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.
Автор: Petal Mashraki

How to Travel Israel on a Budget

Budget travel in Israel is possible with careful planning. You can avoid the tourist traps and instead enjoy your Israel vacation without worrying too much about going over budget. The major cities have plenty to see without paying entrance fees; cheap-eats are in abundance and even day-tour prices are reasonable.Travel to Israel Off-SeasonAs with all travel destinations, it is cheaper to travel off-season. For Israel, this means avoiding the national holidays and the July-August summer high season. During any of the holiday periods and in summer prices of airfares and hotels are higher. Don’t worry about traveling in the shoulder or low-season as Israel has good weather throughout most of the year and attractions stay open year-round (except some that close on national holidays and Saturdays). Another way to get low-cost flights to Israel is to check-out flights to the new Ramon Airport near Eilat.Budget Accommodation in IsraelLow-cost accommodation in Israel includes couchsurfing which is popular in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. There are plenty of hostel options but even the hostels are a bit pricey in Israel. Luckily many of the hostels are centrally located and of a high standard. You can find hostels along Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon Street opposite the beach or in Jerusalem’s stunning Old City or historic YMCA. Try to book accommodation that comes with a free breakfast or alternatively with access to a kitchen. This will cut down on your food expenses.Budget Transportation in IsraelIsrael has an extensive bus system that is reasonably priced. You can reach most parts of the country, even the smallest communities on the Israeli bus system for just a few shekels. For example, the cheapest way to travel from central Israel to Eilat is by bus. The next cheapest transportation option is a sherut taxi or a shared taxi. Sherut taxis are mini-buses that run along popular routes or take you directly to your address. The only draw-back is that the sherut will stop for all passengers thus making it a long journey. There are sheruts between the major cities and inner-city routes in large cities like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa that follow a set route. Although not as extensive as the bus system Israel’s train system is also useful for reaching some locations and is budget-friendly. You will also find that many of Israel’s cities are walkable.Eating on a Budget in IsraelIsrael has some of the healthiest street food in the world – and plenty of it! You can’t go far on any street in Israel before coming across a falafel stall, hummus shop or shawarma restaurant. You can indulge yourself with the delicious street food options and still keep to your budget. Also make use of Israel’s wonderful markets like Carmel Market in Tel Aviv and Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem. Here you can buy fresh produce and other ingredients to make your own meals.Israel Daily ToursOne way to save money and time is to take the occasional daily tour to locations that are harder to reach by public transport. Of course, there is the added advantage that you will have a tour guide telling you all about the various landmarks and arranging all the transportation logistics. For example, Bethlehem and the Dead Sea are both locations that are more difficult to reach than places like Tel Aviv and so why not rely on a local tour company to do all the hard work. There are Israel daily tours specially designed for budget travelers.Free Attractions in IsraelAlthough Israeli museums are relatively expensive you can enjoy many of Israel’s top attractions simply by walking the streets. Wander through the narrow streets of Jerusalem’s Old City and discover the quaint churches and Biblical landmarks like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall. You can enjoy many free attractions in Israel including the beaches, markets, religious landmarks and natural wonders like the Sea of Galilee.And more hot budget tips for travel in Israel….If you’ll be in Israel for an extended period buy a local SIM card. Ask in one of the many phone stores or even at the airport on arrival. Alternatively, you could make use of the extensive free WiFi options in Israel. Almost every café, restaurant, hotel or store will have WiFi.If you’re shopping in an Israeli market be sure to haggle over the price.Alcohol is expensive in Israel so you could do what many Israelis do and get your alcohol in the local supermarket instead of in a pub or nightclub.
Автор: Petal Mashraki

