Getting Around Israel - the Culture Around Transportation
Updated: May 2
What's your favorite way to get around Israel? Israel has many different options for transportation - keep reading to figure out the best ways to get from Jerusalem to Haifa to Tel Aviv to everything in between!
Buses are by far the most common type of transportation in Israel. They’re cheap, fairly regular, and they go virtually everywhere. From the farthest north to the south, chances are you’re only 2-3 buses away from wherever you need to go. It might take a few hours, but it’s still quite accessible!
The largest bus station in Israel is of course the Central Bus Station in South Tel Aviv, which in and of itself is a trip. Seriously, there are people who do tours of this bus station. That’s how big it is. It’s also the SECOND largest bus station in the world!
A Sheirut is basically a shared taxi that operates separately from the buses. It's basically a cross between a taxi and a bus, so a mini-van of sorts. The convenient thing about a sheirut for some is that they continue to run all night and even on Shabbat, so often times these a good way to get along when there aren’t other options. Passengers can get on and off anywhere along the way, and even though it’s a bit more expensive than a bus, this makes it worth it. The catch is, you have to wait for it to fill before it leaves, so try to plan accordingly.
The Light Rail
The light rail in Jerusalem is a tram of sorts completed in 2011. It’s a quick and convenient way to get around a city that has many hills and is otherwise difficult to navigate by foot. Tel Aviv is already in the process of construction for a light rail to be opened in 2022 as currently predicted, and Haifa and Be’er Sheva are also in the process of planning light rails, so hopefully, this becomes a common way of travel in the future! There actually is an underground railway in Haifa – Carmelit, and it’s the only subway in Israel. It’s actually the shortest subway system in the world!
Trains are also a good way to get around Israel. Actually, the first trains in Israel ran from Jaffa to Jerusalem, though now they run from North to South from Nahariya to Ashkelon, and through the center to the airport in Lod, to Be’er Sheva, and to Modiin. Most recently, a high-speed train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was built, and if you haven’t taken it yet then we definitely recommend it. You can see the rolling hills of Jerusalem and it is the quickest way to Jerusalem via public transportation. The train is probably one of the fastest and more comfortable ways to get around Israel, but be wary that the lines don’t run on Friday and Saturday.
Either way, the public transportation culture in Israel is effective and reasonably priced. Given the cost of a car and gas in Israel, consider using public transportation where you can!