Gush Etzion is a group of Israeli settlements between Bethlehem and Hebron, about 950 meters above sea level. It has a rich history dating back from the 1920s and 30s to recent times. The area has natural springs, green hills, desert views, amazing landscapes and unforgettable sunsets, with a small population and an even smaller number of tourists. Attempts were made between 1927 and 1947 to settle in the area, but during the Israeli independence war all the settlements were abandoned or destroyed. The renaissance began after the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel gained control over the area.
Nowadays, the area has four major areas: The main block, where lie the settlements of Bat Ayin, Alon Shevut, Kfar Etzion, Rosh Zurim, Elazar, Migdal Oz and Neve Daniel. Next to it is the regional council of Efrat, an American suburb-style settlement full of both immigrant and native born Israelis.
Hitchhiking is the fastest, cheapest and easiest option for locals and visitors in the area. The main hitchiking hub is in the southern exit from Jerusalem, a place called "Tzomet HaMinharot". Any time between 6am and 1am, you're likely to be picked up by a Kippa-wearing, smiling nice guy who will take you for this 12 to 20-minute ride. Good points to go to are Tzomet HaGush (Gush Etzion Junction) or Efrat Darom (southern entrance to Efrat).
Another option is to take the bullet-proof Egged buses. Leaving from central station in Jerusalem, lines 160, 161 and 164 leave every 30-60 minutes for Kiryat Arba (get down in Tzomet HaGush), Efrat and other settlements in the area. They are also stopping in the far side of Tzomet HaMinharot; don't forget to wave the driver!