One day as we were tooling along on the highway, all of a sudden a police car sweeps by us, honking it horn, sounding the siren and blinking all its lights. As we started to slow and pull over to the side we looked behind and saw this coming at us. We took out the camera and "captured" this helicopter who was "driving" faster than we were. Here in Israel you can often see helicopters, planes, tanks, halftracks, cannon and other military material on the roads. Usually the larger things they move at night.
The Valet ve Toos (toos means fly in Hebrew) provide a safe place to park your car while you are away. They transport you to the airport from their park and then pick you up on your return. They even cost LESS than the parking at the airport which does not have a guard and no insurance. We use this service each and every time we fly.
Israel has a very good transportation system from trains to a good and cheap bus lines. in the galilee a bus is the best way to travel if you don't have a car. you can fly to the north from tel- aviv eilat and haifa.
El Al is the national flying company in Israel. Its well known for its safety around the world.
If you come from Europe most probably your flight will land at Ben Gurion the International Airport. as its flights wont Land in Tel Aviv Airport (Dov Hoz Airport).
The main company that operates intercity bus lines is called Egged. You can get to almost any settlement on the map and inside big towns and cities too.
Information can be given at central bus stations, preferably the central bus stations of the big cities (Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Haifa etc).
The train, by the way, is only active on one major route connecting Be'er Sheva in the south to Naharia in the north (passing through Tel Aviv, Haifa and other towns in between).
Currently, the website of the company has only a hebrew version, but maybe that will change in the future, so I'll put a link here for you to check.
Getting around Israel can be handled easily by bus, but when you want to be free of tough schedules (in the rural areas) and to be able to hike in specific walks, the best thing to do is to take a car and drive to the start of the walk.
But... I didn't know whether to classify this tip as "Warnings Or Dangers" or as "Transportation"... Israeli drivers are bad (Yes, I guess that this makes me a bad driver too). They are usually nervous and sometimes irresponsible. The problem is bigger especially during extreme weather conditions (heavy rain or a real hot day)
Hitch-hiking is not wise. But sometimes you can't do without it. If you have no alternative, try to chat a bit with the driver before getting into a car, to be sure that he sounds okay.
In general you can get to Israel by Land, Sea & Air. In practical, the only comfortable way is to fly. All the airlines that fly to Israel have extra security masseurs, be aware of that and be patient.
Sheruts are shared taxis ( like the Turkish Dolmus). They are cheap and their routes vary; from short about the town runs, to longer routes running betweens the towns, cities and villages. The best thing about the sherut is that a driver will stop anywhere along his designated route to drop you off. Drivers will also pick you up anywhere as long as they are not overcrowded.
Just stand on the side of the road and put your hand out, fingers pointing down towards the road, to hail one. If he is full the driver will usually wave the back of his hand at you.
The fare is always a set rate. For example anywhere along Tel Aviv's Allenby and Ben Yehuda Streets cost 3 1/2 NIS ( in 1996)
Flying is the way most people enter and leave Israel, through the security conscious Ben Gurion Airport.
For those on a more lesuirely itiniary, how about taking the Haifa -Piraeus Ferry. (or Piraeus-Haifa).
The ferry I took left Haifa, Northern Israel, on a Thursday afternoon and arrived at the Athens port of Piraeus about 8 o'clock Sunday Morning.
There were three port calls of a few hours at Cyprus, Rhodes and Crete, where you can disembark and visit the nearest town.
Make a note of the boats departure time from these stops and carry a reliable watch. My alarm clock ( my only reliable timepiece ) decided to stop when i took my son for a short walk into Iraklio and I arrived back at the docks to see the Sun Princess III in mid turn, with smoke stacks a- blowing, about to leave with my rucksack (and supply of nappies).
Fortunately for me the ship had not weighed anchor and a nice security guard radioed the captain to reverse back. The security and harbour staff seemed to find it hilarious, but the captain was not amused as they hiked my son, in his buggy, onto the ships tail gate. The cheers of my fellow deck passengers only made me more red with embarrassment.
You can travel as a deck passenger, (bring warm clothes and a sleeping bag, it gets windy at night), buy a pullman seat or rent a variety of cabins (basic to luxurious).
On our last evening aboard a lovely Glaswegian business man by the name of Jimmy invited us to use the shower in his cabin,and wash off the deck grime allowing us to arrive fresh in Piraeus.
Thankyou Jimmy wherever you may be!
The easiest means of transportation is the collective taxi ('taxi service').
These are large cars or small vans which drive along main routes and stop anywhere upon request.
They most often depart from a main square such as Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, Private or special taxis do not always have taximeters, therefore a price should be arranged in advance.
An international driver's license is required to drive a rented car.
