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World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > Israel > Jerusalem

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Travel to Jerusalem

Flying to Jerusalem

Jerusalem is around 50km southeast of Ben Gurion Airport and around 67km southeast of Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv. British Airways, easyJet, Wizz Air, and El Al operate direct flights from the UK to Tel Aviv. Airlines running direct flights from the USA include Delta, El Al and United.

El Al does not fly during Shabbat.

Flight times

From London - 5 hours; New York - 10 hours 30 minutes; Los Angeles - 14 hours 15 minutes; Toronto - 10 hours 35 minutes; Sydney - around 23 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

Israel has an excellent road network and, because the country is relatively small, travelling by car can be a pleasure. However, major roads can be very congested, so motorists are advised to allow plenty of time for journeys. Traffic drives on the right, the minimum legal driving age in Israel is 16 years (although you must be 21 to rent a car), and all passengers must wear seatbelts.

Road signs are international, distances given are in kilometres, and all signposting on major roads is in Hebrew, Arabic and English. The speed limit is 90-120kph (60-75mph) on motorways, 80kph (50mph) on intercity roads and 50kph (31mph) within towns. You must carry either a national driving licence or an International Driving Permit. Insurance is mandatory and is organised by the government. Visitors driving their own vehicles can purchase the insurance through a local agent. The certificate must be carried in the car at all times.

The Automobile and Touring Club of Israel, also known as MEMSI (tel: +972 3 564 1121; www.memsi.co.il, Hebrew only) provides information and assistance, with free services for members of affiliated motoring organisations, such as the AAA (in the USA) and the AA and RAC (in the UK). 

Emergency breakdown services

MEMSI (tel: +972 3 564 1121).

Routes

From Tel Aviv (and Ben Gurion International Airport), Highway 1 runs to Jerusalem. Routes from north and south connect with the highway close to Tel Aviv. From the east, route 90 heads north past Jericho and south along the Dead Sea towards Eilat.

Coaches

The Egged Cooperative (tel: *2800, in Israel only or +972 3 694 8888; www.egged.co.il/Eng) is Israel's national bus and coach service operator. The comprehensive network of buses to all parts of the country depart from Jerusalem's Central Bus Station on Jaffa Road. Services come to a complete halt for Shabbat (from around 1500 on Friday to about 1900 on Saturday).

Time to city

From Tel Aviv - 50 minutes; Nazareth -2 hours; Eilat - 4 hours, depending on traffic.

Travel by Rail

Services

Jerusalem’s main railway station Malha is located on the outskirts of the city on Derech Yitshak Moda’I Street.

Operators

Israel Railways (tel: +972 77 232 4000; www.rail.co.il) is the national rail transport operator. Modern air-conditioned trains run down the coast from Nahariya past Acre, Haifa, Netanya and Herzliya to Tel Aviv and inland to Jerusalem’s Malha railway station via Ben Gurion Airport.

However, there are frequent train cancellations, and the journey to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv or the airport takes longer than the bus, though the fare is cheaper. You can buy tickets from railway station kiosks or ticket machines.

Journey times

From Tel Aviv - 1 hour 40 minutes. A high-speed train line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is due to open in September 2018 bringing the travel time down to 28 minutes.

Transfer

Jerusalem’s Malha railway station is connected to the city centre via taxi or buses 18, 35 and 38A. A taxi rank is located outside the station.

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Outside the Old City and close to Jerusalem’s Downtown Triangle, Prima Royale is an affordable and attractive hotel with one special draw: its goal of introducing guests to Jerusalem’s artistry. Each floor is dedicated to a specific artist, writer, or poet who drew inspiration from the city. Classical music plays in the morning, and jazz serenades you in the afternoon. The breakfast is also delicious.

 

Hashimi Hotel

The Old City’s ‘newest’ hotel is set in a 400-year-old building right in the heart of the Old City. It’s the perfect base to explore the Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Western Wall and Jerusalem’s many other famous sights. The 40 rooms are spread over three floors and the rooftop terrace overlooks some of the best views in town.

David Citadel Hotel

This modern 385-room hotel is a short walk from both the Old City and the new city centre and is just around the corner from the trendy Mamilla Mall. A standout feature is the terrace overlooking the pool, a great spot to indulge in Israel’s trademark big breakfast while gazing over the city. After a day’s sightseeing, the L’Occitane spa is a tranquil spot for a restorative massage.

Little House in Bakah

Set in a renovated 1930s Ottoman-style mansion in the old Bakah neighbourhood, this 33-room boutique property is big on charm with its high ceilings, arched windows and rustic décor. Rooms are simple and comfortable, and there’s free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee 24/7 and breakfast included. The hotel is just around the corner from the hip cafés of Bethlehem Road and Emek Refaim Street.

Knight's Palace

A former theological seminary with some parts dating back to the 11th-century, this lovely hotel is nestled in a quiet corner of the Muslim Quarter. It is steeped in Old City elegance with vaulted ceilings, arched windows and exposed stone. Despite being close to both the New Gate and Jaffa Gate, its location on a quiet cobbled lane means it is just out of reach of the hustle and bustle. It has comfortable rooms, a nice restaurant and bar, Wi-Fi throughout, AC and cable TV.

King Solomon Hotel

This 5-star in the centre of Jerusalem caters to religious Jewish travellers by offering its own synagogue, a Glatt Kosher menu and Shabbat lights in the bedrooms. The stunning views overlooking the Judean hills make up for the slightly outdated décor. The centrepiece of the lobby is a globe-shaped metal sculpture of Jerusalem by the English-born artist Frank Meisler. The hotel is just 10 minutes' walk from the Jaffa Gate of the Old City.