Where do I begin? What an amazing place. Honestly, incredible.
A 7 day trip to Israel is far too short so I’ll defs be going back.
Public transport is (mostly) a breeze, people are really nice, the food is amazing and it’s hot and sunny – not to mention the rich mix of culture, religion, history and a great party scene in Tel Aviv! What more could you want?
For this trip my friend Sara from work and I travelled together for 5 nights and the final 2 nights of the trip I was solo in Tel Aviv.
So before we get started, a few key things to bear in mind:
- Israel is not cheap. In December 2017, it was around 4.3 shekels to £1 exchange rate. A shawarma costs around £8. A beer costs about the same in a bar… so be prepared when booking and organising your trip. Public transport is pretty good value for money though.
- Pretty much everything (Jewish) closes down Friday sunset to Saturday sunset (there or thereabouts) for Shabbat. Again, bear this in mind for your trip (the beach is always open 😉 )
- The political situation in Israel is tense. It’s also tense in the US, UK and many other countries around the world. Did I feel unsafe at any point? No. Where there lots of soldiers with guns? Yes. You just have to get used to the Israeli way of looking at public safety – better to be armed to defend yourself than not.
So we flew into Tel Aviv and landed at 4am in the morning on Saturday. We had been briefed by friends to be prepared for an interrogation by passport control. Thankfully we were absolutely fine (maybe because it was at ridiculous o’clock?) and we were out of the airport a lot faster than anticipated. As we had arrived on shabbat, the only way to get to Jerusalem (our first stop) was a sherut (a shared minibus that takes passengers door to door). There is no sherut to Tel Aviv so be prepared to pay a hefty taxi cost if you arrive during shabbat!
By 6am we were at the hostel in Jerusalem – Abraham hostel (renowned chain of hostels across Israel) and we slept on a sofa for a few hours before starting day 1 of our trip…