Getting from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is not as simple as the short distance between the two cities suggests. Nonetheless, with a little preparation, it is easy and quick, with various options available to fit all budgets and travel styles. They are just a few kilometers apart, and in fact, the two cities almost join together. However, access between the two is limited by the fact that Bethlehem is under Palestinian control and therefore entrance to the city involves crossing a border checkpoint. For this reason, we recommend making the journey by tour or private vehicle. There are bus services available for those who are comfortable with this option. Please note that because you are crossing through a checkpoint, passports must be carried at all times.
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Tours are one of the most popular ways for visitors to travel to the city of Jesus’s birth. With guaranteed tours departing every day, they are convenient., They are also cost-effective and have the added bonus of being guided. You can just relax and benefit from the value of a local guide taking you direct to the major sites. We offer a number of great tours below:
Shuttle from Jerusalem to Bethlehem
Tourist shuttles are currently available every afternoon, leaving Jerusalem at 15:30, and leaving Bethlehem at 17:30 (also dropping off in Tel Aviv). Perfect for a quick visit or for those who are looking for an overnight stay.
Because Bethlehem is part of the Palestinian Territories, it is not possible to take a taxi there; Israelis are not permitted to enter. However, a private car can be arranged to collect you from your address and escort you to the city of Bethlehem. Vehicles of all sizes are available (from 3-passenger cars to big buses) depending on group size, and is available every day. Check here for transfersfrom Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
Bus from Jerusalem to Bethlehem
There is a public bus service from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and two possible ways to get there by bus. The Palestinian bus company operates a public line from East Jerusalem Bus Station. Bus 21 is the most popular, there is no timetable available but service is frequent. The cost is around 5 NIS, and journey time varies (there can be lengthy delays as this local route does not bypass the queues at checkpoints as tourist transport usually does).
All major Israeli car rental companies do not insure their vehicles for travel within the West Bank. Therefore, taking a rental to Bethlehem is not possible.
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Interested in a multi-day Catholic experience? Check out our private Catholic tour packages in Israel.