Jerusalem is one of the oldest and most iconic cities in the world primarily for its religious significance to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But if you remove all the religious underpinnings would the city still merit a visit? Definitely, yes. It is home to a number of intriguing archeological sites (Jerusalem Archeological Park, Broad Wall, Ramparts Wall, Western Wall Tunnels, and so on), fun shopping centers (Jerusalem Mall, Alrov Manilla Avenue, The Cardo, and others), informative museums (Tower of David Museum, Bloomfield Science Museum, Museum of Islamic Art, and so on), and amazing outdoor destinations. It is an exciting holiday destination and here are a few tips when getting to Jerusalem.
When getting to Jerusalem by air, your plane will come in at Ben-Gurion airport, the main international airport servicing flights from North America, Europe and other important global locations. Over 50 international carriers arrive here regularly from major North American and European cities. (There are non-stop flights from New York to Jerusalem.)
The airport, referred to by locals as Natbag, is about 45 minutes away from Jerusalem and 20 minutes from Tel Aviv. However, the train and buses from the airport do not go directly to the heart of Jerusalem. You can take a taxi if you’re in a hurry or if you have the money for fare. It costs about 200 NIS or USD50. There are shared taxi vans called sherut (a 14-seater mini-bus) going to Jerusalem. They are much cheaper than a private taxi, although getting into a crowded mini-bus could be very inconvenient when traveling with baggage.
If you intend to take the bus, you can board the Egged Bus but only up to the Central Bus Station. From there, you have to take another local bus that goes to your final destination.
When getting to Jerusalem by land, know that the city is connected to several parts of Israel by train. The Israel Railway system centers on Tel Aviv and connects to several important destinations including Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion airport. The train from Tel Aviv passes through Lod, Ramla, Bet Shemesh, and finally to Malkha train station at the southern part of Jerusalem.
The bus is also quite convenient if you decide to take it. Egged Bus is the main bus line in Israel and it goes to Jerusalem from several parts of the country. Israel is a small country and traveling around on a bus is not difficult to do. There are other bus companies such as Metrodan, Nazareth Transport and United Nazareth Buses. There are also intercity buses that go all the way to Cairo, Egypt and Amman, Jordan.
Finally, getting to Jerusalem by sea is a bit pricey on board a cruise ship from the Mediterranean or Europe. Boating into the city is very scenic if you can afford the cruise or own a private ship. Jerusalem does not have a port, but several tourists regularly purchase tour packages that include a visit to the Dead Sea.
With coordinates 31°47’N, 35°15’E, the city is located on the Judean Hills, about 30 kilometers from the Jordan River to the east. Jerusalem is more commonly referred to as the Holy City and City of Gold. Getting to Jerusalem opens up to so many exciting tours and vacation experiences for you, just make sure you have a valid passport as you arrive at the Ben-Gurion airport. The best months to visit are from May to September (peak season), but hotels are less expensive from November to March (off season).