The Israel transportation system offers a variety of services to ensure that travelers get where they need to go during their vacation in this part of the Middle East. When traveling in such a historic area, sightseeing is typically a large part of any vacation itinerary, and one of the most important elements required for a memorable trip is readily available transportation.
The compact size of the country makes it a perfect vacation destination for bus travel in Israel though car rentals through major companies such as Avis, Budget, and Hertz are also available at Ben Gurion Airport and in large cities. Taxis also provide service to destinations within the cities, and some are available for more extensive trips throughout the surrounding area.
Renting a car in Israel is a convenient way to sightsee at your own leisure. Israel's road system is extensive and well-marked with applicable signs and directions, but it can become congested in the larger cities. For vacationers planning to rent a car, the driver must be at least 21 years of age with a valid international license and credit card.
The Israel railways are another option with fast, comfortable, and efficient trains utilizing a network of tracks covering airports, large cities, and the surrounding areas. In Tel Aviv, the Israel railways can make the trip from the Ben Gurion airport to the city in less than fifteen minutes, making the train a faster alternative to shuttles and taxis. Most train routes provide light snacks, sandwiches, and beverages for passengers.
Two popular types of Israel transportation involve taxis: local or intercity taxis, and service taxes. Local taxis within a city charge by the meter, and intercity taxis area available for hire to travel to and from most major cities in the country with set fares. Intercity routes include trips from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat, Tiberias, and Netanya to Rekhovot, Ramle, Hadera, Afula, and Nazareth.
Service taxis travel established routes locally and to surrounding cities that include Jerusalem, Haifa, and Be'er Sheva. The service taxi is designed for multiple passengers requiring travelers to wait until the taxi is full and is something in between a private taxi and a bus. They are a popular mode of transportation and travel specific intercity and local routes that generally align with the bus services. Fares are determined by distance and are comparable to a bus ticket. The service taxi has designated stops along the route but travelers can request a separate stop.
Bus travel in Israel provides an inexpensive mode of public transportation for intercity and local destinations. Because Israel buses are a major source of transportation, it is one of the largest bus transportation systems in existence, next to the Greyhound options in North America.
Tickets to use bus travel in Israel are available at booths located in each main station in cities or can be purchased from the driver. Most Israel buses suspend service on Jewish holidays and during Shabbat, beginning Friday at sundown and resuming at the end of the day on Saturday. The Egged bus company is the major operator of Israel buses, providing service with more than 3,000 buses for passengers and traveling more than 27,000 routes to destinations across the country.
If you’re staying in the Mediterranean region and are interested in an unusual form of transportation, the Carmelite funicular subway system in Haifa is the only system of its kind in Israel. Opened in 1959, the railway services the metro area with several stops along its route.