Budget itinerary for a month in Israel. You CAN do it with public transit!

Israel is an amazing place to visit and I highly recommend giving it a month if you’ve got the time.  Here I’ve included links to the accommodations we used and links to the blog posts on each stop. You can message me if interested in costs.

View from Teardrop church where Jesus wept. The only church that faces west

January 21 Montreal to February 21, 2019

Israel is a fairly expensive destination but there are things you can do to reduce costs.  It starts with a cheap flight. There are many strategies to finding those but one of my favourites is Scott’s cheap flights.

My friend and I succeeded in seeing a LOT of Israel in a month using only public transportation.  Renting a car has it’s benefits but the cities are very congested and we prefer not to have the responsibility of looking after a car.  Public transit is a great way to see how the locals live and we often strike up conversations with strangers.  That’s a necessity when everything is in Hebrew.  It adds to the fun!

Buses to Eilat can be purchased ahead of time but all other destinations can be paid to the driver or at the station.  More information on buses can be found here: Buses and Israel

Our trip started in Jerusalem.   Ben Gurion airport is between it and Tel Aviv so either city is easily accessible.  You can take the train to Tel Aviv or a bus to Jerusalem.  We opted for the Sheirut  which is a shared van that drops you off at your accommodation.

From Jan 22-27 we stayed at the  Abraham hostel.  We had a twin bedroom with private bathroom for a reasonable price and the included breakfast is really good.  Staff are helpful and it’s only a 15 minute walk to the old city.  You can book several interesting tours with them and there’s also many walking tours available in the city.  You need to stay at least 5 days to appreciate this amazing city.  5 days in Jerusalem! The old city, Yad Vashem and Palestine!

From there we took a bus to Masada where we stayed from Jan 27-29 at the HI Massada.  It’s a little pricey and you either need to bring food or eat dinner there but it’s worth it.  The meals were excellent..  Masada, The Dead Sea and Ein Gedi

Herod’s palace

Bus #444 can be booked ahead of time but since the website is entirely in Hebrew, it’s difficult for us to do so.  The fellow at reception of the HI hostel was kind enough to book it for us.  If you’re going during high season you might want to purchase a ticket several days before you plan on going.  From Jan 29 to Feb 1  we stayed at the Exodus dive centre in Eilat.  Twin room with shared bathroom was really comfortable and an excellent price.

From there we took a bus to Mitzpe Ramon where we stayed at the Desert Shade Eco Camp from February 1-4.   The mud huts are comfortable and the shared bathrooms clean with great showers and HOT water.  It’s just outside of town but an easy walk to several restaurants.  If you can, try to go there between Sunday and Thursday to take advantage of their free shuttle to get to some of the hikes.

Next bus took us to Dimona where we stayed at the Negev Camel Ranch. That too was outside of town but they’re very willing to pick you up and take you back to the bus station.  You can bring food as they’ve got a great kitchen you can use, or enjoy a meal prepared by the nice people who own the place.

Southern Israel. You CAN do it by bus! Eilat, Mitzpe Ramon and the Negev Desert

Mama and two week old baby

Next we took the bus to Beer Sheva and connected with a  train to Haifa.  It stops in Tel Aviv where you’ve got to switch trains but it’s not difficult and people are very helpful.  Most people in Israel speak English and are very kind to tourists.

From Feb 6-10 we stayed in the  Port Inn   That too was a great choice.  The room was comfortable, the staff helpful and breakfast was excellent.

Haifa and Akko (Acre) by train. Northern Israel and public transit

Nazareth  was next on our itinerary and we started at the Fauzi Azar Inn, another of the Abraham hostels.   We stayed there 2 nights before starting our hike on the  Jesus Trail with Abraham Tours.  We walked to Capurnaum which is about 65 km over 4 days and a driver took us  from there to Tiberius.

From February 15-18 we stayed at the Tiberias hostel

Tiberias, Safed, the Golan heights and Tel Aviv all on Israeli public transit

From Tiberias there’s a direct bus to Tel Aviv.  When you get to the central bus station, you can take a bus to the Abraham Hostel BUT the driver doesn’t take cash.  You need to get a card.  Rather than try to figure that out we walked.  It’s about a half hour walk so if your luggage is heavy you might want to figure out how to do the bus or take a taxi.

We had an early morning flight and the hostel offers a transfer service which is really handy.

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