VISA AND OTHER PROCEDURES
You only need a passport valid for 6 months to enter the country. Upon arrival, you are granted a 30-day stay. The Israeli authorities themselves are warning visitors to the country that, unless they insist, their passports will not be stamped because several Muslim countries refuse entry to travelers with Israeli entry stamps in their passports.
HEALTH AND SAFETY CARE
Israeli authorities do not require proof of any specific vaccine to allow entry into the country. Pay attention to abrasive sun protection and hydration if traveling to the inhospitable domains of the Negev desert.
For more information on traveling health, see the Health Portal of the Ministry of Health and Tropical and Traveler Medicine Clinic. In FitForTravel find country-specific health and disease prevention advice (in English).
Carefully assess the political-military situation between Israel and the Palestinian territories before traveling to Israel. There are often periods of instability with attacks by both parties and terrorist attacks carried out by Palestinians in Israeli territory.
TRIP TO ISRAEL
Israel's rail network has recently been modernized. The trains managed by Israel Railways travel on the Nahariya – Beer Sheva lines via Haifa – Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion airport; Tel Aviv – Binyamina – Ashkelon – Kfar Sava – Rishon LeZion – Modiin and Bet Shemesh; Bet Shemesh – Jerusalem; Beer Sheva – Dimona. Train tickets are more expensive than buses.
Only and only if the political-military situation remains stable (Israel has intermittent phases of conflict with Palestinians with a stage in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) the best way to move around Israel with relative independence is in a rental car.
The country is small, the roads are good, as are the indications that invariably also appear in Roman alphabet. An economy class vehicle rented at Tel Aviv airport costs from €20 per day.
If you prefer not to rent a car, you can opt for the bus. It is the most popular form of transport in Israel. The system is fast, inexpensive and reliable between the main towns. However, it is not exactly easy to plan a comprehensive discovery of the country by bus. The national company is the egged. Visit the site and give it a try.
In addition, you can use mini-buses called in Israel, monit sherut. They follow routes similar to buses but are faster, can stop anywhere to pick up passengers and operate longer hours of the day and, rarely in Israel, even on Shabbat when almost the entire Jewish sector in the country stops. Public transport often transports IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers, sometimes in large numbers.
Other possibilities for this and other routes are the conventional taxi (around €40) or sherut, a van taxi.
In this case, contact Nesher Service Taxis +972 2 6253233. Nesher is also the only option for transport between Ben Gurion Airport (Tel Aviv) and Jerusalem on Saturday (Friday afternoon and Saturday), when all other alternatives leave to work.
All times are good for visiting Israel, but if you want to avoid the country's extreme weather, opt for spring and autumn. Israel has four seasons similar to Portugal. Summer is invariably hot and even drier than the rest of the year with temperatures that easily pass 30ºC and reach 45ºC in the Dead Sea and Negev Desert. More information at Israel Weather News
The Israeli currency is the Shekel (ILS). There are ATMs in the main cities and towns and credit card payments are possible in the most sophisticated establishments. Israel is the country in the Middle East with the highest cost of living, comparable to that of Western Europe and the United States. Get ready to easily spend a minimum of €80 per day, relatively more if you rent a car or take longer journeys on public transport.
As a country that “exports” its spare backpackers all over the world, Israel has its guest houses and alternative hostels at controlled prices. Expect to pay from €30 a night. For visitors used to more comfort and refinement, there is also no lack of sophisticated and expensive hotels and resorts across the country, with exorbitant rates.
A full meal in a restaurant with some sophistication can easily cost €40 to €50. If you have to spend significantly less, opt for bars that serve traditional ready-to-eat snacks like falafel in pita bread, or shwarma in lafa. Accompanied by a drink, they cost around €9.
It is fast and stable and almost always included in hostel and hotel rates. Bars and cafes with free access inside and terraces are common. Anyway, if you need to go to an internet cafe, expect to pay around €3,50 per hour of browsing. The entire center of Jerusalem is considered a free Wi-fi area. The Israeli government plans to extend the offer to more parts of the city and to other cities.