If you are not on a package tour or a Christian Pilgrimage tour of Jerusalem and would like to explore areas of the city on a budget besides taking the public bus, then the Jerusalem Light Railway is your best bet. The Light Railway just opened in june 2011 and runs 13.9 kilometers (8.6 mi) long with 23 stations in between, running from Mount Herzl on one end to Hail-Ha Vir at the other end. It has a stop at the Damascus Gate in the Old City where you can drop off to start your own walking tour of the old city. The Light Railways is open from 6:00 am to 12:00 pm everyday and a single trip will cost 6.60 NIS (about 2 US dollars). It has clean and air-conditioned railcars.
It is possible to go to Jerusalem by train from Tel Aviv (NOT from the airport though!)
However the train is slow -about an hour and a half compared with one hour by bus.
On the other hand the ride is scenic and relaxing. If you are not in a hurry, go by train.
The Jerusalem railway station is in the south of the city near the large Malha shopping mall.
There are buses to other parts of the city. Some trains stop at the Jerusalem Zoo.
See the Israel railway website at
www.rail.org.il (English and Hebrew)
Newly introduced and many years in the planning and delivery (security seen as a nightmare), the tram is a welcome method of transport, linking as it does Ha'Avir in East Jerusalem with Mount Herzl.
23 stops means you can travel along the entire length of Jaffa Rd (now a pedestrian walkway in the centre of the city) from Central Station to the Mahane Yehuda Market, City Hall, Damascus Gate and on to East Jerusalem.
Cost is NIS6.60 per ticket - 90 minute journey - which can be used on the buses as well as the tram/light rail. The trams run every 10-15 minutes - they do not run over the sabbath.
can be a nightmare driving in the city so be careful - not really due to the way they drive, more just not knowing your way and one way streets etc.
the arab side of the city is a bit tougher to drive.
there is a rough looking car park a 10min walk from the hostel that is free which they can direct you to and its safe as we left the car there 48hours.
Jerusalem's old central station is long gone. In its place is a modern, if eerily quiet, train station on the outskirts of town that has regular trains to Tel Aviv. Israeli trains are safe, secure, comfortable, good value, and reasonably fast. The Israel Railways network is reasonably wide. Jerusalem's Malha Train Station can be reached by a number of buses, but I found bus number 6 from King George Street (driving direction away from Jaffa Road) to be the most convenient.
There is a train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
You can find 2 lines - From Tel aviv to Malha mall in Jerusalem or from Tel aviv to the bibical zoo.
A ticket will cost you 20 nis for one direction and 35 for both directions.
The time of the ride is 1:15-1:30 hours.
Okay ..so thats sort of News here, As from April 7th 2005 (and after 7 years) there will be again trains from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (through Bet Shemesh).
Thats actually great and make life easier cause the way to jerusalem is often taking longer due to the traffic jams.
Ticket should cost 19 shekels (aprx 4.5$)
Don't try and drive this, it could take you hours at the border.
Get transport to the Jordan side of the bridge, got through Jordanian border control, take the shuttle bus through no mans land to the Israel border control, go through that and get a bus into Jerusalem.
If you drive you could well have to fully unpack the car, let them search it fully, and then repack it (after everything has been scanned of course) and then go through immigration your self. Not worth the hassle.
Jerusalem's main airport is Ben Gurion, about half-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It takes about 40 minutes, and you can get there by bus, shared taxi or taxi. I found the most convenient means of getting there was the hotel shuttle, which was organised for me by the reception at my hotel. This picked me up outside the hotel, and cost about $US20.
Expect heavy security at Ben Gurion airport, especially if you are flying El Al. Be patient, understanding and reasonable, and you should be on your plane feeling safe and secure. If you are, like me, fitting one of their high risk profiles, in my case a single male travelling alone, you can expect a more vigourous security check than others. Whatever the case, give yourself plenty of time to pass through security: I'd say three hours as a minimum.
