Israel railways: trains in Israel

Tel Aviv Savidor Station of Israel Railways

While it has its fair share of limitations, almost anyone would agree that the best way to travel in Israel by public transportation is via Israel Railways, Israel’s train provider. With an extensive train line that goes through most of the major cities in the country in a relatively short time and affordable prices, it is a very efficient and convenient way to travel here, especially when it comes to moving between big cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa, or Jerusalem, of getting to and from the Ben Gurion Airport.

How to pay for trains in Israel

Traveling by train in Israel is fairly simple, as there are a multitude of ways to pay for a train ticket. Here are all of the different ways to do so.

Credit Card and cash

If you are interested in purchasing a single ticket, you can do so at the tickets counter or automatic machines, which can be found in every train station in Israel. All counters accept either cash or credit cards, so paying this way is a good option if you just landed in Israel, or if you don’t plan on using the train much.

Rav Kav

Rav Kav is the official public transportation card of Israel, and it can be used in every method of transport in the country. You can purchase a Rav Kav for 5 ILS in the Ben Gurion Airport arrivals hall, and in several train and bus stations all around Israel, like the Tel Aviv Central Station, all Tel Aviv train stations, and more.

The main advantage of using a Rav Kav over purchasing one-time tickets on trains is that it will enable you to head straight to the station, without having to waste your time at the counter each time. Thus, we would recommend it mostly for travelers who plan on using Israel railways quite often during their travels.

You can load the Rav Kav by either cash or card in almost any train station or central bus station in Israel, in dedicated machines. For more information about Rav Kav, see our Israel public transportation guide.


Moovit is the most popular application among Israelis when it comes to public transportation information and is also a fairly convenient payment method for buses and trains in Israel. Here are the necessary steps to do in order to pay for Israel Railways using Moovit:

1. Enter your credit card details in the app.

2. When entering a train station, click on the Moovit Pay option inside the Moovit app

3. Click on the train icon

4.. Click “Create entrance ticket” and receive a QR code

5. Scan the QR code you got and go to the platform

6.. When exiting on your desired destination, click “Create exit ticket”

7. Scan the new QR code and leave the station

Where can you travel with Israel Railways?

Israel Railways coastal line

In the western side of Israel, the train allows for convenient travel between all major destinations. With a train line that stretches from Nahariya to Ashkelon, and stops in Acre City, Haifa, Netanya, Herzliya, Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, and more, we would highly recommend using Israel Railways when it comes to travel along the coastal cities of the country.

Traveling east with Israel Railways

The main coastal line is crossed by several Israel Railways lines going east. Those include a line that goes from Haifa to the city of Karmi’el in the Galilee, as well as the Jezreel Valley train line that goes from Haifa to Beit Shean through the city of Afula. More south, you can find the Sharon train line, which goes from Tel Aviv University station to the major cities of Kefar Saba, Ra’anana, and Petah Tikva, among others.

But Above all, the most useful eastern train line for visitors in Israel is the rapid train line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which allows for transport between the cities in about 45 minutes.

Israel Railways fares

Train ride fares

The fares of Israel Railways are much more affordable than most Western countries, with the fares of one ride currently being between 9-27 ILS. The maximum fare of 27 ILS applies for most long-distance rides, like from Haifa to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. The fare of the ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is 24 ILS.

Other trains in Israel

Jerusalem Tram, Israel
Jerusalem Tram

Carmelit Underground train in Haifa

The Carmelit is the only underground train in Israel and is considered to be the most efficient and convenient way to get around Haifa, both for tourists and residents.

The Carmelit was opened in 1959 and is actually not a real underground train, but a Funicular – a cable car that moves on a rail instead of hanging in the air. Unlike a train, the Carmelit’s wagons do not have an engine, and the weight of the descending wagons is the main force that drives the ascending wagons.

The maximum travel time is about 7 minutes between the bottom station in Paris Square and the uppermost one in Gan Ha’em, which makes it a very fast way to go up Mount Carmel.

Tel Aviv Tram

The Tel Aviv Tram is a new tram, opened in 2023, which connects most of the major cities of Central Israel to Tel Aviv, with a network of several lines that go through the city. This new tram is a convenient way to avoid the terrible Tel Aviv traffic and easily get to sites like Jaffa or Dizengoff Street without having to take a bus or a long walk in the city.

Jerusalem Tram

The Jerusalem Tram is the first tram in the country and the most popular and convenient way to get around Jerusalem. The tram is a great way to get to many of the major sites to see in Jerusalem, as it goes along the main Jaffa street, and stops at sites like the Machane Yehuda Market and Jaffa Gate, where you can enter the old city.

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