|<map lat='31.78' lng='35.22' zoom='11' view='0' country='Israel'/>|
|District (mahoz):||Jerusalem District|
|Major roads:||1, 50, 60, 443|
|Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots|
Jerusalem is the largest city in Israel and serves as the capital of the state since its establishment in 1948. Jerusalem's status is under dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians have claims to the city including a claim to be their capital city.
- 1 Hitching in
- 2 Hitching out
- 2.1 French Hill junction
- 2.2 East to the Dead Sea, Northern Israel
- 2.3 East to Amman, Jordan
- 2.4 South towards Eilat, Aqaba, Taba (Egypt)
- 2.5 West towards Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be'er Sheva
- 2.6 To Ramallah, Samaria (northern West Bank)
- 2.7 To Bethlehem, Judaea (southern West Bank)
- 3 Sleep
- 4 Public Transportation
Jerusalem is quite different from Tel Aviv, there is a lot of religious communities in the city. In religious neighborhoods, it can be perceived as offensive not to dress modestly, and can attract unwelcomed attention. However, in the city center and old city (not inside the religious sites themselves, obviously) there is no such problem.
French Hill junction
French Hill (or Hagiva Hatzarfatit) junction is a good place for hitchhiking to several places. You can hitch from it to the Dead Sea, towards highway 90 (whether south towards Eilat or north towards Beit She'an and Tiberias, Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights), to Palestinian cities that are north of Jerusalem and to West Bank settlements north of Jerusalem (Samaria). It is also possible to hitch towards Tel Aviv (although this is not the best spot for Tel Aviv).
The easiest way to get there is by tram to Givat Hamivtar stop, and buses 57, 68 and 77 also go there. From the stop, walk 1 minute to the intersection that the tram rails cross diagonally. This is the junction, where route 1 and route 60 meet.
To the following destinations: The Dead Sea, highway 90 south or north and to the northern West Bank/Samaria, go to the big bus stop on highway 1, right before the bridge (Google street view). The place is usually crowded with hitchhikers on their way to northern West Bank/Samaria settlements, and drivers stop often. There are times when there is a group of dozens of people hitching here, and some drivers even come with signs themselves, to show which settlement they’re going to. This group is almost always at the beginning of the bus stop, so if you’re going to the Dead Sea or highway 90, it’s better to stand apart from the group, towards the back of the stop. A sign here can help.
You can hitch from the same place towards Ramallah (and from there you can reach Nablus and other Palestinian cities). Be advised that if you’re standing in this stop with a sign that says “Ramallah” on it, it's quite possible people are going to look at you like you’re crazy, and might try to convince you not to go there, that it’s dangerous, etc.
It’s also possible to hitch from this intersection to Tel Aviv. This is not the best spot to hitch towards Tel Aviv - use it only if you hitched here from the Dead Sea, northern Israel or from the West bank, and you wish to continue to Tel Aviv. On the other side of the big intersection there is a smaller bus stop. Cars that pass here might be going into Jerusalem, or towards Tel Aviv through highway 1 or highway 443, so a sign here can be a big help. There are no good places to stop on highway 1 except the Shaar Hagai petrol station, so it’s better to wait for a direct ride. If you can get a ride part of the way on highway 443, to Modiin for example, that is much better, because there are bus stops in almost every intersection on that road.
East to the Dead Sea, Northern Israel
Basically you need to get a ride eastwards on highway 1. See French Hill junction above.
- Craig found it easy to get a lift even from inside Jerusalem. The bus stop mentioned above works perfect. Since you can get there taking the Tram or you hitchhike from in front the Damascus gate (sounds strange, but worked numerous times: 10 mins, 5 mins).
Highway 1 ends at Beit-HaArava junction, where it meets highway 90, which can take you north towards Beit She'an, Tiberias and generally northern Israel (serving also Allenby border crossing and Sheikh Hussein border crossing to Amman) and south towards the Dead Sea and Eilat. So if you need to get to the Dead Sea and your ride goes to northern Israel (Beit She'an, Tiberias etc.) or vice versa, get off at the last junction before Beit HaArava - at Almog junction. Almog junction functions as a refreshment stop, so kiosks, mini-market and (free) toilets are available here, so that's the best way to hitch another ride. Beware! this is a desert area, so being near a refreshment stop helps.
Some rides will get you as far as Ma'ale Adumin, Mishor Adumim, Mitzpeh Yeriho or other villages along highway 1 (Jerusalem-Dead Sea part of the highway, that is). With the exception of Ma'ale Adumim, you can definitely continue hitching along highway 1 (Ma'ale Adumim is connected to highway 1 via an interchange with nowhere to hitch on). However it should be noted that finding a ride to the Dead Sea or to northern Israel from Jerusalem is quite common, and preferable to do in Jerusalem than along highway 1 by trying to continuously hitchhiking east.
Northern Israel: Tiberias and the Golan Heights
Tsemach Junciton near the southern shore of the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) serves as a major junction. From there, you can either hitchhike to Tiberias by going westwards on highway 90, or use the trempiyada up to the Golan Heights by going eastwards to highway 92. People either drive up to highway 92 or highway 98 from there. Highway 98 goes right up to the Golan, and Road 92 runs along the west coast of the Kinneret from where you can pick up Roads 789 or 87 to the Golan. Road 789 connects to highway 98 from where you can chose to either continue north or head south. highway 87 also connects to 98, but a bit later, and it also turns west over the Kinneret or east through the center of the Golan until it picks up 98 at its end.
