Explore Jerusalem: Your Guide to Getting Around the City

by Mendel Wuensch | Apr 25, 2023 | Getting Around In Jerusalem | 0 comments

Jerusalem is a city that is rich in history, culture, and religion. It is a popular tourist destination and attracts millions of visitors every year. Getting around Jerusalem can be a bit challenging, especially for first-time visitors. However, with a little bit of planning and research, it is easy to navigate the city and explore its many attractions.

One of the best ways to get around Jerusalem is on foot. Many of the city’s top attractions are within walking distance of one another, especially inside or just beyond the Old City walls. For those who prefer not to walk, there are other options available such as public transportation, taxis, and rental cars.

Public transportation in Jerusalem is efficient and affordable. The city has a light rail system that runs from Mount Herzl in the west to Pisgat Ze’ev in the north. There are also many bus routes that connect different parts of the city. Taxis are readily available and can be hailed on the street or ordered through an app. Rental cars are also an option, but it is important to note that driving in Jerusalem can be challenging due to the narrow streets and heavy traffic.

Getting to Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a popular destination for tourists and travelers from all over the world. There are several ways to get to Jerusalem, including from Ben Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv.

From Ben Gurion Airport

Ben Gurion Airport is the main international airport in Israel and is located approximately 50 km from Jerusalem. There are several ways to get to Jerusalem from the airport:

  • Taxi: Taxis are readily available at the airport and can take you directly to your destination in Jerusalem. The trip takes approximately 45 minutes and costs around 300-400 NIS.
  • Train: The train station is located at the airport and you can take a train to Jerusalem. The trip takes approximately 20-30 minutes and costs around 25 NIS. The train runs every 30 minutes.
  • Bus: The bus station is located at the airport and you can take a bus to Jerusalem. The trip takes approximately 1 hour and costs around 16 NIS. The bus runs every 30 minutes.

From Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is located approximately 70 km from Jerusalem and is a popular starting point for travelers to Jerusalem. There are several ways to get to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv:

  • Taxi: Taxis are readily available in Tel Aviv and can take you directly to your destination in Jerusalem. The trip takes approximately 1 hour and costs around 300-400 NIS.
  • Train: The train station is located in Tel Aviv and you can take a train to Jerusalem. The trip takes approximately 1 hour and costs around 25 NIS. The train runs every 30 minutes.
  • Bus: The bus station is located in Tel Aviv and you can take a bus to Jerusalem. The trip takes approximately 1-1.5 hours and costs around 16 NIS. The bus runs every 30 minutes.

Getting Around Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a city full of history and culture, and getting around can be an adventure in itself. Here are some of the best ways to explore the city:

By Foot

One of the best ways to experience Jerusalem is by walking. Many of the city’s top attractions are within walking distance of one another inside or just beyond the Old City walls. To get around the city on foot, all you need is a good map and you’re set. This is our favorite map of Jerusalem. Some popular walking routes include the Mount of Olives and the Western Wall.

By Public Transportation

Jerusalem has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, light rail, and trains. The iTravelJerusalem website provides the best insider’s guide to getting around Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Light Rail is a convenient and affordable way to travel around the city. Information is generally in Hebrew and English. But it can sometimes be confusing with so many different routes and ticket options available. That’s why we recommend using the Moovit App to navigate the city’s public transportation system.

By Taxi or Rental Car

If you prefer to have more control over your itinerary, renting a car or taking a taxi can be a good option. Taxis are readily available in Jerusalem and can be hailed on the street or ordered by phone. Metered taxis are required by law, and fares should be negotiated before the trip. Rental cars are also available at the Central Bus Station and at various hotels throughout the city. However, driving in Jerusalem can be challenging due to the city’s narrow streets and heavy traffic.

When using public transportation or taxis, it’s important to note that the Rav Kav smartcard is required for payment on all buses in Israel. You can typically buy one and add money to it at any small kiosk or supermarket (makolet in Hebrew), or you can download the app on your phone and scan it once you board the bus. The card can also be used on the Jerusalem Light Rail and tram. However, on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, public transportation is limited or not available at all.

Overall, getting around Jerusalem can be a bit confusing, but with a little planning and some help from locals, visitors can easily navigate the city’s public transportation system or explore on foot.

Neighborhoods

Jerusalem is divided into several neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and attractions. Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods:

City Center

The City Center is the heart of Jerusalem and home to many of its most popular attractions. Visitors can explore the bustling streets and markets, visit historic landmarks, and enjoy a variety of cultural events. Some of the highlights of the City Center include Zion Square, Ben Yehuda Street, and the Mahane Yehuda Market.

Old City

The Old City is one of Jerusalem’s most popular destinations, and for good reason. This ancient walled city is home to some of the world’s most important religious sites, including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Dome of the Rock. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and alleyways, browse the shops and markets, and soak up the rich history and culture of this fascinating place.

Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives is a hill located just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. It is home to several important religious sites, including the Church of All Nations, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Tomb of the Prophets. Visitors can take in stunning views of the city and explore the many historic sites and monuments located on the hill.

