Israel, Tel Aviv - Pomegranate

Travel essentials

 

TIPS:

  • most restaurants adds 10% tip to your bill
  • tap water is ok to drink
  • there are security checks when entering train station (it’s ok to bring drinks)

Transportation

Direct WizzAir flight from Warsaw to Tel Aviv.

We travel by train between cities (TLV to Haifa – Haifa to Akko – Akko to JRL – JRL to TLV) – Israeli Railways – buy ticket in the machine and validate it.

We used buses to go to Tsfed (from Akko, bus #361, 1hr drive) and to Bethlehem (from JRL, bus #231, 20 min).

You need an app Moovit for city buses (buy tickets, timetables) – scan a QR code when entering the bus (you need an internet!).

For taxis we use app GETT.

Israel, Jerusalem - Mea Shearim, one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods

Favourite places to eat

Jerusalem

Tel Aviv

  • hummus bar at Carmel Market

Travel tips

❗ GENERAL

  • WEATHER – warm, but when the sun goes down, a fleece and a jacket is needed, much colder in Jerusalem than in TLV – I wore a wooly hat because it was so windy!
  • INTERNET – it was hard to find a free hotspot; we finally bought a sim card for a month for 80 shekels
  • SAFETY – we read before that there are security checks everywhere, etc; in fact, checks only at the entrance to the stations (they scan luggage, you can safely bring water, drinks, we even had two bottles of wine :); you can’t bring balloons for that :D); in trains and buses (and on the streets) you can see a lot of traveling soldiers (2-year compulsory military service is obligatory for everyone) – some of them carry weapons, often you can see young people in plain clothes (I guess on a pass) who still have to carry a rifle with them – a strange sight: a boy and a girl on a walk with a rifle hanging over their shoulder; additional security scans were only at the entrance to the Western Wall (you can easily bring water and drinks)
  • TOILETS – free in many places, e.g. in the Old City of Jerusalem, or there are several of them at the Western Wall, quite clean
  • SOUVENIRS – postcards (without stamps) 2-3 shekels; rosary 10-20 shekels; magnets 3 pcs = 20-25 shekels;
  • WATER – bottled 5-10 shekels in stores; you can drink tap water, there are a lot of drinking fountains in the city, you can easily fill the bottle;
  • SABBATH – from Friday evening to Saturday evening; Most shops and restaurants closed; in JRL the streets are a bit empty; you can buy food etc in some Arab shops and restaurants; souvenir shops in the Old Town in JRL opened it is worth going to the Western Wall on Friday evening;
  • CAR – luckily we didn’t come up with this idea; everywhere were huge traffic jams, drivers stop and honk :), additionally parking is expensive;
  • BUSES – you need a Rav Kav card or a MOOVIT app (you enter, scan the QR code next to the driver, select the number of tickets, buy via applications) – you need to have internet for a moment; single journey 5.5 shekels; we finally didn’t get the Rav Kav and used Moovit all the time;
  • TRAINS – tickets in vending machines or ticket offices; you scan the ticket at the gate, then when you leave you scan it again, they speak English without any problems, there are phone charging plugs on the trains; A/C works great – it’s super cold on long journeys
  • PRICES – Sadly Israel overall is one of the most expensive destinations in the world
  • FOOD and DRINK are quite expensive – a bun/bagel in a bakery 9-12 shekels; pomegranate juice 15 shekels; water in the shop 5-10 shekels (you can drink tap water); shawarma in pita 35-45 shekels; single bus ticket 5.5 shekels; beer in the shop 10 shekels; beer in a pub 25 shekels; coffee 10-16 shekels; interestingly, most of the attractions are FREE (churches, Western Wall, etc.)

✈️ BEN GURION AIRPORT

  • the airport is big and modern, but most of the signs are in the local language
  • passport control took us maybe 7 minutes 🙂 – first you go to the machine, put your passport in the window, smile at the camera and print a tiny piece of paper which is your visa (it’s important to keep it until departure) – then you go to the window where you give You get a grey note in the local language – after five steps, another man takes the note from you and you go to the next machine where you put your passport in and the gate opens – and voila – you are in Israel!
  • we arrived on Friday at 10:30 – all information and tourist points were closed for Shabbat (which in theory starts at sunset, but as you can see they like to start it earlier)
  • the place where you can buy RAV Kav cards did not work – and the vending machine does not have English – only Hebrew; the bus ticket office did not work; you can’t buy a bus ticket from the driver and you can’t pay him cash
  • we were pressured for time as we read that buses no longer run from Shabbat, and we wanted to get to the city before that
  • finally we found out that if we don’t get the RAV card, we must have the MOOVIT app installed – there is free wifi at the airport – but to install it you need to turn on the phone (an SMS with a code comes)
  • you can buy a single bus ticket only through the app – after entering the bus, you scan the QR code and buy tickets for any number of people – that is, you need one app per group (you can also check connections, find a stop, etc.)
  • bus ride from the airport to the centre about 30 minutes, 5.5 shekels
  • there are phone charging plugs in buses and trains
  • on your way back you queue up for security (we waited for 30 minutes) – we handed over the passport, the lady asks if we packed the luggage ourselves, she puts a stamp on the passport and moves on, then there is a machine where you scan your passport (and you smile at the photo) and then they scan luggage (interestingly, no one wanted to check liquids, etc., you didn’t have to take them out), and that’s it 😉 The airport is big so it’s really worth being 3 hours earlier to calmly find yourself – we still had enough time for coffee and breakfast before the flight; )

