Jerusalem Travel Guide

Getting Around

By taxi

Cabs are plentiful in the city of gold, but be warned as the drivers may try to rip you off by "taking the scenic route" or charging a fixed price instead of on the meter. Insist that the driver turns on the meter (Mon-eh) and you should have no problems. If the driver will not activate the meter, get out and take a different one. If you have the meter on, cabs are relatively cheap.

By bus

NB: The description here refers solely to West Jerusalem (the jewish part). The Arab system of buses is based on two bus stations near Damascus Gate.

The most effective public transportation option is currently in the form of buses.

Take into consideration that the intercity bus system is quite confusing, especially for a tourist. Even people living in Jerusalem their whole lives may not be able to help you, if they aren't familiar with the bus route you're interested in using. This is caused by the lack of any official bus route maps, and to the fact that bus routes and numbers tend to change rapidly.

Buses are run by "Egged" Company (click on the link for a relatively simple tool for finding your way). Most buses are dark green, but you might see the older red and white buses too.

To use the bus, you pay the driver as you board the bus. All bus rides are at a fixed price of 6.60 NIS (about $1.75-January 2013), no matter how many stops you stay on for. You may pay in change or bills.

Entrance to the bus is from the front door only, and exit is usually from the back. Once you pay the driver, a ticket will come out of the gray calculator next to the driver. You must take and keep the ticket, for proof to the conductor, which boards and checks relatively rarely, and for using the transfer.

Notice, that the ticket you receive can be used 90 minutes from the moment it's produced. You may transfer with it to any intercity bus, as long as you board the bus before the 90th minute, which is printed on the ticket.

Many buses have recently (January 2013) been installed with screens and automatic saying (in Hebrew) what the next stop is.

The Jerusalem City Tour (Bus #99), intended for tourists, does a loop of pretty much the whole city and all its attractions. It costs 45 NIS for adults and 36 NIS for children for a one-day pass.

Below is a summarized overview of which bus to take to get from certain places to other places. Printing this list, and the map, will be very helpful.

Central Bus Station
*Buses towards the city leaving directly in front of the CBS (going left / east)
**1 to Kotel HaMa'aravi: CBS – Sarei Yisrael – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Meah Shearim – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Kotel HaMa'aravi (Western Wall)
*Buses away from the city leaving directly in front of the CBS (going right / west)
**7 to Har Chotzvim: Kiryat Mattersdorf – Sorotzkin – Kiryat Tzanz – Ezrat Torah – Har Chotzvim
*Buses towards the city leaving from Sederot Shazar (the main road across from the CBS; cross under the road through the tunnel) (going left / east)
**11 to Ramat Shlomo: CBS – Machaneh Yehudah – HaNevi'im (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Strauss (Geulah) – Yechezkel – Shmuel HaNavi – Golda Meir – Ramat Shlomo
**15 circle bus: CBS – Sarei Yisrael – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) - Meah Shearim – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Yaffo (municipality offices, central post office) – Kikar Tzion – Strauss (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Sarei Yisrael – CBS – Givat Shaul – Har Nof
**35 to Ramot: CBS – Machaneh Yehudah – HaNevi'im (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Strauss (Geulah) – Yechezkel – Shmuel HaNavi – Golda Meir – Ramot
Other Routes
*1: CBS – Sarei Yisrael – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Meah Shearim – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Kotel HaMa'aravi (Western Wall)
*2: Har Nof – Givat Shaul North – Hamag – Kiryat Mattersdorf – Sorotzkin – Kiryat Tzanz – Ezrat Torah – Golda Meir – Shmuel HaNavi – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Kotel HaMa'aravi (Western Wall)
*7: Kiryat Mattersdorf – Sorotzkin – Kiryat Tzanz – Ezrat Torah – Har Chotzvim
*11: Har Nof – Givat Shaul North – CBS (Shazar) – Machaneh Yehudah – HaNevi'im (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Strauss (Geulah) – Yechezkel – Shmuel HaNavi – Golda Meir – Har Chotzvim – Ramat Shlomo
*15 circle bus: Har Nof – Givat Shaul North – CBS (Shazar) – Sarei Yisrael – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Meah Shearim – Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) – Yaffo (municipality offices, central post office) – Kikar Tzion – Strauss (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Malchei Yisrael (Geulah) – Sarei Yisrael – CBS (Shazar) – Givat Shaul North – Har Nof
*16: Bayit VeGan – Yefeh Nof – Kiryat Moshe – Givat Shaul North – Hamag – Kiryat Mattersdorf – Sorotzkin – Kiryat Tzanz – Hannah – Bar Ilan – Sanhedria – Golda Meir – Har Chotzvim – Ramot
*18: CBS-Yaffo-David HaMelech-Derech Beit Lechem-Emek Refaim-Yochanan Ben Zakkai-Yossi Ben Yoezer-Kanei HaGalil-Yehudah HaNasi-Yaakov Pat-Kenyon Malcha
*21: replaces the 14 into Talpiot
*29: Har HaMenuchot – Givat Shaul Commercial Area – Givat Shaul North – CBS (Shazar)
*35: Har Nof – Givat Shaul South – CBS (Shazar) – Machaneh Yehudah – HaNevi'im (Bikur Cholim hospital) – Strauss (Geulah) – Yechezkel – Shmuel HaNavi – Golda Meir – Ramot
*38: Jewish Quarter Parking lot – Yafo Street – Davidka Square – Yafo Street – Jewish Quarter Parking lot.
"Fast Lines"
*71, 72: Gilo- Derekh Hevron – King George – Straus – Ramot.
*74, 75: Har Homa – Derekh Hevron – King George – The Shuk – CBS – Har nof.
*4: Har HaZofim – French Hill – Geula – Straus – King George – Emek Refaim – Gonen – Malkha.