How to Travel from Israel to Petra & Jordan

When visiting Israel it is a pity to miss out on one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the ancient city of Petra which is just across the border in the Kingdom of Jordan. Here is a brief guide about how to make the trip from Israel to Petra and back again in as little as one day (although you could stay overnight in Jordan if you preferred). Since the signing of a Peace Treaty in 1994 the Israelis and Jordanians have a neighborly relationship and Israelis as well as tourists who are guests in Israel are free to cross the border for a day or more. Some visitors even choose to extend their visit and go on to the Jordanian capital of Amman before returning to Israel.Temple of Hercules at Amman Citadel in Amman, Jordan at sunset. Photo credit: © ShutterstockHow to travel from Israel to Jordan?If traveling with a guided tour to Petra you will change tour buses at the Israeli-Jordanian border from an Israeli tour bus to a Jordanian tour bus and if traveling independently you will have to change from an Israeli taxi to a Jordanian taxi when you cross the border. Driving from Israel to Jordan in a rental car is not possible. Travelers crossing in their own cars need an international driving license and vehicle license (translated into English if not already in English).The actual process of crossing the border can take longer than you might expect and depend on a range of issues it can take anywhere from one to three hours to complete the crossing. For this reason, if traveling independently try to leave early. All travelers arriving with a group must leave with the same group. Note that current regulations are subject to change so check with your tour company or embassy before setting off to the border.Inside The Rose City Of Petra.Photo credit: © ShutterstockWhat is Petra?Petra is an ancient city carved out of rose-colored rocks by the Nabataean civilization as early as 312BC. The city is in southern Jordan on the slopes of the Biblical Mount Hor (Jebel al-Madhbah). Petra has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its 27 intricate carved structures like temples, tombs, and public buildings carved out of the rock and for the ingenious water conduit system. During the Nabataean period, Petra was a major stop along the trade route which ran from the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt up to the Mediterranean and Syria. In the years following the decline of the Nabataean civilization Petra was also inhabited by Romans ad Christians who both left their mark in the form of a Roman amphitheater and Byzantine Churches. Petra is also called the Lost City as it remained hidden for many years before being rediscovered in 1812. In 1917 T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) led the Arabs in a revolt against the Ottomans at Petra.A couple in Petra. Photo credit: © ShutterstockJordanian VisasNationals from many countries do not require a visa for Jordan; check with the Jordanian embassy in your country or Israel to see if your nationality can travel visa-free.King Hussein Bridge (Allenby Bridge crossing) – Foreign nationals cannot get a visa for Jordan at the border and must be pre-arranged through the Jordanian embassy but those traveling with an Israeli tour group can have their visa arranged by the tour company.Wadi Araba Crossing– As of January 2016 those traveling outside of a group tour will no longer be able to get a Jordanian visa at the Wadi Araba crossing in Eilat and will have to pre-arrange a visa at a Jordanian embassy. If you have pre-arranged your visa at the Jordanian embassy there is no visa fee at the border but you need to pay the $65 border tax.Israeli tour groups can still get visas at the Araba border crossing. If traveling with an Israeli tour group you don’t need to worry about the visa situation as your tour company will take care of the details and let you know of any requirements. The crossing involves a visa fee of approximately $60 and on reentry into Israel, there is an exit tax from Jordan of approximately $13.The Siq, the ancient main entrance leading to the city of Petra. Photo credit: © ShutterstockCrossing from Israel to JordanThree border crossings connect Israel and Jordan: the Sheikh Hussein crossing, Allenby (King Hussein) crossing, and the Wadi Araba crossing in Eilat.1. Allenby Crossing (King Hussein Bridge Crossing)This is the nearest border crossing to Jerusalem, just an hour away; 5 km east of Jericho and 57km from Amman. The border crossing is open for travelers to Israel Sunday-Thursday 8 am-8 pm for entry and 8 am-2 pm for departures from Jordan plus Friday-Saturday 8 am-1 pm. The crossing operates throughout the year except for the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Islamic Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha). The crossing is divided into a Departure Hall for Palestinians, Arrival Hall for Palestinians, Departure Hall for Tourists and East Jerusalem Citizens, and Arrival Hall for Tourists and East Jerusalem Citizens. This crossing is for Palestinians and tourists but is prohibited for Israeli citizens.2. Sheikh Hussein CrossingLocated in the north of Israel close to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee this Israeli/Jordanian border crossing is 90 km from Amman. It is open Sunday to Thursday 8 am-10 pm and Friday-Saturday 9 am-8 pm. Amman Citadel. View from atop.Photo byDaniel QuraonUnsplash3. Wadi Araba CrossingThis is the most common border crossing used for tourists traveling to Petra from Israel. This border crossing is located in Eilat on the shore of the Red Sea and is 324 km from Amman. This border crossing services Israeli and foreign tourists who travel on foot or in a vehicle. The Wadi Araba crossing is open Sundays-Thursdays 6:30 am-8 pm and Friday-Saturday 8 am-8 pm. This crossing is closed on the Islamic New Year (Hijra) and Jewish New Year (Yom Kippur). Entrance visas are not issued at this border crossing to individual travelers and should be arranged at the Jordanian embassy in your country or in Israel. People traveling in Israeli tourism company group tours do not require entry visas for this border crossing. If you make arrangements 24 hours in advance (or travel with a guided group that arranges it for you) and have a pre-bought entry ticket to Petra Archeological Site or official entry documents you do not have to stay the mandatory 24 hours in Jordan.4. Across the Red SeaRecent changes to regulations have caused some tour companies to include a tour to Jordan and Petra via the Red Sea and Aqaba. Israeli tourists are taken across the Taba border crossing in Eilat between Egypt and Israel. From there, there are regular ferries across the Red Sea to the Jordanian port city of Aqaba. It takes about 45 minutes to make the ferry crossing. From Aqaba, tours proceed to the ancient city of Petra.Liked this article? Join one of our Petra and Jordan tours. Eilat Aquapark. Photo byMichal IcoonUnsplash
Автор: Petal Mashraki

