The western wall & dome of the rock in Jerusalem

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

Israel by train?

Once in Israel, it's easy to get around on an efficient and inexpensive train network, between Ben Gurion Airport, central Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Akko and Be'er Sheva.  Trains typically run every 30 minutes - or every hour or two to/from Jerusalem.  Although reaching Israel by land or sea at the moment is tricky, with the war in Syria and a dearth of ferries in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

  Useful country information - visas, currency, etc.

  Train routes & times

  Fares & how to buy tickets

  Be'er Sheva-Tel Aviv-Haifa-Akko-Nahariya route

  Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by train

  Ben Gurion Airport train

  What are the trains like?

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

  How to travel from Europe to Israel without flying

  Suggested hotels

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 4.7 shekels (NIS).  $1 = 3.8 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:

4 February 2019

Train travel in Israel

Train times & routes...

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...

Back to top

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...

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

Tel Aviv ► Jerusalem

The train is an excellent fun way to reach Jerusalem, you've a choice of two routes:

1)  Using the historic Jaffa-Jerusalem railway from Tel Aviv HaShalom or Tel Aviv HaHagana stations through the scenic judean Hills to Jerusalem Malha station located in the SW suburbs of Jerusalem, see the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem pageWorth doing in one direction for the experience and historical interest.

2)  Using the new fast link which opened on 25 September 2018 and which when fully complete will cut journey time to just 28 minutes.

This new fast line links Tel Aviv to a new station called Jerusalem Yitzhak Navon opposite Jerusalem's central bus station, just to the west of the old city and within easy walking distance of all the sights.

Initially, trains will link Ben Gurion Airport & Jerusalem Yitzhak Navon every 30 minutes, journey time 20 minutes.  If you want to go to or from Tel Aviv HaShalom or Tel Aviv HaHagana stations in Tel Aviv city centre you must change trains at Ben Gurion airport.

Total journey time from Tel Aviv HaShalom to Jerusalem Yitzhak Navon  is just 51 minutes.  Fare 22 shekels.  Buy at the station.  Check times & prices at

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.

Back to top

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 used on the line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  All these trains have toilets, power sockets & free WiFi.

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

1.  The red double-deck trains...  Each train has a diesel 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 on the classic route to Jerusalem...  These trains have diesel-electric power under the floor.  They operate the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem line as they are the only type which can cope with the tight curves on this once-narrow-gauge line dating from 1892.  As from 2017 you need to switch trains at Bet Shemesh when travelling between Tel Aviv & Jerusalem.

Back to top

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 sockets & free WiFi...

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...

Back to top

Europe to Israel without flying

Israel is incredibly 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...

Back to top

Find hotels in Israel


Favourite hotel search & price comparison: checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It's been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I recommend it to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less.

Favourite hotel booking site: is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Recommended 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.


Recommended hotel in Jerusalem:  The King David Hotel

If your budget will stretch, the most famous hotel in Jerusalem is the King David Hotel.  Opened in 1931, the building was used as the British administration HQ during the British Mandate period 1917-1948 - 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 the Jaffa Gate into the Old City.  The rooms at the rear of the hotel have views over the city wall.  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

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...

Back to top

Travel insurance & health card...



Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

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 myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

Get a VPN for safe browsing when you travel.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use them myself.


Back to home page