A one-day tour between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
Road 1 which connects Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is one of the the most central and busy roads in Israel. Although it is only 96 km long (including the part from Jerusalem to Jericho), alongside it there are numerous sites and interesting locations. You can certainly dedicate a full day for a tour in the areas adjacent to the road and conclude with a tour of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, whichever you prefer. For the purpose of such a tour, in rural and green areas alongside the fast road, renting a car for a day is very appropriate. The route described here leaves Tel Aviv and ends in Jerusalem but of course it is possible to go in the opposite direction.
Pick up the rental car from the rental office and depart from Tel Aviv on the Netivei Ayalon southwards. At the Kibbutz Galuyot interchange the road bends. Follow the signs to Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem. Now you are on the fast section of Road 1, with several wide and comfortable lanes - pay attention to the exit to the Fast Lane, which is a toll road, however at times when the road is not jammed there is no reason to exit to the Fast Lane.
Continue with the road towards Jerusalem. You will pass the Airport and continue until the Sha’ar Hagai junction. Here exit the fast road and turn on to Road 38. This road is for the most part narrow - one lane in each direction (there are plans to extend it and turn it into a dual carriageway), and it passes over an ancient Roman road which connected Jerusalem with Ashkelon, via Beit Guvrin. You will be able to see remains of the ancient route via the Roman milestones between the Ela and Srigim junctions. On the west of the road the scenery in this area is very beautiful with green hills, agricultural fields, small “moshavim”, monasteries and archaeological sites. In winter and spring the area is covered with amazing wildflowers and many come to visit during weekends.
Amongst the sites along the road:
To the east of the Ela Junction is Tel Shouha and to the west of the junction - Tel Azaka. These two sites are mentioned in regard to the battle of David and Goliath. When you visit here you can imagine the young lad equipped with a catapult and pebbles who goes out to fight the Philistine giant Goliath alone and against all odds beats him with an accurate shot. If you come here in March you will be able to see wonderful flowering purple lupins covering the surrounding hills and fields.
Einot Dekalim - between Beit Shemesh South junction and Biet Shemesh Central junction, on the turnoff to the Beit Jamal Monastery. there are two buildings which hold the remains of ancient water wells.
Britannia Park is a forest and wonderful site for trips and picnics located south of Moshav Zacharia. The park is a combination of a Land of Israel grove, with trees such as common oak, arbutus, terebinth, carob and more, alongside pine trees that were planted by the Jewish National Fund. It is pleasant to visit her by foot and stop for a picnic in one of organized picnic areas. Apart from this in the area of the park there are many interesting sites. Amongst others you can visit the Mesua Observation Point - a 372 meter high observation tower and the Luzit caves - a series of bell caves from the Hellenistic era which although not properly organized for visits, as are the Ben Guvrin caves, however there is easy access to them.
After you have toured in the green and tranquil area you will be able to return to Road 1 and continue from the Sha’ar Hagai junction towards Jerusalem. If you are hungry, it is recommended to exit the fast road at the Hemed junction and follow the signs for Abu Ghosh, the Arab settlement is located in a beautiful spot, between hills and mountains. It is an attraction for many tourists and Israelis who come, amongst others, to eat in the excellent local humus restaurants. Twice a year on Succot (Tabernacles) and Shavuot (Pentecost), at Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant Church and the surrounding areas the Abu Ghosh Festival for Vocal Music is held - a very recommended experience for music lovers. The drive through Abu Ghosh’s winding roads is part of the experience of the visit. After you have breathed in the clear mountain air and eaten enough excellent humus, you can return to Road 1 and travel the short distance to Jerusalem.