Getting to Bethlehem
If you’re looking to experience the wonders of the ancient city of Bethlehem, you’ll be happy to know that Bethlehem is just a 15 minute drive from the city center of Jerusalem. It’s just as quick to travel from Jerusalem to Bethlehem as to commute around Jerusalem itself.
Since Bethlehem is part of the Palestinian Authority, there is a border crossing, so make sure to carry your passport and proof of identification with you. Though Israeli passports are not accepted for entry into Bethlehem, entrance is direct for tourists without the need for prior approval.
If you are on an organized tour with an Arab Israeli tour guide you can simply stay on the bus without any check in general. However, if your guide is Jewish Israeli, you will need to walk through the border crossing and meet your tour guide of Bethlehem on the other side. On your way, you might catch a glimpse of graffiti art on the Security Wall, which separates Israeli controlled areas from Palestinian-controlled areas.
Tours and Guides
For the safest and most enriching experience, we recommend that you either go on an organized tour of Bethlehem or hire a private tour guide, both of which should organize transportation to and within Bethlehem. Here are some of our favorites:
Another easy way to get to Bethlehem is to catch a private taxi, which should cost no more than 50 ILS from Jerusalem’s city center. Read more about taxis here.
Please note that cars that are hired in Israel will not be insured for driving in Bethlehem. If you insist on driving, you should rent a car from an eastern Jerusalem car rental company, whose insurance policies should cover you in the West Bank areas which are not Israeli-controlled.
Visitors can travel from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on an Egged bus from the Central Bus Station to Kever Rachel (the Tomb of Rachel), which costs about 7 ILS, and from there, you can catch a taxi.
It is possible to catch bus 21 (blue in color) from the Arab bus station in East Jerusalem, located on Sultan Suliman Street. The station is to the left as you come out of the Old City’s Damascus Gate. The bus costs around 5 ILS, and takes you on a route through nearby Beit Jalla.
Read more about Bethlehem.
East Jerusalem Association of Transportation
Phone: +972-2-627-2881 or +972-50-9102142