Israel Travel Blog

What Can You Do on a Layover at Ben Gurion Airport?

If you have a layover in Ben Gurion Airport and your connecting flight leaves in less than 4 hours then it is probably best to stay in the airport and make the most of the facilities that Ben Gurion offers. If you have more than 4 hours then you could possibly venture out of the airport and visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and even the Dead Sea.Ben Gurion has two terminals – Terminal 3 for international flights and Terminal 1 for domestic and low-cost international flights. When calculating how much time you have remembered that Israel has stricter security than other countries and you may need to get to the airport 2-3 hours before your connecting flight takes off.Staying in the Airport during Your LayoverIf you have no choice but to stay in the airport between flights then you will find that Ben Gurion has all the expected airport facilities like a first aid station, ATMs, a police service, synagogue, pharmacy, baby changing facilities, smoking areas and currency exchange. You will also find shops and restaurants.InternetThere is free WiFi in all of Ben Gurion’s passenger halls so it shouldn’t be a problem for you to connect up and spend your waiting time online. If you have any problems connecting try calling Netvision, the service provider at Ben Gurion on 1-800-013-013. There are free recharging stations throughout the airport including domestic and international departure halls.SleepingUnfortunately, there is no sleeping area or hotel within the terminals; it is also a busy airport so you may have trouble finding a quiet place to have a nap. Try going to the departure hall near the food court where there are benches and you may be able to get some shut eye. If you don’t mind the noise the food court is also a good place to sleep.PlayingIf traveling with kids you’ll find play areas in each of the long passages leading off from the Departure Hall.VIP LoungesThe Dan Hotel chain operates the Arbel (T3) and Masada (T1) VIP Lounges in the airport. Use of their services must be pre-arranged and requires a fee. The lounges are used by both arriving and departing passengers. As part of their service, you would be picked up on arrival at Ben Gurion and taken in a special VIP shuttle to the lounge.Massada LoungeAt this luxurious lounge, travelers can get VIP treatment including all their passport, customs, security and VAT refund services. In addition, you can go here on a layover and simply relax. Available (and included in the fee) are light meals beverages and resting areas. You will even get special transportation to your connecting flight when it is time to leave. This service needs to be pre-booked and requires a fee. For more information contact your airline or ground handling company or the Dan Lounges at Ben Gurion. You can call the lounge at 03-9712266. Note that even economy class passengers can buy a special pass to use the Dan VIP lounges; just go to one of the lounges and ask or book 24 hours ahead online for about 150 ILS.Passengers traveling in business or first class on El Al can make use of the EL AL passenger lounge in the departure hall duty-free area. For more information call 03-977111.Feedback StationsIf you have had a particularly bad (or good) experience at Ben Gurion then you might want to leave some feedback at one of the computerized feedback stations which are in all the terminal halls.Leaving Ben Gurion during Your LayoverIf you are from a country like America, Canada or the UK where you don’t need a visa to visit Israel then you will have no problem leaving the airport for a short layover tour. Check with your embassy whether you would need to make any special visa arrangements in order to leave Ben Gurion airport during your layover. And don’t worry about having an Israeli stamp in your passport as records are now kept electronically and you will instead get a piece of paper with the entrance stamp. Keep the piece of paper in your passport until you leave, after which you can throw it away.In the Greeters Hall on Level G next to the employee passage you will find a desk responsible for issuance of special entry permits. They are open Sunday to Thursday 8:30 am-1:30pm and Friday and holiday eves 9 am-1 pm. To contact them by phone you can call 03-9752265.If you have questions about how to spend your time in Israel you could go to the Ministry of Tourism Information Desk in the Arrival Hall. The staff here will provide you with maps and information. You can also contact them on 03-9754260.If you have luggage which is not checked-in to go directly to your final destination then you can leave it at the Baggage Storage Facility which is open Sunday to