Budget Accommodation in Israel
So you’ve decided to book a trip to Israel? Well, first of all, congratulations - or ‘Mazel tov’ as we say in Hebrew! Trust us, you’re going to have a perfect vacation. Not only is this country full of bucket list attractions - from holy sites and archaeological remains to sandy beaches, lush green hills and silent deserts - but it’s also a great choice of holiday for the independent traveller. Most people speak English (and many speak it fluently), public transport is widespread and cheap and since Israel is the ultimate ‘start up nation’ you can be sure there’ll be all kinds of modern conveniences to make your trip a pleasure.
Once you’ve booked your flight, arranged your Corona paperwork (welcome to the Brave New World) and bought your travel insurance, the big question you’re going to face is what kind of accommodation to choose. And let’s face it - this is really important because where you choose to sleep is going to take up a considerable part of your budget.
Now, one thing we have to admit is that Israel is not a cheap country to visit - and luxury hotels are eye-wateringly costly. Even so, that shouldn’t be a reason for you to avoid visiting, because there are plenty of ways to travel in Israel on a budget one of the best ones being to seek out accommodation that won’t break the bank. And the good news is that there’s something for every price range, whether you’re in the big cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem or roaming around the Galilee or Negev desert.
From youth hostels in Jerusalem and cheap hotels in Haifa to private sublets in Tel Aviv, kibbutz accommodation in Galilee, and Airbnb rentals in Eilat, you just have to know where to search, and that’s where we come in. Take a look at some of our recommendations for affordable accommodation in Israel - and once you’ve booked one, hop on your flight and start enjoying yourself!
1. Budget Hostels in Israel
So fear not if the swanky Waldorf Astoria and ritzy Royal Beach are out of your reach, because there are still plenty of affordable options all over Israel, ensuring you can stay somewhere clean, comfortable and well-situated, without having to take out a mortgage. And the first option is budget hostels.
Budget Hostels in Tel Aviv, Israel
The Spot - located in the Tel Aviv Port (Namal), and just a stone’s throw from the beach, the Spot Hostel offers a wide range of accommodation from ‘pods’ and ‘mini rooms’ as well as singles/doubles/family options. Close to the famous Dizengoff Street, and also Yarkon Park, they have a bar, screening room, co-working space and a great local breakfast included in the price. They also offer walking tours of Tel Aviv, beer workshops (!) and ‘open mic’ nights.
Florentin Hostel - set in the cool, hipster neighbourhood of Florentin, sandwiched between Neve Tzedek and Jaffa, this modern five-floor building is clean, comfortable and quiet and, according to travellers, has spotless bathrooms! Popular with young backpackers, Florentin Hostel offers travellers the use of a huge terrace, breakfast and free walking tours of Bauhaus Tel Aviv.
Florentin, Tel Aviv; Israel. Photo credit: © Jenny Ehrlich
Budget Hostels in Jerusalem, Israel
The Post - this hostel has a unique past - the building in which you’ll stay was once the Central Post Office of Jerusalem. Designed by the British Mandate, it was designed in an international style, with touches of Jerusalem design. Walking distance both from Mahane Yehuda Market and Jerusalem's Old City, the Post offer dorms and private rooms, as well as a large lounge, recreation room and rooftop bar! They also host bands, workshops and their kitchen is well-equipped.
Jaffa Gate Hostel - Set inside the Old City walls of Jerusalem, and an easy walking distance from the Tower of David, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, the Jaffa Gate Hostel offers both dorms and private rooms, late check-outs, no curfew and fantastic views from their rooftop. Consistently described in reviews as clean, friendly and inexpensive, it’s a slice of peace and quiet in the busy Old City of Jerusalem.
The Post Hostel Lobby, Jerusalem, Israel. Photo take from theposthostel.com
Budget Hostels in Eilat, Israel
Ahla Plus - situated in a modern village in central Eilat (10 minutes from the beach) Ahla Plus offers hammocks, swings, a common lounge and an enormous kitchen. Comfy and stylish dorm rooms and colourful decor throughout, you can hire bikes and obtain helpful information on dive stores in the city, if you want to explore the Red Sea underwater.
Budget Hostels in the Galilee, Israel
Aviv Hostel - in a charming stone building, just outside Tiberias, this small hostel is just 2 minutes by foot from the Sea of Galilee as well as 2km from Hamat Tiberias National Park. Described as ‘homey’ and ‘comfortable’ the staff are incredibly helpful (even if you arrive late at night!) and also has a terrace/rooftop bar with great views.
Budget Hostels in Haifa, Israel
Located in the charming neighbourhood of the German Colony, the owners of the Haifa hostel - Omer and Danielle - have a reputation for friendliness and the hostel itself is described as well-maintained, extremely clean and with great showers. They offer vegan pancakes with silan (date syrup) for breakfast, and the space has a ‘chilled’ vibe as well as a great co-working space.
Budget Hostels in the Golan Heights
Located in the Odem Forest national reserve, the Golan Heights hostel offers simply furnished rooms with free wifi, a shared living room, lockers and linens and a basketball court outside. Guests can use the kitchen and also the BBQ facilities outdoors. This is a good location if you want to horse ride, cycle, enjoy hiking trails or visit wineries. Mount Hermon, the Nimrod Fortress and the Banias Waterfalls are all within easy distance.
2. Cheap Hotels in Israel
Unlike many other countries, the Israeli hotel ranking system doesn’t put much stock in the star category system, arguing that in these times of Tripadvisor, it isn’t a reliable indicator of quality. In any event, whether they’re right or wrong, it’s certainly true that you can read reviews online before you book, and judge for yourself.
