Categories
Stays Tel Aviv

HaYarkon 48 – Nice Hostel for Beach Lovers in Tel Aviv

Last week I decided to take a trip to Tel Aviv and stay overnight. I searched the web for a good located hostel and found HaYarkon 48. Without a doubt, its greatest plus is its location. Beach lovers would love it, because it is just a few feet away from the beachside. After one night in the hostel, here are the main things I have to say about it:

Again, I want to emphasize that HaYarkon 48’s location is awesome! It is about a minute from beautiful Jerusalem Beach, about 5 minutes from the Carmel Market (where clothing, home accessories and food are sold) and a 10-15 minutes’ bus drive from almost every main attraction in Tel Aviv. The area is also full of great restaurants and some minimarkets.

Just a few steps from the hostel…

The dorms are big and clean. I slept in a 6-bed female-only dorm and didn’t feel too crowded. Maybe it was because we were only four in the dorm. There are three bunk beds in the dorm. When you check in, you are assigned a dorm and a bed (if you care which bed you sleep in – write a request for it when ordering a bed in a dorm). My bed at the bottom level of the bunk was comfortable. Also, the dorm was clean when I got there. But, there are a few problems with the dorm:

  • There is only one light in the dorm and no personal lights, so if someone wants to sleep, the ones that are awake can’t have lights on.
  • All the electricity sockets are in one place. There are no electricity sockets near each bed, which means you can’t sit comfortably on your bed and surf your phone while charging it.
  • The dorm’s porch is linked to all the other porches of the other dorms. You can see this as a plus for easy socializing, but this also means less privacy and if you leave the porch door open for air to come in, someone can easily come in from the other dorms. We left the porch door open all night and everything was fine, by the way, but you never know.
  • It’s really hot! Although there is an A/C it didn’t seem to work properly and the fan didn’t really help as well. Only in the evening we could open the porch and let some chilly air come in.
  • No lockers in the dorm!
The female-only dorm

Lockers are for rent. I want to write a bit more about the locker issue. When you check in you are provided a very small storage box near the reception desk. If you need more space for storage, you’ll need to rent a locker for 15 NIS a day. Most importantly, there are no lockers in the rooms. They are all located on the ground floor, which means you’ll need to go down every time you need something from there. Maybe consider bringing a lock for your luggage instead of renting those lockers.

There are three floors and no elevator. If you thought it was easy going up and down the floors, think again. If you’re not in great shape, you will surely be after a few nights here, especially if you’ll get the dorm on the highest floor. Ask for a room on a lower floor if you have problem climbing stairs.

Towels are for rent as well. If you didn’t bring a towel, you can rent one for 3 NIS. You can change it to a beach towel whenever you want. Towels are not provided for free.

So what is provided for free? The WiFi is free and works well. Bed sheets and pillows are also free. And… I think that is all.

I really liked the showers, by the way. They have showers on each floor and the showers are very-very spacious and clean. There’s a great flow of hot water.

Breakfast is do-it-yourself. You get all the ingredients and equipment, but need to prepare it yourself. If you look on the positive side, you can prepare breakfast as you like it – make your own omelet and so on… it’s also a great way to socialize with other guests – help them turn on the gas and the toaster and so on. But keep in mind that the sooner you come, the better. Most people wake up late and then the kitchen can get crowded. You get eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bread, cheese and chocolate and can do whatever you like with these. You also have a tea and coffee stand that is available for free all day long.

The dining area

This is quite a quiet hostel. While I stayed here I saw a few people in the lounge and the kitchen area, but there weren’t parties and people talked in a nice and quiet way. People also didn’t make noise on the upper floors, so I had no problem sleeping. The hostel’s crowd is a mixture of young and old. If you’re talkative, you will have a chance to meet a large range of people here from all ages and statuses.

Hostel staff were nice and helpful. Itai at the reception desk was happy to explain everything there is to know about the hostel and also was helpful when I was searching for a place to buy food. Sometimes the reception is very busy and then it is hard to get the staff’s attention, but overall, they are great. One of them let me keep my locker a bit after check-out hours, because I wanted to see a bit more of the city.

To sum it all up – HaYarkon48 Hostel is a basic but satisfactory place to stay, just a few feet away from the wonderful beachside of Tel Aviv. If amenities are less important to you and you’re more interested in a perfect location, this hostel is a great choice for you!

