When getting around Jerusalem, your first form of transport is your very own pair of shoes or sandals. Israel is a small country; the historic city of Jerusalem is not so large as well. It is considered by many as a walker’s town, which means you can cover plenty of tourist grounds by simply taking a hike from your hotel going to any direction. But if you wish to see more of the city, there are several city buses, taxis and rental cars to help you get around. The Jerusalem Railroad system is also quite efficient.
Getting around Jerusalem by plane begins as you arrive at the Ben-Gurion international airport. From there, you can get a taxi, minivan or a bus that goes to the heart of Jerusalem, which is known to many as the City of Gold.
When getting around Jerusalem on land, the cheapest and most common choice of transport should be the public bus or the Egged bus, to be specific. Majority of the population do not own a car, and so Israelis take the Egged bus for their daily commute. This means two things for you: (1) you can go to major destinations and (2) you can observe authentic Jerusalem way of living on an Egged bus.
There are several bus routes but you should learn these as you observe closely or ask help. Israelis are very helpful and friendly, and the streets are quite safe. The first destination that you should be familiar with is the Central Bus Station. It is an important city landmark and it can get you to anywhere in the city and other cities nearby. It is also near shopping malls and other facilities; going there could be fun even when you’re not really looking to ride a bus.
While you can get a bus ride from very early in the morning to very late in the evening, you should know that everything in Jerusalem stops on the Sabbath. This means there are no buses from Friday evening to Saturday night. This is the best time to do your sightseeing on foot.
Another way around the city is on a taxi or rented car. This is perfect if you wish to go private and if you have the budget for fare. There are several rental car services in the city but only if you have an international driver’s license and are over 18. Be warned, however, one-way streets in Jerusalem are very confusing and there are not many parking spaces. Taking a taxi remains to be the fastest and most convenient way to get around this beautiful city.
There are taxis everywhere and you can flag anyone, anytime and anywhere. Jerusalem cab drivers are very friendly but, as it is true with most cab drivers anywhere in the world, they will do their best to make money out of you. Make sure they turn on the meter as you hop in and say your destination. If you wish to negotiate for a fixed price, make sure that you have an idea on how much a trip should cost.
Getting around Jerusalem by boat is not possible since the city does not have a port. Tour packages to the Holy City, however, often include a trip to the Dead Sea or the Jordan River.
When getting to Jerusalem, keep in mind that you are visiting one of the oldest and most popular cities in the world. Be prepared to have a time of your life as you will be transported back in time and to a world that’s completely different from your own.