? TEL AVIV

  • a huge city built in the desert next to Old Jaffa
  • huge traffic jams, most streets dug up because they are building a subway
  • nice beach, a lot of people were swimming; along the boulevard, which can take you to Old Town – Jaffa (walk about 20 minutes)
  • we went on the Free Walking Tour – it’s worth it! They tell great stories about the history and curiosities of the region. It is free, so you tip at the end 😉
  • there are several bigger supermarkets along the beach – we were on Shabbat – they were open, prices higher than in JRL
  • some pubs were closed, but most of them are open by the beach and in Old Jaffa, you can easily find something to eat
  • a beautiful sunset – around 4:30 pm – a lot of people come to the beach to watch sunset, musicians play, children run around 🙂 a lot of people also swam (we were in the middle of November)
  • there are crazy scooters and electric scooters drivers – you have to be careful when crossing the streets because they are very dangerous
  • White City – scattered all over the city; in general, a bit strange architecture, as if they built most of it in the 70-80s and it has deteriorated since then, a lot of neglected buildings interspersed with large Modern buildings
  • Camel Market – disappointment – lots of Chinese stalls, prices more expensive than in JRL; but we ate a brilliant humus in a place called Humus Bar (highly recommend hummus with mushrooms 20 shekels – yummy!!!)
  • clean beach, wonderful sand, warm water (end of November), showers with fresh water every bit 🙂 we were lucky with the weather because it was 28 C 🙂

? TZAFED/SAFED

  • we came by bus from Akko (12 shekels – 1.5h) – free wi-fi on board
  • from the bus route you can see the Sea of ​​Galilee and the Golan Heights
  • Tzafed/Safed is the so-called Blue Town – doors and parts of buildings are painted blue to be closer to the sky and God, it looks very nice
  • very orthodox community – you can see very traditionally dressed people everywhere – it’s worth wearing long trousers and long sleeves
  • delicious Kadosh Cheese – a very nice man whose family has been making and selling goat and sheep cheese for 8 generations – highly recommended!!!

? JERUSALEM

  • we arrived by train from Akko – there is security luggage screening – super cold on the train (air conditioning) – the journey with a change to Ben Gurion (airport) takes 2.5 hours and costs 48 shekels
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre – we were there around 14:30, not many people, we entered without any problems, we waited about 10 minutes to enter the Tomb
  • most attractions are free – Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Western Wall, Temple Mount
  • it’s worth doing the Free Walking Tour – ours lasted almost 3 hours, the guide told great stories about the history and different religions present in Jerusalem, free so you tip at the end
  • delicious food at Damascus Gate – Al.-Ayed Restaurant – more street food than a restaurant, full of local customers so very local and tasty – falafel in a pita 20 shekels, kebab in a pita 20 shekels
  • The Old Town is small (1 km x 1 km) and very dense (approximately 37,000 people live here), it is surrounded by walls – it is worth walking through them – there is a free piece or at the Jaffa Gate you can enter the Western Wall Rampart – Walk around The walls of Jerusalem (it takes about an hour, 25 shekels) great views
  • a single tram/bus ticket costs 5.5 shekels – there are vending machines at stops, payment only in cash, a paper ticket must be validated on the tram/bus – remember that public transport does not work on Shabbat (Friday – Saturday)
  • Temple Mount – you have to wear long trousers (or ankle-length skirts) and long sleeves – otherwise they give you a rag to cover, free entry, it’s worth waiting in line, we were there at 8 am, we waited 40 minutes; the entrance for tourists is next to the entrance to the Wailing Wall – The closest Gate is the Dung Gate) – other entrances are only for followers of Islam; note that it is closed on Friday and Saturday; on Friday around 11:00 the main prayer takes place – rivers of people flow through the streets of the Old Town;
  • Western Wall – there are security scans at the entrances and they scan your luggage (you can bring in drinks), free entry; men and women pray separately; men get a yarmulke on their heads at the entrance to the Western Wall; during the week you can take photos (not allowed on Shabbat); worth seeing in the morning as there are less people; very interesting to see at the beginning of Shabbat (Friday at sunset) – then you can’t take pictures either; generally, sometimes it is worth going through the gates and by the Western Wall to shorten your way and go somewhere further (e.g. to the Mount of Olives) – we were several times during our 5 days, at different times of the day – we never waited at the gates for more than a few minutes
  • Last Supper – the room of the Last Supper – for free, there is nothing special inside; next to the grave of King David – also free; there is a sarcophagus; separate prayer veneration for men and women;
  • The Way of the Cross – Via Dolorosa – starts near the Lion’s Gate – well marked with metal signs on the buildings, more or less at eye level, the last 4 stations are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre;
  • Me’a She’arim District – one of the oldest districts of Jerusalem, very orthodox; a few steps from the Damascus Gate; people rather very traditionally dressed; residential area so they don’t like wandering tourists;
  • Machane Yehuda Market – great atmosphere; much bigger than Camel Market in TLV; a lot of stands with fruit, vegetables, local food, some with bars – music plays in the afternoon, beer is poured and a lot of local hits are sung 😉 at least that’s how it was on Friday before Shabbat (from 3:30 pm the market is deserted, everything is closed) – then you can also find bargains, because they want to sell out before closing (e.g. two large rolls of delicious bread for 10 shekels – one in the store for 17 shekels); we found a great stand with pickles – delicious local vegetables and hummus – all elegantly packed – prices from 6-15 shekels;
  • We returned to Tel Aviv for the last night, but you can easily stay in Jerusalem – the train goes through the airport anyway, where you have to change trains to the TLV centre (about 20 minutes to the airport from JRL).

