Getting from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem can be a challenge for both tourists and locals unfamiliar with the public transportation. The most preferable, and most used method is by bus, but visitors might also want to take advantage of a tour group, or a private transfer.
The bus is a direct line, cutting straight across the land on the highways, and while the train might appear to be a good option, it meanders a bit south, with several stops along the way, providing a more scenic route. For those traveling from the airport, one may want to turn to a more private form of transportation (shuttle, sherut or taxi) as one will be burdened with luggage and may not know exactly where to go upon arrival.
Bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
Typical bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by Flickr user david55king
From Tel Aviv:
The best way to get a Tel Aviv to Jerusalem bus is from Tel Aviv’s Arlozorov terminal. Just outside the Tel Aviv Savidor Mercaz train station, the Arlozorov terminal is NOT Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station and should not be confused as such. In Arlozorov’s open-air terminal a direct bus ride to Jerusalem can be purchased and the bus’s final stop is Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station.
The best way to get a Jerusalem to Tel Aviv bus is from Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station which is known as “Tachana Mercazit” (beside the Bridge of Strings landmark). From there, on the third floor of the mall, direct buses can be taken. The Tel Aviv-headed bus’s final stop is at the Arlozorov terminal (Savidor Mercaz train station) and does not reach Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station.
Price for a bus ticket, either way, is approximately NIS 18. The trip takes about 45 mins to an hour, depending on traffic.
TAKE A TOUR (AND END IN THE OPPOSITE CITY)
Of course, a tour from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a simple way to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but what is often forgotten is that you can start a tour in Tel Aviv and end it in Jerusalem, being a convenient way to bring your luggage with.
Of course, this applies to the Jerusalem tour from Tel Aviv, but is applicable with most daily tours in Israel, including those to Masada and the Dead Sea, the Galilee, Northern Israel, and even some tours to Petra and Jordan!
Train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
From Tel Aviv:
The best way to get a Tel Aviv to Jerusalem train is from the Tel Aviv Savidor Mercaz train station. If you are in a different part of Tel Aviv, closer to another of Tel Aviv’s train stations, you can still buy a direct ticket (Tel Aviv to Jerusalem) and just switch trains at the Savidor Mercaz station.
Once on the train, the track turns a bit south and stops in a few stations along the way: Lod, Ramle, Bet Shemesh and then finally, two stops in Jerusalem (Biblical Zoo and Malcha Mall). The second and final of the Jerusalem stops, Malcha Mall, is where one should get off and find a bus or taxi to the other areas of Jerusalem. Note that the train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem takes two or more hours.
The best way to get a Jerusalem to Tel Aviv train is from the Malcha Mall station, however, the train can be taken at the Biblical Zoo stop as well. From there the train continues on to Tel Aviv, stopping at Bet Shemesh, Ramle and Lod before reaching Tel Aviv’s Savidor Mercaz train station. Again, if you need to get to another one of Tel Aviv’s train stations, you can switch trains using the same ticket.
Price for a train ticket, either way, is approximately NIS 23. Note that the train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv takes two or more hours.
In late 2018, the new high-speed train between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv started operating. The line is currently connecting Jerusalem with Ben Gurion Airport Tel Aviv but will in the future also connect further to central Tel Aviv.
Other ways to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
Also included in public transportation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (or the return trip) are sheruts (shared taxis – vans) and monits (private taxis). Vastly more expensive, as one would expect, the private taxis can range from anywhere between NIS 250 and NIS 350, depending on factors such as night-time travel, Shabbat travel and such. The much cheaper sheruts are approximately NIS 50 a trip, also varying in price when driving door-to-door and regarding the Nesher transports from Ben Gurion Airport.
Another possible way to get between the cities is by private transfer, with vehicles available from private cars to full-size buses depending on requirements.
For private taxis, be sure to firmly establish a fixed rate for the journey as using the meter can result in unwanted surprises. It should be noted that there are, or can be, various surcharges for things such as luggage, “extra” passengers and tipping for luggage handling, if so needed. Also, feel free to haggle for a better price as there are plenty of other cabs available.
If you can’t take your luggage while visiting Jerusalem, there are many options to store your luggage in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.