Access to the West Bank is only possible via either Israel or Jordan. The most common routes are the Qalandia checkpoint – between Jerusalem and Ramallah – or the Allenby Bridge checkpoint in the Jordan Valley.
If you are an international visitor, the quickest way is to fly straight into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport and from there it is a 45 minute drive or taxi journey to Qalandia checkpoint.
Alternatively you can fly into Jordan and then travel to the King Hussein (better known as the Allenby Bridge) crossing. The Allenby Bridge crossing is accessible by bus or taxi from Amman city in Jordan and takes around an hour to travel.
Taxi – From Ben Gurion airport the quickest and easiest way to Qalandia is to take a taxi or airport shuttle directly. These services cost between 250 – 350 ILS and must be booked in advance. Ask your host to help arrange this. Around 1 hour journey time.
Collective taxis – These travel from the airport to Jerusalem and if specified to the driver, will drop you off at the Damascus Gate bus station for around 60 ILS. From here it is possible to catch a bus to Bethlehem, Ramallah or Jericho. Collective taxis do not run on specific schedules, but instead leave when the vehicle is full. The duration depends on the amount of stops the driver has been asked to make by passengers. Allow 1-2 hours journey time.
Train – There is a train from the airport, but you will need to first take it to HaHagana station in Tel Aviv from where you can switch to a different train bound for Jerusalem. The entire journey is lengthy at around 2 hours, although it does take in some beautiful countryside before arriving at Malha train station in Jerusalem. From here it is easiest to hail a taxi to Damascus Gate bus station where there are buses into major West Bank cities like Ramallah and Bethlehem. The service is cheap, costing around 20 ILS for a one way adult ticket.
The wall infamously annexes Jerusalem, so you will not pass through a checkpoint to enter the West Bank until you leave Jerusalem or take a taxi directly through Qalandia or another checkpoint. Be sure to have your visa and relevant identification document at the ready when approaching checkpoints.
NB: There are many online forums and accounts of people who, upon mentioning their intentions to enter the West Bank, have endured hours of interrogation or been disallowed entry altogether and sent home. Whilst it is important to be aware of this, Welcome To Palestine recommends being honest about intentions to visit the West Bank when questioned at the border control in Ben Gurion airport or anywhere else. Don’t forget, entry to the West Bank for foreign nationals is legal and increasingly popular.
From Amman there are buses that go directly to the Allenby Bridge checkpoint crossing, with a journey time of around 1 hour. Long delays are notorious at this checkpoint and so allow 3 hours of queuing time and completing all security checks. Once through, on the West Bank side of the checkpoint, there are collective taxis which go straight to Jerusalem or nearby Jericho. From Jericho, you can take a service taxi to Ramallah (40 minutes away) or a bus from Jerusalem.