Traveling in Israel Without Planning

Traveling to Israel requires some planning although if you want to you can leave a good part of your time unplanned for exploring the country. There are many people who travel without a plan and simply arrive at their destinations, ask locals and the tourist information office for tips and advice and take it from there. There is very little additional planning needed for Israel as compared to other destinations. However, to make the most of your time it is best to do a little research and give yourself a basic outline for your trip.Basic Planning for Israel that You Can't AvoidTraveling without a plan is great but to make sure you're even allowed off the plane you should check if you need a visa to Israeland if so get that sorted out. Another part of planning for a trip to Israel that just can't be avoided is knowing which public holidays are happening while you are in the country. Israel's many national and religious holidays often involve a complete shutdown of public transport and attractions. This goes for the 24 hours from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday as well. During Shabbat the open hours and transportation in Israel are limited, and even non-existent in some areas. You should also check out any special events happening while you are in Israel. For example, when Israel hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 accommodation in Tel Aviv scarce and you wouldn't have been able to arrive without booking your accommodation. You also need to plan for the Israeli weather. Throughout the year you will need sun protection, especially in the summer.Do you Need to Make Plans for Security on a Trip to Israel?If you're wondering if you need to make any special plans for security in Israel the answer is no. You will find Israel is one of the safest places you visit; women can walk alone at night in the large cities and feel safe. Israel, unfortunately, has had ample experience of terrorism and conflict so security measures are entrenched in the Israeli psyche. Besides being vigilant Israelis are used to going about their daily business and living full and rich lives without letting any political situation or regional conflict ruin their fun.Having a General Plan for Your Israel TripDon't forget to include theDead Sea in your trip in IsraelEven if you don't want to arrive in Israel with a ridged itinerary it is a good idea to consider basing yourself in different regions of the country so you can conveniently explore the nearby sites without traveling long distances each day. I suggest dividing your time between northern Israel, central Israel (Tel Aviv), Jerusalem and southern Israel (Dead Sea or Eilat). Spend a few days based in each of these areas and do your daily sightseeing from there. You might also want to plan for any highlights you don't want to miss – shows, attractions or natural wonders. Some need to be booked in advance to avoid missing. Israel has excellent public transport and plenty to see so you shouldn't have too much trouble just getting up in the morning and setting off for an adventure.How to Travel in Israel without PlanningAn organized group tour in Israel - Most of the services you need in one pack.So if you have covered the essential basic plans mentioned above you can then relax and play the rest by ear. There are a few ways to make an unplanned trip to Israel even better. Once you get to your hotel or hostel have a chat with the reception staff or concierge to get tips on what to see and where to go. They will probably give you a free street map to help you get around if you are in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Connect up with locals and get their input. Wander the streets just people-watching, shopping, and spotting the incredible architecture. Spend time on the beach, in parks, pubs, markets or side walk cafes. If you feel like you haven't covered the top attractions, you can always take a day tour. Alternatively if you want to take all planning out of your trip to Israel then join one of the Israel package tours where all guided tours and accommodation are included and organized for you. No stress, no planning, just sit back and let the tour company do all the work.A Little Bit of Planning Goes a Long WayHowever much you want to be a free spirit and arrive in the Holy Land ready to go, a little bit of planning will make your trip more interesting, trouble-free and enrich your experience. Have a guide or guide book so that you know what you're looking at when you stare at structures that are 2,000 years old. Plan how to spend weekends when transport and businesses close down and do your longer journeys on weekdays. I also suggest booking at least some of your accommodation as hotels are expensive in Israel and you can find better deals online than in the middle of the night wandering the streets like Mary and Joseph when there is "no room at the inn."
Автор: Petal Mashraki

