Earth > Asia > Western Asia > Israel > Jerusalem
|<map lat='31.78' lng='35.22' zoom='11' view='0' country='Israel'/>|
|District (mahoz):||Jerusalem District|
|Major roads:||1, 60|
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Be aware that Jerusalem is quite different from Tel Aviv. Some inhabitants and areas are very religious and "modesty" is appreciated and sometimes somewhat violently enforced. Best not to wear mini skirts and other outfits you would wear at the beach in Tel Aviv.
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 route 90 and then south towards Eilat or north towards Tiberias, Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights, to Palestinian cities that are north of Jerusalem, to West Bank/Samaria settlements, and 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 4, 4a, 8, 37, 57 and 68 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.
For the Dead Sea, route 90 south or north and the West Bank/Samaria, go to the big bus stop on route 1, right before the bridge. The place is usually crowded with hitchhikers on their way to 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 route 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. On the other side of the big intersection there is a smaller bus stop. Cars that pass here might be going into Jerusalem, to road 443 or to road 1 towards Tel Aviv, so a sign here can be a big help. There are no good places to stop on road 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 road 443, to Modiin for example, that is much better, because there are bus stops in almost every intersection on that road.
The road splits towards Amman and towards the Dead Sea at Beit-HaArava junction. Depending on where you are in Jerusalem, there are two options for getting there:
From East Jerusalem
Take service taxi ("sheirut") 36 from Damascus Gate in the direction of Abu Dis, a ride of 7 NIS only. Get off in Maale Adumin North junction and continue hitchhiking east. If you take this ride you get directly to road #1, from which you need to continue hitchhiking east towards the Dead Sea and Jordan.
From West Jerusalem
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 recently 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).
West towards Tel Aviv
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. 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 ancient Palestinian 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.
There is also a petrol station on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway at Shaar Hagai (שער הגיא) Google map link This might be useful if a ride is not going all the way to Tel Aviv as there are very few spots to stop on the highway between the two cities.
North towards Tiberias, Golan Heights
Follow the same directions as for Amman and the Dead Sea, but continue north on highway 90 from the Beit HaArava Junction until you reach the Tsemach Junciton at the bottom of the Kinneret. From there, you can either hitchhike to Tiberias by going westwards on Road 90, or use the trempiyada up to the Golan. People either drive up to Road 92 or Road 98 from there. Road 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. Highway 789 connects to Road 98 from where you can chose to either continue north or head south. Road 87 also connects to 98, but a bit later, and it also turns west over the Kinneret or east through the centre of the Golan until it picks up 98 at its end.
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.
Take the #31 bus to Giloh (you'll have to ask people how to get to the trempiyada. From there you can hitch rides to Bethlehem and Gush Etzion areas, (Efrat, Bethlehem, Alon Shvut), etc, as well as further south, to the Hebron area of Hebron, Kiryat Arba, Tarqumia, Yatta, etc. To get to the latter area, however, it is better to hitch a ridge to Gush Etzion Junction, and try from there. From the Palestinan bus terminal in front of Damascuus Gate you can get a bus straight to Bethlehem and Beit Jala. It runs every 30 mins and takes a little more to Bethlehem.
- 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 =)
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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monastery_of_the_Cross
You will find official camping places with services just at very touristic spots as the Dead Sea or the Sea of Galilee. But you won't get a problem if you set up your tent just somewhere in the wood. Just make sure that you don't do it on private property, nearby the sea or flowing water (it is supposed to be forbidden) and in natural reserves.
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 West Jerusalem- that's the tram and the green buses; East Jerusalem buses (the white ones with blue or green writing) are not included. 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.
There's no public transport in West Jerusalem from about 2 hours before dark on Friday evening to 1 hour after dark on Saturday night. East Jerusalem buses keep running regularly.