Landing in Ben Gurion (TLV) airport? Essential info from a professional tour guide

Ben Gurion Airport will probably be your first
stop in Israel. If you’re coming to Israel this is probably
where you will start your trip. And in this video I will talk about everything
you need to know about the security, transportation, and all the small things that can make a big
difference. I will start with a big misconception that
many people have. Ben Gurion Airport is not in Tel Aviv, although
the airport code is TLV which stands for Tel Aviv. Ben Gurion Airport is in the middle of Israel:
it’s about 30 kilometres to Tel Aviv, it’s about 20 miles, and 55 kilometres to Jerusalem,
so about 35 miles. So you don’t have to start your trip in Tel
Aviv; you can start in Jerusalem. And by the way, Israel is tiny: if you are
from the US, then Israel is the size of New Jersey; if you are from Germany, Israel is
the size of Hessen; if you are from Great Britain, Israel is the size of Wales. So you can also land in Natbag (TLV) and go south to
the desert, it will take you an hour and a half, or to the Galilee to the north, it will
take you two hours. In English many people call the airport “TLV”
(Tel Aviv Airport), but in Hebrew we call it Natbag, which stands for Ben Gurion Airport. Ben Gurion was our first prime minister. Now Ben Gurion Airport is the main airport
in Israel and I will add that if you say to Israelis Tel Aviv Airport they might think
you mean Sde Dov: Sde Dov is a small airport in Tel Aviv and it is for domestic flights,
especially to Eilat. If you fly in one of the Israeli companies,
so El Al, Up, Arkia and Israir, you will go through security in the airport you are flying
from. It’s basically a couple of minutes’ talk with
security personnel, they ask you about general questions about your trip, where will you
stay, what will you do in Israel. I can understand why people find it strange
that somebody asks them personal questions about their trip, but this is how it is. They ask basically all the people the same
questions, so it’s not that they suspect you. We Israelis are very used to it. Just answer the questions and it’s really
not that big of a deal. I will say that if you fly to Israel to visit
friends, family, or business, then it is always good to have the details of the people that
you are visiting, have their official name and phone number and it usually saves a little
bit of time but again even if you don’t know anyone in Israel, it’s still no problem. Now some people do complain about the security,
that the questions are too personal, and now I will say something that is a little bit
off topic. The Israelis are very very direct, and I think
that Israelis see politeness as something cold, and they ask very very direct. And Israelis will always tell you what they
think, sometimes not so politely. I like it, I like when people say what they
think. Sometimes I think that in Israel there is
no distance between what the Israelis think and what comes out of their mouth: it’s like
they think it, they say it. Sometimes it is annoying that people tell
you what they think about you and your lifestyle even if you don’t want to hear. Once you will land you will go through the
border inspection, now if there is a queue don’t worry, you can always use the free wi-fi
in Ben Gurion Airport. And by the way, I will say that Israel is
the country with the most free open wifi in the world: every café, restaurant, hotel,
even the municipalities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, there is free wi-fi almost anywhere. Once you get to the border control then your
passport will not be stamped, and this is because some Muslim countries will do problems
if they will see that you visited Israel. So you will get something like this paper
and just remember, it’s very important, you need to save it in your passport until you
fly back, and then afterwards if you visit Muslim countries they will not know that you
visited Israel. After the border inspection you will go to
the hall where you pick up your luggage. Now most people go immediately to take their
luggage but as you go into this hall there is a very good information desk that people
don’t know about it and don’t use it. But it is great: in this information desk
you can get free maps of basically Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and a free map of all of Israel,
and for free, and they can mark where your hotel is or your hostel and it is really helpful
and most people don’t use it; they just go straight and take their luggage and go out. And of course once you go out you cannot go
back in. Once you take the free maps and your luggage
you go out to the welcome hall. It can be a little bit overwhelming, it’s
a big place, and there you will find all the services you will expect: bank ATMs and, by
the way, the Israelis, more like the American system, use a lot credit cards, so if you
have one do bring one. I know the young Europeans don’t have credit
cards, but it is really helpful in Israel. You will find there the car rental companies
and expensive cafés. The next subject is transportation and here
also there are a couple of things that I will say that you won’t find information about
them in English, because some of them are really really new. First of all, of course, you can always hire
