Tel Aviv Transportation: All You Need to Know
So you’ve arrived in Tel Aviv and you’re wondering about the best way to get around. Well, the good news is you’ve got plenty of options. Not only is the city quite compact (you can walk from the Namal port to Old Jaffa, along the beachfront, in around one hour), it’s also flat so you won’t find yourself out of breath as you rack up your step count.
Bike riding is just one good way to get around in the city
But what about the transportation options in the city - buses, trains, taxis, e-scooters, sheruts - for when you’re in a rush or too tired to stroll the sidewalk? Here’s our guide to the cheapest, easiest, and most convenient ways not just to get around the Non-Stop City but also to reach other must-see places in Israel from Tel Aviv. Follow this guide to make sure you'll make the most of your visit, even if you have just 48 hours in Tel Aviv.
Public Transport in Tel Aviv
Getting around Tel Aviv isn’t difficult - public transport in Israel is cheap, efficient and runs from early in the morning until after midnight (there are also a few night buses that operate and an hourly train that runs from Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport between midnight and 6 am). There’s also a new light railway in the pipeline - one line is already running and others should be up and functional reasonably soon.
Rush hour in Tel Aviv
You can’t pay a driver in cash any longer but it’s easy to pick up a Rav Kav card at any station or pharmacy, and then pre-load it with cash to pay for your bus and train rides. You can also pay with your phone (by scanning) or credit card on public buses.
One thing that’s important to point out is that regular public transport doesn’t operate in Israel on the Jewish sabbath (from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening). There are, however, buses operated by the local municipality which you can take - and best of all they are free! They won't get you out of the city but within Tel Aviv and Jaffa, they are a great way to get around on Israel’s ‘day of rest.’
Buses in Tel Aviv
The majority of the buses in Tel Aviv are operated by the Dan company. A couple of lines that are particularly well-known and journey between the north and south of the city every few minutes - numbers 4 and 5 - will take you to the ‘must see’ parts of the city including Dizengoff Street, Rothschild Boulevard, and the beachfront promenade.
A ticket costs 5.90 NIS and you can make unlimited journeys with it for 90 minutes. A day pass costs 13.50 NIS, so if you’re planning on making more than a couple of trips, it’s quite economical - your Rav Kav or credit card won’t charge you beyond that amount, however often you use the bus in a day. You can also buy weekly and monthly tickets, which give you access to intercity trains in the local area too.
The buses are cheap and reliable
There are two main bus stations in Tel Aviv, at different ends of the city:
1. Tel Aviv Central Bus Station (Levinsky) - this is the city’s main bus station, situated in the south of Tel Aviv. It's easily reached by buses number 4 and 5 and inside, along with the floors for buses, there are lots of shopping areas and places to grab a bite.
2. Arlozorov Bus Station - on the corner of Arlozorov and the Namir Road, many intercity buses stop here (or pass by) and you can also pick up buses to Jerusalem, Haifa, the Golan Heights and Be’er Sheva (gateway to the Negev desert) here.
Taxis in Tel Aviv
There are two ways to order a taxi in Tel Aviv - either by hailing one in the street or booking one in advance. If you’re in the city center, on trendy Dizengoff Street, or close to the beach, it shouldn’t be hard to flag one down.
To avoid any ‘misunderstandings’ (and to make sure you’re not taken advantage of) either agree on the price with the driver beforehand or tell them to put on the meter.
Taxi Apps to Use in Tel Aviv
Using a taxi app is also a good way to go. Uber doesn’t operate in Tel Aviv but Gett does, and not only is it easy to download (it’s in English) but it’s quick and convenient to use.
A Taxi is a good choice for getting around the city if you're short on time
When you sign up, you’ll have to give your credit details but then you don’t have to deal with cash - it’s all taken care of and you’ll be notified by text message when your driver (complete with their registration details) is close by. Gett now also operates a ‘Gett Kid’ service where you can pre-order a cab in Tel Aviv with a baby seat!
Bikes and E-Scooters in Tel Aviv
Unlike Jerusalem, which is rather hilly, Tel Aviv is flat, which makes it a great place to cycle. There are shops around the city center where you can hire bikes by the hour or day, but there’s also the city-run ‘Tel-O-Fun’ - a bike-sharing scheme that lets you pick up your wheels in one part of town and drop them off in another.
Scooter in Tel Aviv
All you need is a credit card to unlock the bike - then off you go. Tariffs are quite reasonable and there are cycle lanes all over the city.
Trains in Tel Aviv and to other parts of Israel
Israel Railways operates all over the country and Tel Aviv is at the heart of its network. Within the city itself are three large stations:
1. Sabidor (Arlozorov) - Sabidor is in the north of Tel Aviv, and is also a bus terminal.
2. Ha Shalom - Ha Shalom is in the heart of the city’s business district and a stone’s throw from the famous Azrieli Towers.
3. Ha Haganah - the most southern train station, 400 meters east of the Levinsky Tel Aviv bus station.
All three stations have information in English and cashiers if you want to buy a paper ticket!
Getting from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
No one should visit Israel without seeing Israel’s capital and whilst intercity buses and sheruts (Israel’s yellow minibuses) run every 15 minutes to Jerusalem, the quickest way by far is the new high-speed train that runs between the two cities, taking just 40 minutes!
You can depart from any of the three city train stations (see above) and 40 minutes later, find yourself at Yitzak Navon train station, which is next door to the Jerusalem light railway (dropping you at the Jaffa Gate in the Old City, in less than 15 minutes).
The Train is a good option
The Old City is a perfect place to wander, but if you don’t want to explore the capital alone, consider taking one of the many guided tours in Jerusalem on offer, as well as day trips to places like Masada and the Dead Sea, all well worth the visit!
Another question we’re often asked is how much is a taxi from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Well, if you want to splash out, prices start from around 350 NIS but will be more if it’s on Shabbat or late at night.
Getting from Tel Aviv to Haifa
You can reach Haifa via bus number 910 which leaves from the seventh floor of the Levsinky bus station every hour. You can also take other buses, but then you will have to change along the way
From any of the Tel Aviv stations, trains run every 20-30 minutes to central Haifa - you can use your Rav Kav, an app, or even buy a ticket (using cash) from a cashier in the station.
How to Visit Masada from Tel Aviv
Masada is one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions - this ancient Herodian fortress in the Judean desert is simply breathtaking and is well worth the trip from Tel Aviv. There is an Egged bus - number 421- that leaves twice a day, once at 9 am and a second time at midday. The journey takes about two hours.
However, using public transport to reach there is not convenient if you’d like to see other parts of the area (the Dead Sea) and many travelers who don’t want to rent a car opt to take a guided tour - a day trip to Masada and the Dead Sea means you’ll have a guide, an air-con minibus and you can maximize your time at the two sites.
How to Get From Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea
Much like Masada, it’s possible to visit the Dead Sea from Tel Aviv but not that convenient - you can take the 421 bus (see above) and ask to alight at Ein Bokek but then you are constrained by the bus timetable and it will be hard to see other places in the area, such as the stunning Ein Gedi nature reserve, complete with hiking trails and waterfalls). In this respect, again we’d advise taking an organized trip.