This review was written June 2018. If anything has changed, please update me.

Hope you have a great time in Tel Aviv!


Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Eilat Festivals & holidays Jerusalem Tel Aviv Trip Planning Tips

The Ultimate Summer Guide to Israel

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links, meaning I get commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. All the recommendations are my own.

The Israeli Summer is already here! Summer in Israel takes place from June to September. I would recommend traveling to Israel in the Spring (February to May), because of the high temperatures in the Summer, but if you can’t come any other time or if you prefer the sunny months, here is my ultimate guide to traveling to Israel in the summer.

Israeli Summer Overview:

The Israeli Summer (June to September) is when the temperatures go way up. In some places, such as Eilat, it can climb over 50 degrees Celsius. This means you’ll have a great time on the beachside and in the cool water springs. On the other hand, you shouldn’t plan to take long hikes at this time of year.

From the end of June until the beginning of September Israeli kids are on their Summer vacation. This means many attractions will be crowded, especially on weekends (Fridays and Saturdays), when the parents are also on a break.

Bottom line: Summer is a perfect time to visit Israel if you just want to chill out on one of Israel’s beaches and take it easy. This time of year is also perfect for festival lovers because some of the best festivals take place at this time of year.

Watch this cool video by Shai Cohen:

Essential Summer packing list for Israel:

  • Enough short shirts and pants
  • Something that will warm you up in the evenings, in case it gets chilly (this is relevant mainly for those planning to go to Jerusalem, the desert or the Golan Heights area or for indoor activities)
  • Modest clothes to ear for holy places
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Flip-flops
  • Good sandals for walking
  • Sun hat
  • Beach towel
  • Bonus – a small personal fan
  • Anything else you may need for your trip

Summer travel tips for Israel:

  • Every day, pack at least 2-3 liters of water before you leave your accommodation.
  • Start your day as early as possible to get advantage of the cooler hours of the morning, or go out at night when temperatures drop.
  • If you want to cool down with an awesome soft drink, find a place that sells the Tamarindi drink.

Top things to do in the Israeli Summer:

  • Chill out on the Tel Aviv beachside (or any other beachfront town’s beachside, like Netanya or Herzliya).
  • Snorkel or dive in the Eilat Coral Beach Reserve.
  • Cool down in the springs and streams of Golan Heights.
  • Visit the many museums of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
  • Enjoy the Tel Aviv nightlife.
  • Explore the city of Tzfat (Safed).

Top things to avoid doing in the Israeli Summer:

  • Hiking – The Summer isn’t a good time for hiking (especially in the desert)! That’s because the heat is high and not all trails are shaded. Even if they are shaded, the temperatures are still very high. If you won’t carry enough water, it could be dangerous.
  • Pilgrimage tours (visiting churches) – Most of the churches in Israel and especially in Jerusalem don’t have A/C or any other cooling system. With all the pilgrims crowded in the small chapels, this could be a very sweaty experience. So, if you can postpone your pilgrimage journey to some time else, it would be better.
  • Exploring the Negev & Arava – The Israeli sun is a strong one and in Summer it “burns” the Israeli desert. During the daytime, the temperatures can be unbearable (around 40-45 degrees celsius). In the evenings, it can be much cooler. Though, if you want to have a great time in the Negev & Arava and see as much of it as you can, Summer is not the time.

Top places to visit in the Israeli Summer:

Eilat –

Eilat is one of the hottest places in Summer, with the temperature rising over 50 degrees celsius at times. But what makes Eilat a perfect place to visit in the Summer is its beautiful Red Sea, which is usually around 25 degrees celsius during Summer.

You can snorkel or dive in the Coral Reef Reserve, enjoy plenty of water activities or just hang out on one of Eilat’s beaches (Mosh Beach is highly recommended).

Eilat is also a leading shopping destination, thanks to the VAT-free shops. In the new Ice Mall on the northern side of Eilat is a nice ice rink if you have some spare shekels for a few minutes of ice skating.

Expected Weather: Very hot temperature ranging from 25 degrees Celsius at night to 50 degrees at day. The air is usually very dry.