Thursday 8 am-7:45 pm; Friday 8 am 2:45 pm and Saturday from 8pm until midnight. The Storage Room is located in the west (kerem) short-term car park called “Orchard Parking” on the ground floor (Level G). The storage facilities may change so call for more information to 03-9754436. The service is free of charge.Getting Out of Ben GurionBen Gurion is located in the middle of the country about 40 km (35-50min) from Jerusalem and 15km (20-40min) from Tel Aviv. If arriving on Friday evening or Saturday your transport options will be limited as public buses and trains have limited or no service on Sabbath. However, you still have rental cars and taxis.Taking a Taxi from Ben GurionThe official taxi dispatcher post is located in front of Terminal 3 on Level G near the Gate 1 exit. There is also a desk in the Meeters and Greeters Hall near Gate 3 next to the Information Desk where you can verify the correct taxi fare to a particular location. At the desk staff will write down for you the correct fare and with this, you can approach the taxi dispatcher post. However generally you have nothing to worry about when taking a taxi from the official taxi dispatcher post as all the taxis and taxi drivers are authorized.Buses from Ben Gurion AirportTake Egged line 5 or Veolia line 239 from Level 2 of Terminal 3 and from Terminal 1 to the El Al Junction where you can catch a bus to many cities in the country including Jerusalem. Unless you have a long layover it is not recommended to try seeing the country by public bus with limited time. Rather take a train, taxi or organized tour.Trains from Ben GurionThe airport train station is on the lower level of Terminal 3 but there is a free airport shuttle connecting Terminal 1 and 3. Trains operate to Tel Aviv throughout the day and night but with more regular departures during peak travel hours (there are trains every 30-60 minutes depending on the time of day) and reduced service on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Trains to Jerusalem take about 2 hours and operate between about 6 am and 7 pm. This is not recommended if you have limited time.Organized Private Layover ToursPerhaps the most convenient and time efficient use of your layover in Ben Gurion is to take an organized daily tours. Tours can be arranged which pick you up at the airport; take you to the landmarks which most interest you and then return you in time to check-in to your connecting flight. There are private one day tours to Jerusalem; Bethlehem; Dead Sea; Masada; Nazareth; Haifa; Acre; Sea of Galilee and Caesarea as well as more off-the-beaten-path destinations like the caves of Beit Gurvrin and dessert safaris. As it is a private tour you can tailor make the tour to suit how much time you have on your layover, your personal interests and the people traveling with you.
Par Petal Mashraki

The Best Ways to Visit Bethlehem During Your Trip to Israel

Whether you’re a Christian pilgrim, a history lover, or simply a curious traveler, visiting Bethlehem is a must for anyone who’s taking a trip to Israel.Practically a household name in most of the Western world (and much of the East too) this little town, a few kilometers from Jerusalem, is - of course - famous for hosting one of the most well-known events in history - the birth of Jesus Christ.The Church of the Nativity, BethlehemRecreating the Nativity StoryThe Nativity Story, as it is known, began in Nazareth, in northern Israel, when a young Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel (telling her she would bear a child who would be the Son of God.It ended in Bethlehem, with Mary and Joseph cradling their infant in a stable, because there was no room at a nearby inn. It’s a much-loved story and, over the centuries, the Nativity story has been woven into the fabric of children’s lives.Carol concerts (with hymns that include ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem' and ‘Away in a Manger’) and nativity pageants, recreating the story of shepherds watching their flocks, Jesus lying in a manger (since he had no crib for a bed) and the journey of the Three Kings - Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar - who traveled from faraway lands, bearing gifts for the infant, are something that really brings the story to life.A Holy Town with a Rich HistoryNo wonder then that every Christian pilgrim will want to make a journey to this sacred place, and those of other faiths will find it no less interesting, because of the rich history surrounding the tale.Bethlehem at duskHome to the Church of the Nativity (in a building constructed by the Roman Emperor Constantine, inside which a silver star marks the spot where Jesus is said to have been born), the town also boasts the Mar Saba