I recommend being at the airport 3 hours earlier, on your way back you stand in line to security (we waited for 45 minutes) – we gave the passport, the lady asks if we packed our luggage ourselves, she stamps the passport and moves on, then there is a machine where you scan your passport (and you smile at the photo) and then they scan your luggage (interestingly, no one wanted to check fluids etc., you didn’t have to take them out), and that’s it 😉 The airport is big so it’s really worth being 3 hours earlier to find yourself calmly – we still had enough time for coffee and breakfast before the flight 😉

Our favourite local food

Israel, Akko - Israeli pickled vegetables (hamutzim)
Israel, Akko - Falafel wrap
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, olives
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, olives
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, snacks
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, Knafeh - a popular Arabic dessert
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, baclava
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, Knafeh - a popular Arabic dessert
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, sweets
Israel, Jerusalem - Olives
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, sweets
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, halva
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, pomegranate
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, nuts
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, sweets
Israel, Jerusalem - Chickpeas with parsley
Israel, Jerusalem - Beans with parsley
Israel, Jerusalem - Bread
Israel, Jerusalem - Falafel wrap
Israel, Jerusalem - Shawarma wrap
Israel, Akko - Israeli pickled vegetables (hamutzim)
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab in pita
Israel, Jerusalem - Salad
Israel, Jerusalem - Tabbouleh
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab station
Israel, Jerusalem - Pomegranate juice station
Israel, Jerusalem - Pomegranate juice
Israel, Jerusalem - Za'atar spice
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab station
Israel, Jerusalem - Falafel in pita
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab wrap
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab wrap
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab in pita
Israel, Akko - Israeli pickled vegetables (hamutzim)
Israel, Jerusalem - Bakery
Israel, Jerusalem - Sweets
Israel, Jerusalem - Baklava
Israel, Jerusalem - Sweets
Israel, Akko - Israeli pickled vegetables (hamutzim)
Israel, Akko - Falafel in pita
Israel, Akko - Pomegranates
Israel, Tzfat - Golani Distillery
Israel, Akko - Menu choice
Israel, Haifa - Beer
Israel, Haifa - Breakfast sandwich
Israel, Tel Aviv - Lunch sandwich
Israel, Tel Aviv - Lunch sandwich
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus dinner
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus with mushrooms
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus with egg
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus dinner
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus with mushrooms
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus with beans
Israel, Tel Aviv - Druze pita sandwich
Israel, Tel Aviv - Pomegranate
Israel, Jerusalem - Falafel in pita bread
Israel, Jerusalem - Shawarma in pita bread
Israel, Akko - Israeli pickled vegetables (hamutzim)
Israel, Akko - Falafel wrap
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, olives
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, olives
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, snacks
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, Knafeh - a popular Arabic dessert
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, baclava
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, Knafeh - a popular Arabic dessert
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, sweets
Israel, Jerusalem - Olives
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, sweets
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, halva
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, pomegrante
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, nuts
Israel, Jerusalem - Machane Yehuda Market, sweets
Israel, Jerusalem - Chickpeas with parsley
Israel, Jerusalem - Beans with parsley
Israel, Jerusalem - Bread
Israel, Jerusalem - Falafel wrap
Israel, Jerusalem - Shawarma wrap
Israel, Akko - Israeli pickled vegetables (hamutzim)
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab in pita
Israel, Jerusalem - Salad
Israel, Jerusalem - Tabbouleh
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab station
Israel, Jerusalem - Pomegranate juice station
Israel, Jerusalem - Pomegranate juice
Israel, Jerusalem - Za'atar spice
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab station
Israel, Jerusalem - Falafel in pita
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab wrap
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab wrap
Israel, Jerusalem - Kebab in pita
Israel, Akko - Israeli pickled vegetables (hamutzim)
Israel, Jerusalem - Bakery
Israel, Jerusalem - Sweets
Israel, Jerusalem - Baklava
Israel, Jerusalem - Sweets
Israel, Akko - Israeli pickled vegetables (hamutzim)
Israel, Akko - Falafel in pita
Israel, Akko - Pomegranates
Israel, Tzfat - Golani Distillery
Israel, Akko - Menu choice
Israel, Haifa - Beer
Israel, Haifa - Breakfast sandwich
Israel, Tel Aviv - Lunch sandwich
Israel, Tel Aviv - Lunch sandwich
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus dinner
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus with mushrooms
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus with egg
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus dinner
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus with mushrooms
Israel, Tel Aviv - Hummus with beans
Israel, Tel Aviv - Druze pita sandwich
Israel, Tel Aviv - Pomegranate
Israel, Jerusalem - Falafel in pita bread
Israel, Jerusalem - Shawarma in pita bread
 

