Getting around Tel Aviv can be accomplished in myriad ways—driving, walking, biking, bussing, cabbing, etc. Despite their aloof reputation, making friends with local Israelis is really not hard and will often lead you to the next best beach spot or party—and even sometimes a new transit option. But for when you’re on your own, here are the best ways to navigate Tel Aviv efficiently.
By Car: Driving in Tel Aviv is the easiest way to get around—until it comes to parking that is. Parking in Tel Aviv is a nightmare. Spots on the street are hard to find and are governed by complicated rules. Parking garages are more common, but pricey.
If you plan to do a lot of traveling, it may be best to rent or buy a car. Trains cannot reach many of Israel’s beautiful and remote areas and cabs are too expensive. All major rental agencies have businesses in Israel, centralized around the Ben Gurion Airport. Before getting behind the wheel, though, be sure you know the laws regarding foreign licenses, insurance, and traffic regulations, which can be found here.
By Foot: Tel Aviv is a great walking city. The weather, wide sidewalks, and well-planned roads make walking a breeze. The city is large enough that trying to walk to from one end to the other could take all day, but for short distances, you’ll see everyone out strolling to their next destination.
On Foot: Tel Aviv is a great walking city. The weather, wide sidewalks, and well-planned roads make walking a breeze. The city is large enough that trying to walk from one end to the other could take all day, but for short distances, you’ll see everyone out strolling to their next destination.
By Bicycle: License-free expats and artsy or green-conscious Israelis find the bicycle to be their preferred means of transportation. With Tel Aviv’s consistently clear skies and warm weather, bicycles are commonplace. For short and medium distances the bike will suffice, just remember to always keep it locked or with you indoors to avoid theft.
If you don’t want to invest in buying a bicycle, try the extensive bike sharing program called Tel-A-Fon. The green bicycles are kept at stations throughout the city and can be rented for as short as 30 minutes and dropped off at any location.
By Bus/Sheruts: Tel Aviv has an extensive bus system, which is made up of a number of smaller private bus companies. These are great for getting around Tel Aviv or even to outer lying neighborhoods and cities.
Sheruts are yellow mini-bus shared taxis that are a convenient and affordable means of transportation. Because they are shared, when boarding a sherut it is not uncommon to ask the driver to stop at the particular street or address you’re going to if you’re unfamiliar of the area, just make sure to remind him every few minutes so he doesn’t forget!
Both buses and sheruts run regularly until 2am, with sheruts continuing to run all night at less frequent intervals. Sheruts run the same routes as buses, are slightly cheaper (6 NIS vs. 6.60 NIS), and typically get you there faster.
The main routes through the center of Tel Aviv are the No. 4 and No. 5. The number 4 bus and sherut travel from the New Central Bus Station (the main station) north to Allenby and Ben Yehuda Street, running parallel to the beach. If going to Ramat Aviv and Tel Aviv University, you’ll need to take the 4 aleph sherut which takes the same route as the 4 but continues outside Tel Aviv (this sherut runs less frequently than the 4). The number 5 bus and sherut go from the Central Bus Station up Dizengoff Street and towards B’nei Dan. The number 10, 25, and 26 buses run south to Jaffa. To get from Arlosoroff Station to the center, take the 66 or the 5.
Most buses and sheruts from outside the city arrive at the New Central Bus Station or Arlozorov Station. For destinations to the North that are close by, such as Netanya and Herzliya, Arlozorov Station will have the most buses and sheruts.
For all other destinations, including Jerusalem, the much bigger New Central Bus Station is your best point of departure. Tickets for the bus can be bought in the station or on the bus if you’re rushed for time and sheruts will take payment after you board the van. The bus websites Egged and Dan are very user-friendly (and in English!).
By Taxi: Taxis are safe and ubiquitous. Make sure to ask your driver to turn on the meter when he’s driving. If you’re going somewhere with luggage, you may need to pay extra for it.
By Train: Trains will get you to most major cities in the country but are typically much slower than buses and sheruts for the popular destinations. The train is great for getting to and from the airport—you can catch it at Arlozorov Street or nearby the New Central Bus Station.
By Airplane: Because Israel is such a small country, the only route you’re likely to fly in Israel is Tel Aviv to Eilat, on the Red Sea coast. These flights will fly out of Tel Aviv’s smaller airport, Sde Dov. All other flights in and out of Israel will be at Ben Gurion International Airport.