How to get your Israeli New Shekel

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Where can I use Israeli shekels?

In Israel! Israel is home to an incredible variety of travel destinations, from the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem and the dynamic nightlife of Tel Aviv, to the desert landscapes of the Masada National Park and the beaches of Eilat. 

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How much spending money will I need for Israel?

Israel is a small country that’s filled to the brim with history and culture. Its holy sites are famous across the world, while its urban districts buzz with a unique vitality. Its focal areas of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv do carry the inflated costs associated with tourism, but a little planning (especially around the free sights and locally-produced food) will make sure your time will be unforgettable.

Prices will go down as you move away from the big cities, but here's you much you can expect to pay for things in Tel Aviv:

  • Three-course meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant: 50₪ (£10)
  • Local coffee: 12₪ (£2.60) 
  • Imported beer: 27₪ (£6)
  • Big Mac: 11₪ (£2.40)
  • Bottle of water: 6.50₪ (£1.40) 

Check out our Tel Aviv travel guide to find out how to keep costs down on your trip. 

Budget your Israel trip

It can be hard to know where to start with Israel, with so much history and so many significant sites.

 

Low budget

Medium budget

High budget

Overall budget (per day): 

255

(£55)

Overall budget (per day): 

665

(£145)

Overall budget (per day):

1500

(£325)

Food, drink and accommodation in budget:

  • Hostel dorm bed: 102₪ (22) 
  • Water, breakfast, lunch and dinner at supermarkets / local restaurants: 92₪ (£20)
  • Two local beers: 60₪ (£13)

Food, drink and accommodation in budget:

  • Hotel room: 445₪ (£96)
  • Coffee, two large bottles of water, breakfast, lunch and dinner at mid-price local restaurants: 125₪ (£27)
  • Two local beers: 60₪ (£13)

Food, drink and accommodation in budget:

  • Upscale hotel room: 1105₪ (£240)
  • Two coffees, two large bottles of water, breakfast, lunch and dinner at upscale local restaurants: 150₪ (£33)
  • Bottle of wine and two cocktails: 110₪ (£24)

Activities in budget:


  • Visit the Wailing Wall (free)
  • Tour the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) (free)
  • Visit Machane Yehuda Market (free)
  • Visit Temple Mount (free)

Activities in budget:


  • Walking tour: 30₪ (£6.50)
  • Entry to Tower of David Museum: 4₪ (90p)
  • Entry to Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center: 5₪ (£1)

Activities in budget:


  • Dead Sea Day trip: 90₪ (£20)
  • Mount of Olives tour: 30₪ (£6.50)
  • Hummus cooking workshop: 15₪ (£3.25)

 

Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world, is the holy city for the world’s three major monotheistic religions. Each of the Old Town’s religious quarters contains some of the most sacred places of its respective faith, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the shrine of the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall and the St James Church and Monastery. But the country boasts so much more, like relaxing resorts on the Dead Sea, the Galilee area and Tel Aviv with its booming tech scene and bustling markets. 

You could spend years exploring Israel’s history, but don’t let its amazing culture pass you by. Both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem boast world-famous food scenes, so we recommend sampling as much pita, falafel and hummus as you can handle. You’ll also find an abundance of music, drinks and dancing in both, from wine bars serving delicious Israeli whites to live bands in the clubs on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda street.

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What denominations does the Israeli New Shekel come in?

The Israeli New Shekel comes in the following denominations:

Notes

20, 50, 100 and 200 Shekels

Coins

10, 5, 2, 1 shekels and 50 and 10 agorot (a shekel is divided into 100 augurot) 

Buy Back

Leftover Israeli New Shekels?

No problem. We'll buy back leftover Israeli New Shekels at excellent exchange rates, leaving you with more cash in your pocket (and a tidier desk drawer).

 

Israeli New Shekel FAQs

What currency is ILS / ₪?

is the currency symbol for the ‘New’ Israeli Shekel, the official currency of Israel, also used in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Its abbreviation is ILS. 

What sort of currency is the Israeli Shekel?

The Israeli Shekel is an official currency of Israel, and is used more widely in cash than in card. Banknotes come in denominations of 200, 100, 50 and 20. Coins come in denominations of 10, 5, 2, and 0.5 shekels, and 10 of the subunit agora.

Can I use US dollars in Israel?

US dollars can occasionally be used to make purchases in Israel, but exchanging dollars for shekels will is more reliable. 

Do I need cash or card in Israel?

Major credit and debit cards are accepted at large businesses in Israel, but aside from these, most shops and restaurants only accept cash. Cash is also useful for tipping for good service in restaurants and bars.

Should I use an ATM in Israel?

ATMs are available in tourist areas in Israel but don’t accept all international cards, so look for those that say they do. ATMs at banks have an English language option, but this can’t be guaranteed for others. ATMs in Israel can occasionally run out of cash, especially during peak tourist times, so we recommend exchanging cash in advance. 

What language do they speak in Israel?

Hebrew is the official language of Israel and is the most widely spoken.

Is Israel safe?

Israel is a safe place in major tourist areas, where the rate of violent crime is low. However, civil unrest hovers around certain areas such as the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the borders with Lebanon and Syria. Travel to these locations is not advised.

Do I need a visa for Israel?

British citizens do not need visas to travel to Israel on holiday.

How much should I tip in Israel?

Tipping is part of the culture in Israel but isn’t compulsory. The amount of tip left in a restaurant or bar should be in proportion to the level of service received, between 10 and 15%.

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