Day Trips from Tel Aviv to Jerusaelm

Many travelers find themselves based in Tel Aviv when visiting Israel. Because of Israel’s small size, Tel Aviv is a great place to stay as it is Central Israel, and is close to Ben Gurion International Airport, the beaches, and in the center between many destinations for day trips. When visiting Israel, a day trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will be a top priority. Jerusalem is equal to Tel Aviv in importance, but is fundamentally different and unique. Traveling between the two cities feels like stepping into two different countries, in different eras, rather than cities in the same small country and is a wondrous experience.

Panoramic view of the sun setting in Jerusalem with the Golden Dome in the foreground

Coming from a writer who absolutely adores Jerusalem, and considers it home to my heart, this article will give you the full rundown of all the must-sees in this wondrous city for your day trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

How to Get There

To get to your destination for your day trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem there are many options of transportation. If you have a car rental, avoid rush hour traffic, by leaving Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 8 am, or after 10 am, because Israel’s highways, and popular inter-city travel is the perfect recipe for nightmarish traffic. Additionally, it is best to avoid driving back to Tel Aviv between 5 and 6 pm. With no traffic, the drive to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv should take no longer than 1 hour and 15 minutes. You will find that should you choose a guided tour, they will also schedule the tours at times where they can avoid high traffic.

If you do have a car readily available, it still is easier to take public transportation to Jerusalem, as finding parking can add unnecessary minutes to your day trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. With very comfortable and accessible public transportation in Jerusalem, you can get to see more places in the same amount of time than via car.

Buses from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem are an efficient way of getting around, as there are so many buses that will take you to Jerusalem at all hours from Tel Aviv, and they are clean and comfortable. Because of traffic, and stops to let passengers board or leave, it can take the longest, but it is affordable and accessible.

Jerusalem Light rail in the Center of Jerusalem with people in the foreground and stone buildings in the background
Jerusalem Light Rail

The best way of transport for a day trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is via train. It is the quickest, most comfortable and accessible. There are four main train stations in Tel Aviv, with trains to Jerusalem every hour, the quick 45 minute journey to Jerusalem will be a great addition to your day trip, and the extra 45 minutes will add to the experience as you get to see the beautiful countryside between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Check which station is closest to you and what times the train is here. You can purchase tickets via the website or in the train station for your train ride. You can also buy day passes that will cover all transportation between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and this will be the easiest way to get around both cities without having to purchase separate journeys for every train or bus you may find yourself on. Learn about the Israel Railway and access here.

The Old City

To properly get to know and visit Jerusalem, you will need more than one day to explore everything. Here we will outline all the main attractions in the Old City of Jerusalem. Exploring the entire Old City will take you all day, so if you want to explore the rest of Jerusalem on the same day, think of seeing only two sights in the Old City to leave time to explore the rest of Jerusalem.

The Kotel

The Western Wall is a huge tourist attraction, and holy place for Jewish people who come and pray every single day, and especially on Jewish Holidays and the Shabbat. The Kotel was the outer gate to the Second Temple and it is the only wall to survive its destruction, and therefore it holds great significance as a remembrance to the destruction of something precious to the Jewish people. It is a great place to say a prayer and have a moment of meditation. Learn more about the Kotel and the do’s and don'ts here.

Once you are by the Kotel, a great way to learn and explore more about the history and significance of the Wall, is by going on the Western Wall Tunnels tour. With tours leaving Sunday - Thursday, this one hour trip in the tunnels provides you with a look at the parts of the Western Wall that is yet to be uncovered, as well as the immense amount of history this area holds.

Religious Ceremony at The Kotel
The Kotel

Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock is on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem and is a very holy place for Muslim people as it is believed the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven from. With limited access to non-Muslims and a strict rule against display of another religion (from clothing to prayer) The Dome of the Rock remains one of the most notable attractions in the world with its golden dome that can be seen for miles in Jerusalem.

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock

Near the Dome of the Rock, is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is a significant location for Christian Pilgrimage. Believed to be the place where Jesus was crucified and buried, this location holds a great significance to Christian People. Welcoming to people of all religion and with free admission, this holy site is a must see but can get very busy during high-season and Christian Holidays.

To summarize, Jerusalem will take more than a day to explore all it has to offer, but you can explore as much as you can with a day trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with the right amount of scheduling and planning. If you have enough time, we recommend doing the day trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at least 3 times to get the full experience of this wonderful city. There are many wonderful neighborhoods in Jerusalem to visit like Musrara, Nachlaot, Meah Shearim, the Knesset and so many more options, so make sure to visit what you want to see and not ‘the musts’ because wherever you visit in Jerusalem, it will exceed your expectations. Happy traveling!

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