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Israel

I'm flying to Israel in a couple weeks and I don't know if I should rent a car or get around on the bus. I'd like to see Galilee, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and maybe Eilat/Jordan and I have 8 days to do it so I'm not sure what this itinerary should look like.

Posted by
8954 posts

On all my visits to Israel, I've used the excellent bus service. It actually one of the largest systems in the world, and will take you anywhere...even the Dead Sea/Masada, and all the locations you listed. Having said that, I do know others who have rented a car and had no problems. Israel also has a new intercity rail system servicing the main cities. I haven't been to Israel since the trains started up, so I can't say how efficient the service is.

Posted by
42 posts

Thanks Michael. I'd rather not drive if I don't have to, especially if it's anything like driving in Greece.

Posted by
42 posts

I imagine you can just buy tickets from the driver, right? Even for long-distance?

Posted by
14404 posts

Hi Brady. Jerusalem - you do NOT want a car. Traffic is miserable and parking is worse. You can easily get around by taxi (not expensive except in traffic snarls), bus and on foot. Dead Sea - easy to do a day trip by public bus from Jerusalem. Galilee - if you mean around the Sea of Galilee, best with a car. Many important sites are not on the bus routes and are not concentrated in one area. Eilat/Jordan - you can't take a rental car across the border from Israel to Jordan. If you really really really want to see Petra, please visit the Israel forum at tripadvisor.com where all the options are discussed in great detail. I recommend you skip it on your first visit and assume you will be back. I would allocate at least 3 days to Jerusalem, 1 to the Dead Sea, and at least 2 in the Sea of Galilee area. I would spend a day in Akko (Acre). Most buses do not operate during "shabbat" - the stop about an hour before sunset on Friday and resume service an hour or 2 after sunset on Saturday. Outside the major cities (Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa), driving is pretty easy, signs are in English (and Hebrew and Arabic), and the roads in the Galilee are very good. Do PM me if you'd like more info.

Posted by
1568 posts

BTW, you are going in a perfect time of the year. I would suggest you staying in Tiberias for 1 night. We stayed at the Gai Beach Hotel in Tiberias....wonderful food and service. During Shabbat is a good time to go to Old Jerusalem. You can always return to the Jewish Section another day. Would also suggest you go to Masada if possible. And stay a day at Ein Bokek right on the Dead Sea. You will have a wonderful trip....Enjoy!

Posted by
42 posts

Thanks guys, one more question. Will my Greek cell phone work in Israel in case I need to make an emergency call?

Posted by
14404 posts

I don't know about cell phones from other countries (not good with tech stuff). Best to ask your provider in Crete/Greece. I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but here it is still unbelievably hot - in the 30's still, though Jerusalem is a bit cooler. Be sure to check the long-term forecast before you pack. You will probably get a better car rental rate by booking on the internet in advance - you can always cancel. Be sure to check what insurance coverage you need - depending on what coverage you may have through your credit card. Insurance costs here can add significantly to the cost. Eldan is the largest local rental company and usually very good, so compare them with the int'l outfits - Avis, Budget, etc. Let me know if you need anything else.

Posted by
42 posts

I've got a good itinerary for this one. Thanks Chani, I didn't realize it was still so hot over there.

Posted by
135 posts

Jerusalem and floating in the Dead Sea and putting on the mud were our best experiences.

Posted by
42 posts

Yeah it was a great trip, I really enjoyed Jerusalem and Masada. Tel Aviv bars were awesome too.