monastery (carved into a cliff overlooking the Kidron Valley, and inhabited by 15 Greek Orthodox monks), the Milk Grotto (popular with those who wish to pray to Jesus’ mother, Mary), Shepherd’s Fields (where the birth of Jesus was announced) and Solomon’s Pools (which, historically, were an essential water source for Jerusalem). So there really is quite a lot to see!Where is Bethlehem?Bethlehem is extremely close to Jerusalem - approximately 9kms (5.5 miles), in the southern area of the Judean mountains - which makes for a relatively easy journey. However, the fact that it sits in the West Bank means that when you travel there you will have to cross out of sovereign Israel territory into an area controlled by the Palestinian Authority. So, having your passport handy is essential - other than that, it’s not a difficult journey to make.Shepherd’s Fields ChurchIn practical terms, as we’ve said above, it’s a simple journey to make, since it really is a hop, skip and jump from Jerusalem. Moreover, there are no restrictions as to how many times you can go back and forth, and because the border crossing is easily accessible, and the guards on both sides are helpful and friendly, you don’t need to worry.Star Marks the Spot, Where Jesus Christ Born, Grotto of the Nativity BethlehemAnd in terms of safety, whilst there are occasional flare-ups in Israel, Bethlehem tends to be a very safe place for tourists to visit and very few people encounter any problems. So, let’s look at the options for getting there:Visiting Bethlehem by Public BusTaking a public bus is cheap, safe, and pretty easy and there are two upon which you can hop, one in the west of the city and the other in the east:Egged bus 163 - this leaves both from the city’s Central Bus Station on the Jaffa Road (next door to which is the main train station and opposite which is the Jerusalem light railway). The journey itself only takes 27 minutes; however, it will not drop you exactly in the town, rather at Rachel’s Tomb, on the Israeli side of the border. You can then walk across the checkpoint (showing your passport) and continue on by foot, for 25 minutes (or grab a cab).Note thatEgged Buses are usually greenBus 21 from the East Jerusalem Bus Station - located on Sultan Suleiman Street, opposite the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, there’s no timetable for this bus but the service is frequent. The bus is blue in color and don’t be afraid to ask the locals for help - everyone is friendly and speaks English.Unlike the Egged bus, the 21 bus travels through Beit Jala, right across the checkpoint, and drops you directly in Bethlehem. So whilst it takes a bit longer than the 163, it’s direct and the chances are that you’ll be able to show your passport on the bus itself, rather than disembark.Visiting Bethlehem by TaxiThis is a viable option if you want to travel independently but want to avoid the hassle of public transport. If you are traveling to Bethlehem from West Jerusalem, you will be picked up in a taxi with a white number plate and this can only take you as far as the checkpoint.There, you can cross by foot and then easily catch a taxi with a yellow number plate the rest of the way (or walk, which takes about 25-30 minutes).The most popular ride-sharing app in Israel is GETT, and you can also use Uber and YangoAlternatively, take the Light Railway to East Jerusalem and there find a taxi with a yellow number plate. This driver will be able to take you the entire way. The best thing to do, in our opinion, is to negotiate a price before you get in and ask the driver if (for a reasonable sum) he will wait for you in Bethlehem and then drive you home at the end of your trip.Visiting Bethlehem On FootIf you’re up for an adventure, and you’ve got comfy shoes, it’s certainly possible to follow in the footsteps of Mary and Joseph and walk to Bethlehem, though you should allow a good two hours, if departing from the Old City. Note that this method should be practiced with a group of pilgrims and a local guide.Walking to Bethlehem? It's possible, but there are better waysEssentially, you’ll follow the Bethlehem and Hebron Roads, and if you’re walking in summer (which we don't recommend, since you might end up with heat exhaustion) make sure to take plenty of water and a wide-brimmed hat.Visiting Bethlehem with a Rented CarWhilst renting a car in Israel is easy and relatively inexpensive, because Bethlehem is in the West Bank (and under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority), for insurance reasons it is not possible to take an Israeli rental car across the border/checkpoint.Cars you've rented in Israel won't be able to enter Palestinian territoriesIt is possible to drive your rental car