The easiest way to get to Neot Hakikar, and to explore Israel in general, is by car.
Do I need an international driver’s license?
EU driving license holders can drive in Israel for upto 1 year (see here). So no need to get an international driver’s license.
There are, as far as we know, 3 toll roads in Israel:
- Highway 6 – “Kvish shesh” – which crosses the country from North (close to Haifa) to South (Beer Sheva). Payment is done electronically, there are no tollbooths like in Europe. Most rental companies will charge you a
- Carmel tunnels – “Minharot HaCarmel” – are a set of tunnel going under the city of Haifa, crossing the Carmel mountain from south to north. Unlike Highway 6, theCarmel tunnels do have tollbooths.
- Highway 1 Fast lane – from Ben-Gurion International airport to Tel-Aviv. Payment is done electronically like in highway 6.
Street parking in Israeli cities normally requires a parking ticket. Street parking costs around 1€-1.50€/hr, depending on the municipality. In most cities you can simply use Pango, an application that allows you to pay via your mobile phone. Note that non-resident parking is normally marked by a blue-and-white curb.
Tel-Aviv is known to be extremely tricky to park in, but there are many parking lots available.
- Highway 6 can save you a lot of time when travelling from south to north, and vice-versa. For example, use it for travelling from Jerusalem to Haifa, but not from Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv. Use it to travel from Tel-Aviv to Beer Sheva, but not from Tel-Aviv to Haifa (highway 2 is normally more direct). Carmel tunnels and highway 1 fast lane are pretty much irrelevant for you.
- Download and use WAZE. Waze was born in Israel! It is the most popular and, therefore, accurate navigation app in Israel. For those without a data plan, download your route when connected to WiFi and then navigate with GPS.
- Most importantly – RELAX. If you’ve driven in Madrid, driving in Israel is a piece of cake. Drivers are Mediterranean and impatient, so our Spanish guests will feel right at home.
- Just be aware that when driving south to Noaa’s village from either Jerusalem or Beer-Sheva, parts of the road are winding and curving so drive carefully. Both these roads (Jerusalem – Neot Hakikar and Dimona – Neor Hakikar) offer some beautiful scenery so best to keep them for daytime.
- Last but not least: when driving from Jerusalem to the Dead sea or on road 443 from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, you will encounter a couple of check-points. Just smile to the soldiers and carry on 🙂
Check out this link for some more tips about driving in Israel.