Can I avoid an Israeli stamp on my passport?
Israel no longer stamps passports. You will automatically get the stamp on a separate piece of paper, whether you want it or not, and you must hand that paper in when you leave the country.
Is it safe to travel Israel?
Unlike common belief, Israel is a pretty safe place, and traveling it is not a problem at all. The Israel National Trail does not pass close to controversy areas and is safe to hike all the time. There has never been a reported incident of anyone, foreign or national, experiencing conflict on the trail. Contrarily, many hikers have reported that they have been welcomed both by Arab and Jewish communities through which the trail passes. However, in times of a war it might be dangerous to hike the sections that are close to the frontline and it is advised to catch-up with the news before hiking, and we promise to publish a warning in our website if that is the case.
Is it safe for girls to hike alone in Israel?
Israel counts as a very secure place for women and there will not be a problem for women to travel it alone. But as always, there is still a chance that something bad will happen therefore it is advised for women:
1) Do not hitchhike alone.
2) Do Not walk alone at night in big cities.
Can I travel Israel without speaking Hebrew?
English is one of the three official languages of Israel. All the signs are written in English and most of the population of Israel speak some English if not very good English, therefore you can travel Israel without speaking a word in hebrew. However it is advised to learn some basic hebrew vocabulary. You can do it in our Hebrew 101 page
When is the best time of the year to hike the Israel National Trail?
If you consider hiking the entire trail, then the best time of year for the trek is February to May. The weather is mild at this time of the year. If you start in Eilat you can begin as early as mid February. However, expect more rainy days when you hike in the northern parts of Israel. Fall is the second-best season, from September to early December. Summer is too hot to make the trip.
Avg. temperatures in Israel (by month):
Which starting point is best?
In spring the best option is to start the hike in February to mid March from Eilat arrive to Tel Aviv and then take a bus to Kiryat Shmona and continue the hike from the north.
If you start in the north, rainy days are more frequent in March. If you plan on hiking in early May in the desert, expect several extremely hot days and sandstorms that are more frequent by the end of spring. We don’t recommend starting in April in the north. You will end hiking in late May in the desert when it is very hot.
Another alternative is to start in March in the area of Tel Aviv and hike south to Eilat. From Eilat take a bus or plane to Tel Aviv, and then take a bus to Kiryat Shemona in the north, and hike south. Starting in Tel Aviv has the advantage of at least 3 days of an easy southbound hike (~75 km).
In fall you’ll start in the north due to cooler weather. As you go further south, day temperatures drop slowly. When you get to the Negev in early October or later, average day temperatures are not higher than 26 degrees Celsius.
How long does it take to hike the Israel National Trail?
Hiking the Israel National Trail takes between 45 to 60 days, depends on your personal pace, resting days, and different stops that you might do along the way.
Is the trail well marked?
Yes. The trail is well marked throughout all it’s path. The mark consists of 3 stripes – White, Blue & Orange (white signifies Mt. Hermon in the north, blue signifies the coastline and orange signifies the desert in the south.
All the marks signify the direction as well- If you are hiking from south to north, the white stripe will be a bit above the others, the same for the orange stripe while hiking twards the south.
Where can I get maps?
We recommend you to buy the book by Jacob Saar & Yagil Henkin – Israel National Trail and the Jerusalem Trail (Hike the Land of Israel
). The book contains all the maps necessary for hiking the trail. More maps you can buy in Israel in one of the stores of “Lametayel” (Note that these maps are in Hebrew). Another map that you can use online is OSM
Where do I sleep while hiking?
While hiking the Israel National Trail you have several options regarding to where to sleep. First option is outdoors in the campsites that are located all along the way. Because of the pleasant weather in Israel during most of the year, you do not even need a tent, just open you your sleeping bag and mattress. Second option is been hosted by the trail angels
that you can find in most parts of the trail. Third option is to use hostels
that are located close to the trail’s path. (Not always you’ll be able to find a hostel in a walking distance).
How do I get to the starting point of the trail?
Heading north to Dan and Mount Hermon: Take a train (05:00-23:20 every 40 minutes to Tel Aviv), bus or taxi to Tel Aviv.
By train & bus from Tel Aviv go to Haifa’s Lev Hamifratz station. Walk to the Egged bus terminal, and take bus #500 or #501 to Kiryat Shemona.
By bus from Tel Aviv to Kiryat Shemona: #842 and #845 ~3.5 hours. #841 is a slow bus ~4.5 hours.
Kiryat Shemona is the place to buy food for the first three days. If you need to buy cooking gas or any other missing equipment you need, look for the Rikoshet camping and hiking equipment store. They are located minutes from the bus terminal at the local mall.
From Kiryat Shemona to Dan and to Nimrod: Take bus #58 at: Sun-Thu: 10:30, 12:35, 15:05, 17:35, 19:20. Fri: 10:05, 12:00, 13:30. Sat: 21:30. From Dan to Nimrod the bus departs ~5 minutes later.
Going South to Eilat: Book a flight from Ben Gurion airport to Eilat. Fares are $20-80 one way. Take a train (05:00-23:20 every 40 minutes to Tel Aviv), bus or taxi to Tel Aviv.
From Tel Aviv central bus station to Eilat: #390 and #394, from 06:30 to 17:00 every 1.5 hours and then at 23:59. The ride is 5-5.5 hours.
In Eilat you will buy all your needs for the first few days. There is a Rikoshet store in Eilat too.
In case of emergency, how do i get help?
To call the emergency services’ dispatch dial 911 and press:
for Police, 2
for Ambulance or 3
for Fire department.
For problems encountered on the trail you may call the Israel Trails Committee: 03-6388719, 03-6388720
Should I get a local cellphone?
While hiking the full trail, a local cellphone might be helpful. There is a network cover almost in every spot on the trail and you might find it very necessary in case of an emergency, calling to a trail angel, calling to fellow hikers of even just receiving a call from the family back home.
Our advice is buying a simple old-fashion cellphone, and se it with a pre-paid sim card of one of the big cellular companies in Israel. Every time that you arrive a city, simply charge it again. The costs are around 1.20₪ for a minute and 0.60₪ for a text message.
The pre-paid cards’ names are: Big Talk (Orange), Talkman (Cellcom) & IZI (Pellephone).
What are the national holidays in Israel?
Most stores and supermarkets are closed on Saturdays and holidays. On Fridays and holiday eves, stores are open until 2-3 p.m. Restaurants, coffee shops, cinemas, theaters and shopping centers outside cities and towns are open on Saturdays and holidays except on Yom Kippur, when everything is closed. Below is a list of holidays during which most stores are closed:
|Passover (2 days)
|Jewish new year (2 days)
|Sukkot (2 days)
Is the information found on this website enough for hiking the trail?
While building this website we set our goal to share with you all the information we can to help you fellow hikers to hike the Israel National Trail, however we recommend you to check all English sources that exist online, the most important one is the book by Jacob Saar & Yagil Henkin – Israel National Trail and the Jerusalem Trail (Hike the Land of Israel
). We advice you to check our forums as well in order to share your doubts and get the best answers. For the full list of English resources for the Israel National Trail please click here
We at The INT Experience promise you to upgrade and update our website continuously in order to give you the most relevant information in the best way we can.