- Israel is a country in the Middle East with a population of 8.5 million. It is bordered by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and the State of Palestine, although the latter four have yet to be formally recognised. Israel also has a coastline in the west that meets the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the fact that Israel itself is not a particularly large country, it nonetheless contains an array of geographical features that make it an exciting place to visit.
- The main roads and highways of Israel are maintained well, making it a pleasant place to drive. It is also easy to travel across the country thanks to an intelligent highway network. When it comes to more rural areas, it can be trickier – particularly in mountainous terrains – and the driving style in Israel has been found to be more aggressive than tourists might be expecting. It is advised for any guests in Israel to be prepared to pay the toll roads, as there are many and this can impact the overall budget of the trip.
- The currency of Israel is the Israel Shrekl, and the capital city is Tel Aviv.
Some rules of the road
- On some of the national highways, there are congestion lanes that are expensive to drive in, so keep an eye on relevant signage when entering and driving down the highways.
- You must be at least 21 years old to hire a car in Israel, but there may be an increase in the fees if you are less than 25 years old when booking.
- To drive in Israel, you must have a valid driving licence in English, and if your licence is in another language you will need to acquire an International Driver’s Permit (IDP).
- Be aware that the price of petrol in Israel is very high, and when planning to drive through rural areas it is important to ensure that you have at least half a tank of petrol, as you may not encounter petrol stations very regularly in these parts of the country.
- The highways of Israel have a speed limit of 120 km per hour (75 mph), which is decreased to between 80 and 90 km per hour on the national roads (50 mph to 56mph). In more built up, urban areas, this is further decreased to a maximum of 50 km per hour (31 mph).
This information is a good starting point, but it is also important to undertake your own research. There may be specific rules of the road applicable to your visit, as speed limits and other regulations can differ depending on your destination.
Car Hire in Israel Airports
Israel is served by three international airports. Tel Aviv Airport, also known as Ben Gurian Airport, is the primary airport of the country. The second biggest international airport is Ramon Airport, and then Haifa Airport. Millions of people pass through these airports each year. These airports offer a number of the most popular car hire agencies, such as Budget, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt among others. Booking car hire in advance can ensure you can get started on your trip as soon as you land, ready to explore all that this country has to offer.
Guide to Israel
Israel operates under Israel Standard Time which is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and Daylight Saving Time, which is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. It isn’t a destination that many people think of when booking their annual holidays, but there is plenty to enjoy in this beautiful country. With long, hot summers, and a number of beaches along the coastline, Israel can be a great alternative to the busy beaches of more obvious choices for a relaxing getaway. Even when it is technically winter, there is still a lovely warm temperature. Israel is also full of gorgeous views, with rolling greens in the north and the impressive sight of the Dead Sea in the south.
What about Israeli food
There has been a surge of popularity for Israeli food as of late, notably for delicious dishes of hummus, tahini and falafel. A dessert that is frequently enjoyed in Israel is kanafeh, which could be described as a pastry and cheese dish that is then lavished with an indulgently sweet syrup. Shakshuka is another dish that has made its way into the hearts of many foodies globally, featuring frequently in breakfast and brunch menus for the warming and rich sauce that houses the eggs. There is plenty of tasty street food on offer all over Israel, and shwarma will be found in many of the establishments. It is similar to a Turkish doner kebab, in consisting of thin slices of meat shaved off a rotating slab on a spit, this food is then wrapped in a lafa with a host of accompaniments. You can spend your entire visit with a full belly and a big smile.
What the country has to offer
To fully get to grips with all that this country has to offer, book one of the brilliant guided tours that various companies provide. The Masada sunrise, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea tour is particularly spectacular, comprehensively showcasing some of the very best views that there are, so be sure to bring your camera on this one! Starting in Tel Aviv, the Petra tour gives an insightful exploration into the unique city of Petra. It’s a full day, so be sure to rest up beforehand, but it will be worthwhile for long-lasting memories. The West Bank tour begins in Jerusalem and is a journey through history that includes the ruins of ancient Jericho, and a number of significant religious sites, such as the Church of the Nativity. No matter which your you embark upon, you’ll be in the know before you leave with the help of expert guides.
Places to Visit in Israel
Tel Aviv is the colourful and vibrant beach city of Israel, declared by the New York Times to be ‘the Mediterranean Capital of Cool’, it is an action-packed place to visit. The perfect place to take advantage of the wonderful weather that Israel has all year-round, you can relax on sandy beaches or enjoy the whirlwind of the frequent marketplaces and the Bauhaus buildings as you wind your way through the streets. The excitement of Tel Aviv continues when the sun goes down. Rothschild 12 is a daytime café that transforms into a buzzing bar at night, with the option of either enjoying a chilled drink on the terrace, or heading over to the area of live music and have a bit of a dance. Nearby is Port Sa’id, hugely popular not least for the delicious bar food on offer.
The north of the country is home to beautiful natural views and impressive architecture, easily rivalling bustling cities like Tel Aviv for places to visit in Israel. Galilee is the name that broadly covers most of the north of Israel, and it is home to plenty of natural wonders. Mount Gilboa allows you to see the brilliant Jezreel Valley from up in the sky, and you can reach the top either by hiking the marked trails up the rocky climb or driving down route 667 and enjoying its scenic ridge. On your way, you will also see springs that are perfect to help you cool down from the local high temperatures, with Ganei Huga and Harod Spring being two of the most popular choices. Why not pack some lunch and have a meal to remember. Stay a while in Galilee by booking a stay in one of the charming local bed and breakfasts, known in Israel as zimmerim – many of them are much more luxurious than you might expect, with swimming pools included in your accommodation.
Fantastic scenary and beautiful landscapes
Israel has plenty to do for those of all ages, and can make for a wonderful family holiday. If you visit in the spring or summer, you can take an exciting trip down the Jordan River in a kayak or by white-water rafting, providing an adrenaline thrill for the adventurous members of the family. The Mini-Israel park can be found in between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and is a fantastic network of scale models that replicated the landmarks of Israel, allowing you get a bird’s eye view of some of the most significant parts of the country all in under an hour! A unique experience to remember. Holon’s Israeli Children’s Museum is a thrilling destination to keep the kids enthralled all day long, with interactive exhibits including a magical journey with some aliens that both excite and educate the participants. Madatech is Israel’s National Museum of Science, Technology and Space, a stimulating visit and the largest science museum in Israel, located in Haifa. Featuring the Northern Garden, where you can find a tree planted by Albert Einstein, the museum has plenty to explore in various exhibitions all year long.
FAQ’s about Car Hire in Israel
Which car hire agencies are available in Israel?
A number of popular car hire agencies are available in Israel, as well as a variety of local or national agencies. Agencies available at the airports include Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, and Budget among others.
How much does it cost to hire a car in Israel?
The average price of car hire in Israel is 174 ILS (£39/€35) per day, depending on your requirements, destination, and the time of your booking. Prices can be as little as 18 ILS (£4/€3.50) per day.