a car in the airport and just go. I like to say that the Israelis drive more
like the Italians, not like the Germans, but I usually recommend to people that come to
Israel first to go to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, see these cities and after two, three days
in Jerusalem only then hire a car. But again you can hire a car from the airport. All the big companies that you know are there,
and down below I will leave a link to all the companies that you can find. Now about public transportation: the most
important thing you need to remember is that in Israel there is no public transportation
from Friday afternoon till Saturday night. It is something that is very important and
many tourists forget it. So no trains and no buses from Friday, usually
two hours before sunset, till Saturday, usually three hours after sunset, so sometimes it
is really late at night but there are always taxis. But again the taxis are more expensive on
the weekend. If you want to get to Tel Aviv you can always
take the train. There are two trains every hour and at night
only once every hour, and down here below I will leave the link to the internet site
of the Israeli railways. The important thing you need to know is that
the first station in Tel Aviv (there are four stations), the first station, Tel Aviv HaHagana,
is very close to the central bus station in Tel Aviv, but it is not a good area. It is in the south of Tel Aviv. I don’t recommend going there, at least not
on your first day, and most of the hotels, hostels, the city centre, is at Hashalom,
which is the next station, or Savidor Mercaz (Savidor Centre), which is one station after
Hashalom. So if you do take a train to Tel Aviv, then
again Hashalom or Savidor Centre. If you want to get to Jerusalem there are
a couple of options. First of all there is a bus (number 485) that
leaves every hour from the airport to the central bus station in Jerusalem, which is
in a good location. And over there you also have the light rail
in Jerusalem, so it’s a good place to start. Now in a couple of months (I don’t know when
and probably no one in Israel knows when) there will be a train to Jerusalem, so this
would have been the best option; it would take only twenty minutes from the airport
to Jerusalem. I will just say that there is a line to Jerusalem,
but it is not to the city centre and it does a really huge detour so if you look at the
internet site and you see Jerusalem Malha or Jerusalem Zoo, don’t take this train, and
you will see it’s like an hour and forty-five minutes to get there. At the end of 2018 this new train line should
be open and then it will be the best option to get to Jerusalem. There is another company that runs a service
of sherut taxis. A sherut taxis is basically a ten-seater taxi
and once they get full they go to Jerusalem and they will drop you off at your hostel
or hotel. It costs sixty shekels, something like that. I don’t really like this company: I heard
a lot of complaints from tourists that the drivers couldn’t speak good English and that
they were not really nice. I personally don’t really like this company
but again, I mean, the service is okay: they will take you from the airport to the doorstep
of your hostel or hotel, and sixty shekels is fair, it’s like fifteen euros or so, but
just know that they are not really polite sometimes. If you’re thinking to take a taxi to Jerusalem
or Tel Aviv I have good news for you: the prices just went down in 30%, something that
doesn’t happen often in Israel that the prices go down. But they did there something new and the prices
went down and there are two options: you can or take the taxis, the official taxis of the
airport, or you can use an app called Gett, and again I will leave all the links down
here below. To Tel Aviv it should be around ninety shekels
daytime, and to Jerusalem 170 shekels daytime, and night-time a little bit more. Now there is also the official calculator
that tells you how much should the taxi cost and I will leave the link down here below. People don’t use it and it is great because
then you know what you are about to pay. Now after you’ve seen everything Israel has
to offer: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Negev, the Golan Heights, the Galilee, then you will
probably leave also from Ben Gurion Airport and here there is something that is important
to know: most flights are from Terminal 3, but there is also Terminal 1, usually for
low-cost flights to Europe but always check. By the way if you fly from Terminal 1 and
you got accidentally to Terminal 3, then no worries: there is a free shuttle, but again
it’s always better to know where you are flying from. And I would say come to the airport two and
a half hours before the flight, especially if it is on a weekend, on a Thursday or Friday. And that’s it: your trip in Israel is over. That’s it, guys, I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did then please subscribe to my channel. If you have any questions about the airport,
about Israel, then please write all the questions down here below. And if you want to support me then you can
always buy my booklets. I’ve written three booklets about Jerusalem,
Tel Aviv, and the Judaean Desert and they are in German or in English and you can download
them as e-books or buy the hard copy. That’s it; see you in the next video, and
bye for now.