These are new and modern buses which cut the city vertically. These buses are painted green and gray, and always have the system which automatically tells you the next stop.

Note Buses in Jerusalem (Egged) do not run on Shabbat (30 minutes before sunset on Friday until at least 30 minutes after sunset on Saturday), nor on other religious holidays. That doesn't apply for Al-Safariiat Al-Moahaddih.

By light rail

The Jerusalem Light Rail line opened on 19 August 2011. It links the north-eastern neighborhoods to the south-western neighborhoods, runs along the western side of the Old City, and passes through the city center. Additional lines are planned to be constructed later.

The light rail runs past many areas of interest to tourists: Damascus Gate station close to the Old City gate of that name; City Hall station (Saffra square) which is close to the Jaffa Gate of the Old City; King George V station which is close to Ben Yehuda street; the light rail station just outside the Jerusalem Central Bus Station; the Mahane Yehuda station at the main markets which are the largest in Israel, and there are also numerous food stalls offering local cuisine. The tram line runs along Yaffo Street (also referred to as Jaffa Street) which has many interesting cafes and shops in the portion of Yaffo/Jaffa Street that lies between City Hall station and King George V station. At the southern end of the light rail line, at the Mount Herzl station, are Yad Vashem holocaust museum as well as Mount Hertsel national cemetery where famous citizens, prime ministers and Israeli soldiers have been buried.

As of 1 December 2011, the ticket price is 6.60 NIS with a 90 minute transfer that it is valid for the light rail and the bus system.

The light rail service ceases a few hours before Shabbat on Friday afternoon, and starts up a few hours after the end of Shabbat on Saturday night. The regular travel times on other days of the week can be found at the light rail website (citypass.co.il) which can be found at the official website of the Jerusalem Light Rail.

The roads on which the tram line runs are half taken up by the tram lines, so cars must travel in single lanes in the remaining half of the road. This means that travel by car along these roads, shared by the tram, can be quite congested—in particular, Yaffo street (or Jaffa Street), which has parts that are exclusively used by the light railway.

Note that if asking locals where is the nearest station of the Jerusalem Light Rail, note that some people refer to it as the "train station" or "tram station".

By foot

Much of Jerusalem is walkable (check before going) and is pleasant to walk. The humidity level of Jerusalem is much lower than most cities in Israel, but you must remember the city is built on mountains- and you might have to climb some steep ascents. Some of the neighborhoods are a bit distant, so make sure to check on Google Maps the distance before you go.

The Old City has to be toured by foot, not only because it is more impressive this way, but also because many of the lanes and alleyways are inaccessible to cars.

By bike

Bike rentals are available at the abraham-hostel 67 Hanevi'im street, Davidka square, as well as at Bilu Bikes, 7 Bilu Street for a guided Bike tour WWW.BIKEJERUSALEM.COM

Cycling in Jerusalem is probably the best way to see the city, recommended by many past travelers, Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor ; this is a way to see the real Jerusalem. This 3-5 hour tour covers most of Jerusalem's historical neighborhoods, including many places that most visitors never get to see.

The tour includes, The Israeli Parliament, The valley of the Cross, "Rehavia" and "Talbia", The German Colony, "Mishkanit Shananim", Jaffa Gate the Russian Compound and "Nachlaot", to name only a few. The ride goes through side streets, short cuts and allies, known by few other than our expert guides. Despite the hills around Jerusalem, the ride in the city is not as hard as people tend to think, and the ride can be modified to suite families and inexperienced riders. It should be noted that the rights of cyclists are not always respected and you will frequently find bicycle paths blocked and cars will expect cyclists to give right of way thought they will not intentionally harm if you force the right of way.

The Jerusalem Night ride includes an unforgettable ride through the empty streets of the 3000 year Old City.

source: Wikivoyage

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