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Appropriate attire for religious sites in the Holy Land

I've read some conflicting guidance on required attire for women at religious sites in Israel. I understand knees and shoulders must be covered.
1. Are crop pants ok, or would long pants simply be more acceptable?
2. Assume 3/4 length sleeves on a top is fine?
3. Are sandals ok (closed toed shoes are not necessary, correct)?
4. Need to bring scarf for head, correct?

Thank you for any info you can provide.

Posted by
15651 posts

Hi Kathy,

You are correct, just shoulders and knees (and midriffs :-). If you are sleeveless, you can use a scarf to cover your shoulders, though it can be hard to keep the scarf on while you're taking photos. Short sleeves are fine. Pants or a skirt (often cooler than pants) that reach just below the knees are fine. There are some Russian Orthodox churches (and maybe the Western Wall) that require women to wear a skirt. They will give you a large scarf to wrap around you for your visit if you're wearing pants.

In warm weather, nearly everyone wears sandals, usually open-toed. More important is that they are comfortable with thick soles, since there are lots of cobblestones. You should bring a pair of closed shoes (hikers, sneakers) for sites than aren't paved like at archeological sites and national parks.

You should bring a hat (against the sun), sunglasses and good sunscreen too. If you need to cover your head in a mosque (I can only think of one or two that are possible on the typical tourist's itinerary), your hat will do fine.

Edit: I see from another post that you are in fact taking a Palestinian tour that is mostly in the West Bank. I think you should ask your tour organizers (friends?) what would be acceptable - it's outside of my experience.

Posted by
350 posts

I was there this past fall. Wore 3/4 length pants or a long skirt some people in my group wore long shorts that covered the knees. Short sleeves were OK. I took a scarf with me at all times only needed it at a mosque but in some churches it felt more comfortable to cover my hair as well but was not required. I just went with what most people were doing.