Getting Around Tel Aviv
The best way to get around Tel Aviv is by bike. The city is relatively flat, and many of the top attractions are located fairly close to one another, making it easy to navigate on two wheels. Buses run frequently (although less so on Fridays and Saturdays during the Sabbath) and offer an affordable way to get from downtown Tel Aviv to neighborhoods like Jaffa. For cheap (albeit slow) transportation to Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), located about 11 miles southeast of downtown, you should rely on the train. You can also take a taxi or bus from the airport; you'll get into town more quickly in a taxi, but you'll pay much more than you would for the bus. Ride-hailing services, such as Uber, also service the city, but they only call licensed taxi drivers.
|On Foot||Tel Aviv is a fairly large city but still easy to navigate on foot. You'll find that walking is the easiest way to explore specific neighborhoods, but when it comes to traveling between districts, you'll need a set of wheels.|
Set on a grid, Tel Aviv's wide, relatively uncongested streets, ample bike lanes, and (of course) the scenic Tayelet make cycling one of the best ways to get around. Like several other major cities, Tel Aviv offers a short-term bike rental program – Tel-O-Fun – which maintains bike rental stations all over the city. Bikes are available 24 hours a day. Simply find a station, choose your rental option, grab a bike, and go. You can then return the bikes at any station in the city. Daily subscriptions cost 17 Israeli shekel (less than $5), and weekly subscriptions cost 70 Israeli shekel (around $20). You will then have to pay for usage; rates depend on the amount of time you use the bikes.
Most bus services in Tel Aviv are provided by Dan, but a variety of smaller companies also offer routes in the city and around the country. Within the city center, one-way tickets cost 5.90 Israeli shekels (less than $2). You can buy tickets when you board the bus. Trips outside of the downtown area – to the airport or Jerusalem, for example – will cost extra.
You probably won't be relying on Israel Railways to get around on a daily basis, but should you want to take a daytrip, the train is your best bet. Israel Railways offers service throughout the greater Tel Aviv area and to nearby cities like Jerusalem to the southeast, Be'er Sheva to the south, and Haifa to the north. The train also provides transportation between central Tel Aviv and the airport, which will only cost you 13.50 Israeli shekels (less than $4). To save on fares, consider purchasing round-trip tickets, which are significantly cheaper than two one-way passes. You can also opt for a combo ticket, which will include a free day pass for Dan buses. Trains run every day (although not as frequently on Fridays and Saturdays), and rates vary depending on distance traveled. You can purchase tickets at your departure point.
You will never have trouble finding a cab in Tel Aviv. Taxis can be any make and model, and they signal their availability using their illuminated rooftop signs. Before you hop in, make sure that the driver has turned on the meter or you have agreed upon a fixed, total rate; rates start at around 11 Israeli shekel (around $3) and increase based on time, not distance traveled. To avoid being scammed, write down the exact address of your destination before heading out.
If you don't mind having company, consider using sheruts (or shared taxis), instead of regular taxis. Seating between seven and 12 passengers, these shuttle-like minivans run along the same routes as buses and charge a similar fare for a much speedier trip. You'll also find sheruts waiting to take visitors to and from the airport; they provide the convenience of a cab without the steep cost. The ride-hailing app Uber also services Tel Aviv.
Although the Uber app works in Tel Aviv, it will only call licensed taxi drivers due to city regulations, so don’t expect the same savings you receive in the states.
|Car||There's really no need to rent a car in Tel Aviv, but if you decide to go for your own set of wheels, patience on the road is key. Driving here isn't for the faint of heart: Israelis often consider the rules of the road to be suggestions rather than a strict code of conduct. You can rent a car at Ben Gurion International Airport or from one of the many rental agencies located downtown. Note that in order to drive in Israel, you will need a valid international driver's license. You can apply for one here.|
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