You can go into Jordan through Allenby border crossing or Sheikh Hussein border crossing), Note that when going into Jordan:
- via Allenby border crossing - requires having a Jordanian visa in advance (regardless of your nationality) since no visa can be issued on the border. The terminal itself is quite distant from highway 90, and impossible to walk (security won't allow it), so you'd need to hitch or take a taxi.
- via Sheikh Hussein bridge near Beit She'an - getting to the terminal from Beit She'an is best done by hitching another local ride on highway 71 just east of its junction with highway 90.
West towards Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be'er Sheva
Take a bus or tram to the central bus station in Jerusalem (many bus lines go there). From the main entrance, head to the right (when looking away from the building). Go on walking further on Jaffa road, take a right below the tram bridge, and continue till you get to the main junction where the "Begin" highway splits off to the right. Continue straight past this junction, and on your right (after the petrol station) you will see a bus stop, the best spot to hitchhike (Google street view). Most likely you will see other hitchhikers standing there too. If you get bored or want to burn some time, just behind you there is an old Arab village (Lifta), which was deserted in 1948. Go down the stairs and find your way to the local spring.
In case it's too crowded you might be better off going a bit back up the street to the petrol stations and hitch there. Also, Israeli hitchhikers seem to have an aversion against signs, so if you're not local using a sign could work out in your advantage.
As it is fairly easy to find a ride to Tel Aviv, don't get a ride that only goes part of the way. There are no spots along Highway 1 from Jerusalem To Tel Aviv where one can hitch on.
If you're going to Haifa, getting to Tel Aviv will serve you well. If you're going to Be'er Sheva, better get on a ride that goes south.
However, due to the lack of rides to this area, it is probably best to take a service taxi (very cheap) to this area from Damascus gate in Jerusalem.
A bus ride to Bethlehem only costs 8 NIS, consider using the bus. Bus #231 or #234 can be taken from the bus terminal in front of Damscus gate of the Old City of Jerusalem.
- Craig got a lift from in front the Damascus gate around 8pm (20 mins). Go to the junction before the cars go down the tunnel. there is enough space to stop. Sometimes people cannot cross the checkpoint and will drop you off. Try to sneak by the tough pedestrian checkpoint and flag down cars in front of the car crossing. Saves time and nerves =)
Hitching: take bus #6, #14, #18 or #31 to Malha mall/Teddy stadium. The bus stop beneath the large pedestrian-only bridge linking Malha mall and Teddy stadium serves as trempiyada to Gush Etzion area (including Efrat, Alon Shvut etc.) as well as to Hebron and Kiryat Arba. You can hitch a ride to Gush Etzion Junction and continue from there to most of the villages in Gush Etzion or on to Hebron and Kiryat Arba. Though, to get to the Hebron or Kiryat Arba, there is a bus #381 which costs just 8.1 NIS.
- Vulla You can consider to walk instead of HH. Jerusalem to Bethlem is just 8 km. I've done it in less than 2 hours walking slow and take my time. The view is not the best but if you arrive walking you will able to see the big wall which it separetes Israel to the West Bank. You have to take the entrance for tourists,very fast, few people pass there. The palestinian pass by another gate. Above all you will see the wall and read the different stories of the palestinian during the occupation and you will see many grafitti on the wall, some of them were made by Bansky. Bansky's graffitti are spread around Jerusalem but if you go to the center the (annoyng) taxies will take you to a tour to see Bansky's graffiti.
Hostels and cheap accommodation
As a rule of thumb, the Western part of the city is much (much!) more expensive than the Eastern part, especially when it comes to hostels. In the old city and around Damascus gate you can find a dorm bed for as little as 20 NIS (4 Euro) for a night. Check Wikivoyage for more details.
A good place to camp close to the city center is Sacher Park. It's big enough to camp without being noticed, and even if you are noticed there's a good chance nobody cares. Close by, and a bit more secluded, is the Valley of the Cross, where you can also make a fire - just look for a place where people have made fires before. A bonus in this spot is you would be camping close to a beautiful 11th century monastery.
Blackriding is not possible in buses, because you have to pass by the driver as you enter. On the tram it is possible, but keep in mind there are quite a lot of checkups (maybe as much as once every 5 rides, or so). Inspectors wear white buttoned shirts in summer, sometimes with a yellow reflector vest on top, and dark blue coats in winter. They come in twos or threes, and are usually quite strict. As of September 2013, there are no "undercover"/plainclothes inspectors.
Single tram tickets are only valid for the day you bought them. There is a 90-minute transfer time for public transport in Jerusalem- that's the tram and the green buses. If you bought and used a ticket, and will not use it again within the 90-minute time, why not give it away to somebody in the tram/bus stop? Random kindness to strangers is always good.
If you plan on using public transport often, better use the electronic card. Charging rides on an electronic card gets you 20% off for single rides (for a ride you pay 80% of the price of a single ticket-ride), alternatively using the electronic card you can also purchase a daily-pass ׂ(13.5 NIS, just over the price of 2 single tickets) or weekly-pass (64 NIS, just over the price of 10 single tickets). Electronic cards. which are called "Rav Kav", are sold on most buses for 5 NIS.
There's no public transport in Jerusalem from about 2 hours before dark on Friday evening to 1 hour after dark on Saturday night or during Jewish holidays. However, buses that serve Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem keep running regularly.