Car hire in Israel
Hiring a car in Israel
The Middle Eastern country of Israel sits right on the Mediterranean Sea, making it a fascinating nation to visit. With a hire car you’ll be able to take everything in, from the historic sights of Jerusalem to the incredible city culture of Tel Aviv and everything that lies in between.
Use your vehicle to ensure you see all the sights, including the Temple Mount and the Dome on the Rock shrine. Later in your visit, you’ll be able to kick back and play a game of matkok, the bat and ball game that is so popular on Tel Aviv’s beaches.
What you need to know
Your choices for hiring a car in Israel are many, with the option of picking it up from one of three airports – Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport (TLV), the smaller Sde Dov Airport (SDV) in the same city or Eilat Airport (ETH). Alternatively, there are a few hire car companies that offer collection from the centre of Tel Aviv, so opt for one of these if you are travelling overland from elsewhere in the region.
At Ben Gurion Airport you’ll find half a dozen of the big names in car hire all ready for your business. To decide which of these companies has the right deal to suit you, take a look at our booking tool. It will give you all the options available for Israel, allowing you to make the right choice.
Where to pick up your car
If you are picking up your car at Ben Gurion Airport, you’ll find all of the car hire desks are located inside the terminal building. Simply look for the name of the one you booked through and the friendly staff will be able to help you from there.
As Sixt is the only car hire company to operate out of Sde Dov Airport, it won’t be difficult to identify their desk within the terminal. From here, you will be guided to the hire car you’ve selected and can get your journey underway.
For city centre locations, check the exact spot upon which to pick up your car prior to booking to ensure it will be convenient. Then confirm it before setting off to make sure you’re heading to the right place.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Where you decide to drive to depends on which of Israel’s many offerings appeal to you the most. After all, the country is your oyster once you’ve got your hire car and there’s so much to explore. For history, it’s definitely Jerusalem, which is a place of pilgrimage for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Tel Aviv is perfect for strolling along the beachside promenade, exploring the Bauhaus architecture and doing a spot of shopping or enjoying the café culture.
If you want the charms of a beach resort, then Eilat is a great option, as it has plenty of lovely stretches of sand. There’s also the chance to see what’s below the waves at the Underwater Observatory, set within a stunning marine park.
Driving in Israel
When driving in Israel there are a few things you should remember. The first is that cars drive on the right-hand side of the road and therefore take over on the left. There is no need for an international driver's license, but you must have one from your country of origin. You also need to be 21-years-old to be allowed to drive in Israel.
Driving while using a mobile phone is illegal and all cars should have a fluorescent vest inside them for use in an emergency. When it comes to parking, you should never park on the red and white lines and can only use the blue and white ones if you have a permit to do so.
For an experience like no other, take a trip to the Dead Sea, which has its western coast in Israel. From Tel Aviv the drive is 98kms, but it’s a great chance to make the most of your car hireand float in the highly saline water. It is the lowest point on earth and the mud is so full of nutrients you won’t be able to resist smearing it on your skin.
It’s just over 200kms from Tel Aviv to Petra in Jordan, so you might want to make the journey to see the famous Rose City. You will need to bear in mind the time it could take to cross the border when making your travel plans, but visiting the former capital of the Nabatean Kingdom, which reached through a narrow canyon called Al Siq is incomparable.
Top attractions in Israel
Whether you’re into the old or the new, Israel has attractions to fascinate everyone.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Even those who are not religious will find it hard not to be awed by the fourth-century Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is said to be built on the location of Jesus’ tomb from where he was resurrected. It has always been a centre of pilgrimage and several religious buildings have been constructed around it.
The White City
One area of Tel Aviv stands out more than anywhere else and that’s the White City. With more than 4,000 properties built in the Bauhaus style in the 1930s, it is an incredible place to explore. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003 and it’s easy to see why.
The Israel Museum
As the biggest cultural institution in the whole country, it’s not surprising that the Israel Museum is full of incredible artefacts. Its displays cover everything from fine art to archaeology and tells visitors so much about the history of Israel and its cultural identity.