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Israel - Traveling

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Taxis are common in Israel and ensure urban and interurban travel. It is common to give a tip to the driver. Shirouts (shared taxis with 7 to 10 seats) make interurban connections at a reasonable price. This is often the only means of transport available on Saturdays. The cost of a journey is similar to that of a bus trip. The city has a developed bus network. Train is less expensive than bus but much less developed.
Haifa has a metro (Carmelit) but the number of stations which it serves is less. It is thus an under-utilized mode of transport. Tel Aviv also has a metropolitan network. Shared or service taxis are the only means of public transport in the Palestinian Territories. The route presently possible is: Nahariya-Haifa-Tel Aviv-Beersheba. The Jerusalem - Tel Aviv line is closed for work.
Maps of urban networks: Train Plan

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

Ben Gurion Airport is the main international airport. Eilat is served either by its own airport (for small or medium carriers), or by that of Aqaba in Jordan(for large carriers), but Jordanian authorities do not require special formalities. Internal air services in Israel are provided by the Arkia Company with well maintained aircrafts.
Buses serve the entire country and cheaply, but the service is interrupted on Saturdays and the days of Jewish festivals. The train though less developed than bus is however less expensive. A service is provided between Tel Aviv and Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Nahariya and Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Rail companies: Israeli Railways
Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
El Al Major yes Yes
Arkia low cost yes Yes
Sundor low cost yes Yes
Israir Airlines low cost yes Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: The road network in Israel is very dense and in excellent state. The traffic can sometimes be dangerous. There are no particular problem with the fuel supply. The traffic signs are in Hebrew and English. Insurance necessary for passengers travelling in their personal car, is normally included in the rental. Joint reports possible. Police intervention in case of physical injury. Throughout the Palestinian Territories, the roads are good. Service stations are rare in some regions of the West Bank.
Road maps: Israel road map
Find an itinerary: CT Atlas

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: Numerous historical sites: archeological, cultural heritage sites, etc.
Nature: You can go trekking into the wild: in the green hills and streams in the North, on the Mediterranean coast in the West, around the Dead sea (the lowest point of the planet), in the deserts, barren mountains and old volcanic craters in the South. The Israeli Company for protection of nature manages a number of natural reserves. For further information, visit their website.
Religious: 3 main religions are widely represented by sites mainly in Jerusalem and around the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias). At Nazareth there are a number of religious monuments (Church of Nazarenes)
Thermal: There are a number of spas in Israel. The main spas are located at the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) and near the Dead Sea.
Beach: Several magnificent beaches all along the Mediterranean coast, Red Sea and the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias). Activities like swimming, surfing, sailing, windsurfing and waterskiing are possible.
Winter sports: It is possible to ski on the Mount Hermon.
Outdoor activities: Trekking, Diving, Cycle Trekking, Golf, Waterskiing, Fishing, Mountain climbing.
Shopping: There are several commercial centers where you can do your shopping, like the Malha commercial center of Jerusalem. Picturesque markets, annual trade shows, street stalls or boutiques in the large cities shall allow you to bring back souvenirs For further information, visit the Tourism Office site.
Tourism organizations: Israeli Tourism Office

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: No requirement regarding vaccination for international travel. DT, Polio, Hepatitis A and B are advisable presently. Protect the passenger against diarrhea. Visitors are strongly advised to carry their general medicines. Water should be boiled, filtered or consumed in encapsulated bottles. Avoid walking barefoot on sand or wet/muddy ground. Be careful of insect bites during rural stays : mosquito nets, mosquito repellants are advisable.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Israel Travel guide

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem (GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer)
Summer time period: Summer time from March to October.
Climate: The average temperatures in January are 13°C and in June 24°C. The temperatures are mild the whole year on the coasts. Summer lasts from April to October. Winters are cold in the mountain regions. The ideal period for visiting the country is from April to May.

Eating

Food specialties: Israeli cuisine is very similar to the Middle East cuisine; it is also partly inspired by the Central European cuisine. The dishes are generally quite spicy.
Baba ghannoui eggplant caviar: eggplant puree in lime juice. Generally served in a plate or in a Ravier spread with small chopped onion and finely cut parsley as starter with pita bread.
Taratour: sesame sauce. Taratour is generally served with baked fish, vegetables pan fried vegetables. It is essential in preparation of chickpeas purée (hummus) or eggplant (baba ghannoui).
Other typical dishes are: Thina (sesame purée), Falafel (fried chickpea balls) and Shewarma (meat of turkey, calf or mutton in a pita).
Drinks: The beverages widely consumed in Israel are cola, beer, fruit juices and wine.
Dietary taboos: Pork is prohibited and the food should be kosher.

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: A little Hebrew vocabulary : Travelnet
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