Best Ways to Visit Jerusalem from Tel Aviv

Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Photo by Dmitry Mishin

Most travelers base themselves in Tel Aviv and from there make day trips or tours to Jerusalem and other parts of the country. There are several ways of traveling between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Some routes are cheaper than others and some journeys will take longer.

When planning your trip you’ll probably hear about the Israeli public transport’s “Rav Kav” smartcard which can be loaded with credit and used for trains and buses. But you can also buy tickets online, on the bus or in train and bus stations. You’ll also hear the word “kav” which simply means “line” as in route.  

Remember when planning your journey from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem that public transport is scarce on Shabbat (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown).

Buses from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Two bus routes connect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The 480 leaves Tel Aviv’s Arlozorov Train Station every 10 minutes and arrives at Jerusalem Central Bus Station. Kav 405 leaves from Tel Aviv Central Bus Station and arrives in Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station.

Both routes take about 50 minutes to reach Jerusalem and leave every 10-20 minutes. The cost of a bus ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is about 18 ILS one-way or 30 ILS return. Tickets can be bought on board or at the ticket booth at the Central Bus station.

Sherut Taxis from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Light rail transportation in Jerusalem
Light rail transportation in Jerusalem. Photo by Dmitry Mishin

A Sherut Bus (Service taxi) is a shared taxi mini-van which can run 24/7. There are no personal door-to-door pick-ups but you can catch a Sherut from Tzemach David Street near the central bus station or wave one down on the street.

There are no official bus stops but there is a predetermined route and you can get on and off anywhere you want along that route. The journey between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem costs about 35-50 ILS one way.

The pro with this form of transport is that Sherut buses run on Shabbat unlike regular buses.

The con is that the mini-van won’t leave until it is full (about 10 passengers). This is not a good option if you are traveling with luggage as it is a little cramped.

Trains from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

The regular train route between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem takes about 1.5-2 hours and travels through stunning countryside earning it the nickname “the Switzerland Route.”

With this route you can leave from Tel Aviv-HaHagana station; Tel Aviv-HaShalom; Tel Aviv-Savidor Center or Tel Aviv-University station. The train travels through Lod and Ramla before reaching Bet Shemesh where you need to disembark; wait about 12 minutes; change platforms and continue your journey on a connecting train.

The train arrives in Jerusalem at the Biblical Zoo and continues on to Jerusalem-Malha station. A train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo and Malha stations costs about 20 ILS one way. There are discounts for seniors, disabled, under 18 yrs and students.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem
The Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo by Dmitry Mishin

High Speed Train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

In December 2019 a new, high speed electric train route opened which connects Tel Aviv’s HaHagana Station (and soon other stations will be added starting with Savidor Central) to Jerusalem’s Yitzhak Navon Station with one stop at Ben Gurion.

This fast route takes only about 32 minutes and leaves twice every hour in each direction Sunday to Thursday 6:20-21:30. On Saturdays, the train runs only after 21:56, once an hour in each direction until midnight.

This exciting new route covers 56km including an 11.6km-long tunnel, the longest in Israel; a 90m-high bridge, the highest in Israel and a 1.25km-long bridge, the longest bridge in the country.

You’ll be arriving in the Yitzhak Navon Station, 80m below ground – one of the deepest railway stations in the world.

Taxis from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

You can catch a taxi from Tel Aviv and although this may be the most convenient way to travel, it is also the most expensive. A taxi between the two metropolis will cost 250 ILS – 350 ILS depending on the time of day (it is more expensive after 21:00, on weekends and holidays). 

Always insist that the taxi driver turns the meter on. There is also an extra charge for luggage, multiple stops and for more than two people.

Ask your hotel or hostel reception to order you a taxi; stop one on the street or download the Gett app.

The Best Way to Get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Of course, the absolute best way to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for your sightseeing is to join one of the Jerusalem tours that includes pick-up in Tel Aviv.

You can ask to be left in Jerusalem at the end of the tour if you want to stay on in the capital longer otherwise the tour will return you to Tel Aviv.

You can also book a private tour for just you and your family or friends and enjoy a VIP service; you will choose the pickup time, route and which locations to see, as well as private airport transfers, all in the specious air-conditioned private vehicle.

Whichever way you choose to visit Jerusalem the journey will be well worth it.

 

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