The Jerusalem Railway

One of the relaxing things to do near Jerusalem is to take the train. There are plans (and even some actual work) to build a high speed link with Tel Aviv; but the saga is never ending. Meanwhile, the line is an old Ottoman line and is fairly slow, but winds through stunning scenery. You can get off at Bet Shemesh and wait for the return train or continue to Tel Aviv (around 1 hour 45 mins in total).

railway station in Israel
An IC3 train at the Malcha (Malha) Train Station, heading towards Bet Shemesh
Israel railways
An IC3 train from Bet Shemesh to Jerusalem, passing by the Bet Shemesh industrial zone

A train with a view

As the train winds its way through the hills between Jerusalem and Bet Shemesh you get a great feeling for the Jerusalem Hills – rolling forests, dry river beds, streams, villages, cycle tracks and great views. If you are nor pressed for time or figure that with the traffic its not much longer then the train is a great way to travel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv – very relaxing. It can be difficult to find a window that is clean enough for really good photos, but the whole Jerusalem Train experience is highly recommended.

Malha train station in Jerusalem
Malcha (Malha) train station in Jerusalem, the current terminus of the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway
Jerusalem–Malha railway station, 2019 (01)
A sign at the Jerusalem-Malha (Malcha) train station in Hebrew, Arabic and English

Getting to The Jerusalem Railway Station

The station is not located in town (and the train no longer starts at the Ottoman station near the Windmill) – the route starts at Malcha.

Take a taxi to Malcha Station (make sure that they take you to the station and not the shopping center) or take a bus (18 or 6a) to the station. You can also get on at the Jerusalem Zoo a couple of minutes later.

Plan your journey at Railway Info.

Watch this relaxing 32-minute video of the scenic train ride from Bet Shemesh to Malha Station in train cab view — it’s as if you’re riding on the train yourself!