Israel – What to Visit, Where to Stay and How to Arrive – Page 1

Maps – Orientation

Map 1 – Israel Location

Map 2 – Main Attractions

Map 3 – Interactive Map

  • Points in Blue – Connected by Train
  • Points in Red – Only Bus

How to move in Israel ? – The Transport

1. Use Smartphone applications to know your way in Israel

To know how to arrive to your destination in Israel, use the applications : Moovit or Google Maps or Nearby Bus. They function very good in Israel. For the applications you need Internet access on your Smartphone. See about Internet in Israel.

2. Use this site

Read this page and the following one, for a general explanation for how to arrive to the main touristic cities.

Trains in Israel

Trains are the best way to move in Israel. Look at Maps 2 and 3 above. The places in which the trains arrive, are marked in Blue, the places in which only buses arrive, are marked in Red. The Trains don’t cover all the regions of Israel, but where they do, you better use them (instead of using another way of transport).

The distances in Israel are not big, so the train rides are short. For example :
A Train between Tel-Aviv and Haifa takes 1 hour (100 Km) and a Train between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem takes 50 minutes (65 Km). The trains are not dependent on traffic jams in the roads + the frequency of the trains is elevated.
See :

Buses in Israel

There are cases, in which you will need to use a bus instead of a train. Look at Maps 2 and 3 above. The places in which the trains arrive, are marked in Blue, the places in which only buses arrive, are marked in Red. For example, if you want to visit the Dead Sea (recommended), and you are not renting a car, then the bus is the only option to reach the place.
The service of the national buses in Israel is usually OK, but the frequency depends on the destination. For the dead sea, for example, the frequency is low. Between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem the frequency is high.

Airport Transport

For the travel from the Airport : see the Transport page of Tel-Aviv and the Transport page of Jerusalem.

Transport during the week-end (Shabbat)

For the travel during the Shabbat : see the Transport page of Tel-Aviv and the Transport page of Jerusalem.

Where to Stay in Israel (Hotels)

Assuming you want to visit : Jerusalem  + Tel-Aviv + Haifa + Dead sea + Masada (and maybe Acre near Haifa). Where should you stay ?

Because Israel is a small country, you can stay in Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem and make one day excursions to Haifa and the Dead Sea. (but for Haifa it is faster from Tel-Aviv and for the Dead Sea it is faster from Jerusalem).

An alternative could be to sleep some nights in Tel-Aviv and some nights in Jerusalem. Also, instead of making one day excursions, you can sleep one night in the Dead sea and one night in Haifa.

  1. See where to Stay (best zones) for the Hotel in Tel-Aviv.
  2. See where to Stay (best zones) for the Hotel in Jerusalem.
  3. See where to Stay (best zones) for the Hotel in Haifa.
  4. See Hotels in Ein-Bokek (the Dead Sea) or Hotels in Kibbutz Ein Gedi (the Dead Sea).

How many days dedicate for the visit in Israel ?

To visit only the places mentioned on this page (Jerusalem  + Tel-Aviv + Haifa + Dead sea + Masada and maybe Acre near Haifa), one week is a comfortable time. You can make it in 4  days if you like to see blurry scenery.

Cost, Internet and Climate

What to Visit in Israel ? – Part 1

Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa (+ Acre + Rosh Hanikra)

There are a lot of places to visit in Israel, but if you are limited in time, you may prefer to visit the most “cost-effective” ones, the ones that can be reached rapidly and are unique and interesting.  Look at the following Map :

And this map :

The first obvious places to visit are the cities : Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa (+ Acre).
These cities are connected with trains and are easy to reach. The trains operate in high frequency (every half hour). The travel takes less than one hour between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv and Haifa.

You will probably arrive to Israel via the main Airport of Israel (Ben-Gurion airport) which is located between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. From here you can either go to sleep in Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv (see where to stay and how long dedicate to a visit in Israel).

You will find on this website (in fact, 2 different websites) dedicated pages about Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa. You will find Information about the places to visit, the transport, cost, climate, the best zones to stay and more.

Here are the main pages about the 3 cities. Visit these pages (but only after you finish to read this one).

  1. Jerusalem : what to Visit, where to Stay, the Transport.
  2. Tel-Aviv : what to Visit, where to Stay, the Transport.
  3. Haifa (+ Acre + Rosh Hanikra) – A quick visit from Tel-Aviv
  4. For the travel from the Airport : see the Transport page of Tel-Aviv or the Transport page of Jerusalem.