Cheap hotels in Tel Aviv, Israel
The Port Hotel - in the fashionable ‘Old North’ of Tel Aviv, and close to the Namal port and Hilton Beach is the Port Hotel, which offers small but modern rooms, all with a private bathroom, flatscreen tv and a mini-fridge. Their roof terrace affords panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea and the buffet breakfast is of good quality. Outside, you’re a stone’s throw from Dizengoff Street and Yarkon Park, and just a short cab ride from the city centre.
Savoy Sea Side Hotel - just 2 minutes walk from the beach, and also the Carmel Market, the central Savoy Sea Side offers ‘intimate hospitality with a European flavour. This boutique hotel has a minimalist design throughout, and some bedrooms come with a bathtub. Breakfast is served on the roof terrace and is rich and plentiful. Travellers really seem to appreciate the welcoming staff.
Cheap Hotels in Jerusalem, Israel
The Annexe - located in the Old City, just 600 metres from the Western Wall (Kotel), this gem of a budget hotel offers small and basic but clean and comfortable rooms each with its own kettle, desk and private bathroom. With its enviable location, it’s very close to some very popular sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of all Nations.
De Cardo - this small boutique hotel offers real value for money and is close to the Old City, as well as many eateries and bars (some of which are open on Shabbat). They have very affordable family rooms, and whilst facilities are basic, everything is very new and clean. They do not provide food, so you will have to find breakfast elsewhere. The light rail is close by, for travelling around Jerusalem.
Cheap Christian Hotels in Jerusalem, Israel
Austrian Hospice - Located on the Via Dolorosa, in the Old City, the Austrian Hospice has been welcoming Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem since 1854 and has a stellar reputation for clean, comfortable accommodation and a hearty breakfast. They offer both dorms and private rooms and can accommodate groups (although you must plan ahead). The view from their rooftop is to die for and they also have a cafe which serves marvellous Austrian food, including schnitzel and homemade apple strudel with cream! Highly recommended.
Rosary Sisters Convent Guesthouse - Situated just 5 minutes walk from the Old City, this comfortable and quiet guesthouse is run by nuns, whose profits are donated to charity. Accommodation includes 30 rooms (single, double, triple, some with baths) and dorms. They are clean and simple and everything is spotlessly clean. A continental breakfast is included in the price - lookout for the homemade preserves made of apricots from their garden. They also provide free coffee and tea all day.
Cheap Hotels in Eilat, Israel
Palms Hotel - Palms Hotel offers good value for money, featuring a swimming pool, a children’s club, sun terrace and rooms with air conditioning and mini-fridges. A typical Israeli breakfast is served each morning and the hotel is just 10 minutes walk from the beach, cafes and bars and Eilat’s main shopping area.
Cheap Hotels in the Dead Sea Area, Israel
The Dead Sea doesn’t have too many budget options, but one we would recommend is the Hi Ein Gedi Hostel. Clean and comfortable, it’s a great option, especially for families and the views from the bedroom balconies are fantastic. The breakfast/buffet dinners offer lots of fruits and vegetables and they offer packed breakfasts if you’re setting off early to climb Masada at sunrise! The only drawback is that they’re 30 km from the beach, so you’ll need a car.
Cheap Hotels in Galilee, Israel
Kibbutz Inbar Country Lodging - Nestled in the Galilee, this guest house/B&B has clean, comfortable lodgings for the independent traveller, as well as an outdoor pool (perfect for the hot months). Its location is excellent if you’re interested in exploring some of the most famous Christian pilgrimage sites in Galilee, including the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Capernaum and the Mount of Beatitudes.
Cheap Hotels in the Golan Heights, Israel
Zimmer Nof L’Hermon - a ‘zimmer’ in Israel is a cabin/suite/private guest accommodation and many of them are quite luxurious. This one is close to Mount Hermon in Majdal Shams, one of Israel’s Druze villages. Whilst not too fancy, it is fully equipped with a kitchenette, flatscreen TV, terrace and garden and the nearby hiking trails are spectacular. It’s also just 40 km drive from Safed, the mystical and charming town in the Upper Galilee, famous for its winding alleys and Artists’ Colony.
Ruins of Capernaum Synagogue, Galilee. Photo credit: © Shutterstock3. Sublets in Israel
In our modern world, we have a lot of options when it comes to finding accommodation and one thing that many people take advantage of now is Facebook, as a ‘marketplace’ to buy and sell. In Israel, it can be an incredibly valuable resource, since there are groups across the country (especially in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) advertising rooms, apartments and large houses for sublets.
Whether you’re looking for a pied-à-terre in the city or a villa up in the Golan Heights, it’s worth looking at what people are offering. As we’ve said before, most Israelis speak excellent English (and sometimes also French, Spanish and Russian) and it’s easy enough to chat with people online, or via WhatsApp.
Subletting someone’s home can also give you a real feel for how locals live in Israel - you can ask your host beforehand for recommendations of ‘off the beaten track’ activities that many Israeli tourists never see, and because you’ll probably have access to a decent kitchen, you can make a trip to the local markets (such as the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv or Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem) to pick up produce for your home-cooked meals.
Nimrod Fortress in the Golan Heights. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
4. Airbnb in Israel
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Airbnb here, because for many travellers it’s a simply indispensable resource. Israelis have embraced the ‘rent a room’ (or ‘rent a home’) concept in large numbers and all over the country, there are locals ready to welcome you into their lives, at very competitive prices.
The obvious advantage of Airbnb accommodation - apart from being cheaper than most hotels - is that you’ll have an authentic stay and (much like subletting) you’ll hopefully find yourself in contact with friendly locals, who can give you lots of inside tips.
Israel’s Airbnb offerings are incredibly varied - from private rooms in a shared house to the rental of tiny studios/apartments, which are functional, affordable and have everything you need to make your vacation comfortable and fun.
A street in Acre, Israel. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin