Local information/Transportation

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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destination: Local information/Transportation
source update: 2010-08-23
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Flying to Israel

Israel's main international airport is Ben-Gurion International Airport [1] which is located approximately 40km from Jerusalem and 12 km from central Tel Aviv, and 120 km from Haifa. The airport code is TLV.

Ben Gurion acts as a hub for Israel's three main international airlines, El Al Israel's largest airline and flag carrier offering flights across the globe, Arkia Israel Airlines, Israel's largest domestic airline who also serve a number of European destinations, and Israir who also serve many European destinations.

Around 50 international airlines fly to Ben Gurion airport from around the world, including Delta, Continental, US Airways, Turkish Airlines, Malev Hungarian Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Iberia, LOT, Olympic Airways, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, JetAirFly, Transaero, Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air (via Air Sinai), Ethiopian Airlines, Korean Air, Cyprus Airways, Air Canada, AeroSvit, Tandem Aero, Swiss, CSA, JAT and more.

Buying the plane ticket

Please book a flight to Tel-Aviv (TLV) and take ground transportation to Haifa. There is a small local airport in Haifa, but there's no need to book a flight there.

The working days in Israel are Sunday to Thursday. On Friday workplaces are open in the morning, if at all; Saturday is a holiday and most workplaces are closed. Trains are somewhat crowded on working days before 10:00 am, and they are extremely overcrowded on Sunday morning. Please plan your flights and trips inside Israel accordingly. Some buses and all the trains don't work from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening. If you arrive or depart at that time, you may have to take a taxi, which will be more expensive.

Security in flights to and from Israel

Security measures when traveling to and from Israel may be more intensive than what you might encounter in most countries (but less than what is common in the United States).

Arriving to Israel

If you are arriving from Arab Countries or have visited such countries, you may face some time-consuming, and repetitive, but polite questioning by Israeli immigration authorities. The key thing to remember is: if you have nothing to hide, then, other than the inconvenience of questioning, you should have nothing to be worried about.

If you are a young backpacker, especially if you travel alone, it is likely you will be questioned at Ben Gurion airport, this may happen as soon as you leave the plane, and it is done as routine checks. This may involve several brief questions as to your domicile and destination. Just answer the questions to the point.

If you dress up elegantly, seem a part of another group or a family you are less likely to be questioned.

Leaving Israel

You must arrive at the terminal three hours before your flight, as Israeli security procedures can be time-consuming.

Bag inspection, both by machine and hand, is routine and should be expected, in addition to repeated interviews about your time in Israel.

Keep your cool in what can be a frustrating time - it really is done with the best intentions.

Having the telephone number of friends or colleagues you may have spent time with in Israel, and who can vouch for you, always helps the process.

Organizers may provide you with a letter to the airport authority at the end of the conference to try and make the questioning simpler.

Useful information

Transportation in Haifa

Transportation options inside Haifa:


Israel railway lines

Haifa is served by six railway stations as well as the Carmelit, Israel's only subway system.

The NahariyaModi'in line of Israel Railways runs along the coast of the Haifa Bay and has five stations within the city. The line connects the city to Ben Gurion Airport, which is located south of Tel Aviv.

Note - not all trains that reach Tel Aviv also reach the airport, and not all trains that leave the airport reach Haifa. Attendees to the conference using the trains to reach Haifa need to use the trains from the Airport or from Tel Aviv to Haifa or Nahariya. All trains to Nahariya stop at Haifa.

From south-west to north-east, the Haifa train stations are: Haifa Hof HaCarmel, Haifa Bat Galim, Haifa Merkaz HaShmona, Lev HaMifratz and Hutzot HaMifratz.

There are trains from Haifa to Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion International Airport, Nahariya, Akko, Kiryat Motzkin, Binyamina, Lod, Kiryat Gat, Beer Sheva and other locations.

See also: Train planner
If possible, have this paper printed
In order to ease the process of getting from the train stations by taxi, fixed prices were determined in advance by Wikimania local team in cooperation with the stations managers. The prices are for all the different destinations attendees should get to in all hours of the day. It is highly recommended to have the paper telling everything about it printed and to show it to the taxi driver upon entering the cab.
  • The prices are for a joint ride of up to 4 people including the entire luggage.
  • When less than 4 people enter the cab, the price for the ride remains the same.
  • Taking a taxi from the Haifa Hof-HaCarmel station, Wikimania attendees may pay in American Dollars according to the prices mentioned in the paper.
In any problem or question, please call Liron: 972-50-5453913 (050-5453913 from an Israeli phone)


A BUS MAP (in Hebrew) can be found HERE.

Haifa's bus lines are operated almost exclusively by the Egged bus company, which operates two terminals:

Lines to the North of the country use HaMifratz Central Bus Station and their coverage includes most towns in the north of Israel. Lines heading south use Haifa Hof HaCarmel Central Bus Station.

Destinations directly reachable from Hof HaCarmel include Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Eilat, and intermediate communities.

All urban lines are run by Egged. There are also service taxis that run along some bus routes but do not have an official schedule.

Haifa is one of the few cities in Israel where some buses operate on Shabbat. Bus lines operate throughout the city on a reduced schedule from late Saturday morning onwards.


The Carmelit, Israel's only underground transportation

The Haifa underground railway system is called Carmelit. It is a subterranean funicular on rails, running from downtown Paris Square to Gan HaEm (Mother's Park) on Mount Carmel.

With a single track, six stations and two trains, it is listed in the Guinness World Records as the world's shortest metro system.

The top terminal station, Gan HaEm, is in walking distance from the venue and some of the hotels.

As the buses and the trains, the Carmelit doesn't function from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening.

Cable Car

Haifa has a touristic cable car running from Stella Maris monastery atop Mount Carmel to Bat Galim on the coast it is mainly used for tourism purposes.

See also