JERUSALEM

Dome stop believing.

tel aviv travel guide

There are 34 watchtowers and 7 gates along the 2.5 mile stretch of Jerusalem's walls.

Jerusalem follows IST or Israel Standard Time, which is two hours ahead of UTC (Coordinated Universal Time.) Jerusalem is 2 hours ahead of London, 7 hours ahead of New York, 8 hours ahead of Chicago, and 10 hours ahead of Los Angeles.

Jerusalem’s visa requirements for travelers are the same as Israel’s. Travelers must obtain a travel waiver from any of the countries associated with the Israel Diplomatic Missions. You can find a detailed list of, and appropriate forms for, those countries here. 

The best airport to fly into when going to Jerusalem is Ben Gurion International Airport. Located just 35 minutes outside of Jerusalem, Ben Gurion is the easiest and quickest ride to your destination.

The best way to travel around Jerusalem is on foot. When touring places such as the Old City, motorized transportation is far and few between. Plus, going on foot allows you to take in the city’s architecture and historical significance better than if you were to watch it pass by through a window. 

Bus

If you do opt for taking the bus, Egged, a popular Israeli bus company, provides many bus routes in Jerusalem to the airport, Dead Sea and even to Tel Aviv. 

Light Rail

Among the most iconic modes of transportation in Israel, Jerusalem is home to the first Light Rail system. Opening in 2011, the tram runs through the heart of Jerusalem city and comes every 10 minutes. Light Rail tracks bring you directly to the front of the Old City. The train operates Sunday through Thursday from 5:30am to midnight. Friday and Saturday hours differ with them being  5:30am-4pm on Fridays and 7am-12am on Saturdays. It is recommended that you check an updated schedule before you go because the hours are often subject to change.

GETT – Israel’s “UBER” works the same way uber does. You connect your credit card and order yourself a gett! 

Taxis – some gett drivers are also taxi drivers (they are the same designed car). Most taxis take shekels only, which is why GETT is so convenient. 

Limes/birds/winds: these are scooters to travel around most Israeli cities. All three are separate apps; scan the barcode and scoot! Wherever you want to stop, hit end ride and leave the scooter right where you got off!

Jerusalem is one of, if not the, safest cities in Israel. With militarized guards stationed at every point of religious importance, the crime rate is generally low. Most cities have their share of pickpockets so be weary of your important items. Public transportation and places of public religious observation are unfortunately places where pickpocketing takes place the most. 

Being an important religious site for both Israelis and Palestinians, the area holds a lot of unease especially when tension among the two countries is high. When traveling to Jerusalem it’s best to be up to date on current political goings-on, this, however, should not deter you from visiting.

When visiting as a female solo traveler it’s best to remain aware of your surroundings. While Jerusalem is a fairly safe environment for solo travelers, it is still in your best interest to keep a close and vigilant eye on your environment.

Jerusalem’s Mediterranian climate means long, hot summers, and short, daily cold winters. The best time to visit Jerusalem would be from mid-June to mid-September.

Hebrew is the primary language spoken in Jerusalem. Most people can converse in English as well. Other popular languages commonly spoken by Israeli natives include Russian and Arabic.

Some basic phrases in Hebrew that will help you during your stay are:

  • Shalom: Could mean “hello,” “goodbye,” or “peace” depending on the context.
  • Sababa: A slang term for “cool,” or “great.”
  • Ken: “Yes”
  • Lo: “No”
  • Slicha: “Sorry,” or “excuse me”
  • Ma-yim: “Water”
  • Bevakasha: “Please”
  • Ayfo Ha Shirootim: “Where is the bathroom?”
  • Yalla: a slang term that could be used in a variety of different ways. Depending on the context, most popularly Yalla is used to mean “let’s go,” or “yeah, right.”

Jerusalem is home to one of the world’s most important religious places of worship for those of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith. When touring places of worship it is important to remember to dress modestly. Most places will not let you enter if you are dressed inappropriately. For women, your chest, shoulders, and knees must be covered. Men must wear a shirt to cover their shoulders and pants. In some places, cloth garments are sold to cover up with, however, it is much cheaper (and fashionable) to come with the proper attire beforehand.

When entering religious environments be mindful of those that are active in prayer. It is incredibly rude to walk in front of or talk to someone praying. Keep your voice in a low, respectful tone, do not use profanity, and do not speak inappropriately about religion. Treat the holy land with respect.

The primary currency is the Shekel, though foreign currencies, such as the dollar or euro, are sometimes accepted.

1 US Dollar = 0.29 shekels. 

Shekel coins: ½, 1, 2, 5, 10 

To exchange money, visit a currency exchange at any corner in Israeli cities, post office, and in the airport when you arrive.

 Tipping:

In Jerusalem, tipping is expected and not included in the bill, with the average tip sitting at 12%.

The standard voltage is 230 voltage, with 50 Hertz Frequency like most of the countries in Europe. If you’re coming from Europe, you probably won’t need a converter, but you will need one if you’re coming from the US. Although most newer hotels will have the European power sockets, but Israel’s traditional power socket uses plug type H, which is three round holes that looks like this: 

Israel power plug

Water supply in Israel has seen a recent shortage as the country’s weather contributes to chronic droughts and water shortages. The problem has gotten so severe that the government has warned that in the coming years there may not be enough water to supply households with constant water flow. Population growth and the demand for water for growing agriculture have contributed to the problem.

In terms of water cleanliness, the tap water in Jerusalem is safe to drink and is among one of the cleanest in terms of international regulations.

Generally, Wi-Fi is available in most cafes and restaurants in Jerusalem. Many of the hotspot locations require you to purchase a wireless internet card beforehand.

The only free Wi-Fi in the city is located in the German Colony, the downtown pedestrian mall, and at Safra Square next to the Jerusalem City Hall.

With a culture based around religion and Orthodox conservativism, Jerusalem in the past had a much different attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community than it does now. Since 2002 the LGBTQ+ community has been hosting its own Pride events. There have been many targeted attacks towards the LGBTQ community but the people have only recently started opening up. In recent years, more and more famous gay advocates have been speaking at Jerusalem’s Pride Parade in an attempt to normalize the community within the eyes of conservatives.

Because Israel is one of the leading countries in eco-science and environmental sustainability, they are constantly creating new ways to help save our planet. All throughout cities like Jerusalem are recycling bins to help collect all plastic bottles. There are plenty of eco-friendly tours and places to stay in Jerusalem, such as the Inbal or Harmony hotels.

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FOR THE PLANNERS:

Everything is closed on Saturdays in Jerusalem.