to the checkpoint and leave it there, continuing after the checkpoint either by taxi. You can then cross back after your trip and jump back in your car.Visiting Bethlehem with a Guided TourThis is by far and away the most convenient option, in that everything will be taken care of for you. The advantages of taking an organized tour are not small - not only will you be picked up and dropped off at your hotel (or another central point in Jerusalem), but you will also have the services of Israeli and Palestinian guides.An organized tour: the simplest way to see Bethlehem They are experienced, qualified guides, with a command of both the Hebrew and Arabic language, and they’ll be with you at all times, to deal with the logistics of the border crossing and also to allay any nerves you might have.And not only are there regular tours departing from Jerusalem to Bethlehem running daily, but it’s also possible to take a ‘multi-location’ day trip - perhaps to Bethlehem, Jericho, and Qasr al Yahud (the spot at which John the Baptist baptized Jesus) or combine Jerusalem and Bethlehem - perfect for Christian pilgrims.Qasr al Yahud Baptismal Site, right next to the Jordanian BorderTo sum up, it might be a little more expensive but taking a guided tour is definitely the easiest way to navigate this kind of trip. In the event that there are political tensions, you’ll know about them beforehand via your guide, plus you won’t have to deal with language barriers, cultural differences, and any issues at the checkpoint itself.On a typical organized trip, you’ll be taken to all of the major sites and, should you be traveling to Israel in December, then there’s the option of taking a Christmas Eve tour to Bethlehem, where you can soak up the wonderful atmosphere and take part in the traditional Midnight mass in Manger Square.For more about the package tours, privately-guided trips, and day excursions around Israel (and to Petra, in Jordan) that we offer, contact us by email or telephone and, in the meantime, feel free to take a look at our blog, in which we write about every imaginable aspect of Israeli life, from food & drink, sandy beaches, and desert fortresses to holy places, national parks and desert hikes.
Par Sarah Mann

Welcome to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport

Ben Gurion Airport (Tel Aviv airport code TLV) is Israel’s main airport located 19 km from Tel Aviv’s city center and 40 km from Jerusalem. The airport is among the top five airports in the Middle East thanks to its excellent design, service and because it is one of the world’s most secure airports. The security at Tel Aviv airport is high priority due to the delicate political situation in the region. In 2004 the airport opened after extensive renovations, modernization and the addition of Terminal 3. Today the airport has two terminals; Terminal 1 for domestic and low-cost international flights and Terminal 3 for international flights.Ben Gurion Airport ServicesAt the Tel Aviv airport you will find travel agent representatives, car rental companies, ATMs, a place to buy a local mobile phone SIM and convenience stores. There is an excellent information desk and customer service counter. You will find signage in English, Arabic and Hebrew. There is multi-level parking for both temporary and long-term parking. Throughout the Tel Aviv airport there is free WiFi. The airport is fully accessible. There is an airport synagogue.Tel Aviv Airport FeaturesThe airport’s stunning duty-free hall has a circular design with a dramatic ceiling-to-floor waterfall in the center. There are duty-free stores selling a range of local and foreign products. While you do some shopping and wait for your flight you can enjoy a meal or drink at one of the restaurants and cafes. Throughout the airport the ceilings are high giving an open-plan spacious feel. Although there are no hotels in the airport complex there are several hotels near Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv.Ground TransportationArrival and departure routes from Tel Aviv airport are via private vehicle, taxi, public bus and train. There is a pick-up and drop-off point for passengers and an easy to find taxi station right outside the arrivals hall. You can catch the Ben Gurion airport train to cities across the country including Tel Aviv city center, Jerusalem and Haifa.If you are on a package tour with Bein Harim Tourism Services or just need a pick up / drop off at Ben Gurion you can pre-book airport transfers.As of June, 2021, all travellers to Israel must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The test must be taken within 72 hours prior to the scheduled departure to Israel. This requirement applies to people with a vaccination