Places to Stay: In Eilat, you can either camp (Camping Sites in and Around Eilat) or stay in one of the hostels: Arava Hostel or The Shelter Hostel. Both hostels are a few minutes by foot from the seaside. If you want to stay in dorm rooms, enter the official hostel websites, where you will probably find the best prices.

Read more: Top Free Things to do in Eilat

Eilat – Perfect Place in Summer, taken from Pixabay

Tel Aviv –

Tel Aviv is super humid in Summer, but it has excellent beaches. Most of them are well maintained and they are a perfect place to get to know people, because they are packed people in Summer.

When you get tired of the beaches you can visit some of the leading Tel Aviv museums, including the Tel Aviv Art Museum, Independence Hall, and the Palmach Museum (pre-reservation needed).

In the night, one of the greatest things you can experience is Tel Aviv’s nightlife. Jump from one bar to another until the early morning. You can read my post – Pub Crawling Tel Aviv – The City That Never Sleeps,

Expected Weather: Hot temperature ranging from 20 degrees Celsius at night to 35 degrees at day on average. The humidity is super high with over 60{f224ba440c8e8489685f5be0eb52a1764ff3ab93b94d860236479bc3f69cbf7f} humidity during the day, which means you’re going to sweat a lot!

Places to Stay: There are plenty of great hostels in Tel Aviv. If you want to be near the sea, try out Tel Aviv Beachfront Hostel, which is situated right on the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Promenade. Another great hostel is Little Tel Aviv Hostel, situated in the heart of the city, a bit far from the beachside, and of course, the famous Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv. If you want to stay in dorm rooms, enter the official hostel websites, where you will probably find the best prices.

Read more: Top Free Things to Do in Tel Aviv

One of the beaches near Old Jaffa- Tel Aviv, taken from Pixabay

Tzfat (Safed) –

Safed is the city of Kabbalah and also one of the coolest cities in Israel (weather-wise), with temperatures around 30 degrees in Summer. In Summer, the temperature in Safed isn’t as hot as in other places in Israel, so it’s a good opportunity to explore the small, mystical Old City of Safed in Summer.

Walk along the beautiful alleys, enter the many art galleries, talk with the local people about the mystics of the city and Judaism, enjoy the music coming out of the houses, and simply breathe in the extraordinary air.

Expected Weather: Hot temperature ranging from 20 degrees Celsius at night to 30 degrees at day. The great thing about Safed is that humidity levels are quite low, with only about 40{f224ba440c8e8489685f5be0eb52a1764ff3ab93b94d860236479bc3f69cbf7f} humidity during the day, which makes the temperature much more bearable.

Places to Stay: There are some hotels inside the city, but if you want a cheaper stay you can check out Safed Inn, which is about a 10 minutes drive from the Old City by taxi. If you want to stay in dorm rooms, enter the official hostel websites, where you will probably find the best prices.

Read more: Top Free Things to Do in Safed

The streets of Safed. Credit: Safed Municipility

The Golan Heights –

If you’re searching for some cool temperature during the Israeli Summer, you might find it in the Golan Heights, which is one of the highest regions of Israel.

Although the Golan is less green in Summer, it is still a nice place to visit. The best experience in the Golan in Summer is the springs and streams, where you can cool down from the heat.

One small and beautiful spring in the southern Golan is Aiah Spring (עין אי”ה), that overlooks all three countries: Israel, Jordan, and Syria. You can get to the spring by rented car. Type into Waze: “מעיין עין אי”ה”.

If you have some shekels to spare, you can visit the fantastic Hexagon Pool (HaMeshushim Reserve) in central Golan. It costs 22 Shekels per adult to enter.

Expected Weather: The temperatures are slightly different throughout the Golan, but on average they range from around 20 degrees at night to around 35 degrees during the day.

Golan – a wonderland even in Summer

Jerusalem –

If you haven’t been to Jerusalem, you should go despite of the heat. Evenings in Jerusalem are usually cool even in Summer and some activities can be done at that time, like hanging out in Machane Yehuda Market or exploring the alleys of the Old City. When it’s out outside, try visiting some of Jerusalem’s top museums, including The Israel Museum and Yad Vashem Museum (Yad Vashem, by the way, is free of charge). And of course, don’t forget to take part in the many events and festivals taking place in the city in Summer.

Expected Weather: The temperature is quite hot, with temperatures ranging from around 20 degrees at night to around 30 degrees during the day. The average humidity is 40{f224ba440c8e8489685f5be0eb52a1764ff3ab93b94d860236479bc3f69cbf7f}, which makes the temperatures more bearable.

Places to Stay: The best place to stay in Jerusalem is in the city center. I highly recommend Abraham Hostel Jerusalem, but there are also other recommended options, such as The Post Hostel and Rich’s Place in the City Center. If you want to stay in dorm rooms, enter the official hostel websites, where you will probably find the best prices.

Read more: Top Free Things to do in Jerusalem 

Jerusalem – a must visit

Top Summer festivals and events in Israel:

Tel Aviv Pride – This week-long event celebrates Israel’s LGBT community life in a series of colorful events. The main event is the Pride Parade, which makes its way through Tel Aviv.

Lights in Jerusalem Festival – In this fabulous festival, the Old City of Jerusalem is lit by many artistic light displays. You can walk along designated trails and explore the wonders of the four different quarters at night. Free entry.

Israel Museum Wine Festival – In this four days event, visitors of the Israel Museum can sample wines of the leading wineries of Israel in the unique Art Garden. Ticket purchasing required through the Israel Museum website.

Safed Klezmer Festival – Enjoy a magical musical experience in the streets of Safed. Some performances require a ticket, others are open to the public.

Jerusalem Beer Festival – Enjoy dozens of beers in the heart of Jerusalem. Besides the beer, the festival is also full of great music, food stalls, and a clothing and accessories market. Ticket purchasing required and can be done at the entrance to the festival.

Hutzot Hayotzer Fair – This great festival takes place every year in the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem. It combines music with arts & crafts and is an event in which dozens of artists meet together from around the world. You can stroll through the artists’ stalls or purchase a ticket to one of the great musical shows. Anyhow, ticket purchasing is required.

Red Sea Jazz Festival – A four-day musical event in the hot city of Eilat, with top local and international artists. Ticket purchasing required and can be done through the festival’s website.

 Jewish holidays in the Summer:

Tisha B’Av – An annual fast day in Judaism, which commemorates several Jewish disasters, including the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Tisha B’Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, but usually, most people you’ll see fasting on this day are the religious Jews (unlike Yom Kippur, during which almost all Jews fast). There is no change in public transportation this day. Tisha B’Av usually takes place at the end of July or the beginning of August.

Rosh Hashana – The beginning of the Jewish year. On this holiday families and friends gather together, eat apples and honey and pomegranates as a wish for a sweet and fruitful new year. This is a two days holiday, during which there is no public transportation. Rosh Hashana usually takes place in September.

Yom Kippur – The holiest day on the Jewish calendar, the day of atonement. Many people in Israel fast for 25 hours, don’t use electronic devices such as smartphones, don’t drive or ride transportation. During this day there is no public transportation and to respect this day it is advised not to use private transportation as well. Yom Kippur usually takes place in September.

Suggested itinerary for a Summer in Israel (7 Days):

Land in Tel Aviv

Day 1 – Enjoy half a day on the beach and experience Tel Aviv’s nightlife

Day 2 – Visit one of Tel Aviv’s museums, Old Jaffa, and Florentine neighborhood.

Day 3 – Take a morning bus ride to Safed. It will take around 4 hours. When you arrive, start exploring Safed’s Old City.

Day 4 – You can spend the morning in Safed if you want to see anything else and then take a bus ride to Jerusalem. This will take about 3 hours and will require you to change buses at least once. When you arrive in Jerusalem, you can spend the night in the cool bars of Machane Yehuda Market.

Day 5 – Explore the Old City of Jerusalem and Ben Yehuda Street for shopping. You can also visit the City of David if you want to walk in the Siloah Tunnel which is full of flowing water.

Day 6 – Visit one of Jerusalem’s leading museums (the Israel Museum or Yad Vashem museum). Afterward, take the 5 PM bus to Eilat.

Day 7 – Snorkel in the Coral Reef Nature Reserve in the morning and then spend free time on one of Eilat’s beaches.

Book a flight out of Ramon Airport the following day. If there’s no flight to your country from there, take a bus back to Tel Aviv and take a flight from there.

