Israel is an easy country to get around compared to most. It takes under 5 hours to drive from northern Nahariya to southern Eilat. Explore the north with our Nazareth and Galilee tour, or head south with a Petra tour from Eilat. Although it’s relatively easy to drive along well-kept highways, you may decide public transport is a better option for you. You’ll be pleased to know that you can travel throughout Israel by bus, sherut (shared minibus/taxi) air, taxi, and by rail too! All these transport methods are relatively cheap to use. This means you can admire scenic landscapes of Israel while someone else does the hard work! See the best travel experiences in Israel and our 7 day Israel itinerary for ideas on where to go.
Israeli Intercity bus services are the quickest (and sometimes the cheapest) way to travel between major cities. They have frequent departures from Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. Several bus companies operate throughout Israel including, but not limited to, Egged, Dan, Afikim, Metropoline, Kavim and Nateev Express. All tickets have been moved to electronic travel cards knows as a Rav Kav. You can purchase these at the airport and most convenience stores. Buses in Israel are easy to use, especially with new apps. Moovit is our favorite, and available in a number of languages.
Nateev Express: www.nateevexpress.com
Travelling by Sherut is a handy, and often sociable way to get around Israel. These shared taxi vehicles usually minibuses carry up to 10-13 people and operate on a fixed price per route basis. They don’t have set stops the way buses do. If you’d like to get off, just let the driver know and jump off! They often travel main routes through cities and even from city to city. If you’re going between cities, the bus likely won’t leave until it’s full. Most sherut services operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Often they are the only way to get around Israel during Shabbat and Jewish holidays, apart from driving.
There are many airports in Israel, but the main international airport is Ben Gurion Airport just outside Tel Aviv. Other airports in Haifa and Eilat are predominantly domestic airports. The most popular domestic flight route is from Ben Gurion Airport to southern seaside resort Eilat which takes around 45 minutes, as opposed to 3.5 hours driving. There are several non-stop flights per week and prices of tickets can be relatively cheap if you book in advance. Eilat also offers easy access to Petra in Jordan and the Red Sea resort of Aqaba if you’re planning a traveling holiday. Check them out on our 2 day Petra and Wadi Rum tour or our 4 day highlights of Jordan tour.
It’s possible to travel throughout Israel by train. The country now operates a convenient network of services linking major cities. There are four stations in Tel Aviv, with some offering a new high-speed train service to and from Jerusalem via Ben Gurion International Airport. The journey time is less than an hour and a single ticket price is around $5-6 USD. Tel Aviv also offers train routes to Akko, Haifa, Beer Sheva, and Nahariya in northern Israel. Please be advised though, trains do not operate during Shabbat, between sunset on Friday and sunset on Saturday. Brand new rail networks and local enhancements are also planned for further cities in Israel in the coming years.
In most major Israeli cities, a car is a hindrance rather than a joy to drive, as parking can be difficult especially in places like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We can help you with a guide to travel between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. If you wish to explore Israel’s picturesque countryside and historic towns, a car is essential. Car rental can be reasonably priced at around $200 per week for an economical 3-door vehicle. Many major car rental agencies can be found in Israel including Avis, Hertz, and Europcar. You can collect vehicles either from the airports or a local city office.
Vehicles travel on the right-hand side of the road and seatbelts are compulsory for all drivers and passengers. Most road signs are written in English and Hebrew so you won’t get lost, and there are major highways which can transport you effortlessly from city to city. The country has 3 toll roads, Route 6, Fast Lane and Carmel Tunnels. If you are travelling along these roads you will need to make payments by cash or credit card or via the toll website.
Travelling by private taxi can be convenient, but always remember to confirm prices before you travel, the same as in any country, to avoid any unpleasant surprises. You can ask for a flat fee rate or use the metered system in the vehicle. Rates can vary during the day, for example if you’re travelling between 9pm and 5.30am or during Shabbat or Jewish holidays you can expect to pay 25% more for your journey.
Many locals now use an app to order their taxi and pay the fixed fare in advance- this app is called GetTaxi. This is a great idea as it confirms the price prior to your journey – especially good if you are travelling longer distances. It’s not compulsory to tip taxi drivers in Israel, but a 10% tip is common.