Jerusalem is generally very sunny and has two distinct seasons: winter and summer. Mid-summer highs are in the 30s (Celsius) with low humidity. Winter temperatures drop to the single digits and it can get cold enough to snow.It rarely rains May through September. Even though November through March are rainy, many travellers prefer the cooler temperatures.
When to fly to Jerusalem
Jerusalem is busy in July and August when Israelis take their holidays and head for the city. Not only are hotels and attractions crowded, some hotels add a surcharge to their rates.
Hotel prices are also very high during the Passover (early April) and Sukkoth (late September–early October) holidays. At the same time, services are curtailed and many Israelis go away for Passover. Hotel reservations for Passover need to be four months in advance and plane reservations six months to a year in advance.
Jerusalem is also very crowded during school holidays.
May and early to mid-September are pleasant times to visit Jerusalem.
If you prefer cool, rainy weather to dry heat, and less expensive accommodations, November through March are a good time for you to visit.
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Getting around Jerusalem
Jerusalem has extensive bus routes which provide service from 5.30am to around midnight. Service stops half an hour before sunset on Friday and the eve of a religious holiday, then resumes after dark on Saturday. There are discount cards such as the kartissiyah (eleven rides for the price of ten) and hofshi-hodshi (a month of unlimited travel on urban buses).
Taxis can be hailed, called, or picked up at a taxi stand or major hotel. Drivers are required to turn on their meters, but many claim the meters are broken — you need to negotiate a fare or find another taxi. Fares increase 25 per cent at night and on Shabbat.
Shared taxis are minivans or minibuses that seat seven or twelve passengers. Shared taxis usually follow public bus routes, but take alternate routes to avoid traffic. Passengers can get on and off at any point. Both drivers and passengers are impatient with dawdlers, so board quickly.
Bicycling is becoming more popular, and there is ongoing construction of a bike path around Jerusalem. However, finding a rental bike is difficult.
Driving is difficult and finding parking a challenge. Fortunately, between walking, taxis, and buses, you probably won’t need to drive.