What is a Hop On Hop Off bus?
A type of tourist bus or tram that follows a circular route with fixed stops through a city and that allows paying passengers unlimited travel for a day (or other period of time) with the freedom to disembark at any stop and reboard another bus or tram to continue their journey.
We have a Hop On Hop Off bus in Jerusalem and there is one in Tel Aviv (kind of). And that’s it.
In Tel Aviv
The red bus – Line 100 – is the coolest thing in the city of Tel Aviv because it is red, open and suitable for Tel Aviv. It is designed both for tourists and for Israelis – Which often realize how many sites in Tel Aviv they do not know.
“Dan,” sponsored by the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Tel Aviv Tourism Association initiated the opening of this line and make it possible for Israelis and tourists to have a two hours tour to historical and cultivated sites in Tel Aviv with a GPS-guided audio guidance, in 8 languages:Hebrew, English, Arabic, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Russian.
You can choose between a complete panoramic tour or a daily trip with the option of a free ascent and descent at the stations in conjunction with a “daily free card” in “Dan” lines.
Traveling on the bus is based on availability – Reservations are not possible !!!
The bus can be rented for various events, day or night. Transportation to schools, weddings or to the Ben Gurion Airport. Bar / Bat Mitzvah, Bachelorette parties parties, birthdays or family events and seminars.
Other cities in Israel
I’m sorry to say, but at this time of writing, in the other cities in Israel there is no such service. But there other options for you as a tourist:
There is no alternative for another bus, as I have said. But there other alternatives to get the same result, but it might cost money and/or effort:
- Get and negotiate with (an Arab) taxi driver and hire him to tour you through the city and show you the major attractions and sights of the city.
- Get a list of all possible sights of the city and use Google Maps to figure out where they are in the city and create a map. Information about transportation is also available in the Google maps website.
- Hire a tour guide for the day.
- Join a day tour for the city you are.
In practice, the Hop on hop off bus companies are not consistent in their services. For example the Hop on hop off bus in Jerusalem works and suddenly it doesn’t work. The one in Tel Aviv is an experiment and every moment they can stop.
It’s a pity, because this service is perfect for getting to know the city and a transport to all the known sights in the city.
Bus routes in Jerusalem
As alternative, I can offer bus routes. It’s an interactive map, where you can try to find the best bus, which replaces the need of a Hop On Hop On bus. Click here for the webpage.
The bus lines you can use for as a possible replacement for the Hop on Hop off bus are for the local bus (Egged company): Lines 1, 9, 19, 26A, 38, 40, 48, 51
Bus routes in Tel Aviv
In Tel Aviv it’s a bit more complicated, but here you can find an online bus map from the Dan (bus) company. I can’t guarantee the up-to-date status, but at least it’s a good indication. The link to the bus map is here.
There are three major local bus terminals: the Central Bus Station (near HaHagana Train Station), the Arlozorov Bus Terminal (near the Savidor Train station); and the Carmelit Bus Terminal, at the end of the Carmel Market. At the Central Bus Station, local buses leave from the 4th and 7th floors, and also from Levinsky St.
Many bus stops now show waiting times and the very handy Moovit app (https://moovitapp.com) shows real-time updates of all routes.
Major bus routes in Tel Aviv include:
Bus 4 Central Bus Station via Allenby St and Ben Yehuda St to the Reading Terminal, north of the Yarkon River. Departs 4th floor.
Bus 5 Outside Central Bus Station (ground floor), along Allenby St, up Rothschild Blvd, along Dizengoff St, Nordau Ave, Ibn Gabirol St, Pinkas St, Weizmann St and HaMaccabi St and then back. Useful for the HI Hostel, the Egyptian Embassy, Habima Sq and Dizengoff Sq.
Bus 10 Savidor train station via Arlozorov St, Ben Yehuda St, Allenby St, Herbert Samuel Esplanade, Yerushalayim Ave (Jaffa) and on to Bat Yam.
Bus 18 Savidor train station to Ichilov Hospital, Rabin Sq, King George St, Allenby St, Yerushalayim Ave (Jaffa) and on to Bat Yam.
Bus 25 Tel Aviv University to Reading Terminal and then Rabin Sq, King George St, Allenby St and Carmel Market, then on to Jaffa and Bat Yam.
Bus 56 From the Reading Terminal down Ibn Gabirol St to the Azrieli Centre and onto Ramat Gan and Bar Ilan University.
Bus 61 From Carmelit Bus Terminal along Allenby St, King George St, Dizengoff St, Arlozorov St and Jabotinksy St to Ramat Gan.
Bus 66 From Carmelit Bus Terminal to Ramat Gan and Petah Tikvah.
Bus 129 From Reading Terminal along Dizengoff St, King George St, Carmel Market, then down Allenby St and south to Holon and Rishon LeZion.
City Tour (Bus 100) Dan also runs a special tourist service in a panoramic open-top bus. It starts at the Old Port and includes stops at all the major museums and Old Jaffa. It runs hourly from 9am to 4pm Sunday to Thursday, to 1pm on Friday.
Bus prices in Tel Aviv
A ticket for a single ride costs 6.90NIS, a one-day pass (hofshi yomi) allowing unlimited bus travel around Tel Aviv and its suburbs costs 13.50NIS and a weekly card (hofshi shavoui) costs 64NIS.
You can buy one-day or weekly passes from bus drivers or get a Personal Rav Kav (top-up) travel card. These can be obtained at no charge from a Dan information counter at the Central Bus Station or the Arlozorov Bus Terminal from 8am to 6pm Sunday to Thursday or until 1pm on Friday. You’ll need to fill out an application form and bring it, a passport photograph and your passport with you. It’s easier to purchase an Anonymous Rav Kav card from any bus driver (no photograph or ID needed).