How to Travel Like an Israeli
How do you get around Israel? When traveling to your favorite spot, do you prefer the bus or the train? Or maybe you’re outdoorsy and you’d rather go by bike? Whichever way you choose, the transportation options in Israel are endless!
Getting In With the Locals: Traveling by Bus
Buses are Israel’s most extensive and popular mode of transportation. The two main operators in Israel are Egged - running a large range of routes across the country as well as within cities, and Dan, operating mostly within the Tel-Aviv area. Traveling by bus in Israel has some major advantages; It’s relatively cheap (the most expensive ride being from Haifa to Eilat, for 70NIS); You can get to almost any city, village, or random junction; most importantly, buses are one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the country! Of course, traveling by bus can also have its disadvantages, like the extended travel time during rush hour, slower journeys due to the many stops along the route, and unavailability during Shabbat and holidays. Still, it’s obvious that taking the bus in Israel is the easiest way to get around!
Bus tickets are sold at bus stations, as well as a Rav Kav smartcard card (5NIS), which is most commonly used across almost all bus lines, and will give you a 20% discount on fares.
Traveling Comfortably: Trains in Israel
Traveling by train in Israel isn’t always regarded as the first option, but when taking traffic and travel time into account, it’s worth considering. Israel Railways offers services between major cities with multiple stations in Haifa, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and other cities. Taking the train can be super comfortable, as well as offering gorgeous views of Israel. Some scenic routes include the train up to Haifa, where you can ride with coastal views of the Mediterranean by your side, and Israel’s oldest railway line, inaugurated in 1892, between Tel-Aviv and Southern Jerusalem.
Getting a train ticket is easy; You can buy a ticket at any station, or order one online! Pro tip: Return tickets are 10% percent cheaper than two one-way tickets.
Taxi-On-Demand: Gett & Yango
If you’re visiting Israel and are suffering from a serious Uber withdrawal, worry no more. The “Gett” app is crucial for anyone traveling in the Tel-Aviv area. The app lets you book a taxi with the click of a button, often offering you a choice of drivers and the option to pay by credit card. Even better, the taxi arrives in an average of 3 minutes and is available all days of the week, 24/7.
Another taxi app just entering the scene is the “Yango” app, owned by the Russian company Yandex and already operating in 15 countries. Offering taxi services within 7 minutes and operating mainly in the Tel-Aviv region, this app is still new and open to reviews. Let us know what you think!
Getting Around the Fun Way: Bike and Scooter-Sharing
If you’re into traveling while feeling the Tel-Aviv breeze on your face, this is definitely for you.
First, there’s Bird - a pay-as-you-go scooter rental startup already known globally and now taking its first steps in Tel-Aviv and Ramat Gan. Israel already has 2,500 scooter users, with rides averaging at a distance of 2.4 km. To use the service, locate a scooter using the app and open it with a QR code on the scooter. From there, you’re ready to roll! When you’re done, just leave it wherever you want (maybe not on the road, though). The scooters are picked up at night by tzapars who recharge them and put them back in the streets until 7:00 am the next morning. Another perk? Renting a scooter is super cheap - 5NIS for rent plus 50 agorot for every minute of travel.
If you’re looking to get more of a workout, you might want to try one of Israel’s versions of bike-sharing, “Tel-O-Fun”. These green bikes are easily recognizable and used by locals and tourists alike. You can pick up a bike at any one of Tel-Aviv’s 200 bike share stations all over the city, using only your credit card. An initial access fee is 17NIS and from there riding is fairly cheap, costing about 6NIS an hour. Some great places to ride your bike in Tel-Aviv include the unique and artsy neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, or the busy tree-lined Rothschild Boulevard, which also has a designated bike path.
What are you waiting for? Get out your phone and discover which way works for you!