The western wall & dome of the rock in Jerusalem

Jerusalem's Western Wall & Dome of the Rock...

Israel by train?

Reaching Israel by land or sea is tricky at the moment, with the war in Syria and a dearth of ferries in the Eastern Mediterranean.  But once in Israel, it's easy to get around on an efficient and inexpensive train network, linking Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport, Jerusalem, Haifa, Akko and Be'er Sheva.

small bullet point  Useful country information - visas, currency, etc.

small bullet point  Train routes & times

small bullet point  Fares & how to buy tickets

small bullet point  Be'er Sheva-Tel Aviv-Haifa-Akko-Nahariya route

small bullet point  Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by train

small bullet point  Ben Gurion Airport train

small bullet point  What are the trains like?

small bullet point  A train ride from Tel Aviv to Haifa & Akko (Acre)

small bullet point  How to travel from Europe to Israel without flying

small bullet point  Recommended hotels in Jerusalem & Tel Aviv

Useful country information

Train operator in Israel:

Israel Railways (IR),


Ferries to Israel:

There are none.  Poseidon Lines & Salamis Lines (Greece-Cyprus-Israel) suspended since 2001.  UK agent 

Time zone:

GMT+2 (GMT+3 from 02:00 on the Friday before the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October.


£1 = approx 4.6 shekels (NIS).  $1 = 3.5 shekels.  Currency converter

Dialling code:



Tourist information:  Most of Israel is perfectly safe to visit, even for families with children - in spite of what you might see on the news.  You should check the latest Foreign Office travel advice at


Citizens of the UK, EU, USA, Canada, Australia & New Zealand do not need a visa to visit Israel.  See to check.

Page last updated:

8 January 2024

Train travel in Israel

Which station in Tel Aviv See location map

Tel Aviv Savidor station   Tel Aviv Savidor ticket hall

Tel Aviv Savidor-Center station. There's a baggage check at the entrance to stations with X-ray machine & metal detector.

Fares & how to buy tickets

Israel Railways self-service ticket machines   Ticket gates to platforms at Tel Aviv HaShalom station

The ticket machines accept notes, coins & cards.


Ticket gates at Tel Aviv HaShalom.

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Be'er Sheva ► Tel Aviv ► Haifa ► Akko ► Nahariya

Tel Aviv ► Jerusalem

Fast train Tel Aviv to Jerusalem   Jerusalem Yitzhak Navon station

Jerusalem Yitzhak Navon station just outside the old city walls, with a double-deck fast train to Tel Aviv boarding in one of its underground platforms.  Photos courtesy of David Frankal.

Jerusalem Yitzhak Navon station   Inside Jerusalem Yitzhak Navon station

Ben Gurion Airport train

Ben Gurion Airport station for trains to Tel Aviv, Haifa & Jersualem

When you walk out of the ground floor exit from terminal 3 signed Trains, this is the entrance to Ben Gurion Airport Station.  You can buy from the ticket machines in English, or use the staffed ticket office located on the other side of that wall.  There are automatic ticket gates just visible in this photo, then lifts & escalators down to the platforms.

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What are the trains like?

There are essentially just 3 types of train in Israel:  The red double-deck and blue single-deck used on most lines, and the Danish-designed IC3 trains which were used on the classic line to Jerusalem before it was suspended.  All these trains have toilets & power outlets.

Seats on an Israeli double-eck train   Red double-deck train

1.  The red double-deck trains...  Each train has a locomotive at one end.

Seats on an Israeli single-deck train   Blue single-deck train

2.  The blue single-deck trains...  Each train also with a diesel locomotive at one end.

An IC3 train from Tel Aviv arrived at Jerusalem Malha   Seats on an IC3 train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

3.  The Danish-designed IC3 trains used on the classic route from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before it was suspended.  These trains have diesel-electric power under the floor, and they were the only type which could cope with the tight curves on that once-narrow-gauge line dating from 1892.