The estimated cost of the trip (not including flights, transportation to and from airport, and food) – 1,130 NIS

Breakdown:

*3 nights stay in Tel Aviv – around 300 NIS in a hostel

*Tel Aviv nightlife expenses – around 70 NIS (online booking with D-TLV Pub Crawl – highly recommended!)

*Tel Aviv Art Museum – 50 NIS

*Bus ride from Tel Aviv to Safed – around 42 NIS

*Night in Safed – around 100 NIS in a hostel

*Bus ride from Safed to Jerusalem – around 61 NIS

*2 nights in Jerusalem – around 200 NIS in a hostel

*Jerusalem nightlife expenses – around 50 NIS (online booking with Abraham Hostels Pub Crawl – highly recommended!)

*City of David – 28 NIS

*The Israel Museum – 54 NIS (or Yad Vashem for free)

*2 nights in Eilat – around 140 NIS

*Coral Reef Nature Reserve – 35 NIS

To make your life easier with transportation, purchase a Rav-Kav transportation card at the Ben Gurion Airport or in one of the main bus stations. Read my Full Guide to Public Transportation in Israel.

Keep in mind that there is no public transportation during Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening) and Jewish holidays, so make sure that you don’t plan to ride a bus on a day there isn’t transportation.

Have a great Summer in Israel!

Want help planning your trip to Israel?

You’re welcome to contact me for trip planning services.

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Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comment or through my Facebook Page – Backpack Israel.

And don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like a guided tour of Jerusalem when you come this summer!

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Eilat Tel Aviv Transportation Trip Planning Tips

Entering Israel By Air – All You Need to Know

There are three ways to get into Israel: by land, by sea, and by air. Most people enter by air, so I figured you might be one of those people. In this post, I’ve covered all you need to know about entering Israel through the airport. So, are you ready to take off?!

Post lasted updated: 2 September 2021.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no extra cost to you. These links help me keep the website alive! Thanks!

Table of contents:

Where should you land in Israel?

There are two international airports in Israel: Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) and Ramon Airport (ETM). So, where should you land? It depends what you want to see, how much time do you have, and what’s your budget.

Ben Gurion Airport is the biggest airport in Israel, situated about 25 km from Tel Aviv and about 53 km from Jerusalem. Ramon Airport, on the other hand, is in the south, about 20 km from Eilat. For comparison, it is about 295 km from Tel Aviv.

Landing at Ben Gurion Airport:

Here are some reasons why you should choose to land at Ben Gurion Airport:

  • It is the closest international airport to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. If you want to visit them and don’t have much time, this is the airport for you! There is regular public transportation from Ben Gurion to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (not including Shabbat). It will probably take you about 30-60 minutes to reach your destination. If you’ll land at Ramon Airport, there’s at least a 4-5 hours’ drive to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
  • It’s also much closer to the North. If you want to travel to the northern regions of Israel, it makes much more sense to land in Ben Gurion Airport. 
  • The transportation from the airport is great! You can easily get on a train, a bus, a taxi or a sherut and get to wherever you wish to go. Note – this changes a bit on Shabbat and holidays (for more details – read There’s No Public Transportation on Shabbat). In Ramon Airport, public transportation is much more limited. Though, there are regular buses to Eilat and taxis are waiting for passengers.

Landing at Ramon Airport:

Here are some reasons why you should choose to land at Ramon Airport:

  • It’s the closest airport to Eilat. If you want to enjoy a vacation in the sunny city of Eilat, this is the airport for you. From Ramon Airport, you can reach Eilat within 30-45 minutes. It’s much better than making the whole way down to Eilat from Ben Gurion Airport, a ride that takes about 6 hours by bus. 
  • It’s the closest to the desert. The Israeli desert is enchanting. Ramon Airport, which lies in the yellow strip of the Arava region, is surrounded by the desert. So, you can just get off the plane and start hiking in the area. 
  • It’s the closest to the land border crossings into Jordan and Egypt. If you want to visit Petra in Jordan, the border crossing is about an hour away from Ramon Airport. Take bus 30, get off at Rabin Border Crossing on road 90, and walk about 15 minutes to the border. You can also reach the Taba border crossing within an hour and enter Sinai (Egypt). Take bus 30 from the airport to the Taba border. 
  • It’s an airport for low-cost flights, which means it is the perfect airport for budget travelers!

