Travelling in Israel: 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:
Trains 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 Station
Once 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 Aviv
Trains also run from the airport to many other parts of the country including Jerusalem, Haifa, and Be’er Sheva. how 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.
If 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 Jerusalem
This 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).
Bus 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 Jaffa
Many 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 Transfer
Private 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 Transport
Moreover, 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 great Airport Transfer from Ben Gurion to Tel Aviv, and also an Airport Transfer from Ben Gurion to Jerusalem, to Haifa, Netania, the Dead Sea, and many other places popular among tourists.
By Car Rental
If 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.
Sheruts, 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 passengers
Once 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.