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Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

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Altanta, GA
posts: 2
reviews: 14
Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

Hello,

I am going to be spending one week in Tel Aviv for business early August. I plan on taking the weekend either side of this week to catch the sights. I want to visit:

- Tel Aviv

- Jerusalem

- Bethlehem

- Dead Sea

Given that I'll have 4 days and the evenings - do you think there will be enough time to do these, are these things that I can do on my own (drive to them) and are they safe to do on my own.

I will also rent a car for the duration - is this wise or should I use the public transport? I don't think I can drive the car to Bethlehem due to restrictions from Avis.

Any information you guys can offer would be mutchly appreciated!!!!

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 10,989
reviews: 112
1. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

While four days is not a whole lot, you should be able to see Tel Aviv in half a day before taking a bus to Jerusalem, where you should stay for 3 nights. Take a half day tour to Bethlehem on that first afternoon (or do it on your own). Tour Jerusalem Old City on day two, Jerusalem new city and City of David on day three. Rent a car on day four to go to the Dead Sea and Qumram where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found , drive to Tel Aviv to drop off car by 6. Not a good idea to have a car in either city and if course you know that no rental cars are allowed in Bethlehem.

Chana

Israel

Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 3,528
reviews: 23
2. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

If your business is in Tel Aviv, I'd move after the meeting to Jerusalem as your base. From Jerusalem, you can do a half-day excursion to Bethlehem and a full-day excursion to Masada & the Dead Sea.

You can certainly drive from Jerusalem to the Judean Desert for touring Masada and the Dead Sea on your own. You cannot use an Israeli rental car to enter Bethlehem. You should NOT use a rental car in either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem (it's too much of a headache trying to drive and park in either of those cities).

The Old City of Jerusalem is probably the most fascinating place on earth. But it's also incredibly complex. I urge you to explore this area on a guided tour or, alternatively, hire your own private guide.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 11,257
reviews: 36
3. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

A car will definitely make things easier, at least in terms of getting from one city to the next, especially on Friday afternoon/evening and Saturdays when there is no public transportation.

You are correct in that you cannot take the rental into Bethlehem, however, you can leave it in the parking lot that is right at the checkpoint - spend a few hours in Bethlehem and then get back to your car.

Yes, you can visit these places on your own and it is perfectly safe.

I suggest that when you go to the Dead Sea you also visit Masada - a UNESCO world heritage site - well worth the time.

In Jerusalem, find a good place to park outside the Old City and then continue on foot. There are free tours offered daily - right outside the Jaffa Gate - the guides don't get paid, so it is nice to tip the guide.

israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
posts: 13,397
reviews: 41
4. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

What days are your weekend? Our weekend is Friday-Saturday. Friday has only half a day of public transport, and public transport resumes on Saturday after 2000. This is what I suggest - assuming you land on Thursday go to Jerusalem. Book your hotel in advance. This will give you two full days there. Devote Friday morning to visit the Old City, take a tour from Zion Walking Tours. Their office is right across the entrance of Jaffa Gate. In the afternoon take a taxi/bus from Damascus Gate and visit Bethlehem. In the evening fo to the Kotel (Western Wall) to see the prayers for Shabat (Saturday). On Saturday continue with the Old City. You could visit the Israel Museum too (Shrine of the Book and Dead Sea Scrolls). The Museum is open on Saturday. Take a taxi to Tel Aviv Sunday morning. Do that after 0900 in the morning to avoid heavy traffic, or leave the evening before. Next weekend take a bus tour from Tel Aviv (your hotel can book that) to Dead-Sea-Massada. They take and return you to your hotel. The last day explore Tel Aviv.

Enjoy.

Greenville, North...
Destination Expert
for Charleston
posts: 3,777
reviews: 141
5. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

Wear shoes with heavy soles for the trip to Masada. It is definately a must do place to go. Have flip flops or watersocks at the Dead Sea. There are large rocks that hard to walk on with bare feet. Be sure to wash your swimsuit immediately after being in the Dead Sea and be sure to take shower gel for afterwards.

