How to Get from Ashdod to Jerusalem
First of all, let’s assume you’re reading this because you’re already in Israel, or planning a visit to Israel, in which case “Congratulations - you’re going to have a great trip!” This country is an incredible destination with an enormous amount packed into a small amount of land, and there’s really something for everyone - whether it’s museums and galleries, old churches, beaches, mountains, nature reserves, deserts or archaeological sites. Whether it’s your first time in Israel or you're a returning visitor, you won’t be disappointed...
The Western Wall, Jerusalem. Photo credit: © Shutterstock
The fact is, however, that whether you’re here for a few days or a few weeks, you want to make the most of your time, and that involves a bit of forward planning when it comes to moving between cities. The majority of visitors to Israel really do want to take advantage of the fact that you can get from the north to the south of the country in just a few hours, and between major cities like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa in an hour or two.
So let’s give you the good news straight up - Israel has a very well-developed infrastructure in terms of public transport and highways. A great deal of investment is being put into them at the moment so whether you want to get around on the road or by the train system, you’re not going to have too many problems. In fact, your biggest problem may well be traffic, because Israelis love their cars and as quickly as highways are being expanded, more people are purchasing new vehicles!
That being said, if you plan ahead and travel outside of the busiest hours (rush hours being between 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm) making journeys between cities won’t be too bad at all. In this particular piece, we’ll be taking a look at how to travel from Ashdod (on the Mediterranean Sea coast) to Jerusalem (up in the hills), and hopefully, when you’ve taken a glance, you’ll have a better idea of your options and can choose the one that suits you best.
Let’s start exploring Israel! First of all, let’s take a quick look at both Ashdod and Jerusalem and what they have to offer the visitor. Ashdod - is Israel’s sixth-largest city, home to a large Russian community, and the largest port in the country (receiving 60% of the country’s imports). It is situated in the south of the country, on the shores of the Mediterranean, 32kms from Tel Aviv. The distance between Jerusalem and Ashdod is 64 km.
Non-touristy Ashdod, Israel. Photo by Oleksandr Koval on UnsplashAlthough it’s not the first city people tend to visit after arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, it is where many cruise ships arrive, making a ship to shore excursion to Jerusalem ideal. Alternatively, you can spend time there visiting the old Arab Citadel/Fort, built at the end of the 7th century, the Museum of Philistine Culture and the Sand Dune Park. It’s also got fabulous beaches, where you can soak up the sun and swim in clear blue water.
Jerusalem - is a city that needs no introduction. Home to three of the world’s major faiths, it brims with charm, excitement and spirituality. No visitor can fail to be moved as they walk through the narrow streets of the Old City, past the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Al Aqsa Mosque, down to the Western Wall. Whether you’re a Christian pilgrim, a history student, a fan of museums or a lover of open-air markets, you’ll be enchanted by what you see and experience and come away longing for more.
Now to methods of transport - well, you have plenty of options. There is plenty of information on the various ways you can travel between these two cities - whether it’s taking a bus, booking a train ticket, using a private or shared taxi, enjoying a ship-to-shore excursion or renting a car. Let’s take a look at them all, one by one, so you can choose the one that’s best for you.
People praying at the Wailing Wall. Photo by Ondrej Bocek on Unsplash
1. How to Get from Ashdod to Jerusalem by Bus
Israel’s bus service is comfortable, efficient and pretty cheap (since the bus system is subsidised by the government). Even better, the bus from Ashdod to Jerusalem runs very regularly, from early in the morning (5.30 am) until late at night (11 pm), notwithstanding the Jewish sabbath (from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening, when all public transport grinds to a halt).
If you don’t travel in rush hour (usually between 7-9 am and 4-6 pm) the journey will likely take about 70 to 90 minutes. Bus number 448, operated by Egged, will take you there directly and it leaves every 45 minutes. A one-way ticket from Ashdod to Tel Aviv costs approximately around 20 NIS (6,5 USD).
You can either pay the driver as you board (in cash), buy a ticket from the counter beforehand, use one of the self-service machines, which often have different language settings) or pay by Rav Kav card. These green cards are easily purchased all over the country (in every bus and train station, small stores and the ‘Superpharm’ chain). Just purchase one for 5 NIS and then put as much credit onto it as you like.
When you board the bus, press the card onto the electronic screen, as directed by the driver, and it will automatically deduct the cost of the ticket for you. (The receipt that’s printed out will also show you how much money you have left on your card). To learn more about this, go to the official Rav Kav website.
Dome of the Rock, Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Israel. Photo by Adam Kring on Unsplash
Ashdod Central Bus Station
The Ashdod Central Bus station is located on Menachem Begin Boulevard, in the city centre, and just under 20 minutes walk to the Marina. You can see inside very easily from which platform the bus departs - there are electronic signs everywhere in Hebrew and English - or ask a member of staff.
Jerusalem Central Bus Station
The Jerusalem Central Bus Station is very close to the entrance to Highway 1 (where you’ll see the famous Bridge of Chords), on the Jaffa Road, which runs through the city centre and down to the Old City walls. It’s a large and modern building and is also located next door to the new and impressive Yitzhak Navon railway station.