certificate or a certificate of recovery. All passengers (Israeli citizens and foreign nationals), including vaccinated and recovered passengers, who arrive in Israel must submit an entry statement (Inbound Passenger Clearance) within 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure time to Israel. To check the current Israel travel COVID-19 restrictions feel free to read this article.Foreign nationals must have an entry permit certified by the Population and Immigration Authority. On arrival in Israel, all inbound passengers must have a COVID-19 PCR test done at their own expense. All travellers must register for the COVID-19 test at Ben Gurion airport website prior the arrival. It is recommended to pre-book. The airport transfer can be booked for one hour after the scheduled test time (the test time should be specified in the transfer booking comments).Besides the COVID-19 test, visitors arriving in Israel pass though passport control, proceed to baggage claim and pass through customs. Travelers aged 17 and over are permitted to enter with no more than one quart (0.94 liters) of hard liquor, two quarts (1.89 liters) of wine, half a pound (226.79grams) of tobacco and no more than 6 pounds (2.72kg) of food. You can bring in up to $200 worth of electrical goods and gifts. After passing customs you exit into the Arrivals Hall (Greeters’ Hall). Ben Gurion is located 40 minutes from Jerusalem and about 20 minutes from Tel-Aviv. Transport is readily available by rental car, taxi, bus and train. As you exit the Arrivals Hall you will see signs directing you to the various transport options."According to a decision by the government of Israel and in accordance with Aviation Regulations, all passengers departing from Israel, except recovering and vaccinated passengers, will be required to present a negative covid-19 test (PCR) before boarding the aircraft, taken no more than 72 hours before takeoff. Attention, upon arrival, you must present a printed copy of your covid-19 test results! It is important to note that many destination countries also require the vaccinated and recovering to present a negative covid-19 test before boarding. It is recommended to check the requirements of destination countries when booking your tickets.Departing passengers can be tested for COVID-19 at Ben Gurion Airport. The tests are carried out by Omega, through Check2fly. Departing passengers, click here to book a COVID-19 test. As a result of the pandemic, a lot of changes have been made in operating processes at Ben-Gurion International Airport. The services provided to passengers at Ben-Gurion International Airport have been significantly restricted, as have movements by passengers and aircraft", - the airport website says.On leaving the country travelers should arrive at Terminal 3 three hours before their flight. There are 10 self-service check-in stations or you can check-in through the usual airline desks. Travelers will be asked pertinent security questions like “did you pack your own bag” and “did anyone ask you to take something onto the plane for them” and then you proceed to check-in.After check-in and receiving your boarding pass you move through to the area where hand luggage is checked. You can then enter the duty-free area. Duty free is open 24/7 and is centered on a beautiful rotund with walkways leading off to the various departure gates. Israeli duty-free is one of the cheapest in the world! In the same area you will find money exchange points, children’s play areas, Xbox 360 game stations, smoking areas, a mother and baby room, post office, banks, a synagogue, restaurants and cafes. V.A.T. Refunds can be obtained from the Changeplace counter in the duty-free area or in the check-in area. If the goods are going to be packed in your checked-in luggage stored in the airplane hold then you can get your V.A.T. refund from a counter in the check-in hall. You will need to show the goods you have purchased and the receipts for them. The refund is given on goods valued at $100 or more and bought from stores registered with the Ministry of Tourism.Ben Gurion Airport Services available at the airport include baggage storage at the western parking lot on the ground floor; a first aid clinic open 24/7 near entrance 21 in the gallery of the Greeters’ Hall; information counters; 3 V.I.P. lounges; a police station in the parking lot opposite Terminal 1 and with posts in Terminal 3 Greeters’ Hall next to entrance 11 and public telephones operated by either Telecards or coins. Every effort has been made to make the airport accessible for wheelchairs and visually or hearing impaired. Ben Gurion offers free WiFi throughout the airport and there are free luggage trolleys. Have a safe flight!