Get ready for the Israeli airport security:

The security checks for those entering Israel are very tough, maybe the toughest in the world. Not all tourists are checked thoroughly when entering Israel, but if for some reason you’ll arouse suspicion, security might ask you lots of questions. Usually, those delayed in the airport are people who have publicly supported the Palestinian cause.

Anyway, get prepared for some questions that might seem a bit too personal. Don’t take it personally. The people asking you questions in Immigration and Security only want to make sure everyone is safe. So answer honestly and provide all the details they need, so you won’t have to get stuck in this process for too long.

Here are some questions you might be asked:

  • What is your name? It’s written on your passport, but they want to hear it from you. They might ask you more about your name if it’s an Arab name.
  • Why did you visit an Islamic country? If you have an Islamic country’s stamp on your passport, that might make them wonder what you’ve done there. Unlike Islamic countries, that deny entry for people with Israeli stamps, Israel will not deny entry for people who have stamps of Islamic countries. But, keep in mind that they might question you more because of this.
  • Where are you planning to stay? If you’re staying at a friend’s house, you’ll probably be asked about that friend.
  • Why are you traveling alone?

Important to note:

Several tourists told me that the security check was more thorough when they were leaving Israel. The security people asked them the same questions over and over again. “It felt like an investigation,” they said. The security people might also take your passport for inspection, so don’t get panicked. It happens to many people on their way out of Israel. Just answer the questions politely and consistently, and you’ll be fine. And if they ask to check your shoes, that’s also ok as long as you didn’t hide anything there.

Get out of the airport:

Getting from Ben Gurion Airport to…

Let’s say you decided to land in Ben Gurion Airport. How do you get out of the airport?

Of course, you can always take a taxi, but I want to give you more affordable ways. On Shabbat, a taxi might be your only option. The taxis are parked outside Terminal 3, on the ground floor, next to gate #3. To Tel Aviv, the ride should cost around 100-190 Shekels, depending on the day and time. To Jerusalem, it should cost around 170 to 350 Shekels. To Haifa, it should cost aorund 335 to 600 Sheksls. Try to find more companions for the ride to lower the cost.

Here are more affordable ways to get out of Ben Gurion Airport:

To Tel Aviv:

  • Take the train to one of the stations in Tel Aviv. It costs only 16 shekels.
  • Take Kavim bus number 445. The bus leaves from Terminal 3, G level, gate #1. It operates 24 hours a day from Sunday to Thursday, leaving the airport every hour on the hour. On Fridays, the service is from 4 AM to 4 PM, and on Saturdays, from 9 PM. There are several stops in Tel Aviv, near hotels and hostels. The ride costs around 9 shekels.
The Kavim bus logo. Look for it!

To Jerusalem:

  • Take Afikim bus number 485. The bus leaves from Terminal 3, G level, gate #1. It drops you off near the central bus station in Jerusalem. The bus leaves every hour on the hour. The ride costs only 16 shekels and takes about one hour.
The Afikim bus logo. Look for it!
  • Use the Nesher shared shuttle. It leaves whenever it’s full. There are 10 seats in each shuttle. It should drop you at your stay option in Jerusalem, but it’s best to check with the driver. The ride costs 64 shekels per person. Keep in mind that it might take time until the shuttle will get to your destination, as it drops off everyone else at their destinations as well.
  • Take the train to Jerusalem. It will take you to Jerusalem Central Station (Yitzhak Navon) within about 30 minutes. It costs about 17 ILS one way.

To Haifa:

  • Take the train to one of the stations in Haifa. It costs about 35 shekels.
  • Use the Amal shared shuttle. It leaves whenever it’s full. The ride costs 115 shekels and takes about an hour and a quarter. It is possible to be dropped off at your accommodation.

Before you leave the airport:

Make sure to get the Rav Kav transportation card, which will enable you to use public transportation in Israel. There is a selling point in the Arrivals Hall. Read more about it in my post – Full Guide to Public Transportation in Israel.

Getting from Ramon Airport to…

Let’s say you decided to land in Ramon Airport. How do you get out of the airport?