The Jerusalem central bus station is also a central hub for buses that run everywhere else in the country - north and south. From here you can reach Haifa, the Galilee, the Jordan Valley, Beer Sheva and Eilat, which is where you’ll be heading if you’re planning on making a trip to Petra, Jordan.
Religious Jews walking near Old City Walls, Jerusalem. Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash
2. How to Get from Ashdod to Jerusalem by Train
Taking the train from Ashdod to Jerusalem is also a good way to make this journey - it’s comfortable and reasonably fast, although you can’t travel directly (you have to make a change). The train leaves every half an hour and the first part of the journey takes about 45 minutes. At Tel Aviv HaHaganah station, you have to change trains (the waiting time is approx. 7 minutes) then the fast train on to Jerusalem will take you about 35 minutes.
Ashdod railway station is in the Ad Halom area, near the eastern part of Ashdod. There is a drinks stand and small kiosk inside, as well as self-service ticket machines and a counter at which you can buy tickets and speak to officials. Yitzhak Navon central railway station is a super modern, recently opened building in Jerusalem.
And it has the honour of being the world’s deepest station too (it’s 80 metres underground). With its glass ceilings and attractive mosaics, it’s capable of transporting thousands of people a day and can also hold large numbers, in case of emergencies. Once you arrive there and travel up to ground level by elevator or escalator, you’ll find yourself directly on Jaffa Road.
From there you can catch the light rail downtown - to Mahane Yehuda Market, Zion Square and the Old City or, in the other direction, Mount Herzl and Yad Vashem. There are also a number of buses that stop outside the station, which can take you to neighbourhoods such as the German Colony, Rehavia and Talpiot.
Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem, Israel. Photo by Roxanne Desgagnés on Unsplash
3. How to Get from Ashdod to Jerusalem by Private Taxi
Finding a private taxi in Israel is no problem at all. The first scenario is you hail one down in the street (in the big cities, you will see them everywhere). Either ask them to put on the meter before you begin your journey or negotiate a price beforehand, so there are no surprises when you arrive in Jerusalem.
Secondly, ask your hotel concierge, who will be able to recommend a local firm, who supplies them with trustworthy and honest drivers. Thirdly, you can always book a taxi directly from your Smartphone using an App such as Gett. The cost of a private taxi from Ashdod to Jerusalem will probably be somewhere between 400 - 500 NIS (125-155 USD). It is usually to give the driver a tip at the end of the journey - between 10-15% is fine.
4. How to Get from Ashdod to Jerusalem with a Private Transfer
Private transfers are easy to arrange, but we advise you to book them through a trustworthy tour operator, to ensure you will be put in touch with a reputable and honest operator. You will be given a price and if you are satisfied with it, you can pay by credit card and from then on all matters will be handled expertly by the company and you don’t have to worry about a thing.
At Bein Harim Tourism Services, we are always happy to help obtain quotes for people visiting Israel who need a private taxi - please call us or send us your details on our ‘Contact Us’ form and we will get back to you promptly, with a competitive offer.
A shop in Jerusalem Old City. Photo by Christian Burri on Unsplash
5. Ashdod Shore Excursions
Making a shore excursion from Ashdod Port to Jerusalem is a great way to spend your free day since you can be at your destination quickly and have several hours to spend exploring the old and new parts of the city. With ship-to-shore excursions from Ashdod Port, as soon as you step onto dry land, you will be met by a private guide and within minutes you’ll be in a comfortable vehicle, heading off.
In just over an hour, as long as the traffic doesn't hold you up, you’ll arrive in Jerusalem. Then it’s up to you - explore the tiny alleyways of the Old City, walk in the footsteps of prophets and Crusaders, visit churches such as the Holy Sepulchre and Dominus Flevit, or take a trip to the world-famous Israel Museum then grab a light bite at Jerusalem’s famous Mahane Yehuda. We give you our word that when you book with Bein Harim, we’ll have everything go to plan and promise to get you back to your ship in good time for your departure.
Gethsemane Garden, Jerusalem. Photo by Stacey Franco on Unsplash
6. How to Get from Ashdod to Jerusalem with a Rental Car
Renting a car in Israel is an excellent way to see the country. You’re in control from start to finish - it’s all up to you. You can leave what you want, make as many stops. As you like and even change your plans at the last minute. Car rental prices in Israel are quite competitive and, besides, renting a car gives you a level of freedom no other method of transport has, and who can put a price on that?
If that’s not enough to convince you, unfortunately, there is no public transport in Israel from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening (the Jewish Shabbat), so options for travelling are quite restrictive. Of course, once you rent a car, this problem is gone!
Driving from Ashdod to Jerusalem, without too much traffic should take you around 55 - 75 minutes. We would warn you, however, that Jerusalem is a very tough place to find parking. There’s a lot of traffic in the centre and free parking is a great challenge. There are underground garages and parking lots all over the city, however, so you can of course bite the bullet and pay for a ticket. Alternatively, you can try and park for free in a quiet suburb and take a taxi or bus into the centre.
There are several well-known rental hire companies in Israel which include Hertz, Shlomo Sixt, Eldan, Avis and Budget. On average, renting a small car may cost you between 260-300 NIS (80-94 USD) a day but if you want to shop around, you might even be able to pick up a bargain. Take a look online a couple of days before or call and speak to their representatives - Israelis really do love to help...Now start planning your trip!
Chruch of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash