Israel is one of the most fascinating places on earth. Modern, ancient, dynamic, traditional – and contested, it’s one of those countries you have to experience at least once in your life. Here is a comprehensive digital nomad Israel guide covering all the bases.
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Welcome to Israel: a Place Like No Other
The country of Israel has only existed since 1948, but the region has thousands of years of history.
All three Abrahamic religions consider Jerusalem sacred, and various holy sites are scattered all over Israel. Many empires, including the Romans and Ottomans, left their mark on the region, creating endless diversity.
Israel’s territory is small, but few countries rival its cultural and historical wealth. Better still, there is something for everyone – from modern cities and beaches to deserts, laidback towns, and nature parks.
For digital nomads, Israel’s high levels of development, connectivity, and unique culture are undoubtedly a plus.
To clarify, this article only covers the territory that’s internationally recognized as Israel, excluding Palestine.
On this basis, here is a comprehensive digital nomad Israel guide.
The Best Places to Live in Israel as a Digital Nomad
Here are some of the best cities to live in Israel as a digital nomad. Tel Aviv is the obvious choice, but there are other places to consider.
Tel Aviv: the Modern Metropolis
When it comes to the best places for digital nomads in Israel, Tel Aviv is arguably at the top.
It’s Israel’s financial capital and has world-class beaches, endless entertainment options, and a varied food and nightlife culture. Better still, it’s a liberal and multicultural city with expats from all walks of life.
The primary disadvantage is the cost of living.
Tel Aviv is seriously expensive, and you won’t find many bargains here. Apart from that, Tel Aviv is a modern and dynamic city, but it doesn’t have the history or cultural sites you’ll find in Jerusalem or Akko.
Overall, Tel Aviv is probably the best option for remote workers in Israel, and it’s also a great base to explore the rest of the country.
Jerusalem: the Holiest Place on Earth
If you’re into history, religion, and culture, Jerusalem is one of the most fascinating places on earth. Considered sacred by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, it’s a place with unique religious significance.
If your priority is to experience the diverse culture of Israel, Jerusalem is arguably the best choice.
It also has top-notch infrastructure and is located right in the middle of the country. As such, it’s one of the best bases to travel all over Israel and Palestine.
On a more negative note, Jerusalem is crowded and expensive. It’s also a city where tensions always run high, and you’ll be in the center of the ongoing conflict.
Haifa: a More Relaxing City in the North
Haifa is among the best places to live in Israel for digital nomads for several reasons. It’s more affordable than Tel Aviv but well-connected and close to beaches. It’s also a mixed (Arab and Jewish) middle-class city where you can experience the culture of Israel away from tourism.
Besides, Haifa boasts a large university and a buzzing food and nightlife scene.
In short, Haifa doesn’t have the historical sites of Jerusalem or the modern skyline of Tel Aviv, but it’s a more relaxing city to live in.
Eilat: the Southern Beach Town
Eilat is a small city on the Gulf of Eilat in the southern Negev Desert. It’s one of the main tourist destinations in the region thanks to its beaches.
There are two primary reasons to consider Eilat as a digital nomad. First, it is a classical beach town but much smaller than the cities in northern Israel. Secondly, it has an international airport as well as a border crossing to Jordan. As such, it’s well-connected.
The infrastructure here is based on tourism, with large hotels and tourist-friendly restaurants.
Akko & Nazareth: Small Cities in the North
Akko (Acre) is a historic city in northern Israel with a UNESCO World Heritage old town and one of the best-preserved crusader fortresses. It’s chilled-out and well-connected by train to Haifa and Tel Aviv.
- read my guide on The Best Things to do in Akko, Israel.
Nazareth is a small town where Jesus grew up. As such, it’s a laidback and historical location with several nature-related attractions nearby.
Cost of Living in Israel
Let’s not beat around the bush here, Israel is expensive. The cost of accommodation, food, and services is at least on par with Western Europe and often higher.
Here’s a breakdown of my expenses in Israel, calculated monthly.
- Hostels, Airbnbs, and Hotels: 1,600 USD per month;
- Food and Drinks: 1,000 USD per month;
- Transport: 100 USD per month;
- Tourist activities: 200 USD per month;
- Miscellaneous like SIM cards, coworking, and barbershops: 100 USD per month.
Total digital nomad Israel budget: 3,000 USD per month.
You could get that down by avoiding restaurants and alcohol – as well as going through a local rental agency – but not by much.
Accommodation for Digital Nomads in Israel
Unless you have an astronomical budget, hostels are the best option for digital nomads in Israel. There are lots of competing properties, and they generally offer capsules, dorms, and private rooms.
Here are some recommendations:
- The Spot Hostel in Tel Aviv (my favorite hostel in the country, located on the northern edge of the promenade in one of the best neighborhoods in Tel Aviv. The Spot has comfortable pods and competitive pricing);
- WOM Beach Pod Hotel in Tel Aviv (located right on the beach promenade, WOM has great pods and a lovely terrace);
- The Post Hostel in Jerusalem (perfect location in one of the best neighborhoods in Jerusalem, rooftop bar, different choices of rooms and dorms);
- Jeru Caps Hostel Jerusalem (great location, affordable capsules, and dorms).
Hostels will set you back around 30 USD per night for a dorm bed or 50 USD per night for a pod/capsule (depending on the location and season).
Private rooms (both Airbnbs and hostels will start at around 100 USD per night, but that’s the lower end.
Find more places to stay in Israel here.
Infrastructure and Connectivity
Overall, Israel is a highly developed country with first-world infrastructure. Especially the coastal cities have everything you’d expect from a Western country.
How to Get Around Israel
The best way to get around Israel is by train. The network is extensive and covers all the cities on the coast as well as Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva in the Negev Desert.
Prices are affordable, and trains run frequently. For places further inland, buses are the only option.
You can buy a rechargeable Rav-Kav card and use it for all public transportation in Israel. Overall, the system is efficient and convenient.
One thing to know is that during Shabbat (Friday sundown until Saturday sundown), no trains or buses are running.
If you have to travel on Shabbat, you can get shared minibusses between certain cities, but for most journeys, you’ll have to rely on taxis. The local rideshare app is called “Gett.”
The Wifi in Israel is generally world-class. According to Wisevoter, it’s the 19th fastest internet in the world with average speeds of 200+ Mb per second.
I never had any issues, and all the hostels, coworking spaces, and coffee shops I frequented had super-fast internet.
Israeli SIM cards are available at convenience stores and mobile phone stores. You can also buy them at Ben Gurion Airport, but as in many countries, they will be more expensive.
My choice was Hot Mobile which I got at a convenience store. They offer unlimited data for one month for 80 ILS (~22 USD).
Digital Nomad Israel Guide: Remote Working Locations
Here are some of the best coworking spaces and coffee shops for digital nomads in Israel:
- WeWork HaZerem Tel Aviv Coworking Space: the space is massive and has a lovely outdoor section. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to get a spot, and there is generally a waiting list.
- Urban Place Coworking Space Tel Aviv: the place is sleek and simple and has views of the Mediterranean Sea. Open-space desks cost around 400 USD per month, which is quite competitive in Israel. They also have a space in Jerusalem.
- Mixer Tel Aviv: one of the best coworking spaces in Tel Aviv with options for private offices and open-space desks.
- Vesperr Cofee Shop Tel Aviv: located a bit outside of the city’s core, Vesperr is a large and stylish self-service café where you can spend hours working on your laptop.
- Regus Jerusalem coworking space: a chain that offers both private offices and shared desks in the center of Jerusalem.
- WeWork Downtown Coworking Haifa: one of the best places to work remotely in the city of Haifa.
Culture and People
Without over-generalizing, many Israelis are not the most welcoming people in the world. But they are generally polite and helpful. Don’t expect people in Israel to be overly friendly or chatty. They are not.
Another crucial factor is diversity. Israeli society is a mix of secular Jews, religious Jews, Arab Israeli Muslims, Christians, and several other minorities.
Most Israelis serve in the military (men for 32 months and women for 24), so you’ll see lots of young recruits with machine guns. It might look weird at first, but you’ll get used to it.
And then, of course, we have the conflict between Israel and Palestine. You’ll hear a million opinions in Israel, and it’s a sensitive topic. Overall, I think it’s best to avoid politics altogether if you are in Israel.
Digital Nomad Israel: FAQ
To complete our Israel digital nomad guide, here are some tips and things to know before traveling.
Is there an Israel Digital Nomad Visa?
There is no bespoke Israel digital nomad visa as of 2023.
You can ask for a residency permit (available through the Ministry of Interior), valid for 18 months. People with Jewish heritage can obtain that visa relatively easily, thanks to the Law of Return. People without any Jewish heritage will need an employment contract.
The more common option for any Israel digital nomad is the tourist visa.
Western countries and South American countries can enter Israel visa-free for 90 days. You’ll receive a blue slip of paper that you’ll have to carry with you at all times – as Israel doesn’t stamp passports anymore.
The blue entry card does not allow you to work in Israel. Working remotely on your laptop for a foreign company is – as always, a grey zone.
Is Israel Safe?
That’s the million-dollar question. In this context, we need to differentiate between macro-safety and micro-safety. Let’s start with the latter.
The micro-safety (petty crime, robberies, etc) is good in Israel. You don’t feel unsafe and walking the streets at night is generally unproblematic.
The macro-safety, on the other hand, is complicated. The risk of terrorism and violence is much higher than in other countries, and it has gotten worse in recent years.
By and large, problems generally affecting foreigners, tourists, and nomads – like pickpocketing and petty crime, aren’t prevalent.
The primary problems concern macro-safety. As such, it’s crucial to follow the advice and guidelines from the authorities.
During my time in Israel, over 1,000 rockets flew into the country from Gaza, and the IDF carried out hundreds of air strikes. Interestingly, life continued normally, and Israelis never seemed worried.
How to Get to Israel
Alternatively, you can cross the land border from Aqaba, Jordan to Eilat.
When you enter – and especially upon exiting Israel, you might get questioned by border patrol officials. It happens to most people and is standard protocol. Be honest, answer the questions, and you shouldn’t have trouble.
My Experience Entering and Exiting Israel (Ben Gurion Airport)
Entering Israel was surprisingly quick and straightforward. They asked for hotel reservations and whether I had a flight out, but nothing more.
Exiting was more complicated. I had to stand in line for about two hours and got interviewed for about 15 minutes. During that time, they checked every single piece of luggage that I had.
They didn’t ask me much about my trip. They were much more interested in my camera gear. After explaining that I am a travel photographer and showing them some pictures, they seemed satisfied.
Be sure to plan enough time when leaving Israel. Official sources advise being at the airport three hours before your flight, but in my experience, that’s not enough. I would suggest arriving at the airport four hours before your flight.
What’s the Best Travel and Digital Nomad Insurance for Israel?
As always, it’s crucial not to travel abroad long-term without proper insurance coverage.
I have been using Safety Wing for over four years, and they offer the best digital nomad insurance on the market. It’s completely flexible as you can use it for one week or an entire year, no matter where you travel.
For about 10 USD per week, you are insured in case of medical emergencies, accidents, and lost luggage. Check out Safety Wing here.
How Are English Levels in Israel?
English levels are generally high in Israel. You won’t have too much trouble communicating, but as always, learning a few basic phrases in Hebrew will drastically improve your stay.
Are There Many Digital Nomads in Israel?
In Tel Aviv, you’ll find a sizable nomad community. In Jerusalem, the community exists but isn’t as large, and in the rest of the country, you might encounter the odd remote worker, but there won’t be big groups.
Digital Nomad Israel Guide: the Bottom Line
Israel is a fascinating place to visit and a superb digital nomad destination if you have a higher budget. I wouldn’t spend more than one month here, as living in Israel is stressful.
There is always tension – especially in Jerusalem, and the regional politics are complicated. Besides, it is super-crowded and much more expensive than Jordan, for example.
Overall, I‘d recommend Israel for short-term digital nomads – but not as a long-term base.