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To Egged or Not To Egged

Seattle, Washington
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To Egged or Not To Egged

Hello I will be arriving in Israel on Thursday 12/26 early, early morning and I start a class at Hebrew U/Jerusalem on Monday 12/29. I would like to go to Tsfat and the Dead Sea. (and from this forum, I'm thinking Beit Shean). Because my 4 days includes early-starting Shabbat, and I don't want to rent a car I'm not sure how to do this. Getting to Israel will be 2 days. Should I plan to collapse/recover in Tel Aviv for one day and then try to go to Dead Sea for Fri-Saturday and then go to Tsfat Sat pm to Sun pm (or Early Sun and make it a one day trip?). Or arrive on Thur and push myself to Tsfat same day and leave mid-day Friday? Or Tel Aviv directly to Dead Sea and Tsfat on Sunday... I'm having a hard time navigating the Egged Site or there is only one bus at one time of day from Tel Aviv to Dead Sea? I like the idea of staying one night in both places. Any advice is appreciated.

Israel
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1. Re: To Egged or Not To Egged

There is indeed only one direct daily bus from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea (and note that it leaves NOT from the central bus station but from the terminal next to Tel Aviv Centre Savidor railway station in the northern part of the city). At other times, you need to change buses in Jerusalem. Buses go very frequently, every 10-15 minutes from Tel Aviv, both the 480 from the terminal already mentioned, and the 405 from the central bus station. From Jerusalem there are several buses a day to the Dead Sea.

The airport is between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. You say "collapse/recover in Tel Aviv", but unless you particularly want to be in Tel Aviv it's just as convenient to go straight to Jerusalem from the airport, which apart from anything else will put you in the right direction for going to the Dead Sea.

But you will be spending most of your time travelling between places, rather than being in places. Tel Aviv or Jerusalem to Tzfat is about three hours. It cannot really be considered a day trip.

Tel-Aviv
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2. Re: To Egged or Not To Egged

You don't say how long you are staying in Israel or what your accommodation arrangements are. I don't think that you will want to tour on Thursday after the very long flight from Seattle, so you should go to Jerusalem to recover from your jetlag.

There is only one bus to the Dead Sea from Tel-Aviv but many more from Jerusalem. All are run by Egged. You have another more efficient option: the Abraham Hostel tours. They provide transportation only but enable you to visit Massada, the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and go for a dip in the Sea all in one day, something that is impossible to do by public transport:

http://abrahamtours.com/theme/israel-tours/

They have tours on Friday and Saturday.

You could go up to the Galilee on Sunday, but it would be much better to go for several days later in your visit. I suggest spending your time familiarizing yourself with Jerusalem. There is a free introductory tour to the Old City every day (you are supposed to tip the guides):

newjerusalemtours.com/daily-tours/new-jerusa…

BTW, Egged does not operate all of the buses in Israel. The website www.otobusim.co.il gives the schedules for all companies.

Edited: 09 December 2013, 06:50
Israel
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3. Re: To Egged or Not To Egged

How long is the course you are taking and how long will you be in Israel? There is a good possibility that there will be some tours offered or arranged by the program you are in. While in Jerusalem, unless your course is only one week - you can always take an Abraham Hostel tour to Masada and the Dead Sea on Shabbat when there are no classes, or set something up with some of the other people in your course.

I would not try to squeeze in so much travel right after arriving - you will be exhausted and will spend more time on a bus and not actually seeing things or enjoying yourself.

Israel
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4. Re: To Egged or Not To Egged

Arriving on Thursday you have the choice of either visiting the Dead Sea or Zfat and Beit Shean. The Dead Sea hotels have a minimum of 2 nights over the weekend (Thursday/Friday). There is no public transportation in Israel from around 3:00 p.m. Friday until 6 on Saturday night and you need to take this into consideration. You could feasibly go from the airport by train to Acco (sleep for a couple of hours) and then a bus to Zfat and stay there until Sunday morning. Note that Zfat is very nice, but nothing is open from noon on Friday until Sunday morning except the synagogues for davening only. You could then feasibly go to Beit Shean and from there take the bus back to Jerusalem. Don't know how much luggage you will have with you, but there is no luggage storage at any of the parks, so you would have to work this out in advance. Note also that Egged is not the only bus company and some lines are serviced by other companies. You should consult www.otobusim.co.il for further information.

Save the Dead Sea for another time, when the weather is nicer and you can actually enjoy a float and visit to Masada.

Chana

Israel

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: To Egged or Not To Egged

Thank you all! I have sent inquiries to Abraham tours, and a few other guides. I will probably go to Jerusalem to recover from jet lag and may have to put Tzfat on a different trip.I will plan to take the free intro tour mentioned above (and I will tip the guides). To answer your questions... most of the time, my accommodations are at Hebrew U (or friends of friends..still arranging). The class is for credits (almost 2 weeks/only 1 weekend) and has not scheduled any tours other than 1 or 2 in Jerusalem. Some students are talking about Petra for our 1 weekend. This forum is great and I have gotten a lot of your good info from other posts too. Thank you much. I will try to post what I end up doing.

6. Re: To Egged or Not To Egged

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