Loading ...
Manage booking |
please wait
Log in
Sign up
Your email address or password are incorrect.
Log in to
Access all your confirmations.
Change upcoming bookings.
Special request are welcome.

Independent Travel in Israel

Independent travel in Israel can be an exhilarating experience but it is not always easy and has to be carefully planned. There are many diverse cultures living in this small country; geographical and political divisions and a lot to see. If you come prepared then independent travel in Israel can be one of the most thrilling travel experiences you will ever have. The basic challenge of traveling by yourself in Israel is to cover all the top attractions; fit in some unique experiences and manage to navigate the logistics, transportation, language and cultural norms. On the plus side independent travelers will see a side of the country that those traveling with group tours in Israel will probably not experience. Plan well and look forward to a once-in-a-lifetime trip. 
, Written by Yourway Team
  • Print
  • Mail

The advantages of Independent Travel in Israel


If you are seeing Israel independently you can pick and choose how long to stay in each location and which attractions to focus on. You can also determine the pace of your trip. Some travelers like to zip through as many attractions as possible and others like to linger on and enjoy the atmosphere. This independence can only be experienced when you are traveling without a group. If you plan well then independent travel in Israel can be cheaper than organized tours. You may also find that you have more unique and unusual experiences when traveling independently. When you travel independently you have more chance of real encounters with locals that often lead to memorable spontaneous experiences. Traveling independently means you will make friends with locals and even with fellow travelers.


The Disadvantages of Independent Travel in Israel


Traveling in Israel independently can be frustrating it involves careful planning and often unplanned for mishaps. While independent travel may give you the power of choice the experience can often be ruined by simple things like a wrong turn! When you are traveling independently it is up to you to make sure attractions are open when you get there; checking bus timetables and insuring you are not missing any important sites.

With organized tours you know that the best attractions are covered and that the tour will get you there and back without running out of petrol, missing a turn or arriving late. Organized tours in Israel can also be safer especially when traveling in areas like Jericho, Bethlehem or East Jerusalem. Although organized tours are usually more expensive than independent travel they provide security and stress-free, easy travel. Having a tour guide who knows the history and significance of sites is also a major bonus. And don’t forget that they speak Hebrew in Israel so not having tackle the language barrier is an advantage.

Transportation in Israel

Independent travelers are dependent on infrastructure or on a rental car. Israel has an extensive bus system; a limited train system and a system of “sherut” minibuses as well as taxis. For the most part you can reach top destinations by bus and the online Israeli bus schedules are relatively comprehensive. Were the bus system falls short you can catch a shared taxi or “sherut.” Unfortunately there is little information online about sherut timetables. A sherut minibus picks up at set stops and can drop you anywhere along a set route. They are more expensive than regular buses and cheaper than taxis but unlike regular buses sherut buses run on Saturdays.

If you choose to rent a car be sure to find out the parking rules – blue and white curb means metered parking; red and white is a prohibited zone etc. Rental car companies can be found in the airport and you can book ahead online. Israeli drivers are reputably…”dynamic” so invest in good accident insurance. Using a GPS system you can negotiate your way around the country easily and reach all the best attractions. When visiting large cities it is best to find a place to park and then sightsee on foot or with inner-city public transport.

Safety when traveling Independently in Israel


Despite what you might have heard Israel is a very safe country. It is a first world country with all the modern conveniences, medical care systems and reliable police force. Because of Israel’s politics and geographical location security measures are tighter than in western countries so in many ways Israel is even safer than Europe or the US. You will often see soldiers walking around and most of the population has undergone some military training and will know what to do in an emergency. Like with all countries these days there can be unrest or terrorist attacks but with the stringent security you will be well protected. In Israel stores, attractions and places of entertainment all have security guards at entrances.

Make sure you have good travel insurance; travel with important phone numbers (embassy etc); be alert and take heed of any warnings to avoid certain areas or neighborhoods. Take note of government warnings and use your common sense. Avoid Gaza and only travel to the West Bank or East Jerusalem with a group.

Tips for Independent Travel in Israel


  • ·         Do your homework. Read up about transportation, cultural norms, open hours and top attractions not to miss.
  • ·         Mix independent travel with the occasional group tour to reach sites that are harder to get to; not considered safe or where the impute of a tour guide will be important. If visiting Bethlehem or other sites in the Palestine Authority area; Petra in Jordan or Egypt it can be reassuring to travel with a group where the tour company handles the border crossing.
  • ·         Lookout for free walking tours in major cities.
  • ·         Don’t forget to take into account the Shabbat. From sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday night many amenities, attractions and transport systems do not operate. Stick to the more secular cities like Tel Aviv or Eilat and spend Saturdays on the beach, in a park or walking around.
  • ·         Include places usually not include on organized tours like amusement parks; hikes and smaller cities.

Combining Organized Tours with Independent Travel in Israel

The best way to travel independently in Israel is to include a few one day organized tours to out of the way places. Take a break from being the driver and the planner and just sit back and let the tour company do all the work!

View All Articles >

Related Articles

Please login in order to manage your favorite places. If you don't have an account yet please register here