Driving in Israel
Driving in Israel is on the right-hand side of the road. Roads in Jerusalem are well-maintained and road signs are generally in Hebrew, English and Arabic. The English and Arabic are usually transliterations of the Hebrew – for example, Jerusalem will be written “Yerushalayim.”
Visitors to Israel from western countries might find Israeli drivers to be more hasty than what they’re used to – they often drive more quickly and make more sudden movements. As a result, it is advised to pay close attention to your surroundings, in particular when changing lanes or getting on and off highways.
Certain parts of Jerusalem can be quite congested at times, especially the roads around (and in) the Old City, in the city center and Agripas and other streets around Mahane Yehuda Market.
Renting a car is quite a straightforward process in Israel. Read more about car rental here.
Within the city, it is sometimes preferable to use public transport – either the light rail or the bus – when going to very central areas such as the city center, in order to avoid the hassle of looking for parking.
All in all, though, it can be lots of fun exploring Israel by car – it is a small country with excellent intercity highways and inner city roads. You’ll have the freedom to go where you want, when you want, stopping at every viewpoint, town or attraction that you feel like.
Jerusalem is about as far as a city can get from a grid. It is very hilly (which means lots of beautiful views) and many of the roads built on old infrastructure, creating winding ways that can be difficult to navigate.
If you have an international data plan, we recommend trying out Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation app. Waze happens to be a proud Israeli product and it works very well in Israel. It will help you figure out the best way to get from A to B within Jerusalem and beyond. You can download Waze here.
Municipal street parking
Here are some rules, laws and tips regarding parking on the streets in Jerusalem. Many of these rules stand for parking throughout Israel as well.
– Red and white painted curbs signify illegal parking.
– A blue and white curb signifies legal, paid parking.
– To buy a ticket, find a nearby machine and then display the ticket on your car dashboard. In some cases there will be a designated parking meter for each parking spot.
– Two other convenient ways to pay are using Pango, a cellular phone parking system, and EasyPark (1-700-700-789), a small contraption that hangs on your car window. You can purchase an EasyPark and fill it up repeatedly at any of these EasyPark purchase and charging locations in Jerusalem (list is in Hebrew).
– Yellow signs near the blue and white curbs will state at what hours one must pay for parking by a blue and white curb, when it is free (usually after 6:00 or 8:00 pm until around 8:00 am) and the maximum number of hours allowed (usually two to three hours). This information is also available on the front screen of the payment machines.
– Paid parking on the street is 5.70 ILS per hour (as of September 2014). Parking is usually free in the evenings – check the parking signs for details.
– Be sure not to pay during the hours that it is not required.
– Where the curb is gray with no signs indicating that parking is forbidden or that payment is required, parking is free.
Parking lots and garages
Busy areas such as the city center, Mahane Yehuda and industrial areas, like the neighborhood of Talpiot, have plenty of blue and white parking along the streets. But because they are so busy, it is sometimes difficult finding parking, in which case, you can try one of the many private parking lots or garages.
Parking lots around the city center include: Gan Haatzma’ut (Independence Park), Hillel Street, behind King George Street on Mordechai Eliash Street, Safra Square (entrance from Shivtei Yisrael Street), or in the parking lots near Mamilla Mall (more on those below).
Old City parking
The Old City and Alrov Mamilla Mall have a number of parking options for those coming by car.
Parking near Jaffa Gate
Address: 17 Kariv Street (Just outside Jaffa Gate)
The Old City is closest on foot via Alrov Mamilla Mall and the Jaffa Gate entrance.
Entrance: 6:00 am – 2:00 am (The latest you can enter the parking lot is midnight. You can park until 2:00 am.)
Cost: The first hour is free, every consecutive hour is 12 ILS (3 ILS per quarter hour). A full day is 48 ILS.
Address: 1 Kariv Street (Just outside Jaffa Gate, next to Mamilla Parking)
Opening hours: 7:00 am – 1:00 am, Thursday until 2:00 am
Cost: 10 ILS per hour; 50 ILS per day; Jerusalem card holders: 50% discount
Safra Parking – Jerusalem Municipality
Address: 7 Shivtei Yisrael Street
Opening hours: 24 hours a day besides Shabbat
Cost: 14 ILS per hour; 84 ILS per day; discounted price from 4:05 pm to 6:00 am
Parking on Saturday night after Shabbat ends is free of charge
Phone: +972-2-629-6080; +972-2-625-0894
Parking near the Western Wall
Mount Zion Parking
Just outside the Old City Walls behind Zion Gate. To access this parking lot, drive outside the walls until reaching Mount Zion.
Near Dung Gate in front of the City of David. To reach the parking lot drive to Damascus Gate, around the Temple Mount, and turn left before the incline to the Western Wall. Parking meters can be found along the road going from Zion Gate to the Jewish Quarter and along the road going from Dung Gate to Mount Zion.
Park and Ride Parking Lots
For drivers who wish to use the light rail, there are park-and-ride facilities near Mount Herzl, with a multi-storey car park and a first line terminal on its roof at the street level of Herzl Boulevard, a parking lot next to the Ammunition Hill stop and at Pisgat Ze’ev. Parking is free upon presentation of a public transportation ticket.
Park and Ride website
Free Shuttles to the Old City
Now you can park by the First Station at a flat rate for the day and jump on a free shuttle to the Old City. The shuttles go to the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall and the City of David. And then back.