Transport in Israel for Tourists
You might be wondering how things work transportation-wise once you’ve landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport.
Israel is a relatively small country, so everywhere is pretty close. The Ben Gurion International Airport is located right in the center of the country, only 20km from Tel Aviv, which is very convenient for tourists who are using Tel Aviv as their home base while traveling around the country.
Transport to Tel Aviv for Tourists
From the airport you can get to your hotel in Tel Aviv by rental car, taxi, bus or rail.
- Car Hire: the drive from the airport to Tel Aviv takes about 30 minutes most of the time, although during peak traffic hours it might take longer. Most major international and Israeli car rental agencies have branches at the airport, for example: Avis, Budget, Hertz, Sixt, Eldan. Finding parking in Tel Aviv can be tough so find out in advance if your hotel offers parking.
- Rail: the most convenient and quickest way to get to Tel Aviv during high traffic times is by train. The train ride from the airport to Tel Aviv takes about 15 minutes. Tel Aviv has four train stations, so make sure you know which station is closest to your hotel. You may need to get a bus or taxi from the train station to your hotel.
- Trains run from the airport every hour between 5:30 am and midnight from Sunday to Thursday. Train times on Friday and Saturday are different so it’s best to check the Israeli Railways site.
- Bus: buses do run between the airport and Tel Aviv, but if you are planning on taking public transportation it’s much more convenient to take a train.
- Taxi: use the official taxi dispatch located outside the Arrivals Hall. Prices are fixed (usually between ILS 130 – 160) and are determined by time of day, some drivers charge extra for luggage.
Getting Around Tel Aviv – Tourist Transport Tips
Tel Aviv is not a large city and it is quite easy to get around. If you’ve rented a car make sure you have an available parking spot, or you’ll spend a lot of money on parking.
Even if you do have a car available, rather use it for trips outside of the city and while you’re in the city use public transportation or walk.
Tel Aviv is a very bike-friendly city, with dedicated bike lanes in most areas. There are many spots to rent bikes all around the city, which take credit cards. Some Tel Aviv hotels, like A23, offer their guests free use of bicycles while they are staying there.
The city is also very walkable, so transportation is not always essential, especially if you’re located in the central areas.
Public transportation in Tel Aviv is great, the buses run until late, but you must get a prepaid bus card. There is also a shared taxi service called a “sherut” which can be paid for in cash. And, private taxis are also readily available.
If you are planning a visit to another city and you don’t have a rental car, as mentioned, there are four train stations where you will find trains to most other cities.
Remember that there is no public transport from late afternoon Friday until Saturday evening, after the end of Shabbat. Other than that, getting around Israel as a tourist is easy.