Tel Aviv and Jerusalem may be worlds apart in character, but it’s really simple and quick to travel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and back again.
For those that hire a car during their stay in Israel, there are two major routes to get between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem: Road 443 via Modiin or Road 1. (Point of Interest: When you drive on Road 1 from Tel Aviv and begin the ascent to Jerusalem, look out for the leftover War of Independence military vehicle metal frames on the left-hand side.)
The morning and late afternoon are notorious for slow and heavy traffic as you enter and leave both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Peak hour traffic extends journey time from 50 minutes to up to two hours. If you’re traveling between cities in the afternoon, aim to depart by 3:30 pm latest or wait till 6:30 pm to avoid traffic.
Israel’s public bus company, Egged, offers comfortable, air-conditioned buses between Jerusalem and other cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv. The bus leaves from the Jerusalem central bus station, and tickets can either be purchased at a ticket booth with cash or credit card, or on the bus with cash. Students are entitled to a discount upon presentation of a valid international student card, and soldiers and the elderly also receive discounts. Children under the age of 5 are free if accompanied by a paying adult.
There are two buses to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem: The 480 heads to Arlozorov Train Station (approximately every 10 minutes) in upmarket North Tel Aviv and the 405 heads to the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station (approximately every 20 minutes) in south Tel Aviv. Both buses are about 50 minutes in duration. A one-way ticket will cost 18 ILS and there is usually a discounted rate for roundtrip fares.
Bear in mind that buses don’t run on Shabbat (Sabbath) between Friday afternoon and Saturday evening.
Jerusalem Central Bus Station
Address: 228 Jaffa Rd, Jerusalem
Train departures from Jerusalem are not frequent and there are only two stations, both in southern Jerusalem: Malha, and the Biblical Zoo.
The railway system is limited with a line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and between Tel Aviv and Nahariya in the north of Israel. The train to Tel Aviv is a lengthy one hour and 45 minutes in duration through the Judean Mountains but is filled with magnificent scenery, particularly between Modiin and Jerusalem, and is ideal for those with time on their hands. On average, a train ticket will cost you 29 ILS.
You can get to the train station, which is further out than the Central Bus Station, via Bus 18א, which takes approximately 45 minutes from King George Street in the center of town. Or, you may want to catch a taxi to the train station, which will be around 50 ILS on the meter. Those who are driving can enjoy free parking at the train station.
The train was built in Ottoman times and is pretty antiquated though service has improved in recent years with more comfortable seats and more lines. Please note that there is no cellular reception between Jerusalem and the Modiin area. Tickets are available at the station at a ticket booth or vending machine.
A modern express train system is being built for the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv route, slated to open in 2017 which is likely to change the entire transportation experience.
Address: Derech Yitzhak Moda’i, Malha, Jerusalem
Ticket Booth Opening Hours:
Sun – Thurs: 6:00am – 10:00am; 3:15pm – 7:45pm
Fri: 8:45am – 2:00pm
Sat eve: closed
Private Taxi Cab
Private taxi cabs can be arranged for any destination in Israel, including Tel Aviv, with the cost to or from Jerusalem around 250 ILS to your destination (300-350 ILS after 9:00PM).
Read more about taxis here.