Par Petal Mashraki

How to get to and From Ben Gurion Airport

One of the first questions we’re often asked by people who travel to Israel is ‘How do I get to and from the airport?” and today we’ll be answering this in detail. Israel has two airports (one in the center of the country and the other - Ilan Ramon - in Eilat) but it’s the main one - Ben Gurion - that we’re focusing on today.Is tel aviv yafo airport the same as Ben Gurion?Yes. Ben Gurion Airport lies just 20 km from Tel Aviv, so it’s a quick journey to the country’s busiest city. And the good news is that getting to and from there is pretty easy, with several options to choose from. The only critical thing to remember is that from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening - the Jewish sabbath - there is no public transport operating but, other than that, it’s all quite straightforward.Let’s look at your alternatives:By TrainTrains in Israel are a great way to travel - they’re reliable, fast, and reasonably priced. Trains to and from Tel Aviv run every half an hour and cost 14 NIS one way (less than $5). They also run through the night - once an hour - and with the journey taking only 15 minutes, it’s a comfortable and convenient way to travel.The Ben Gurion Airport Train StationOnce you’ve walked out of the arrivals gate at Terminal 3, you’ll see signs directing you to the train in Hebrew, English, and Arabic - the entrance is a minute’s walk away. There, you can buy tickets from a cashier (who will speak English) or machines (which give instructions in a number of languages). You can pay with cash or credit card and once you have your ticket, just put it in the electronic machine and head to your platform.There are three main stations in Tel Aviv - Ha Haganah, Ha Shalom, and Savidor - from which you can take taxis or buses to your final destination.The Hagana Station in Tel AvivTrains also run from the airport to many other parts of the country including Jerusalem, Haifa, and Be’er much is the train from Ben Gurion to Jerusalem? 13 to 18 NIS, and the Airport train will take you to Izhak Navon station in the heart of the city - where there is plenty to see and do.By TaxiIf you’re not watching your money, or it’s Shabbat (in which case you’ll have fewer choices) then taxis are easy to pick up - there’s a stand directly outside arrivals. Walk past the men asking you if you want a taxi (they are not allowed to be there and may well overcharge you) and join the rank for official government-licensed cabs.An Israeli Taxi stands at a gate in JerusalemThis way, you’ll know exactly what you’re going to pay (the tariffs are fixed for each city, though the price will increase on Shabbat and late at night). The following day, if you don’t want to hail down taxis on the street, then you also have the option of downloading the Gett Taxi App (unfortunately they do not pick up from Ben Gurion).By BusBus number 445 leaves once an hour from outside the Arrivals at Terminal 3. This is a cheap and convenient way to travel to Tel Aviv and see what makes this city so great. It runs from the airport all through the city, dropping passengers off (not picking them up) all along the main streets of Allenby and HaYarkon, and its final stop is the Namal Port in north Tel Aviv.Number 18 Bus in JaffaMany of the bus stops are just a stone's throw from the big beach hotels, and also to Dizengoff Street, which is a popular area to stay.The bus costs 10 NIS one way (less than $3) and you can pay with cash or card. If you want to reach Jerusalem, take bus number 485.By Private TransferPrivate Transfer is also a highly recommended way of traveling to and from Ben Gurion Airport because once you’ve paid upfront, there’s nothing further to worry about. If you’re arriving, a driver will be waiting for you with a sign at the Arrivals Gate. If you’re departing, you will be picked up directly at your hotel/accommodation and driven directly to your terminal.Tourists get on a Private TransportMoreover, a private transfer means everything is included - you won’t have to pay for extra passengers or luggage and there will be no late-night tariff. It’s a seamless and stress-free experience from start to finish. Here you can find a greatAirport Transfer from Ben Gurion to Tel Aviv, and also anAirport Transfer from Ben Gurion to Jerusalem, to Haifa, Netania, the Dead Sea, and many other places popular among tourists.By Car RentalIf you’re going to be traveling