Tourist season is up and out on the streets of Jaffa, you can feel it. Even in my hood, normally in the middle of nothing, I’ve seen tourists getting lost. They are become denser and they are venturing out. One big question when you come to any city is how do I get around the city? Here I am going to answer some basic questions about Tel Aviv and Jaffa and a few options you have for getting around the city.
- On Foot: Tel Aviv and its sister city Jaffa are connected. You can get around both cities by foot. Both are long, spread out cities along the sea, much longer than they are wide. Walk from one side of Jaffa to the other in about 30 minutes. From one side of Tel Aviv to the other, about 60. From the north of Tel Aviv to the Peres Center in Jaffa in the south in about an hour and a half.
- By camel. Just joking. There are no camels in Tel Aviv or Jaffa. You might find a horse or pony ride though. Donkeys used to be more common in Jaffa, but I don’t see them now.
- By bike. Tel Aviv has the city bike sharing system called Tel-O-Fun, like New York and Paris. Unlike Paris and New York half of the bikes are in disrepair and it’s very expensive if you are ordering by the day. Some hotels offer free bike use, and there are rental shops throughout the city. Take note that bike crime is rampant in Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Get a good lock or insurance. Have a good helmet and drive on bike lanes if they aren’t blocked by cars.
- Shared taxi. Busy streets in Tel Aviv operate lines of shared taxis called moneet sheroots. They end up in the Central Bus Station or the Far North End of Tel Aviv at Arlozorov. They run on a fixed line but the mini-buses can stop where and when you want along the street. It’s the best way to travel between cities too – avoiding the terrible lines and hassle of bus stations in Israel. Though the cost is a few shekels more. No big deal. Hail one by waving your hand downwards.
- Tel Aviv has Car2Go but it’s a bit of a hassle as you need a subscription and you know, it’s Israel. Read the fine lines. You can find loads of places to compare prices on a car hire or just call a local company that locals use like SunCar. Parking in Tel Aviv is a massive hassle, Jaffa it is not. If you have a short time in Israel, renting a car to get around fast outside the city is a good option. Inside the city, it’s better to take a taxi. Or borrow a friend’s car, even better. Driving advice is for another post.
- Taxis in Israel aren’t expensive with typical fares running about $10 or $12 to get across the city. Always make sure the meter is turned on; to be on the safe side, order one through Gett, or turn on your Waze application to make sure the driver isn’t giving you the run around.
- Local buses are a bit of a hassle even for long-time residents but find the schedules here. Bus #1 is a new express line that zips across the city, and which is quite convenient. Otherwise, I’d not bother figuring out the system and just bike, taxi or walk it. Or if you want to download a new app, an Israeli app, try Moovit for getting around by bus.
- Trains. Some people are taking the train from the south of the city to the north. Do it if you are going to spots close to the stations otherwise it’s not worth the wait or hassle. Israel is not Switzerland when it comes to running on time. Not at all.
Advice from a local.