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World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > Israel > Tel Aviv

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Travel to Tel Aviv

Flying to Tel Aviv

Ben Gurion Airport and Sde Dov Airport serve 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 15 minutes; Sydney - 23 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

Limited road and ferry access from abroad make it unlikely that you will drive your own car to  Israel. It is also illegal to buy a car in Israel unless you have an Israeli driver’s licence. However, affordable car hire is widely available.

Israel has an excellent road network and, because the country is relatively small with varied scenery, travelling by car can be a great pleasure. Main roads can be busy, so allow plenty of time for every journey.

Traffic drives on the right and road rules are similar to those in Western Europe and North America. The minimum legal driving age in Israel is 16 years. All passengers must wear seat belts at all times and children under 14 should not travel in the front seat. Headlights must be on all the time while driving.

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.

Drivers must carry their ordinary driving licence. Insurance documents must be kept in the car at all times.

Emergency breakdown services

Car rental operators or your own insurer can provide cover and details of who to contact.

Routes

Highway 1 links Tel Aviv from Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem. Highway 2 (Ayalon Highway) connects Haifa to Tel Aviv, with exits into different districts.

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. Comfortable air-conditioned coaches run between all Israeli cities as part of the regular public transport network, terminating at Tel Aviv Central Bus Station. Coach services to Tel Aviv from abroad are limited, and depend on the security situation en route.

Time to city

From Jerusalem - 1 hour 50 minutes; Haifa - 1 hour 5 minutes; Eilat - 3 to 4 hours, depending on traffic.

Travel by Rail

Services

There are four railway stations within the city of Tel Aviv. The main station, Tel Aviv Savidor Centre, is on Al Parashat Drachim Street. The other stations are Tel Aviv Hahagana, not far from the Central Bus Station; Tel Aviv Hashalom, near the Azrieli Center; and Tel Aviv University, close to the university campus in north Tel Aviv.

Regular rail services run down the coast from Nahariya to Tel Aviv, with stops en route at Akko (Acre), Haifa, Binyamina, Caesarea, Netanya and Herzliya. From Tel Aviv, coastal services continue south to Ashkelon and Ashdod. Other lines head inland to Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem. The route to Jerusalem is particularly scenic, but much slower than road travel. Other rail services run from Tel Aviv to the towns of Kfar Saba; Beersheva and Rishon le Zion.

You can buy tickets at the station upon departure, or book in advance for most trains. There is no railway service on Shabbat and public holidays.

Operators

Israel Railways (tel: +972 77 232 4000; www.rail.co.il) is the national rail transport provider, running modern air-conditioned trains.

Journey times

From Haifa - 1 hour 15 minutes; Jerusalem - 1 hour 25 minutes; Beer Sheva - 1 hour 30 minutes.

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Featured Hotels

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David InterContinental

A gargantuan 5-star hotel, much of the David InterContinental’s clientele are here for business, but don’t let that put you off – a night spent here feels surprisingly intimate. Just across the road from Charles Clore Park and the beach, it’s a few minutes’ walk from Carmel Market and the Yemenite Quarter. Good value, apart from expensive Wi-Fi.

The Rothschild

Housed within a gorgeous, buttercup yellow building that’s almost as old as Israel itself, The Rothschild is a real sanctuary thanks to its tranquil courtyard and sympathetic décor. Service is top quality, as is the food served in the restaurant. Elsewhere, the emphasis is on natural – including the toiletries.

Dan

The longest standing of Tel Aviv’s upmarket beachfront hotels, the Dan's unusual low-rise building and colourful exterior (on the beach side) makes an interesting change to the identikit high-rises that surrounds it. However, because of its age, some rooms seem to be at a lower standard than the price and reputation suggest.

The Diaghilev

This is a hotel where art takes centre stage. The décor combines white walls with bright furniture and even brighter artworks, all of which are for sale. Rooms are pleasant and comfortable and there's a restaurant serving excellent local fare on site. All the city centre attractions are close by.

Cinema Hotel

Formerly a Bauhaus cinema, this stylish little hotel is right in the city centre, just off Dizengoff Square. The comfortable, attractively furnished rooms have plenty of amenities, among them a fridge, beach towels and free Wi-Fi, and there’s a free sauna, rooftop terrace and business lounge too.

The Beachfront Hostel

A basic combination of hostel and hotel, The Beachfront is a little shabby and has amenities that some may find inadequate, particularly the dormitory-style rooms. But there’s hardly anywhere cheaper to stay in Tel Aviv, and it’s right on the beach. Breakfast is not included, but is offered at a restaurant next door.