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Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

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Buenos Aires...
posts: 9
reviews: 67
Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

Hello everybody, I would really appreciate some help. My wife and I are docking in Haifa next month. MSC Magnifica arrives Friday 1 PM, and leaves Saturday 8 PM.

I have booked a room for that night in a hotel next to the Old City of Jerusalem. Our time in Jerusalem will be the most important part of a two week trip, so I want to make sure we enjoy it as much as possible.

My concerns are basically two..

1) Transportation: My first choice would have been to rent a car in Haifa and return it next day. Since that seems to be impossible, where would you recommend us to get a taxi at Haifa? And most important, how do I get one on Saturday in Jerusalem, to take me back to Haifa port?

2) Currency: Should I change some dollars to NIS in Italy (or on the cruise)? Or can I change at Haifa port just before getting a taxi?

Thank you very much.

Federico

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 11,281
reviews: 36
1. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

There are taxis available at the port when you arrive. You can easily get a taxi to take you to Jerusalem. You will also have no difficulty getting a taxi in Jerusalem, especially around the Old City to return to the port. You can also ask at the hotel if they have any drivers they recommend.

Since you are coming for only a very short time and you don't want to waste a minute of it you don't want to run around looking for an ATM, etc. You can change money at the port when you arrive. If it makes you more comfortable change some on the ship so you will have NIS for the taxi. There are plenty of change places and ATMs in Jerusalem.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 26,948
reviews: 18
2. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

Just to comment on the above. Change places will be closed on the Sabbath. The ATMS won't be!

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 11,281
reviews: 36
3. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

Further clarification - currency exchanges in the Old City of Jerusalem and Arab neighborhoods will be open on Shabbat so you should be able to change money - the same will hold for Friday since by the time you arrive in Jerusalem most businesses in the Jewish Quarter will be closed for Shabbat.

israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
posts: 13,409
reviews: 41
4. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

Another comment - Saturday night has heavy traffic. Make sure you have enough time to reach the ship.

Buenos Aires...
posts: 9
reviews: 67
5. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

Thank you Oreets, rdglady and shoshi for your kind replies.

Now I have a much better idea of what to expect on Shabbat. It is our first visit to Israel, and we were afraid that there would be almost no activity at all.

I guess we will be leaving Jerusalem at around 2 or 3 PM on Saturday, that should be early enough.

One last doubt:

Will change places at Haifa Port be open all afternoon on Friday? The cruise is supposed to arrive at 1 PM, but it will surely take us a couple of hours to get off the ship. On the Haifa Port website, it says that their support center for clients work only until 2 PM on Fridays. So can we expect change centers to be closed already when we get down?

Tel-Aviv
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv
posts: 6,875
reviews: 11
6. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

The official MoT fixed price taxi rates are:

- Haifa to Jerusalem: 703 NIS during the day ; 867 at might and Sabbath (not sure which fare is charged late Friday afternoon - the Sabbath starts at sundown). Driving time is about 2.0 - 2.5 hrs.

- Jerusalem to Ashdod: 352 NIS on Saturday. This trip should take about 1.5 hrs.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 26,948
reviews: 18
7. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

Oreet--DUH, I can't believe I forgot about the Old City and the Arab owned money changing stores. Can I plead jet lag for my major error there?

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 11,281
reviews: 36
8. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

We'll let it pass this time - after all jet lag is a real pain :)

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 10,998
reviews: 112
9. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

The ride from Jerusalem to Haifa is about 2.5 hours and you need to be on board the ship at least one hour before sailing so you should leave the city by 4-4:30. As much traffic as there might be on Shabbat, it is not congested, just people out and about on a day off. Businesses are closed so there is no 'rush hour' traffic to be concerned about. Additionally, if you are carrying US$ or Euro there really is no need to convert money on such a short journey. Since you will be in the Old City and there is only one ATM machine that works occasionally and another that I understand is unoperative on Shabbat, you may not have the opportunity to get shekels. In anycase you can use money changers as Oreet mentioned while in the Moslem and Christian Quarters.

Chana

Israel

Buenos Aires...
posts: 9
reviews: 67
10. Re: Haifa to Jerusalem, back next day, during Shabbat

Thank you all very much for your answers.

So I'll be spending like US$ 450 on taxi fares... too bad we can't just rent a car and also get to know Tel Aviv.

I wonder why the cruise lines pick Friday + Saturday for their Israel stops.

Federico