Jerusalem Tips & Tricks
We’ve written this article for those of you just visiting or new to the area. There are a ton of useful things to know about that aren’t obvious to everyone, so don’t worry if you already know about one of these, we’re sure that there will be something to help you out on here!
This article is divided up into a number of sections:-
You can make appointments online to save queuing when you get there. It’s super easy and free. Once you get to the Iriya building, put your ID number into the touch screen machines in the entrance hall, take your ticket and wait to be called. Sometimes the machines there can get a little bit temperamental, so if it feels like they’ve missed your turn/appointment, make sure to say something. Also, if your appointment is at the beginning of a session (see opening times on their website), there can be significant queues just to get a ticket number from the machine itself, so make sure to be a little early.
Depending on your local office, queues here can be pretty long. Salvation is at hand with online appointments! You can go to their website or download their app and make an appointment to go do what you need to get done.
If your hebrew isn’t up to scratch to order take away over the phone, there are a number of apps that will get your food delivered to your door
If you’re planning to go out for a meal at a restaurant, chances are you should visit eLuna’s website beforehand since they probably have a voucher that you can print out to get a discount or special offer for your meal.
If you order your drink through the app, at the time of writing, you can get a size upgrade for free. No delivery is available, but still delicious!
Not only can you specify the toppings on your pizza by sections, you can also track your order, right from placing the order, through the oven and out on the bike for delivery. Awesome! You can also pay with your credit card so no need for cash.
JLM Night Guide - This app from the Jerusalem Municipality has searchable events, nightlife and deals in both English and Hebrew. If you’re not familiar with the city just yet, then definitely worth checking out a few of these.
Machane Yehuda - For those not familiar with the food market’s night-time shenannigans, after dark, the whole area converts into a buzzing social scene with bars, restaurants and impromptu dance parties. Check out our in-depth guide to Machane Yehuda here.
Yerushalmi Card - Only for permanent residents of Jerusalem - 20 NIS for the year, buys you a card that entitles you to discounts at events, restaurants, shops and more. You can pick up a card at the Iriya or online.
Bus Service - There’s a relatively new bus service that goes to and from the airport to a couple of stops in Jerusalem. Short of getting a free ride off of a friend, this is one of the cheapest ways to get between Jerusalem and the airport.
The bus runs 24 hours a day on the hour and for 6 days a week (excluding Shabbat) and will go to the Central bus station amongst other stops. Check the schedule for more information.
Nesher - The classic shared taxi is the way that many of us get to and from the airport. Famed for their legendarily grumpy customer service and their long winding pick up routes, this is cheaper than a taxi and they will pick/drop you and your suitcase up at your door.
Daka99 - This taxi firm offers transfers to the airport for 190 shekel. Requires advance booking.
Regular Taxi - There are loads of taxi companies that will take you to the airport for around 200-300 shekels. Best to book in advance if you have a flight, and remember, this is Israel - try to negotiate them down from their initial price!
If you don’t have a car, but still want to get around without using the buses, Gett offers you a way to hail a taxi from your cellphone. It’s basically UBER, but in Jerusalem, most taxis are registered as Gett drivers instead. You can hook it up to your credit card just like you can with UBER and so you’ll never need cash again to catch a ride.
The app also works with foreign credit cards, so if you’re on a visit you don’t need to worry about having the right change. We’d recommend that you put in your destination when hailing the taxi, as you’ll see a route mapped by the app, so you’ll know if your driver is literally taking you round the houses to get to your destination.
Gett also offers a number of specialised services.
• Gett Mehadrin - This will only offer you a ride from drivers that don’t work on Shabbat
• Gett Kids - This will only offer you a ride from a driver with a booster seat for children aged 3-8, so no need to worry about shlepping it round with you all day!
• Fixed price intercity rides - Enter a destination in a different city and the app will give you a fixed price quote to get there.
Note that depending on the time of day, taxi drivers can charge you for ordering through the app. The app will tell you when those fees apply. The driver should charge by the meter when you are riding in the cab, unless you’re on a fixed fare intercity trip.
Moovit is a handy little app for public transportation. It works like Waze but for public transport, and since it has users on the buses themselves, it’s often pretty good at telling you when the next bus is actually going to arrive.
This is a great app that doesn’t seem to exist at scale outside of Israel (that we are aware of anyways). Pango allows you to park without needing to carry a bunch of change for the parking meters. Just set up your credit card details and your numberplate and you’re ready to go (well, stop). When you get to a spot with a meter, just select the time period on the sign and start paying for parking through the app.
The app charges per minute, and will automatically turn off when the parking restrictions end. Very importantly, the app will keep going until you turn it off, but there is a mode to automatically stop when it detects the car moving again - just be aware that you might end up paying more if you forget to turn it off!
Uber does exist in Israel, but most drivers in Jerusalem seem to be Gett drivers. See above.
We hope that you’ll never need it while you’re here, whether you’re visiting or have a home, but the Red Alert app is connected to the national warning system for incoming rockets and mortars. Jerusalem tends to be pretty quiet, with most of the warnings relating to areas near Gaza or the north, but it probably can’t hurt to have this installed on your phone just in case.
Weather apps can be a bit hit or miss in Jerusalem, but there’s a dedicated weather station that provides much more useful local weather reports called Yerushamayim. Originally a project of students of Betzalel College of Art and Design, this website also has an app that you can download on your phone for weather on the go. Very handy during the winter time.