100 thoughts on “Landing in Ben Gurion (TLV) airport? Essential info from a professional tour guide

  1. Bellissimo video, molto interessante. Dovrei essere in Israele il prossimo Maggio. Per quella data il treno veloce per Gerusalemme sarà operativo? dal Ben Gurin Airport al treno c'è molta strada da fare a piedi? Grazie

  2. Great video, already subscribed.
    Is the new train to Jerusalem totally available to tourists? I read that for 90 days it is limited to residents because you need a personal Rav Kav card.

  3. I glad that i came across with this vlog. I am arriving in TLV on a Saturday. Good to know my transportation options. Are the shops, malls and museums also closed on Saturday? What are the things you can in TLV on Saturday during the day and night time? Thanks much!

  4. v quick question … can someone staying in Tel Aviv do a day trip to Jerusalem and back? what is the rough travel time between the two cities? also I want to go to Tel Aviv but when is the best time to go (I live in UK so I don't want to go when it is too hot) – is September nice?

  5. People say Israelis are rude, but really, there's just two things not to do: 1. Don't talk about local politics no matter where you stand, you will make somebody mad. 2. Don't beat around the bush. Don't be wishy-washy. Just get to the point and say what you want. My mother's Israeli, I haven't lived there, I grew up in the US, and I have that impatient, "get to the point" attitude.

  6. Thank you your great Video! I have a question. How can I go to Dead Sea (Ein Bokek) from Jerusalem? Do you recommend the Egged Bus Company?

  7. Great video, thank you!
    I'm planning to visit Israel next month. I'll start my trip in Eilat and return home from Ben Gurion Airport. I've already booked a hotel in Tel Aviv for the last night. Unfortunately, my return flight is on Saturday, which means there will be no public transport. Could you please help, how can I go from the city center to the airport on Shabbat? I am a young student and ordering a taxi is too expensive for me. I see there are sheruts departing from Jerusalem but can't find anything from Tel Aviv. Could you please give me any advice? I would be greatful!

  8. Are there any customs or laws anyone should know. I'm thinking of doing some hiking in addition to visiting the holy sites

  9. Thank you, for this nice video full with good information !! Me and mig girlfriend will traveling to Tel aviv in March……….. but i need some more information……. i have some quetion, i hope you can hjälp me:  I wonder if i can get the RavKav Card from Ben Gurion Airport…… Is there somwhere inside the Airport i can buy this ?? *Is the Rav Kav Card valid in whole Israel ?? I would like some information about the train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem….. direkt train, which station from Tel Aviv can i take this to Jerusalem?? thank very much…. David

  10. We'll travelling to Israel in march and we want to rent a car. Are there any good rentals in Ben Gurion? The problem is the return flight is gonna be on a Saturday and we don't know exactly how to make it. We have reservations for every night on hostels…pretty expensive… but we really want to visit Israel❤

    Thank you for this video and all the informations!

  11. Thank you for your excellent blog, we're arriving into Haifa by cruise boat staying overnight and would like to travel to Jerusalem by train, is the new train from the airport to Jerusalem now operational. How far is the railway station from the centre of the old city, please advise.

  12. I land on a Friday night and will therefore have to take a taxi to reach tel Aviv. I worry it's going to be very expensive 🙁 Any tips?


    Hey Guys, I hope you enjoyed my video and found it helpful!

