Once you’ve made that flight to Israel and landed at Ben Gurion airport, the first thing you’ve got to worry about is how to get to your next destination. In this post, we’ll tell you how to get to (and from) Tel Aviv from Ben Gurion airport (another post about how to get to/from Jerusalem is in the works). And don’t worry too much, it’s become so much easier over the last few years, as we’ll explain below!
Basically, you have the following options to choose from: bus, rail, shuttle, taxi (or sherut), or car rental.
Taking the bus from/to Ben Gurion
Public transportation depots can be found on the second floor, near Gates 21 and 23. From here you can find buses that will take you to the Egged (Israel’s major bus service) station at the very close Airport City (5-10 minutes away), where you can then transfer to any Egged bus you need (to get to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa etc). If you’re traveling from Airport City to the airport, you should get a free ticket for the internal shuttle service that operates the route. For more details about the Egged routes from Airport City, call +972-3-694-8888 or *2800 (in Israel) from any telephone, or see their website.
Taking the train from/to Ben Gurion
Taking the train from/to Ben Gurion has become such a decent option, thanks to modern, wi-fi enabled trains. Fares are also reasonable – for the latest prices and timetables, see the Israel Railways website (or call +972-3-5774000 or *5770 (in Israel)).
When taking a train from Ben Gurion, head to Level S (the lowest floor), which can be reached from the Arrivals hall by lift, escalators or stairs. You can also purchase tickets from the ticket machines located on Level G.
The Ben Gurion airport to Tel Aviv route is fairly frequent (from 3am to midnight), with trains traveling directly from the airport to Modi’in, Tel Aviv (four stations), Binyamina, Atlit, Haifa (three stations), Krayot, Akko, and Nahariya. You can also change in Tel Aviv for train services from Ben Gurion to places including Herzliya, Netanya, Caesarea, Yavne, Bat Yam, Rishon Lezion, Holon, Ashkelon, Bnei Brak, Petach Tikvah, Rosh Haayin, Ramla, Beit Shemesh, Ashdod, Rehovot, Kiryat Gat, Beer Sheva, and Dimona.
Note that trains in Israel do not run on Shabbat; they stop running on Friday afternoon and only resume late on Saturday evening. Bear that in mind if you’re flying in over the weekend!
Taking a shuttle from/to Ben Gurion
This is another great way to get to your chosen destination, and we’d highly recommend the shuttle service provided by Abraham Tours, one of Israel’s leading tour operators who are especially budget-friendly. Their shuttle or airport transfer service takes away a lot of the hassle of waiting around for buses and trains, and will take you to wherever you need to go in Tel Aviv. It currently costs only 180 shekels for up to 4 people, or 290 shekels for up to 6 people. Click here for more details & to book a ride.
Taking a taxi from/to Ben Gurion
You might already have heard some horror stories regarding Israeli taxi drivers, but as the taxi drivers at Ben Gurion are under the strict supervision of the Israeli Airports Authority, you’ll be perfectly fine and almost certainly safe from getting ripped off. Just make sure you go with one of these licensed taxis, which can be found on the G (Ground) level of Terminal 3, although you have to “book” one via the onsite dispatchers at the taxi booth. Private-taxi (called “special”) and shared-taxi services (called “sherut”, and carrying up to 10 passengers) are available.
Note that for long trips, the driver must charge passengers according to the Ministry of Transport price list posted in all taxis (for example, there is a 25% surcharge for night trips in effect from 9:01pm until 5:29am (from 4pm on Fridays and holiday eves)).
Licensed taxis include Hadar Lod (to all parts of the country – call +972-3-9711103), Nesher Tours (to and from Jerusalem – call +972-2-6257227), and Amal (to Haifa and the North – call +972-4-8662324).
Renting a car at Ben Gurion
Renting a car at Ben Gurion is another great option, especially for those of you intending to travel around Israel a lot (although you might want to read this post about Israeli drivers and this post for tips and tricks when renting a car in Israel). The car rental Israel and limousine rental services available at Ben Gurion are located on the first floor of the East Gallery in the Arrivals Hall and are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The pick-up and return of the vehicle is at the rental companies’ 500-space parking lot on the ground floor of the East Building opposite Terminal 3.