Ask the Expert: I've heard Ryanair is flying to Israel. What's the story?
Travel tips and tricks
Published 11/02/2016 | 06:35
Ryanair does indeed operate direct flights to Israel - sadly, however, it operates them from Eastern Europe.
Last year, the airline started flying from Budapest, Krakow and Kaunas (Lithuania) to Eilat Ovda airport in the south of the country.
Ryanair operates sector to sector flights, so you'll need to collect bags and check in again at the connecting airport to complete the trip.
Essentially, they're no better than connecting through London or Paris, etc.
There will be a direct flight from Ireland to Israel this year, however - opening up the Holy Land, and the tech hub of Israel for business passengers too.
Irish-based Marian Pilgrimages (01 878-8159; marian.ie) will be running two flights operated by ASL Airlines (Mondays and Sundays), starting on October 2.
Departures will be from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast, flying non-stop to Tel Aviv with a journey time of around 5.5 hours.
Seat-only tickets are available, but priority will be given to Marian Pilgrimage packages, so book ahead if you want to do your own thing in the lively Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv, or elsewhere.
Return flights will be priced from €599.
If you're keen to visit the Biblical sites, Marian Pilgrimages also has an eight-night package (fully escorted) costing from €1,430 to €1,575pp. The trips feature four nights in Jerusalem or Bethlehem and four nights in Tiberias.
All pilgrimages include accommodation in four-star hotels, all transport and guides, local reps, taxes, charges and comprehensive travel insurance.