Car Rental in Israel

Planing a trip to Israel and wondering whether or not to rent a car?
This article reveals all that there is to know about car rental and driving in Israel.

Related articles
Driving in Israel

Should I Rent a Car in Israel?

Unless you are on a tight budget or visiting a single city, we recommend that you rent a car. It will give you the flexibility and ease needed for a great vacation.

Israel’s public transportation is simply not good enough
Well, let’s face it, the public transportation in Israel is not the best in the world, and in most cases depending on it alone is not a good idea, especially if you don’t have spare time in your itinerary.
Here are few downsides:

  • Trains & buses do not operate at all during Shabat (from Friday afternoon to Saturday night), as well as Jewish holidays.
    That means you can not plan on moving from one city to another during these days, unless you are willing to pay a lot of money to taxis.
  • Train lines connect the major cities in Israel but are not so comfortable and effective for travelers that want to visit attractions that are not on the train network. Among these places are Tiberias, Safed (Zefat), Eilat, Messada (Judea desert) and others.
  • Buses will get you to almost any point in the country, but it usually takes more than one bus and is time-consuming.

We don’t say that it’s impossible for the independent traveler to visit Israel based on public transportation, but it requires a lot more planning and extra time on the reads.

When and where a car rental is not needed?
While in the big cities, a car rental is OK but the traffic and parking issues may not be comfortable to the average traveler.
In such cases it may be fine to use buses and taxis.

Another option is to hire a private guide, some of them have cars and will drive you to the sites and attractions throughout the country.
Check our list of Israeli travel guides for more info.

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Car Rental Companies in Israel

So, you have decided to go with a rental car. Now you need to find a good company and make a reservation.

Recommended car rental companies in Israel

This list of recommended companies was compiled based on these criteria:

  • How many stations the company has throughout the country? More stations means bigger flexibility.
  • Is there a station at Ben Gurion international airport? Many travelers go with the car from the very first day, so for them this one is crucial.
  • Is it a well-known business with decent customer service support?

Global/international companies

You may be more comfortable making a reservation with a branded and well-known business that also have a local office back in your home country.
Here are the top foreign car companies that operate in Israel:

Avis
Number of stations: 30
Has a station at BG airport: Yes
website: http://rent.avis.co.il/en/car_rental_israel
Call center: (972) 3-6170000, *2722

Hertz
Number of stations: 18
Has a station at BG airport: Yes
website: http://www.hertz.co.il/en/DomesticRent/.aspx
Call center: (972) 3-6841000, 1-700-507-555

Budget
Number of stations: 14
Has a station at BG airport: Yes
website: http://www.budget.co.il/rent.asp?cou=1&l=0
Call center: (972) 3-9350000, *2200

Local Israeli companies

There are a few good local options, don’t hesitate to contact them as their majority of clients are tourists.

Shlomo Sixt
Number of stations: 24
Has a station at BG airport: Yes
website: http://www.shlomo.co.il/new/en/car-rental-israel
Call center: (972) 3-9773500

Eldan
Number of stations: 22
Has a station at BG airport: Yes
website: http://www.eldan.co.il/en/
Call center: (972) 3-5579040

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Travel tips

Hot seasons
During the high seasons it is best to reserve a car at least a few weeks before the vacation, otherwise you may be left without many cars to choose from, and for higher price.
The tourist high seasons are during the local holidays and Christian holidays (some of them are more or less at the same time as the Jewish holidays), July & August (summer school break).

Common limitations
Usually, the seniority of the driver’s license must be at least one year, minimal age for car rental is 25 years.

When you pick up the car

  • Ask for an explanation about the special driving rules in Israel (usually you get the basic stuff with a free map).
  • Make sure you have an insurance document, get all the details from the car rental company.
  • Make sure you have in the rental car a warning triangle and a reflector vest.

Plan ahead
Check whether the hotels you plan on booking offer private/public parking and how much it costs. A free or cheap private parking at the city center is a great advantage for travelers with a car.

Driving in Israel
Don’t miss our guide to driving in Israel, with rules and guidelines that you must read if you plan on renting a car for your vacation.

Related articles: Guide. Published on ; Last updated on

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