Jerusalem is pleasant to visit at any time of year. For affordable prices, relatively limited visitor numbers, and a warm, enjoyable weather, choose March—May and October—November. Summer is peak season, and hosts the busy, interesting Jerusalem Season of Culture festival. Temperatures are high (around 25 to 35 °C, possibly more), and the city is packed with people. Winters are cool, much more than in nearby Tel Aviv, and can have unpredictable weather.
The city gets particularly crowded and expensive during Jewish holidays (High Holy Days, Passover, and Sukkot) and the Christian Easter.
To visit Israel you need a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry. If you hold an Israeli passport, you will be required to present it upon arrival.
Many countries have a Visa Waiver Program with Israel, which allows their citizens to visit Israel without a pre-arranged visa. Citizens of Australia, Canada, the EU, and the USA do not need a visa for touristic stays up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries can check if they need a visa at the official government website.
Because of diplomatic issues, you might not be able to travel to some Arab or predominantly Muslim countries if your passport shows an Israeli visa or stamp. To solve this problem, your visa will be stamped on a separate entry card when you arrive in Israel.
Remember to bring your passport with you on trips to Palestinian territories: it will probably be required at checkpoints and border crossings.
Jerusalem does not have an airport within the city, but the closest airport is Ben Gurion International Airport, located around 50km away. This is the main international airport in Israel and offers many flight options from various destinations around the world.
From Ben Gurion Airport, you can reach Jerusalem by taxi, shared shuttle, or train. Taxis and shared shuttles are available at the airport terminal. Taxi ranks at the airport are found at ground level at the Gate 3 exit, and on the second level at the Gate 21 exit. To help you hail a taxi, a taxi dispatcher service is available at two locations: Terminal 3, Level G, Gate 42 exit; or Terminal 1, near Gate 3.
Alternatively, you can take the cheaper bus 485, run by the Afikim company. It goes from the airport to Jerusalem's Central Bus Station and runs around the clock 6 days a week, excluding Shabbat. The last service is at 2 pm on Friday, followed by the next bus at 7 pm on Saturday.
The train station is located at the airport itself, at level S. The train is a convenient option as it offers a direct connection between the airport and Jerusalem–Yitzhak Navon Station, with a travel time of around 25 minutes.
It is important to note that security measures are strict in Israel, especially at the airport, so be prepared to go through a thorough security check.
Public transport in Jerusalem consists of a bus service and a light rail, and it's run by the Egged company. Search for the most convenient routes on their website.
Be aware that it is not possible to buy tickets directly on board. In order to use the transport system, you need to load a smart card called "Rav Kav". It is available at bus stations, kiosks, Cofix branches, and more. To add credit to your card, you can also go to automatic machines and light rail stations.
The bus service runs mostly around the Central Bus Station and the Downtown Triangle (between Ben Yehuda Street, King George Street and Jaffa Road). The light rail line goes from Mount Herzl to Pisgat Zeev, South-West to North-East; it has stops near Jaffa Street and the Mahane Yehuda Market. The Mount Herzl final stop is close to the Yad Vashem memorial.
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The system shuts down from Friday afternoon to Saturday after sunset
Taxis are widely available in Jerusalem, and they are usually white with a yellow sign on the roof. They run on meters, but it's a good idea to agree on a price beforehand to avoid any issues. It's also common to tip the driver a small amount, around 10% of the fare.
You can hail them on the street, call their phone number, or ask your hotel reception. There is a small additional fare if you call by phone, and the tariff is higher at night (9pm–5:30am), on Friday afternoons and Saturdays, and on holiday eves. Make sure the taxi driver turns on the meter when you get in. For trips outside of town, you might want to negotiate a fare with the driver instead of using the meter.
Ridesharing apps such as Uber (only with licensed cab drivers) and Gett operate in Jerusalem, and they can be a convenient and reliable option for transportation.
Israel operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. You will usually find plug type C (two round pins, common in Europe). You can also see plug H (three pins in a triangular shape), which is compatible with type C.