Travel Safety in Israel and Jordan

At the moment the status of Israel is classified as “Exercise increased caution in Israel due to terrorism and civil unrest". Due to COVID-19 until further notice, entry to Israel is still denied to most non-citizens or non-residents of Israel arriving from anywhere in the world. The Ministry of Health has permitted a few vaccinated groups from the "green list" countries, to enter Israel as a study case.Protective Face Masks For Coronavirus. Photo by Mika Baumeister on UnsplashTravel Safety – IsraelThere is at present no “war” in Israel and so for the most part life goes on as usual. Almost all the top travel destinations in Israel, attractions, and sites are in safe areas of the country. You will have no problem or threat of safety if you visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, the Dead Sea, Eilat, and the Sea of Galilee to name but a few of the safe areas to visit. The areas to avoid are the areas near the Lebanon border (Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar); Gaza and its immediate surroundings and the West Bank. The USA has at present travel warnings issued for Gaza and the West Bank but not for Israel proper. It is possible to enter the West Bank but extreme caution must be taken as unexpected outbreaks of violence can occur.It is preferable to travel with a guided tour to Bethlehem, Jericho,andHebron. Indiscriminate terrorist attacks can occur without warning even in peacetime. So is it safe to travel in Israel? Considering theinfection rates drop and the high percentage of vaccinated residents in Israel, the risk has significantly reduced.Jaffa Port Aerial View, Israel. Photo credit: © ShutterstockTravel Safety – JordanSo is it safe to travel to Jordan? Due to COVID-19 at the moment international travel to Jordan is restricted. The official advice for thosetraveling from Israel to Petrais to take normal precautions of avoiding large crowds and demonstrations which can occur in downtown Amman on a Friday afternoon. As with all countries in the Middle East, there is always a possibility of unexpected terrorist attacks but none have occurred in recent years. Normally, Jordan is a safe country to visit.Once you are set to travel to Israel you can further ensure your safety by registering with your embassy in Israel, this way you will be sent current or emergency travel warnings. Also travel with full travel insurance coverage; leave photocopies of your itinerary, passport, and other documents with a friend or family; travel with the local embassy’s address and phone number and be aware of local customs and norms so as not to get yourself in any dangerous situations.Bookmark the followingarticleto have the most up-to-date information about travel restrictions in Israel.Treasury, Petra Archeological Park, Jordan.Photo credit: © Shutterstock
Автор: Petal Mashraki