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A train ride from Tel Aviv to Haifa & Akko

The historic old city of Acre, today's Akko, makes a great day trip from Tel Aviv, see

Tel Aviv HaShalom station, exterior   Through the ticket gates

Tel Aviv HaShalom station - through the quick security scan at the entrance.


After buying a ticket, go through the ticket gates.

Tel Aviv HaShalom station interior   Tel Aviv HaShalom station platforms

Time to buy a coffee & some Fuze Tea for the train.


Waiting for the next train - they run every 30 minutes.

On board the train to Akko   Wifi & power sockets on the train

The rail line through Tel Aviv is sandwiched between carriageways of the Ayalon highway.


The train is air-conditioned & carpeted with power outlets.

Tel Aviv HaShalom station platforms   Ticket gates to platforms at Tel Aviv HaShalom station

We pass farmland & the odd level crossing.


...And even the occasional banana plantation.

Mediterranean coast from the Tel Aviv-Haifa train

...Before running along the Mediterranean coast.

Haifa Centre station   Haifa port

Haifa Bat Galim.  Note the exit turnstile.


The train passes Haifa port.

The view of the old city on the sea as the train approaches Akko

There's a great view of the old city of Akko (Acre) as the train approaches Akko station.

The train arrives at Akko   Akko railway station

The train arrives at Akko.


Akko railway station.

Akko (Acre) old city - the port

A taxi to Acre old city costs around 30 NIS.

St George's church, Akko   Akko old prison

St George's church, Akko.


Akko prison museum,

Spice stall in the souqs of Acre

Spice stalls in the bazaar.

Sunset over the Med, seen from the train

Safely back to Tel Aviv by train, as the sun sets over the Med.

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Europe to Israel without flying

Israel is isolated from the rest of the world as far as land or sea travel is concerned.  There used to be two or three options for travel from London (or anywhere else in Europe) to Israel, but at the moment there are major problems with each option...

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Hotels in Israel

In Jerusalem: The King David Hotel

The King David Hotel is the most famous & fabulous hotel in Jerusalem.  Opened in 1931, the building was used as the British administration HQ during the British Mandate period from 1917 to 1948 - the south west wing was blown up in 1946 by zionist activists.  Today, it's an excellent luxury hotel with great character, 15 minutes walk from the Jaffa Gate into the Old City.  The rooms at the rear of the hotel have views over the city wall.  Read more about this hotel at  Also at the upper end of the scale, the American Colony Hotel gets great reviews.  For cheaper options, just check

Rear of the King David Hotel, Jerusalem   A room at the King David Hotel, Jerusalem

The famous King David Hotel, Jerusalem.  Below, the view of the old city from rooms at the rear of the hotel.

View of Jerusalem Old City from the King David Hotel

In Tel Aviv: Lily & Bloom Hotel

The Lily & Bloom Hotel occupies a 1930s Bauhaus-style building which was originally a bank.  Located just off Allenby, near the junction with Rothschild Boulevard, the Lily & Bloom hotel has friendly staff, great clean rooms and does an excellent breakfast - and of course there's free WiFi.  It's a short taxi ride from HaShalom station, and 15-20 minutes walk from Old Jaffa.  If you'd prefer to stay in the old city of Jaffa rather than busier, more modern Tel Aviv, try the highly-rated Margosa Hotel, Jaffa.

Lily & Bloom hotel, Tel Aviv   Room at the Lily & Bloom hotel, Tel Aviv


Backpacker hostels...

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Travel insurance & other tips


Staysure travel insurance


Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flag offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA. logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a mobile data package for the country you're visiting and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM card so you don't need to buy a physical SIM, including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.


Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of writing.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than digging a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.


Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I get a small commission to help support this site.


Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, vaccination records and Interrail or Eurail passes are often held digitally on your mobile phone, so it's vital to keep it charged.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over if I can't get to a power outlet.  Buy from or from Buy from


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