Altanta, GA
posts: 2
reviews: 14
6. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

Thanks all of you for your input... You have all been most helpful.

I knew in the back of my mind that the weekend was Friday/Saturday, but I didn't really think about it, so I guess I will be arriving on Thursday Afternoon and my itinerary will look like this:

Thursday Afternoon: Arrive Tel Aviv and Taxi to Jerusalem

Friday Morning: Visit Old City (Tour from Zion walking tours at Jaffa Gate)

Friday Afternoon: Taxi from Damascus Gate to Bethlehem

Friday Evening: Kotel to see the prayers for Shabat

Saturday Morning: Old City

Saturday Afternoon: Israel Museum

Saturday Evening: Taxi back to Tel Aviv

Sunday-Thursday: Work week

Friday: Bus tour to Dead-Sea-Massada. Take swim shorts, good shoes, flip flops and shower gell

Saturday Morning: Explore Tel Aviv

Saturday Afternoon: Explore Tel Aviv

Saturday Evening: Back to Airport to fly home

Some extra questions:

During the week in Tel Aviv, anywhere I should (or should not) go in the evenings?

How much is a good amount to tip the guides at Jaffa Gate?

How much is a typical cab ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

How much is a typical cab ride from Jerusalem to Bethlehem?

How much would I be looking at for a bus tour?

At any of these places, do I need to be mindful of what clothing I am wearing? Its going to be hot so I would typically wear shorts, but I don't want to offend anyone.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 11,257
reviews: 36
7. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

Your plan sounds like a good one. One of the first things you should do is arrange for a hotel for your nights in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is not the place to show up without reservations and hope for the best.

To answer some of your questions.

A standard tip for the guides for the Jaffa Gate free tour is 50 NIS.

A taxi from the airport to Jerusalem will run you approx 260 NIS in the afternoon - a bit more if it is night time rate. There is a flat rate that is the official rate - make sure you go to the taxi stand right outside the terminal and don't be tempted by anyone who comes up to you inside. You can also take the Nesher sherut (shared taxi) to Jerusalem - it will cost you 60 NIS and drop you almost anywhere you are going in the city.

The taxi from Jerusalem to the city of Tel Aviv will run you about 375 NIS on a Saturday night.

Bus tours run about $100 for a day tour.

You can dress comfortably, as you like, however, when visiting the religious sites (Western Wall, churches, etc) you won't be able to wear shorts - if you have a pair of "convertible" pants that would do the trick.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 26,916
reviews: 18
8. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

I assume you mean the guides for the free tour that you meet near the Jaffa Gate. Do NOT take any "private" tour with anyone who approaches you and professes to be a guide. Unless they are wearing a Ministry of Tourism LIcensed Guide ID around their neck, or prominently displayed from a pocket they are NOT licensed guides and most likely --they are at bestt giving inaccurate information and at worst out and out crooks.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293983-i2582-k550…

Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 3,528
reviews: 23
9. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

The "hot" areas in Tel Aviv (AKA "the capital of Mediterranean cool") you should definitely explore are Neve Tzedek in the south near Jaffa; "HaTachana" renovated old railway station turned into shops, bars and restaurants; Rothschild Blvd; and "Namal Tel Aviv" (Tel Aviv Port boardwalk along the sea).

Edited: 2:50 am, June 25, 2012
israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
posts: 13,397
reviews: 41
10. Re: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Car Rental

A few comments - the Israel Museum is open on Saturday till 1600. Maybe go there first and later continue to explore the Old City http://www.ilmuseums.com/museum_eng.asp?id=12

For the Saturday in Tel Aviv check this site - the Tel Aviv tourist office. They have free tours. See on this link on the left. http://www.visit-tlv.com/?CategoryID=165