saturday day trip from Tel Aviv is to the Dead Sea. An hour and half drive from Tel Aviv, float in the mineral infused water of the Dead Sea. Everything will be open and running like normal, so you are sure to find restaurants, spas and shops open. Take a camel ride to the lowest point of earth or climb Masada to see a breathtaking sunrise view. Saturday in Israel is a great time to travel by car as there is little to no traffic. If you want to drive south to the Dead Sea, or north to Haifa, Saturday is a great day for that.

Trips for a Saturday in Israel

In summary, spending a Saturday in Israel can be the best day of the week. All it takes is slightly more planning to create lifetime experiences. On Friday and Saturday, feel free to wish people you see a “Shabbat Shalom” (lit; peaceful Saturday) and to fit in with the locals. Don’t forget to buy some fresh Challah on Friday in one of the many open street markets. Click here to discover Israel’s outdoor markets. Happy traveling and Shabbat Shalom!

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