There are a lot of car-rental companies in all towns and cities.
bus or cab. In the bus you will have to stand up for every soldier that can't find a place in the bus.
Hitchhiking is possible, but it can be dangerous. Never hitchhike with Arabians (watch the licenceplates to recognise them). Police will always stop them at controlposts. Never talk about politics when hitchhiking, the driver will never agree with you and might kick you out of the car.
Some of the nomads and handcraftsmen still use horses for transportation (as you can see on the picture), but most people drive modern cars.
Plane is most acceptable if you not live in Lebanon
Sinay or Jordan.But be prepered-security in airport
is so strong,so timefull(but you understand why)
Car or small bus only.Here you need to stop to see to
feel each five kms.So many interesting places in not
Getting around in Israel by car is quite different to what I am used to. The drivers are crazy! and in Tel Aviv the bumper parking made me laugh! so funny!
I caught a bus from Haifa to Tel Aviv on my first trip and I thought you just lined up and got on the bus but then all the people just pushed on and my israeli friend told me to just run in there and get on. I laughed. Israelis do not like waiting for anyting..
Getting there is primarely done by plane, but I myself arrived in Haifa by boat, which is a beautifull experience, coming out of Cyprus, waking up with the large coastline of Israel at the horizon.
WARNING, try not to take the El Al flights: you lose precious time (hours!!!) for security reasons. The airport Ben Gourion is ideally located between Tel Aviv and Jeruzalem...
Around? Mmm, I suppose by car, the roads are really ok and safer then taking a bus in Jeruzalem :(
WARNING, coming into Jeruzalem out of Tel Aviv, brings you close to Ramallah and the Westbank, don't stop at the military checks...
There are two international airports in Israel.
The smaller and probably the less likely one for you to get to is in Eilat, the most southern city in Israel.
The main international airport is the Ben-Gurion airport (TLV) near Tel-Aviv. There are a few flights every day to and from each one of most of the major airports in Europe as well as the ones in eastern North America (JFK, La Guardia, Newark, Toronto and others). Though not as frequent, there are also flights to and from SE Asia (Bangkok, Bombay, Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo...) and Africa (Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia).
The major Israeli international airline is El-Al (www.elal.co.il).
Many major American, European and Asian airlines have regular flights as well.
From the airport you can get to Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Haifa and other cities and towns by bus (the bus stops are right across the road from the arrivals lounge exit of terminal 1). Otherwise, you can take a taxi from the airport to anywhere you need or you can, of course, rent a car.
Another way of getting to Israel is by ship. You can get to the harbour in Haifa by ship from a few other mediterranean countries (Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, I think).
Yet another way of getting to Israel is by crossing the border from Egypt or Jordan. You can do that by foot, car or bus. Egged, which is the major national bus company operates buses to and from Cairo and Amman.
Israel has an excellent bus system with an extensive network of routes.
The major bus company is Egged (www.egged.co.il). It operates all through the country.
Another major company is Dan, which operates only in the center of the country, especially in the region of Tel-Aviv and its suburbs.
Naturally, bus fares vary with accordance to the distance of the destinations. However, a bus trip inside a city or a town costs about 5 NIS (~$1).
On weekdays, buses usually operate from 5 or 6 a.m to around midnight. On Friday (or religious holidays' eves), they usually stop operating around 3 or 4 p.m. On Saturday (or religious holidays), they don't operate during the day and only begin operating around 5 or 6 p.m. (The same is true for trains as well, with slight variations in times). An exception is a few internal bus lines in Haifa, Eilat and maybe a few other towns, which also operate on Saturdays.
Another good mean of transportation is by train. The rail network is not very extensive, as there aren't many routes. However, if you want to travel between Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Be'er-Sheva, it's probably the best way. The trains are usually very comfortable, although I really wouldn't recommend taking a train FROM Tel-Aviv on a Sunday morning or TO Tel-Aviv on a Thursday afternoon (or a Friday morning), as they can get VERY VERY crowded with soldiers going to and from their bases.
Travelling by cabs can get pretty expensive, unless you travel by a service taxi (which typically costs like a bus with the same route).
Another way is renting a car, which you can do in major cities from all major international (Hertz, Avis, Europcar and others) and national (like Eldan, Shlomo, Hagar...) companies.
If you want to get to Eilat your best, though most expensive way is by airplane from Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and other airports. The trip takes about 45-60 minutes from Tel-Aviv (depending on the type of the plane) and probably about the same from Jerusalem and a little more from Haifa.
Another way of getting to Eilat is by bus from Tel-Aviv (lines no. 390, 394, 395; costs about 60 NIS (~$12) one-way), Jerusalem, Haifa, Be'er-Sheva and other cities. It's a long ride, though (about 5-6 hours from Tel-Aviv).
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