I found security to be very friendly, with lots of smiles, but incredibly thorough. I must have passed through at least three interrogations. When they were done with me, I got a personal, smiling guide to take me past the queues at security and check-in, avoiding both as they were both dealt with while I was interviewed. It ended up not taking that much longer than normal at all, and boy did I feel safe.
The best way to explore Jerusalem is on foot.
But I had an opportunity to go around the Old City by bus with the excursion. So I've taken several videos.
You can watch my 5 min 36 sec HD Video Jerusalem out of a bus window part 1 ,
3 min 19 sec HD Video Jerusalem Out of a bus window part 2 ,
4 min 30 sec HD Video Jerusalem out of a bus window part 3 out of my Youtube channel.
The train is a good option if you are travelling in the middle of the country or to parts of the north.
The train stations in Jerusalem are located in out of the way spots. You have to take a bus from there to anywhere - either in Malha, or at the Jerusalem Zoo.
There is a new station being built, but it is not ready yet.
On many of the trains during the day you have to change trains.
Anyway, if you like you can check the hour and day that you are travelling to see if the train would be convenient for you, on the URL below.
This is history: the old train station of Jerusalem. It has been in use for more then a century, until 1998. The train station shows the name of Jerusalem in Arab (it was constructed under Ottoman rule), in English (the language of the Brtitish Mandate) and in Hebrew. It was constructed because of the rapid development of the city and the increased amoutn of pilgrims. But the train has always been slow because of the many twists and turns on the mountainous route.
The station looks neglected, but seems to be renovated at the moment (may 2007). The location is David Remez straat, near the German Colony in wetsren Jerusalem.
A few years ago, the railway line reopened and there is now a (much less charming) train station in Malha.
Getting to Bethlehem from Jerusalem on your own is not as hard as it sounds. You will first have to take a bus--less than $1--which leaves from the station just east of the Damascus Gate. This bus will take you to the controversial wall which the Israelis have built to separate themselves from Palestine. You will have to flash your passport and then after taking a few steps you will officially be in Palestinian territory. Taxis will be waiting and they will all be eager to drive a tourist to the Church of Nativity. If you negotiate hard, the number of taxi drivers will work to your advantage.
Be sure to tell them where you want to go and how long you want the driver to wait there. You will likely pay between $10 and $15 for a driver to take you the Church of Nativity, wait for you there and then take you back. The driver will more than likely take you to one of his friend's shops where they sell olive wood crosses and other gifts. If you do want to shop, then this is no problem.
On your way back to the wall, make sure you have the exact amount you agreed to pay the driver. I thought my driver would try to pull a fast one, asking for more money, and that is exactly what happened. If you don't have the exact amount and there is a disagreement over price, you will be hard pressed to get change from your driver.
The wait to get through the wall will take longer going into Israel then leaving it as the workers there scrutinize every document from the Palestinians. (Palestinians have to have their hand digitally scanned and all their documents must be in order.) Try to avoid travelling to Bethlehem during heavy traffic times when people are coming and going to work.
Once through, wait for the bus to take you back to Jerusalem. The whole trip will not take more than four hours and cost about $20 for two people.
You can go from Amman or Madaba, it's about the same time, distance and cost.
Taxi: Madaba - King Hussein Bridge (50 mins - 15JD)
Taxi: King Hussein Bridge - Border Crossing (5 mins - 1-2JD)
Jordan Crossing: approximately 1 hour
Bus: Jordan border - Israel Border 2.50JD
Israel Crossing: approximately 2 hours on a good day
Sherut: Israeli border - Jerusalem 28JD Shared Taxi (30mins - 4 hours)
For a much more detailed breakdown of the journey, check my travelogue (linked).
Circular route around the city aboard an opened-top, double-decker bus.
Explanations during the route in 8 languages in addition to Hebrew:
Arabic, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Spanish and Russian
through personal earphones,
introducing travelers to over 85 important sites throughout the city.
During the tour, visitors may step off at any of the 25 stops,
walk around and wait for the next bus to pick them up to continue the tour.
Tickets: 2-hour pass NIS 45, children – NIS 36;
Daily pass: NIS 65, children- 56 NIS
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