Some prices

At the time of our travel:

10 shekel (ILS = New Israeli Shekel) = 2,77 euro = 13,03 zł (PLN)

Tel Aviv

  • single bus ride – 5,5 shekel
  • lunch for 3 with drinks – 97 shekel
  • hummus dinner for 4 – 66 shekel
  • train ticket to Haifa – 27 shekel

Haifa

  • breakfast for 4 – 64 shekel
  • luggage locker – 30 shekel
  • metro ticket – 5,5 shekel
  • train ticket to Akko – 9 shekel

Akko (Acre)

  • dinner for 2 – 70 shekel
  • falafel in pita – 15 shekel
  • chicken shawarma pita – 30 shekel
  • falafel plate – 25 shekel
  • bus to Tzfad – 12 shekel
  • train ticket to JRL – 48 shekel

Jerusalem

  • City Ramparts Walk – 25 shekel
  • lunch for 4 – 120 shekel
  • box of pickles – 10 shekel
  • falafel in pita – 12 shekel
  • box of olives – 12 shekel
  • coffee and sweets for 2 – 24 shekel
  • bottle of wine – 30 shekel
  • fridge magnet – 10 shekel
  • beer – 35 shekel
  • train ticket to TLV – 24 shekel

Our itinerary

Day 1 – 11.11.2022

  • arrive in TLV Ben Gurion Airport
  • afternoon at the beach

Day 2 – 12.11.2022

  • Free Walking Tour in Old Jaffa
  • explore Old Jaffa
  • walk through White City of TLV

Day 3 – 13.11.2022

  • morning train to Haifa
  • visit Bahá’í Gardens and Masada Street
  • train to Akko
  • walk along the seashore
  • exploring The Old City of Akko, a UNESCO World Heritage site

Day 4 – 14.11.2022

  • morning bus to Tsfad
  • explore The Old City
  • back to Akko for the evening

Day 5 – 15.11.2022

  • morning train to Jerusalem
  • the Ramparts Walk on the Old City Walls
  • explore Old City
  • visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Day 6 – 16.11.2022

  • Free Walking Tour in Old Town
  • visit the Western Wall and King David’s Tomb
  • walk to Mount Zion and visit to King David’s Tomb and the Last Supper Room

Day 7 – 17.11.2022

  • early morning visit to Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock
  • explore Old Town
  • visit Garden Tomb and Mea Shearim district
  • visit the Machane Yehuda Market

Day 8 – 18.11.2022

  • explore Old City at the sunrise
  • visit Western Wall and Jewish Quarter
  • visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  • visit the Jewish Cemetery and Kidron Valley
  • climb the Mount of Olives
  • visit Western Wall at the beginning of Shabbat (Friday evening)

Day 9 – 19.11.2022

  • all day trip to Bethlehem
  • coffee at Banksy’ Walled Off Hotel
  • visited the Nativity Church
  • enjoyed street markets and olive wood shoops
  • visited Milk Grotto
  • back to Jerusalem in the afternoon
  • follow the Route of the Via Dolorosa

Day 10 – 20.11.2022

  • morning train to TLV
  • day at the beach
  • evening walk to Old Jaffa

Day 11 – 21.11.2022

  • flight back to Warsaw