around the country, renting a car is a good way to go - it will give you freedom and independence and you’ll also be able to visit off-the-beaten-track attractions.Take a drive, Israel's roads are great!The good news is that car rental in Israel can be quite economical. There are several companies you can talk to at Ben Gurion Airport, including Budget, Avis, Alamo, and Hertz (although you’ll probably get a better deal booking online, in advance). From compact vehicles to luxury SUVs, all you need is a credit card and a driver’s license and you’re good to go.By SherutSheruts, in Israel, are yellow minivans that usually accommodate 10 people. They’re basically shared taxis that run specific routes, either within cities or between cities and because they’re privately run, they operate on Shabbat.There is a sherut service both to Jerusalem and Haifa that runs 24/7 from the ground floor arrivals area at the airport. Basically, you get in, pay your money (a fixed fare) then wait for the van to fill up. Sheruts waiting for passengersOnce it’s full, off you go. The driver will drop off passengers along the way, so just cross your fingers that you aren’t the last on the route. However, they’re usually quite canny and it’s unlikely you will be taken too far out of your way.If you’re interested in taking an organized tour or day trip in Israel, whilst you’re on holiday, we offer tours all over the country, where you can visit holy sites, national parks, ancient fortresses, and beautiful pastoral areas in the Galilee and Golan Heights.And for more about life in Israel - the people, the culture, the food, the attractions - take a look at our blog.
Par Sarah Mann

5 Ways to Visit the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is a must-see attraction for any trip to Israel. This natural wonder is a salt lake at the lowest point on Earth 418m below sea level in southern Israel’s Negev Desert. The Dead Sea is not centrally located; it is 170km from Tel Aviv and 100km from Jerusalem. Once there you can enjoy one of the many Dead Sea beaches, the Dead Sea spas and hotels. The high concentration of minerals in the saline water and Dead Sea mud has health and beauty benefits. Even the sunshine and air in the Dead Sea region are known to have properties beneficial to our health.View of the Dead Sea from the top of Masada Fortress.Photo credit: © ShutterstockPublic Transport to the Dead SeaThere are no trains that reach the Dead Seaalthough you could catch a train to Be’er Sheva and from there a bus to the Dead Sea. Alternatively, take the bus from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. The buses stop at Ein Gedi and Ein Bokek, both places where there are things to do near the Dead Sea. The journey takes about 1.5hr-2hrs. Buses leave from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station and from Tel Aviv’s Arlozorov Bus Station. It is advisable to leave early so that you can maximize your time at the Dead Sea. The last bus from the Dead Sea back to central Israel leaves in the late afternoon so be careful not to miss the bus! There are no buses to the Dead Sea on Shabbat or public holidays.Road Sign on the way to the Dead Sea, Israel. Photo by Amit Lahav on UnsplashDead Sea ToursThe easiest way to visit the Dead Sea is to join a Dead Sea day tour. There are several to choose from including tours that include stops at other popular sites like Masada, Jerusalem, Jericho, Ein Gedi, or Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Some day tours stop at several sites while others give you a full day at the Dead Sea and can offer the option of Dead Sea spa visits or lunch at one of the Dead Sea spa hotels. The Dead Sea is usually included in multi-day package tours that cover attractions across the country.Renting a Car to Drive to the Dead SeaYou could rent a car from anywhere in the country and make the trip south independently. Use a navigation app or GPS device to help you reach the Dead Sea. The steep winding roads through the desert hills are notoriously dangerous and you will need to drive very carefully.The Dead Sea Shore from above. Photo by Artem Belinski on UnsplashVisit the Dead Sea by TaxiIf you are nervous about traveling alone by car to the Dead Sea then it is possible to go by taxi although this is quite an expensive option. Taxis to the Dead Sea should be arranged in advance and can include hotel pick-up. A slightly cheaper option is a shared taxi (mini-bus) run by a private taxi company which departs from major cities. You will then have to find an available taxi to make the return journey or preferably arrange it ahead of time.Take a Private Tour to the Dead SeaOn a private tour to the Dead Sea, you can tailor-make your trip by including other sites along the way. Popular destinations often included on a private day tour to the Dead Sea are Jerusalem, Jericho, Qumran, or Masada. On a private tour, you will have the driver, an air-conditioned vehicle, and a guide who will devote all of his time to you.A man reading a book in the Dead Sea, Israel.Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Par Petal Mashraki