To Eilat:

  • Take Egged bus number 30 or 50, which leaves the airport every 20-30 minutes to Eilat (also on Shabbat). Line 30 stops at the Central Bus Station, and line 50 goes through the hotel area and stops at the Taba border. The ride costs about 5 shekels and takes about 30 minutes. You can buy tickets on the bus.
  • Take a taxi. It should cost around 85 ILS during the day and more during the night or on Shabbat. Also, if you have luggage you might be charged a bit more.
  • Rent a car.  There are several car rental companies operating in the airport, including Shlomo Sixt, Budget, and Albar. Renting a car will cost at least 300 shekels a day.

Conclusion:

Israel is a small country, so don’t worry too much about the airport you pick. Though, if you’re short on time, try to pick the nearest airport to your destinations. The most important thing is to stay calm when entering Israel and passing through airport security. Enjoy your trip!

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Yours,

Lior

Categories
Festivals & holidays Jerusalem Tel Aviv

Best December Festivals in Israel

There are two major holidays celebrated in December: the Jewish Chanukah and the Christian Christmas. So, before I tell you about the other festivals and events, let me tell you a few words about celebrating Chanukah and Christmas in Israel:

Celebrating Chanukah in Israel: Chanukah is celebrated for eight nights and days, this year during December 2-10. During the holiday, in major squares you might see huge menorahs being lighted using electric bulbs and smaller menorahs sitting on the windowsills of houses. On the smaller menorahs you’ll see candles with real fire. You’ll also be able to enjoy the delicious jelly doughnuts (“suf-ga-nee-ot”) that are sold in every bakery shop.

Celebrating Christmas in Israel: Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem. This makes Israel a perfect place to celebrate the holiday! Come experience the prayers and the beautiful Christmas decorations. The best places to celebrate Christmas in Israel are Bethlehem (in the West Bank territory), Jerusalem, Nazareth, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. You can join Abraham Tour’s Christmas Tour in Bethlehem.

For more info, visit Holidays in Israel and How to Spend Them During Travel.

Jacob’s Ladder Festival –

One of the biggest musical events along the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Kineret). The festival will take place in the Nof Ginosar Hotel throughout the weekend. The program will include many types of music, including folk music, Jazz, Swing, Blues and World Music. Tickets are required to participate, so hurry before they’ll be sold out.

When? December 1-2, 2018.

Official site: Jacob’s Ladder Festival.

Looking for places to stay in the area? Check out the Tiberias Hostel or try to find good deals for hotels in Tiberias through hotelscombined.

Sounds of Music in the Desert Festival –

A wonderful festival, that brings to the Israeli desert some of the best Israeli musical artists. If you wish to experience Israeli music in the beautiful Israeli desert scene, this is the festival for you. Tickets are required to participate. Sadly, I couldn’t find a website in English, but you can try talking with the festival’s organizers by calling +972-50-5545501. There is also an option of purchasing the tickets on site. The festival takes place in Kibbutz Sde Boker.

When? December 5-8, 2018.

Jerusalem Jazz Festival – Come enjoy three days full of jazz in Jerusalem. During the festival, you can enjoy intimate shows in the Israel Museum (tickets required) and free jam sessions in the Yellow Submarine (on Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30PM).

When? December 12-14, 2018.

Official site: Jerusalem Jazz Festival.

Looking for places to stay in the area? Try finding good deals for hotels in Jerusalem through hotelscombined.

Cheap Jerusalem Tours on Saturdays:

Every weekend, the Jerusalem Municipality organizes interesting tours of Jerusalem, that leave at 10:00 AM from the Safra Plaza (Kikar Safra) next to the City Hall. There are tours are in English, costing only 15 ILS each. It’s worth checking out.

For more info, visit their site: Free Saturday Tours.

Will keep you updated on more events when I know about them! If you know of anything, I will very much appreciate if you leave the details in the comments. Thanks!

Have a wonderful weekend and Shabbat Shalom (:


This post has been updated for December 2018.

If you liked this post or found it useful, I’ll be glad to get a like, share or comment from you (:

Also, feel free to follow this blog and like my Facebook Page – Backpack Israel.

And check out my new app – Travel Israel for Android and iOS

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Food Tel Aviv

“The Best Falafel in Tel Aviv”

I’m not a big fan of falafel, but people here love it. Two days ago I met a young girl who is part of an interesting program named “אחי ישראלי” (or in translation to English: “My Brother is Israeli”). I can tell a lot of interesting stories about our meeting, which took place thanks to CoachSurfing, but today I would like to concentrate on the falafel side of the story.

The truth is, we didn’t talk a lot about falafel. We just talked a bit about my website, Backpack Israel, amongst other things, and then she said that I should recommend a specific falafel place in Tel Aviv, located on King George Street. “They sell the greatest falafel I’ve ever tasted, and it’s only 6 shekels for a meal!” she said. But when I looked on the Internet for a falafel place on that street, I found a lot of results.

“There’s no way I’m going to find your falafel place!” I said.

She said she’ll search for it for me and after a few minutes she found the place. “Falafel Ratzon,” she said, “That’s the one.”

Then she took a peice of tissue paper and wrote the details down on it:

“Falafel Ratzon

King George 17

Tel Aviv”

So if you want to taste one of the best falafels in Tel Aviv, you should make your way to Ratzon’s. 6 Shekels is without a doubt a superb price! Enjoy.

Opening Hours: Sundays to Thursdays from 10:00 to 20:00, Fridays from 10:00 to 15:00.

Visit Falafel Ratzon’s Facebook page – here.

Categories
Free things to do Tel Aviv

Greeting You in Tel Aviv – Free Walking Tours

Are you planning on coming to Tel Aviv soon and wondering what’s the best way to see the city? Well, the best way to see it is through a local’s point of view. And that’s why I recommend you to check out the wondeful program – Tel Aviv Greeter.

To be honest, I’ve only heard about this program a few days ago, when I stumbled upon “Live, Laugh, Leipzig“, an interesing blog written by a couple who jumped for a short visit to Israel. I highly recommend checking out their impressions from Israel. Very valuable info in there…

So, back to Tel Aviv Greeter. The couple from “Live, Laugh, Leipzig” loved the concept. I myself haven’t used the program, so they are the only ones that can really recommend it firsthand.

I did take a look in the program’s website. The service is given to foreign travellers by Tel Aviv residents, who love their city and want to show you around for free. There is no tipping policy as well. They will show you around the city for about 2-3 hours and then you can start wandering around by your own.

How do you get a Greeter? You need to fill out a form through the official website of the program, preferably at least three weeks before your planned visit, so that the organizers can try to match you the perfect Greeter.

The official “Tel Aviv Greeter” website: http://www.telavivgreeter.com/.

Did you use “Tel Aviv Greeter” while traveling in Israel? Do you know of some other cool program that can help budget travellers? I will be happy to hear about your experiences in the comments or here- through my contact form.

Categories
Festivals & holidays Jerusalem Tel Aviv

The Best May Festivals in Israel

In Israel we like to have fun, celebrate occasions, discover new things and just enjoy our time. If you’re planning to come to Israel in May, you might want to know about some of the best festivals taking place in Israel at that time of year. Here are three of the best festivals taking place in May:

Light in Jerusalem Festival

This light festival is one of the most impressive festivals in Israel, taking place in Jerusalem. You can wander around the Old City of Jerusalem and admire the beautiful works of art that lighten up the Old City Walls. I’ve been to this festival last year and was enchanted by the wonderful light shows! Free of charge.

Where? The Old City of Jerusalem.

When? 25th of May until 2nd of June.

For more info, check the official site of Light in Jerusalem Festival 2016.

International Photography Festival

If you’re interested in photogrpahy and planning to visit Tel Aviv-Jaffa while in Israel this May, you should take part in this great festival. Hundreds of photographers will showcase their works of art in the different galleries, and many more photographic activities will take place. The festival requires an entry fee. 

Where? Jaffa Port and The Old City.

When? 23rd of April until 7th of May.

For more info, check the official site of international Photography Festival.

Jacob’s Ladder Festival

One of the leading music festivals in Israel, taking place next to the Sea of Galilee (Kineret). This is the festival for all you music lovers. You can enjoy many different concerts, alongside other activities, such as dance and music workshops and yoga sessions. There’s planty of room for tents. The festival requires an entry fee. 

Where? Nof Ginosar, situated next to Kibbutz Ginosar, next to the Sea of Galilee.

When? 19-21 of May.

For more info, check the official site of Jacob’s Ladder Festival.