Water, Water Everywhere
Summer in Israel is beyond hot – it’s boiling! Instead of hiding away inside with the air conditioning, embrace the Middle Eastern heat and cool off in one of Israel’s various outdoor pools. It’s time to slip on a bathing suit, slather on the sunscreen and dive right in
FOR SERIOUS SWIMMERS
Somewhat of an institution in Tel Aviv, Gordon Pool is an Olympic-size swimming pool located on the boardwalk right by the marina with a seascape in the background. If you like the beach atmosphere, but want a clean and organized place to do some serious swimming, this is the perfect place to strap on your goggles and join the locals as they breaststroke their way through the day. Dating back to 1956, this legendary pool underwent thorough renovations a few years ago, and the facility now includes pools for children and toddlers as well as a modern wooden deck with sun beds, chairs and large parasols for when you want to rest a little or soak up the sun.
14 Eliezer Peri St, Tel Aviv. NIS 65 for adults, NIS 55 for children, students & pensioners. Sun 13:30-21:00; Mon-Thu 6:00-21:00; Fri, 6:00-19:00; Sat 7:00-18:00. (03-7623300)
FOR THOSE LOOKING TO INDULGE
Although it may seem like a mirage, the Neve Midbar resort in the middle of the Negev desert is 100% real, albeit dreamy, and it’s the ideal place to get pampered. This luxurious thermal bath and spa complex is vast but it’s the wonderful outdoor pool area within a luscious green lawn, replete with pergolas for shade, chairs and sunbathing lounge beds, that’s where you’ll want to be on scorching summer days. With desert temperatures regularly exceeding 40 °C (104 °F), being outside all day long might test even the most avid sun worshippers, so take a break in one of four uniquely-designed thermo-mineral indoor pools, which are comfortably air-conditioned.
Prices range from NIS 40-80. Sun 09:00-18:00, Mon-Wed 09:00-18:00, Thu 09:00-22:00 / Fri 9:00-16:00, Sat 09:00-18:00 (08-6579666)
FOR ADVENTURE SEEKERS
SHEFAYIM WATER PARK
Swimming pools are almost always refreshing but when you add 22 water slides, two tubing routes and a splendid wave pool, things get even more exciting. Shefayim Water Park is one of Israel’s biggest and most popular water parks and the Olympic-size pool hosts a whole range of fun water-related activities for the family. It can get pretty busy during summer months but it’s definitely worth a trip if you like your watery fun with a twist – and a few turns along the way. Kids will absolutely love the Caribbean World section with its wading pools, sprinklers, a giant water faucet, mini slides and fantastic 140 water fountains.
Everyday from 9:00-17:00 (till 18:00 Sun-Thu during August) Kibbutz Shefayim NIS 111, NIS 85 each for groups of three and over (09-9595756)
FOR CHIC URBANITIES
INFINITY POOL, NORMAN HOTEL
Recently named the world’s best boutique hotel by Jetsetter magazine, the stunning Norman Tel Aviv is the epitome of urban chic. Perched upon the roof of this elegant establishment is a sundeck complete with a stunning infinity swimming pool that blends seamlessly into the White City skyline. If you are seriously into swimming, this might not be the pool for you, as it’s not the biggest around. If, however, you are into sipping cocktails while surrounded by beautiful people on one of the hottest roof tops Tel Aviv has to offer, get yourself to the Norman ASAP. It’s not the kind of place where they let just anyone splash around, so you’ll probably have to book yourself a room in order to enjoy the pool – but it’s totally worth it.
Open seasonally from 7:00-sunset. The Norman Tel Aviv, 23-25 Nachmani St (03-5435555)
FOR HISTORY LOVERS
DAVID CITADEL HOTEL
The swimming pool at the plush 5-star David Citadel Hotel is so close to Jerusalem’s Old City that it’s almost possible to climb up on the iconic stone walls and jump right into the water. Well, maybe not that close, but you get the idea. The impressive outdoor pool enjoys unspoiled views, perfect for watching the ever-changing play of light over the Old City. Admission for a day at the pool for non-guests is admittedly on the pricier side, but with plenty of room for lounging, a toddler pool and a tasty pool grill, it’s easy to spend a whole day there soaking up the historic atmosphere to make it all worth a little splurge.
7 King David St, Jerusalem. NIS 190 for adults; NIS 110 for children age 2-12 / Everyday from 6:30-19:00 (02-6211111)
FOR THE KIDS
When summer comes, there’s nothing kids love more than a day spent at the pool. For those entertaining little ones, Mesillat Zion on the way to Jerusalem has it all – bouncy castles, play areas, a gymboree, foosball, air hockey, an electric car track, hammocks, and a half-Olympic size pool, of course. There’s also a shaded toddler pool and the place is surrounded by grassy areas with plenty of trees for shade. If the kids get bored entertaining themselves, there are also special organized activities to keep them busy.
On Route 38, near Beit Shemesh. NIS 45 for adults, NIS 35 for children. Mon 9:00-21:00, Tue 9:00-17:00, Wed 9:00-19:00, Thu 09:00-21:00, Fri 9:00-18:00 (02-9915836/054-2604311)
FOR NATURE LOVERS
THE SECRET POOL
If you like your swimming pools with a beautiful view, The Secret Pool is your ideal destination. Situated at the end of a dirt road among acres of olive groves in the mountains of the Galilee, this is the place to go if you want to get away from it all while making a cool splash. The pool itself is not that big, and the facilities aren’t the most modern, but at this hidden treasure it’s all about the impressive view. If all the splashing around in the water tires you out, pitch a spot on the grassy area surrounding the pool and appreciate the stunning natural mountain scenery.
Next to Kibbutz Moran, off Route 85 (050-5214978) NIS 30 for adults and less for children up to age 10
NACHSHONIT WATER PARK
Nachshonit Water Park offers such a range of activities that it's a challenge to do everything in one day. Covering over 100 acres, the water park has been a popular spot for Israeli summer fun for generations, and with good reason. Activities abound, including water slides, various adult and kiddie pools, bumper cars, go-karting, picnic areas, pony rides, henna tattoos, tours of the kibbutz’s barn and even a family-fun performance for all ages to enjoy. With access to free parking, an on-site restaurant and situated just a short distance away from major cities, Nachshonit Water Park is a sure-fire way to get the whole family together to enjoy a little relief from the sweltering sun.
Kibbutz Nachshonim. NIS 45-59, free entry for children under age 2 (03-9386444)