    If you’re looking for a deeply moving experience that will inspire you and your loved ones then you need to contact us and find out about our immersive experiences, for which we devise a tour that is tailor-made for you and your interests.

    schedule a call –

    If you’re traveling on a modest budget, you can also purchase my Booklets, in which I basically wrote down everything that I say on my 3 most popular tours: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the Judaean Desert. I also added maps, pictures and graphics which will enable you to be your own guide. The booklets are only sold outside Israel, so order now and come prepared! Or download as a PDF or EPUB (e-book).

    All the details on my site –

    Booklets on Amazon –

    Booklets as PDF –

    Booklets as EPUB (Ebook) –

    Leave a comment below

    Enjoy Israel!


  14. Is it possible to enter Israel from Sheikh hussein bridge and exit from Ben gurien airport? Or the entry and exit need to be the same?

  15. Would not mind visiting Israel myself one day, looks like a stunning country, absolutely crammed with history, as for Airport Security, yes, it may invasive with personal questioning and from what I have heard is close to being subjected to interrogation, but, if that works for Israel, I'm all for it, if I ever come to Israel, it would not bother me talking to can Israeli Border Guard, I'm a believer of if you have nothing to hide, you got nothing to worry about…

    Good Guide, I would sure go by what you say if I ever do get the opportunity to visit…

    Take care my friend

  16. About the Sherut:
    It works well and the drivers have never been rude to us in all the years we have used them.
    Good general info.

  17. So arriving Saturday early hours, what is the best way to get to City Center/Kerem Hatemanim/Geula Beach? Thanks.

  18. Ben Gurion Airport is 24 km form the center of TLV – The 8 km you drive inside the airport included – So actually it is around 17km…

  19. Very useful information. We are arriving 2.35 am 2nd June 19 – is the train to Jerusalem operating? If not, then what will be the best way to travel to Jerusalem at that time of morning? Just 2 of us. Have been watching all your videos. Thank you, Yasna

  20. Hi Oren
    I started watching your videos a few days ago and I’m delighted with the info…I feel as if I’m getting to really understand Israel in so many big and small ways – so many practical tips. I’m planning a trip to Israel in November with a company that takes care of everything (flights, accommodation, guides etc) Having all this knowledge in advance will be a huge help. Thank you… will buy you’re booklets before I come😊

  21. G"day Owen thank you to all the great information that you have shared to everyone about the transportation about Israel ( Tel Aviv & Jerusalem ). I was wondering if I can ask you about the option that we can do to get to our hotel on a Friday late night. Our plane will be arriving on July 12 midnight. Will there a Taxi at the Airport at this hour to take us to our hotel. Thank you Ron from Sydney

  22. Aahaah…! Now I understood why my passport did not stamped. Anyway once again superb information brother. Hope to see you soon in Israel🤗 🇮🇱🇮🇳💞 Shalom from India

  23. Want to travel to North with my family of 4 but don’t want to hire a car as we are used to driving on other side of road. Is there a shuttle service or non guided tour that takes you to the main sights?

  24. Hello from Brazil !! Friend I will arrive in TLV at 2am …. which would be my options to go to Jerusalem? Or Tel Aviv ah this time ? Tks a lot

  25. Hello May I ask if I can buy anonymous rav kav card at ben gurion airport if my flight arrival is Saturday.

  26. This Pilgrim is looking forward to a trip to The Holy Land. Thanks for the tip regarding the passport info regarding continued travel to other Middle Eastern countries. I have no intent to do so (Israel is the only safe place in this part of the world) but I am sure it is important to others. Thank you for your video.

  27. Shalom! 🙂
    My name is Daniel, I am a traveller, who enjoys travelling to other countries and experience different cultures and traditions.

    Important questions to ask you
    1. When arriving at Ben Gurion Airport what bus do I need to go to Jerusalem ?