Most Recommended Ways to Visit Bethlehem During Your Trip to Israel

Bethlehem is a must destination for all Christian visitors to Israel, and for many non-Christians as well. Bethlehem is the biblical location of the nativity, where Jesus Christ was born on the first Christmas Eve. Bethlehem has become a household name to most Westerners.Saint Jerome Statue, Saint Catherine Church, Bethlehem. Photo credit: © ShutterstockBethlehem is remembered in nativity scenes at school; in Christmas carols (Oh Little Town of Bethlehem) and in biblical stories of the shepherds watching their sheep that night; the Wise Men (Magi) and the manger that gave Mary and Joseph shelter when there was "no room at the inn." These childhood memories of Christmas tales are what make Bethlehem a magical destination for anyone on a trip to Israel.Where is Bethlehem?Bethlehem is situated in the central West Bank in the Palestinian Authorities Territory on the southern portion of the Judean Mountains. Although Bethlehem is in the West Bank it is only 10km (6.2 miles) from Jerusalem and can be reached from Jerusalem in under an hour. The journey to Bethlehem takes you across the border (Checkpoint 300) between Israel and Palestine so you will need to take your passport. There is no restriction on passing between Israel and Palestine at this checkpoint as many times as you want. This is generally a safe and friendly crossing and even if traveling alone in a taxi you will probably have no problems at the border.Visiting Bethlehem on FootOK, this is only for the hard-core pilgrims who want to retrace Joseph and Mary's steps. The walk is doable but difficult and will take you at least 2 hours following Tel Khai Street out of Jerusalem, joining Bet Lechem Road and on to Hebron Road that leads you to Bethlehem. This route is best done with a group of pilgrims or guide and is not recommended.St. Catherine's Church, Bethlehem. Photo credit: © ShutterstockVisiting Bethlehem by TaxiYou can catch a taxi from Jerusalem to Bethlehem in one of the West Jerusalem taxis with a white number plate which can only drop you at the checkpoint. There you can cross into Palestine and catch a Palestinian taxi with a yellow number plate to Bethlehem or even walk the remaining way which could take about half an hour. Alternatively, you can take an East Jerusalem taxi with a yellow number plate which may be able to take you all the way to Bethlehem. You should negotiate a price before leaving Jerusalem and have the taxi driver wait for you in Bethlehem to take you back to Jerusalem.Visiting Bethlehem with a Rented CarAlthough you can rent a car in Israel and drive part of the way to Bethlehem you cannot take cars rented in Israel into the West Bank or across the border into the Palestinian Territory. This is for insurance reasons as cars rented in Israel are not covered by insurance in the West Bank areas not controlled by Israel. However, you could rent a car in East Jerusalem and drive to Bethlehem.Star Marks the Spot, Where Jesus Christ Born, Grotto of the Nativity Bethlehem.Photo credit: © ShutterstockVisiting Bethlehem by Public BusSeveral buses connect Jerusalem to Bethlehem. You can take the Egged #234 from near the Old City of Jerusalem or the Central Bus Station to Checkpoint 300 where you will have to disembark, cross into Palestine on foot and take a taxi or Palestinian bus into Bethlehem. The blue "Arab" Israel bus #21 leaves the East Jerusalem Bus Station on Sultan Suleiman St opposite the Damascus Gate of the Old City. This bus takes a different route than the Egged bus and travels through Beit-Jalla, across the checkpoint, and straight into Bethlehem. So this bus route is longer, cheaper and you won't have to change to a Palestinian taxi at the border. You will need to show your ID at the border crossing but will probably be able to stay on the bus. Unless you are looking for an adventure a bus journey is not recommended, it can be unsafe and there can be delays.Rooftop view of Bethlehem.Photo credit: © ShutterstockVisiting Bethlehem with a Guided TourBethlehem tours leave Tel Aviv and Jerusalem regularly throughout the year. These tours include pick-up and drop-off from your hotel or a convenient point in the city. Bethlehem one-day tours often combine half a day in Bethlehem with half a day in Jerusalem or Jericho or the Dead Sea. With day tours to Bethlehem, you don't have to worry yourself about any of the logistics of the border crossing process. Bring your passport and the tour guide will take care of the rest. On a typical tour to Bethlehem, you will visit Manger Square, the Church of the Nativity, St. Catherine's Church, and sometimes the Milk Grotto as well. This may not be the cheapest option but it is definitely the most recommended way to visit Bethlehem in terms of safety and convenience.What is the Most Recommended Way to Visit Bethlehem?Traveling on foot, by bus, taxi or rented car is not recommended. Although this part of the country is usually safe the language barrier, checkpoint crossing, and cultural differences can make these methods of visiting Bethlehem challenging. Overall the most recommended way to visit Bethlehem is with an organized tour. Prices are reasonable considering you get transportation, security, convenience and you're accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. For a really special experience take a tour to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve and enjoy Midnight Mass in Manger Square.Entrance to the Church of Nativity.Photo credit: © Shutterstock
Автор: Petal Mashraki
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