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Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

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London,England
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Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

Hello ,

We (2 adults and teen)are planning,haven't finalised a trip to Jerusalem(want to base ourselves there). Arrive Tel-Aviv on Tuesday at around 7.30, need to get to Jerusalem that evening.So all of Tuesday is gone on travel. We have Wed and Thurs in Jerusalem to see important places.Friday / Saturday is our concern as not many sights are open. We are not sure about hiring a car and driving, as the thought seems quite daunting perhaps unnecessarily. How would we get to dead sea/ massada ,how about parking there etc..all suggestions welcome

Haifa, Israel
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1. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

I believe you are arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport at 7:30PM. The airport is almost half way between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. You can take a shared taxi from the airport to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem you can do with no issue using public transportation Wed through Friday noon. You can use taxies during Friday night and Saturday.

You may go on an organized tour to Dead Sea and Masada on Saturday. Also you can do the Israel Museum and/or the old city on Saturday. Did you think of going with a bus to Beit Lehem.

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2. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

There is actually quite a lot open on Friday and Saturday. Friday everything in the new city is open until late afternoon. Friday afternoon is an interesting time to visit the Machane Yehuda market as it is at the height of activity and merchants are selling in a frenzy before the market closes for Shabbat. It is quite the experience.

The Old City, with the exception of the Jewish quarter will be business as usual on Friday and Saturday. The Israel Museum, Tower of David Museum, Ramparts Walk are all open on Saturday.

However, I do agree with giora that Saturday would be a perfect day to do a day trip to Masada. Check out Abraham Hostel Tours abrahamtours.com/tours/… They run Masada/Ein Gedi/Dead Sea tours on Saturdays. This is the only tour that includes Ein Gedi and bypasses the shopping stops. There will be a mix of younger and older people on this trip so it fits with your teen. It is a self-guided tour and they provide the printed guiding materials but no actual guide. This gives you a lot of flexibility as a family.

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3. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

Thank you so much for your time. Are shared taxi rides common.Do they offer it at the airport? I would like to go to Bethlehem too. What will be the best way to get there. Are there any restrictions.

Thank you both for suggesting Dead sea/Masada trip on Sat. I think it's best with a tour company .Will have a look at abrahamtours...Thanks once again

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4. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

What about Qumran caves ,Is it a must see? As I had a look at the tour which does not include that

Israel
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5. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

<<Are shared taxi rides common.Do they offer it at the airport?>>

Yes, absolutely. The Nesher shuttle runs between the airport and Jerusalem. It's 10-seater minibuses, they leave when they are full, they fill up quickly, they will take you to any address in Jerusalem* and cost 62 shekels per person including luggage. This is the only practical way to get from the airport to Jerusalem except private taxi. For three people this will work out considerably cheaper than a taxi.

*unless you're staying inside the Old City, where there is no vehicle access, or in east (Arab) Jerusalem where the driver may not want to go. In both these cases you will be dropped off at a convenient point.

<<What about Qumran caves ,Is it a must see? >>

"Must sees" depend on one's interests. You cannot go into the caves themselves, and as an archeological site it isn't the most spectacular. The scrolls that were found there are in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum.

Bethlehem is easily reached by Arab buses from outside the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City. Take your passports. You cannot take an Israeli rental car into Bethlehem.

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6. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

It is pretty hard to find a tour to the Dead Sea that includes Qumran. It is not a 'must see' on the list. Masada definitely is.

Bethlehem is only a few kilometers from Jerusalem. It is easily accessed by Arab bus from the Damascus Gate to the checkpoint (bring your passport) and then by taxi or walking to the main sites. Alternatively, many Arab taxi drivers will offer to take you. If you decide to go by taxi, do settle on what you feel is a fair price ahead of time for this. Drivers are not guides so even if they tell you they can guide you, they really can't; either legally or knowledge-wise. A good guide book will take you through Bethlehem. No need to do a group tour which typically spends far too much time in souvenirs shops of their choice.

Shared taxis from the airport (Sherut) are a very common way to get from the airport to Jerusalem. You will see them lined up as you exit the airport. They are 10 seater vans with lots of space for luggage. It is less convenient for tourists to use the intercity Sherut system between main cities in Israel because these Sheruts don't go on a timetable and don't have room for luggage. To and from the airport it is more like an airport shuttle system.

Posted at the same time!

Edited: 31 July 2013, 14:53
London,England
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7. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

Great advise ,information ..much appreciated

Tel Aviv, Israel
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8. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

Another option is to rent a car for a day and drive to the Dead Sea on your own. Rent the car in Jerusalem Wednesday evening before they close (around 7 p.m. usually). Then you can get a very early start on Thursday morning to avoid the heat. It's about a 2 hour drive to Masada, then either take the cable car up (begins running at 8 a.m.) or if you want earlier, hike up the snake path (45-60 minutes). Allow 2-3 hours to see the site, then cable car down, on to Ein Gedi Park if you like, Mineral Beach to sample the Dead Sea, then stop at Qumran if you wish (I agree with everyone else, there's little to see) and return the car before the rental agency closes. They won't be open on Friday afternoon or Saturday, so Thursday is your only option, if you choose to rent a car. The major benefit is to be able to go at your own pace.

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9. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

cost of hiring(sure a lot cheaper than tours) but unfamiliarity with rules,directions,parking restrictions etc makes it a little daunting.

It would be great however to travel in the comfort of your own car though,something worth looking into..thanks

Haifa, Israel
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10. Re: Jerusalem from Tuesday evening - Monday evening

In Israel we drive on the right. The journey to the Dead Sea is very easy - once you leave Jerusalem there is essentially only one turning. There is no problem with parking down there. Parking is more difficult in Jerusalem itself. In terms of directions though there are some good phone apps or you can hire GPS.

But actually you are unlikely to save money by hiring a car over taking the transport-only Abraham Hostel tour. Don't forget that you need to pay for petrol as well as the actual car hire. If this is the only thing that you would need a car for, I wouldn't bother, as the actual hiring process will also waste you a couple of hours.