West Jerusalem

West Jerusalem is the modern part of the city and home to many of its most affluent neighborhoods. Visitors can explore the upscale shopping and dining options, visit the many museums and galleries, and take in the vibrant cultural scene. Some of the highlights of West Jerusalem include the Israel Museum, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, and the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

East Jerusalem

East Jerusalem is the predominantly Arab part of the city and home to many important religious sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and markets, sample the delicious local cuisine, and learn about the rich history and culture of this fascinating part of the city.

Tourist Attractions

Jerusalem is a city steeped in history and culture, with many tourist attractions to explore. Here are some of the top attractions to visit:

Western Wall

The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is one of the most significant sites in Judaism. It is the last remaining part of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Visitors can come to pray and leave notes in the wall’s cracks. It is open 24/7, and entrance is free.

Temple Mount

The Temple Mount is a holy site for both Jews and Muslims. It is home to the Dome of the Rock, which is believed to be where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Visitors can enter the site through the Mughrabi Bridge, and non-Muslims can visit the site during specific hours.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It is a museum and research center that documents the history of the Holocaust and honors its victims. Visitors can tour the museum’s exhibits, including artifacts, photographs, and personal testimonies. Entrance is free.

Mount Herzl

Mount Herzl is Israel’s national cemetery and a site of great significance to Israelis. It is the final resting place of many of Israel’s leaders, including Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Shimon Peres. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cemetery and learn about the lives and legacies of those buried there.

These are just a few of the many tourist attractions that Jerusalem has to offer. Visitors should also consider exploring the Old City, which is home to many historic sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Tower of David. Additionally, the Israel Museum is a must-visit for those interested in art and history, with exhibits ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary art.

Public Transportation

Jerusalem has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses and a light rail system. The transportation company, Egged, provides public bus service within the city and many points around the country. Egged also services Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), about 38 miles away from the city. The light rail system is a convenient way to get around the city, and it connects one end of the city to the other.

Jerusalem Light Rail

The Jerusalem Light Rail system is a modern and efficient way to travel around the city. The light rail system has two lines that run through the city, and it connects many popular tourist destinations. The light rail system runs from Sunday to Thursday from 5:30 am to midnight, on Fridays from 5:30 am to 2 hours before Shabbat, and on Saturdays from an hour after Shabbat until midnight. The fares are affordable, and you can purchase tickets at the ticket machines at each stop.

Buses

Jerusalem’s bus system is extensive and covers most parts of the city. The bus routes are color-coded, and the buses are modern and air-conditioned. You can purchase tickets from the driver or at the ticket machines at the bus stops. The schedules and routes are available on the Moovit app, which is available in English. Shared taxis, known as sheruts, are also available and are a good option if you want to travel to a specific destination. However, note that they do not run on Shabbat and holidays.

It is important to note that the city has strict rules regarding public transportation. If you do not have a valid ticket, you may be fined. The fine can be up to 180 NIS, and it is issued by the city hall.

Tips for Getting Around

Jerusalem is a city with a rich history and culture, and getting around can be a bit challenging for first-time visitors. Here are some tips to help make the process easier:

Using the Moovit App

The Moovit app is a useful tool for navigating Jerusalem’s public transportation system. It provides real-time information about bus and light rail schedules, as well as estimated arrival times. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices, and can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.

Buying a Rav Kav Card

All buses in Israel require a Rav Kav smartcard for payment. Visitors can purchase a Rav Kav card at any small kiosk or supermarket (known as a makolet in Hebrew), or at the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. The card can also be reloaded with funds at these locations or through the Moovit app. It is recommended to purchase a Rav Kav card in advance to avoid any delays when boarding a bus.

Navigating Traffic

Jerusalem’s narrow streets and heavy traffic can make driving challenging for visitors. It is recommended to use public transportation or walk whenever possible. If renting a car, visitors should be aware that parking can be difficult to find and expensive. It is also important to note that driving in Jerusalem on Fridays and Saturdays can be particularly challenging due to the influx of visitors for the weekend.

By following these tips, visitors can navigate Jerusalem’s transportation system with ease and enjoy all that this historic city has to offer.

Conclusion

Getting around Jerusalem can be an adventure in itself. The city is full of history and culture, and exploring it on foot is highly recommended. However, there are also many other transportation options available for those who want to cover more ground.

For those who prefer public transportation, the bus system is reliable and affordable. Visitors can purchase a RavKav smartcard at any small kiosk or supermarket, or download the app on their phone and scan it once they board the bus. The light rail is also a convenient option for getting around the city.

Taxis are readily available in Jerusalem, and they can be hailed on the street or ordered through an app. Visitors should be aware that the fares can be quite high, especially during peak hours or on weekends.

For those who want to explore the surrounding areas, renting a car is a good option. Israel’s small size makes it easy to get around, and many popular destinations are within a short drive of Jerusalem.

Overall, there are many ways to get around Jerusalem, and visitors should choose the option that best suits their needs and preferences. Whether exploring on foot, taking public transportation, or renting a car, visitors are sure to have a memorable experience in this historic and vibrant city.