Rent a Car for Travel in Jerusalem

As a historical and religious epicenter, Jerusalem attracts millions of tourists every year. With sacred sites spread far apart and a mediocre public transit system, having your own set of wheels makes exploring Jerusalem much easier. Here’s a guide on renting and driving in one of the oldest cities in the world.

Finding Car Rental Companies in Jerusalem

As a major destination, Jerusalem is served by all the big international rental chains including:

  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Hertz
  • Sixt
  • Europcar
  • Enterprise

There are also local Israeli agencies like Eldan Rent a Car, Shlomo Sixt, and Green Peace Rent a Car. Compare rates across multiple companies. Book early for the best deals, especially around religious holidays.

Documentation and Requirements

Typical documentation required:

  • Valid driver’s license from your home country
  • Passport
  • Credit card for payment and deposit
  • Proof of adequate insurance

Some companies have minimum age requirements, usually 21-24 years old. There may be young driver surcharges. Clarify all policies when you reserve a car.

Types of Rental Cars Available

Car TypeExamplesDescription
EconomyChevrolet Spark, Hyundai i10Small cars for 1-2 passengers plus luggage
CompactToyota Yaris, Nissan MicraFor city driving and tight spots
StandardToyota Corolla, Hyundai ElantraMidsize sedans good for 3-4 people
MinivanKia Carnival, Honda OdysseyFor families or groups up to 8
PremiumMercedes C Class, BMW 3 SeriesLuxury models with premium amenities
Jeep/SUVSuzuki Jimny, Toyota RAV4For rugged terrain and off-road ability

Automatics predominate, but manual drive cars are available. Consider jeeps for accessing sites in desert terrain.

Driving in Jerusalem – Rules of the Road

Key driving rules and etiquette in Jerusalem:

  • Drive on the right side of the road
  • Seat belt use mandatory for driver and all passengers
  • Cell phone use prohibited while driving
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Driving on Shabbat restricted in religious neighborhoods
  • No turn on red light unless sign permits
  • Watch for children playing near roadways
  • Avoid driving on extremely narrow alleyways

Jerusalem’s traffic and parking shortages require patience. Schedule ample time to reach destinations.

Useful Rental Car Tips for Jerusalem

  • Reserve well in advance for availability and rates
  • Inspect car thoroughly at pick-up for dings, damage
  • Purchase additional liability insurance for protection
  • Ask about GPS or apps for navigating
  • Have offline maps in case low on cell data
  • Carry change for parking meters
  • Ask about E-Z Pass transponders for toll roads
  • Don’t leave valuables visible in car

These tips will make renting and driving in Jerusalem smooth.

Top Day Trip Destinations

Having your own wheels makes accessing sights near Jerusalem simple. Top day trips include:

  • Dead Sea – Float in mineral rich waters at lowest place on Earth. 1 hr drive.
  • Bethlehem – See Church of the Nativity, Banksy art, crafts. 45 min drive.
  • Masada – Spectacular cliffside ancient fortress. 2 hr drive.
  • Nazareth – Where Jesus grew up with key sites. 2 hr drive.
  • Sea of Galilee – Historic sites like Capernaum and Tabgha. 2 hr drive.
  • Haifa – Baha’i Gardens and views from Mt Carmel. 2 hr drive.

Carefully follow GPS or maps when leaving Jerusalem. Road signage can be sparse in remote areas.

FAQ About Renting a Car in Jerusalem

What documents do I need to rent a car in Jerusalem?

You’ll need a valid driver’s license, passport, credit card, and proof of adequate insurance coverage. Some companies require an International Driving Permit.

What side of the road do Israelis drive on?

Traffic in Israel drives on the right side of the road, the same as most of Europe and the Americas.

What insurance should I purchase for a rental car in Jerusalem?

Get basic liability coverage at minimum. Also consider supplemental liability and theft protection for maximum coverage.

Is driving in Jerusalem difficult?

Yes, heavy traffic, aggressive drivers, and navigating narrow Old City streets can be challenging. Allow extra time to reach your destinations.


While Jerusalem’s congestion and winding streets make driving demanding, having your own rental car makes accessing sacred sites, markets, and day trips much more convenient. Reserve early, inspect cars thoroughly, purchase sufficient insurance, and study local driving culture. With your own set of wheels and sense of adventure, iconic Dead Sea dips, Nazareth strolls, and powerful history await! Just queue up some festive music for the ride.


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