The Best Way to Combine Israel and Jordan in One Trip

Israel and Jordan share a border and the two are friendly neighbors with many ties. Both countries are home to incredible historic and cultural sites worth seeing. When the two are so close it seems a pity not to combine Israel and Jordan in a single trip. Even if you only have time to visit Jordan's top attractions, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra which is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Luckily there are many tour options that combine Israel and Jordan no matter how long you plan to spend in the region. For tour packages that include places in Jordan like Jerash, Madaba, and Amman the Sheikh Hussein Border Crossing near Jerusalem is often used. Other tours enter Jordan from the Arava Border Crossing in Eilat which is the closest crossing to Petra.Package Tours that Combine Israel and JordanIf your time is limited then a package tour might be the best option to see Israel and Jordan on one trip as all the logistics are taken care of for you. Some Petra tours from Israelsplit the days evenly covering top destinations in Israel as well as several highlights in Jordan. For example, you can see Israel and Jordan in one tour package over 12 days starting in Israel and spending 8 days in the Holy Land and 4 days in Jordan. Tour places like Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea. Then travel to Jordan and visit Jerash, the capital of Amman, Madaba famed for its Byzantine mosaics, The biblicalMount Nebo, and the spectacular Petra Archeological Park. There are shorter package trips where you spend just one day visiting Petra in Jordan and the rest of your time in Israel. To make this quick trip to Petra possible shorter package trips may include a flight from Tel Aviv to Eilat and from there, it is just 2 hours across the border to Petra. With longer package tours the journey can be made by entering Jordan by bus via the Sheikh Hussein Border Crossing.Petra Tours from Tel AvivIf you're based in central Israel, you don't have to miss out on a trip to Petra. You can travel toPetra from Tel Aviv with a 1-4 day tour. The shortest of these tours starts with an early morning flight from Tel Aviv to Eilat where you are met at the Ramon Airport and taken across the Arava Border Crossing to Petra. At the end of an exhilarating day, the tour ends with a return flight from Eilat to Tel Aviv. There are similar tours that give you an extra day to enjoy Eilat and others that last 3-4 days and include more destinations in Jordan and overnight stays in Amman and Petra. These 1-4 day tours from Tel Aviv are perfect for combining with a longer stay in Israel.Petra Tours from EilatThe Israel-Jordan border crossing closest to Petra is in Eilat, a beach resort city on the edge of the Red Sea. There are a number of tours toIf you're visiting Eilat, Petra Tourscan make your trip much more exciting: just take a Petra Tour from Eilat, see the ancient Petra Treasury and Royal Tombs - then go back for a relaxing stay on the beach of Israel's best resort city.You can take a 1-day tour from Eilat to Petra or opt for a 2-day tour that gives you a guided tour of Petra and a day to explore the ancient city by yourself. One of the most exciting tours to Petra from Eilat is the two-day tour that gives you a tour day in Petra and a day in Wadi Rum, a Jordanian desert wilderness with striking rock formations. On one of these tours, you can take a desert jeep safari through Wadi Rum and even a short panoramic tour of Aqaba, Jordan's Red Sea port city. Tours with overnight stays in Jordan will include accommodations in Wadi Musa - the gateway to the Petra Archeological Park - or in awesome glamping sites in Wadi Rum.
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