What you should know before you rent a car
Where can you rent a car in Israel?
Located in the Middle East, Israel is accessible thanks to a number of daily non-stop and connecting flights from US cities such as New York and Los Angeles, to cities in Israel such as Tel Aviv. An economical and technological hub, Tel Aviv is one of the country's most popular cities with international visitors. Israel as a country boasts a large number of museums and holy sites, including the Western Wall. Other popular cities in Israel include Jerusalem, Haifa, Safed and Akko. Part of the Dead Sea can also be found in Israel.
Car rental companies operating in Israel include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Sixt and Alamo Rent a Car. Locations at which travelers can rent a car include Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv; the city center of Tel Aviv; downtown Haifa; and Elat city center. Israel's public transport network includes trains and buses, connecting major cities with one another, as well as with their respective airports. Israel Railways is the national operator, with headquarters in Tel Aviv Savidor Central Railway Station. There are also a number of private transport options such as taxis, private tours and shuttle buses. While these are all viable ways to travel around Israel, nothing beats the freedom of traveling at your own pace by rental car. As well as being able to choose your own destination without being restricted by public transport timetables, hiring a car to travel around Israel means you won't need to worry about buying multiple transport tickets. On a Saturday, due to the Sabbath, public transport is very limited; in this case, a rental car is one of the only ways to get around.
What are the rules of the road in Israel?
In Israel, cars drive on the right hand side of the road, and anyone traveling in a car must wear a seatbelt. The speed limit in Israel will depend on the road: most intercity routes operate a speed limit of 90km per hour (55 miles per hour), with the exception of Route 6 (or the Trans-Israel Highway) which operates a speed limit of 110km per hour, or 68 miles per hour; and Route 1 (the highway running between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) which operates a speed limit of 100km per hour, or 62 miles per hour. When it comes to traveling in urban environments, the speed limit is usually 50km per hour, or 31 miles per hour. On principle roads, road signs are displayed in three languages: Arab, Hebrew and English. Drivers under the age of 24 cannot drink any alcohol before driving; for drivers over the age of 24, the blood alcohol level while driving must not exceed 0.5mg. In Israel, the minimum age to legally hire a car is 21 years old. A valid driver's license from your home country is required; an international driver's license is not necessary.
Road trips in Israel
Many of Israel's most popular cities are well connected by road; hire a car and explore them all at your own pace. Israel is a relatively small country, meaning a short drive will take visitors from one place to another in a small amount of time.
Road Trips around Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv, located in western Israel on the Mediterranean coast, is one of Israel's most popular city destinations, with a wide variety of things to see and do. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Independence Hall, Jaffa Port, and the Israel National Trail are just a few examples. Cars in Tel Aviv can be hired from the airport or from the city center, and there are plenty of great road trips to take around the city. The Ramat Gan Safari is also an attraction which can be visited by car, as it offers a drive through animal park. From Tel Aviv, road trips can be taken to a number of Israel's cities including Haifa and Akko.
Road Trips around Jerusalem
Jerusalem is one of the most popular cities in Israel, known as a significant holy site. Home to the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it's an important pilgrimage site for followers of a number of religions. The Old City, the Holocaust memorial of Yad Vashem, and the Israel Museum are all interesting places to visit. A popular road trip in Israel is the one between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; the two cities are connected by Highway 1 and driving from one to the other takes just 1 hour.
Road Trips around Haifa
Located in northern Israel, the city of Haifa is the third largest metropolis in the country. The Bahá'í World Centre, the Cave of Elijah, the Port of Haifa, and Mount Camel National Park are some of the city's most popular attractions. Traveling between Tel Aviv and Haifa is a popular road trip taking just over 1 hour to complete. Route 2 takes travelers between the two cities; running along Israel's coastline, it's a picturesque route with views over the Mediterranean.