For a quick reference, here is what you are expected to see and do in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa (+ optional : Acre (Akko) and Rosh Hanikra):

  1. Jerusalem : The old city with its 4 quarters – (the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Wailing wall, the Temple Mount, the narrow streets with the food and souvenirs). The city center of Jerusalem (market, walking street), views from the mount of olives and Harmon Hanatziv Promenade. The holocaust museum. Israel museum.
  2. Tel-Aviv : The beaches, the cafés, nightlife
  3. Haifa : Views from the Carmel mountain, the Bahai gardens.
  4. Acre :  Old Port, market, Hummus restaurants, museums.
  5. Rosh Hanikra : Border point to Lebanon. Cable car to a cave.

The Dead Sea + Masada (+ Optional : A River walk)

The Dead Sea is special and you should dedicate (at least) one day to see it. You can do an excursion from Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem and return the same day. In fact, if you are limited in time, you should consider prioritizing the Dead Sea over the city of Haifa (but try to do both).

What is special about the Dead Sea ?

First it is the lowest point on earth, it is 430 Meters bellow the level of the sea. It is a lake of course. Secondly, the water is very (very) salty and as a consequence people float on it. Theoretically people are not supposed to drown in these waters but there were a few cases of death in the Dead Sea. It is usually extremely hot in this area.

Unfortunately the Dead Sea is shrinking in size over the years, the waters disappears (so you should come to visit fast). One of the reasons for the shrinkage is because of the exploitation of minerals by some industries. There is a big plan to construct a water canal from the Mediterranean sea and bring water to the Dead Sea, but Israel is not China and the project does’t move.

The consequence for the tourist is that some beaches that existed 20 years ago have now disappeared, for example Ein-Gedi. The Kibbutz Ein-Gedi still exists but the beach is now too far for a walk and the hotel needs to organize some transport for the guests.

The main beach in the dead sea and the one you should probably visit is Ein-Bokek. See it on the Map. It is a developed area with big hotels and a Shopping Mall. There are free showers and toilets on the beach and it is quite pleasant and beautiful.

By the way : Be careful with your eyes when you enter into the waters of the Dead Sea. The water is so salty that it burns, it is like acid. You should never enter your eyes into these waters (and not touch your eyes with your wet hands).
You can read more about the Dead Sea in Wikipedia.

How to arrive to the Dead Sea (Ein-Bokek) ?

From Jerusalem, there are several buses during the day (every 2 or 3 hours), starting from the main bus station (see location of the station in the Jerusalem Transport page). The trajectory of the bus is along the Dead sea (as you can see on the Map), so it is beautiful. The ride takes about 2 to 3 hours. At the time of writing it is Bus number 486, but you should check it. There is also a Bus that goes to Eilat via the Dead Sea.

From Tel-Aviv there is one bus in the morning. The bus arrives via another way (via the city of Arad) and not along the Dead Sea. It takes also about 3 hours.

Notes :

  1. Buy yourself a National Day pass for the Transports, it may be cheaper than a two way ticket to the Dead Sea. See details about the Transport Payment in the Jerusalem Transport page
  2. Yes, there is a bus to the Dead Sea but the frequency is not great, so consider renting a car or joining an organized tour for the Dead Sea and Masada.

Masada (Metzada, in hebrew)

What is Masada ?

It is a mountain overlooking the Dead Sea (see location on Map). The place has a very interesting history. About 2000 years ago Roman troops put a siege over a fortification held by the Jewish. It ended with a mass suicide. You can read about it in Wikipedia.

There is a cable car to the mountain or you can climb by foot. Upstairs you will see ruins with explanations and you will have a nice view over the Dead Sea.

How to arrive to Masada ?

With the same bus that goes from Jerusalem to Ein-Bokek (the main Dead Sea beach). The bus has a stop at Masada.

Is one day enough for the Dead Sea and Masada ?

If you want to visit both places in one single day with the public transports (and also enjoy it) it will be a tough day, but feasible. Take into account that the bus from Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem takes almost 3 hours for each way.
An alternative could be to sleep one night in one of the hotels in Ein-Bokek or maybe in the Kibbutz Ein-Gedi, that way you will also experience a Kibbutz.

Walk along a river near the Dead Sea +Waterfall

Another interesting activity that you can do in the Dead Sea is to walk along a river and arrive at a waterfall. The most famous ones are “Nahal David” and “Nahal Arugot” (Nahal means river in Hebrew). The area is a reserve. The walking takes about 2 hours. It is very hot so don’t forget the water. If you are lucky you will see goats climbing steep hills.

How to arrive to the rivers in the Dead Sea ?

If you are using the bus to arrive to the Dead Sea, then you need to get down at Ein Gedi (it is on the way to Masada) Ask the driver. You may also need to reserve your visit with the Israel Nature and Parks authority.

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star If you find incorrect data in this page, like a restaurant has closed or a big river has moved or you want to tell me something, please write me to contact.