    2. How much does the bus ticket cost from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem?

    3. How far is Jerusalem to Bethlehem ?

    4. How far is Jerusalem to beautiful Tel Aviv ?

    5. What questions do the security ask you when arriving at Ben Gurion Airport ?

    6. If you have a changed your surname, Do you need to show proof of name change or not ?

    – If you read the reviews of Ben Gurion Airport it doesn’t have high ratings from foreigners visiting Israel, especially at the airport.This is from people have visited, not myself.
    I will one day see Israel for myself and have an opinion.
    – A big travel tip for tourist visit Israel is to travel on a weekday Monday to Thursday. On Friday evening the Jewish people are preparing for Saturday which is the sabbath where you can’t do anything apart from praying at the synagogue and being with family. Thanks! 🙂

  28. Wish I could travel to Israel one day. However, my Bangladeshi Muslim parents would not approve of this.

  29. Thank you so much for your kind help in giving these information. You are the best and very helpful. Where can we get your booklet?

  30. Good to know before hand and I realize some people has no filter from their brain to their mouth but I can play the same game when I come once you see it’s happening, love Israel and the people. Thanks for the info.

  31. I wonder if you could give me any advice on the best way to return to the airport if you are leaving during Shabbat and don't have a car?

  32. I don't know if you can read my comment. But then my dilenma is I am coming from Mogadishu, Somalia as I am working in one of the contractor of UN. Addis Ababa is my connecting flight to Tel Aviv because my company use Ethiopian Airlines. My original flight 2 way trip is to far east Asia but I want to pass by to Israel for 6 days as part of my holidays. You think I will be question in Mogadishu if my next connecting flight to Addis Ababa is Tel Aviv?

  33. Thank you for the information. Do you have any information on the lounges at the airport? Heard the Dan Lounge is not worth visiting, Dan+ there is no information. Thanks.

  34. If travellers to a foreign country that is under constant threat of being attacked to kill both locals and visitors alike, then don't go. It's not compulsory. It's probably Americans whingeing; they should have to put up with what the rest of the world does when we try to enter the USA. Israeli security can ask me anything they like if it means making the place safe.

  35. Noting the high prices for everything is there a facility to purchase duty free wine and spirits (and even beer) on the way into Israel at TLV? Having looked at the airport web site and other info sites there is a provision for outgoing pax and returning pax to have purchases held for their return, but what about incoming tourists? Most airports in the world have incoming DF shops to save the travellers the probeme of carrying weight in an aircraft (for those who have limited baggage allownaces or none at all!) and make some money from the same. Your written link about this video does not mention it and I won't be interested in buying a fridge. A bit annoying if I have to bring it with me and loss of revenue for Israel.

  36. would it be any problem if going to nazareth or jerusalem? i have a visa free for israel but not sure if be allowed to visit nazareth

  37. Hi, I am from Egypt and I want to visit the Christian sites in Israel, I must have a visa in advance from your embassy in Egypt and I think my passport will be stamped , right ?

  38. I never had so much trouble getting out of a country. Thanks for making me feel like a criminal TLV airport people lol

  39. Hi Sir, I am an Indian. There is a layover in TLV Ben Gurion Airport for 20 hours in my journey. I just wanted to check whether I would need a transit visa? If yes, can I get it at TLV Ben Gurion Airport? Thanking in advance. Mayureshwar Sontakke

  40. "tey think it, they say it"… yeah, that is true! I really had to laugh out loud, watching your vid! Very well done and one of the most honest and helpful ones, I may say! Great!

  41. Thank you so much for the useful information. You have mentioned very important points. Please make more videos like how to reach different cities( for example:Beer Sheba, Haifa etc.) from Airport via public transport , just like you mentioned Jerusalem from the Ben Grunion Airport . It will helpful for backpackers and budget travelers. Once again much appreciation for this great video 🙂

  42. What was an awesome airport tour, I really like it. I also make travel and airport tour content, Please take a look at my channel.

  43. Hi there, if i leave work at 5 on a weekday and then how much time it will take me to go to Jerusalem from Haifa. I am going to be visiting Israel next week for just 5 days only, business trip!

  44. I have just one advise: go to the toilet in the plane and then in Tel Aviv run for your life to immigration. Otherwise you will wait for hours. haha

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