Did you ever have to change all your travel plans last minute due to an oversight? Here are a few tips on how to avoid that in Israel...
Saturday is considered a Holy Day for religious Jews all over the world. In Israel, this means that from late Friday afternoon until Saturday night, transportation is limited. This refers mostly to inner-city buses and trains and even more significantly within the Jerusalem district.
Currently, there are some bus lines that depart between main cities on Saturdays for example line 444 which recently added some departures between Jerusalem and Eilat on Saturdays. It is always best to check schedules online when planning your weekends in Israel - you can see the bus and train schedule online in English. You can also check out available weekend transportation here. Buses to some West Bank cities also depart on regularly on Saturdays from the Damascus Gate bus station in Jerusalem. A visit to Bethlehem (line 21) or to Ramallah (line 18) can make a great day trip, just be sure to take your passports along as you may need to go through a checkpoint. For more specific info about buses between Jerusalem and West Bank cities contact us
Outside of public transportation is a 'Sherut' service that departs regularly between cities throughout the week and on weekends. The Sherut can be found just outside most central bus stations with a sign on the dashboard of its destination. It is usually a 10 seat minivan and payment is made in cash directly to the driver. Transfer costs between 25-65 ILS depending on the distance between cities, an additional 10 ILS on weekends and a bit extra for large suitcases. The driver will most likely insist on waiting until the van is full until departing and drop off may be in the city center or central bus station. If you would like a quote for Sherut service to a specific location, please write us the details and we will provide information: Contact us If you do find yourself stranded, luckily private taxis are available throughout the weekend and all over the country. Gett is a reliable app to use in Israel, similar to Uber so be sure to download it in advance.
You may notice that in all cities in Israel many shops, restaurants, museums, and sites may be closed on Saturdays. In general its a quiet day with a relaxed atmosphere and a unique characteristic of life in Israel. As well Israel celebrates many other holidays throughout the year although few that also limit public transportation. We recommend during this time to stay local and enjoy this special day. If you feel the need to travel far on a Saturday to a specific site it may be more efficient to do so with a tour company rather than independently.
About the writer, Taila Eskin: