Millions of tourists visit Israel these days and among them there are a lot of people with limited mobility. The popularity of traveling to Israel has encouraged more and more accessible improvements. Government has worked particularity hard to improve access to attract international visitors.
The reality is that there are challenges to traveling around Israel, so preparation is must. Traveling with an accessible tour company is the easiest way to explore the areas you are interested in.
Attractions, Activities and Food
In Tel-Aviv there are four beaches officially tailored for disabled people: Tzuk, Northern Tzuk, Metzizim and Hilton. The last one is highly recommended. All of those beaches have proper bathrooms, showers and dressing rooms. But Hilton beach is the most beautiful and its location is just perfect, close to all of the city’s attractions. Another nice place for disabled people to get acquainted with the Mediterranean is Netaniya – adorable shore city between Tel Aviv and Haifa.
The Dead Sea which is a unique nature’s wonder. Its salt and mud are the means of cure and relaxation. Local SPA’s are gorgeous. And of course there are hotels that gladly welcome disabled persons providing all the required facilities.
Go straight to Mediterranean Sea and have some interesting excursions while spending most of the time at the pleasant shore. Jerusalem is also a world site. Caesarea National Park with the unique port built by King Herod. Church of the Annunciation where Mary found out she’s going to have a child. Majestic Masada Fortress standing 450 meters tall on the solid rock above the Judean Desert. Mount of the Beatitudes, Capernaum, Jordan River and Sea of Galilee— all unique sites are possible for people with limited mobility.
Besides the historical vibe Israel has many other reasons to visit. Local food is an incredible combination of Mediterranean and eastern cuisines. Roasted meat is a national sport, vegetables and fruits are always fresh and delightful. From the stylish restaurants to small street cafes – newcomers do feel themselves like at some kind of gastronomical fair. And mind the local wines from dozens of wineries producing widely appreciated spirits of different kind. People of the country are short on contact, most of population speak English well and eager to be helpful for any tourist.
Any visit begins with arrival to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. The sky gate of Israel is highly adapted for disabled tourists. Special personnel help visitors to get out from the plane and guide them carefully to the exit. There is even a dedicated line at the customs deck for people with disabilities.
The public transport is convenient too. Local companies have regular buses that can take wheelchair users aboard. You can easily find the timetables online and plan your day as you wish. One of the best deals is Egged – a lot of vehicles going almost everywhere and their tables are quite accurate.
There are accessible trains running the center and north of the country. And in Jerusalem you would definitely like to catch a ride on the rapid tram system. Modern tram cars with all their comfort gliding through the ancient streets – what could be more astonishing than this? There is no doubt that a Jerusalem Tram is totally accessible with all its proper entrances and special places for disabled. And this rule applies to almost any transport in Israel.
You can order accessible taxis, rent a special scooter or a motorized wheelchair and so on. A great non-profit to rent a wheelchair or scooter from is Yah Sarah. You make a deposit to rent the wheelchair but once it’s returned you get your money back. Another company is Kibbutz Tzora which has good prices and a wheelchair or scooter can be delivered right to your hotel door. Finally, the most expensive company to rent a wheelchair or scooter is Access4You.
Another critical need for disabled tourists is, of course, accessible public restrooms. Unfortunately at this time there is no accessibility map or some mobile app that would help tourists. However, in big cities like Tel Aviv disabled tourist would not have any problems with finding such places. For example, most 4-5 stars hotels, located at the first shore line are equipped with proper rooms in the lobbies. Feel free just to come in, ask about a bathroom and you will be politely welcomed. Hotels like Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv City Center, Leonardo Boutique, Melody, Hilton Tel Aviv, Carlton Tel Aviv, etc. have all the facilities you would need. As in the lobbies, where you can simply walk in from the street, as like in the rooms if you will book one.
Also there are accessible restrooms in the city malls – such as Azrieli shopping center and Dizengoff center. The Azrieli is a complex of towers that has amazing view from the observation point, fully accessible for handicapped guests. Also Dizengoff is the very center of all the city hype, located straight in the heart of Tel Aviv. Restrooms for disabled there are easy to find. In fact, the situation with restrooms is quite ok at all the tourist sites. In Jerusalem for example you can find spacious and comfortable restrooms right by the Western Wall or on the top of Olive Mountain. But in smaller towns – it is better to ask your local guide attendant, who will definitely know about everything you could ask for. Plus you can find restrooms at accessible beaches.