Most of the travellers and visitors arrive in Israel through the Ben Gurion Airport. Terminal 3 receives most of the major airlines whereas Terminal 2 is for the budget airlines. Recently, Ramon International Airport was opened in Eilat in 2018 which has replaced Eilat’s city centre airport. It now holds the status of the second International airport in Israel. The Ben Gurion International Airport is located 50 kilometres from Jerusalem and 18 kilometres from central Tel Aviv. We advise you to check in three hours prior to your scheduled flight since Israeli airport security is rather tight. Also note that Israel has a private flag carrier known as El Al that provides direct flights to European cities, along with the US and Canada, India, Thailand and China.
Some of the airlines flying from India to Israel are El Al Israel, Air India, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific. Air India flights from New Delhi to Tel Aviv have now been increased to four times a week owing to the rise in tourist arrivals from India. This is deemed to be the fastest nonstop flight from India to Israel, covering the distance in approximately seven hours and twenty-five minutes.
It would be advisable to book your tickets well in advance, especially if you are travelling in the peak season.
Reaching Israel by rail from India is impossible for known reasons. However, once you reach Israel, it is quite easy to get around on its efficient and value for money rail network. You will find that once you reach the Ben Gurion Airport, you will get train services between Central Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Akko and Beer Sheva. Note that these trains are scheduled between every thirty minutes or an hour or two to and from Jerusalem. You will also find that these trains give you services such as Wi-Fi, restrooms and power sockets.
You will find three types of trains in Israel –the frequently-used red double deck and the blue single deck and then the Danish designed trains ones running from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
It is not plausible to reach Israel by road all the way from India for obvious reasons. However, if you are still adamant on making your way to Israel via road, we have a few options for you. Take a flight to Egypt or Jordan for that matter, since it is easy to enter Israel by road from these routes. However, do note that the procedures, timings and schedules continuously change at these four crossings (one with Egypt and three with Jordan). Hence, do check that out before you leave the airport or the hotel you are residing in. Make sure that you have plenty of cash in both the currencies before you start your journey. Note that while Israel issues visas at each of its crossings, you will have to apply for Jordanian visas on your way back in advance.
Note that each of Israel’s border crossings are heavily militarised and it could be rather daunting to attempt entering and exiting the country. However, it could also count as an experience that will remain etched in your minds for a lifetime. Many tourists and locals take buses from the Allenby Bridge to Israel with staggering images of bombed-out buildings and lifeless military vehicles.
Note that the two peaceful borders to reach Israel are in Egypt and Jordan and are open to tourists and locals. Make sure that you do not lose the card sized slip paper that you are issued while on the border if you wish to leave the country smoothly.
The various land crossing options to enter and exit the country are - Israel to Jordan, West Bank to Jordan and Israel to Egypt (here you could take the Taba crossing, just South of Eliat on the Red Sea).
Note that important borders are closed or closed early during occasions such as Ramadan, Eid AL Adha (King Hussein Bridge closed) Muslim New Year (land crossings with Jordan are closed) and Yom Kippur (all Israeli borders and airports remain shut).
Israel has a wide range of transportation means as well as a plethora of well-connected transportation routes to enable locals and tourists as they get around the state and its various cities and villages. From local bus services to private buses, city-suburban rail services, the local Sherut to taxis and cabs, one has many options after stepping out of the airport.
Getting around Israel is quite easy in the many local buses that traverse around its major cities. However, you could find reading numbers from the bus plates a little difficult if you are not familiar with the Hebrew language. Worry not, a friendly local or a bus driver will be around to heed your call for help. Note that except mid-afternoons on Fridays till late afternoons on Saturdays, intercity buses run at all times. However, bus services to Eilat and Majdal Shams are always accessible. City buses operate from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. If you wish to figure out bus stops in cities, note that they are marked by a yellow metal flag with the route numbers and destinations mentioned on it. Don’t be worried if you only see the Hebrew language, check the other side and you will find this information in the English language as well.
If you are looking for some out-of-the-box adventure, you will see that quite a few ferries link old Akko’s marina with the port in Haifa on weekdays and Saturdays. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes.
If you wish to travel at your own pace, note that you do not need an international driving licence, but your regular driving licence is good enough. You can always hire a car in the major cities of Israel; however, it would make more sense to use this service in remote areas of Hilly Haifa, Galilee, Golan and Negev where there are not many bus services available. If you want an airport pickup, note that there is an additional charge for the same.
These thirteen-seater vans have a fixed route along with a pre-decided price. However, these vans do not have set stops like a bus. If you are in a hurry to reach your destination, the Sherut is a not good idea. These start their journey from an identified taxi rank and do not leave till all the seats are occupied. Note that these are the only means of transport in Israel during Jewish holidays and Shabbat especially between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
While hiring a non-sharing taxi could give you your own space and privacy, note that sometimes the local taxi drivers do attempt to rip you off by overcharging you. Just sound confident when you direct the driver to your address so that he knows you can’t be fooled. Also, make sure that you ask the driver to turn the meter on.
There are a number of passenger rail services run by the Israel Railways. Also note that Israel’s rail system is wheelchair accessible. The frequently used lines run along the coast, twice an hour and provide a good view of the Mediterranean since it connects Tel Aviv to Haifa, Akko and Nahariya.
When you’re contemplating how to travel in Israel, all the above options should be considered before you take your pick!
So, if you’re planning your engaging adventure, check out our amazing Israel Tour Packages. You can arrange for your flights and tickets to visit the Land of Museums at Thomas Cook!