Nowhere does the ancient blend with the modern like in Jerusalem. This city is sacred to three of the world’s major religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Yet its incredible religious importance is only part of its status as a vibrant capital and cultural epicenter.
The Old City of Jerusalem attracts most of the attention of tourist guides, but each neighborhood brings its own particular charm to the whole. Art, food, nightlife and more attract visitors to this thriving urban center.
Whether you’re interested in the city’s ancient history, with more than 3,000 years behind it, or its lively markets, you’ll love Jerusalem.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Jerusalem
- What to do in Jerusalem
- When to visit Jerusalem
- How to get to Jerusalem
- Where to stay in Jerusalem
- How to get around Jerusalem
- Cost of living in Jerusalem
- Where to eat in Jerusalem
Top 5 reasons to visit Jerusalem
The ancient and modern history of Jerusalem provides countless experiences and lessons. Often mentioned in the Old Testament, it appears in written records from the 19th century onwards. C.
Vibrant Arts and Culture
Jerusalem has been home to diverse cultures for millennia. Each has contributed its own traditions. Today, art galleries throughout the city reflect a unique creative mix.
The Western Wall
The Western or Wailing Wall is one of the most famous religious enclaves on the planet. This remnant of the Temple Mount destroyed by the Romans is one of the most sacred places for the Jews.
A symbol for Muslims
Changing religion and focusing on Islam, Temple Mount houses important mosques that, according to tradition, contain the point from which Muhammad ascended to heaven. The interiors of the mosques are not accessible to non-Muslims, but you should visit the area.
The great biblical sites
Some of the best known New Testament passages took place in Jerusalem, where you can visit the Mount of Olives, the Tomb of Lazarus and the Cenacle or Hall of the Last Supper.
What to do in Jerusalem
Visit the authentic Holy Land
The largest concentration of religious sites is found in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount marks the boundary of the Muslim quarter, which includes the Dome of the Rock sanctuary and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Below is the Holy Wailing Wall, where the Jewish Quarter and its fascinating tunnels begin. You should also visit the Christian quarter: Via Dolorosa is the route Jesus walked to his crucifixion.
Keep the Holocaust alive in your memory
Internationally acclaimed for its tough, honest and respectful commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem provides a deeply emotional and thoughtful experience. The Holocaust History Museum contextualizes the tragedy, while the Holocaust Art Museum allows for interpretation. In addition, the Hall of Names and the Children’s Memorial, among others, reveal the scope of the genocide and honor the memory of those who disappeared.
Shopping at Mahane Yehuda Market
Hundreds of stands make up this historic market, the liveliest place in Jerusalem. Vendors specialize in clothing, textiles, souvenirs, and fine delicacies made from fruit, meat, spices, and liquor. Bargain for any item you want. When closed, its walls mutate into a de facto gallery, decorated with murals by admired street artist Solomon Souza.
Climbing the Mount of Olives
This wonderful mountain, often covered with olives, overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem. As you climb it you will be amazed by the dome of the Ascension, where Jesus left his last mark on earth, as well as by the garden of Gethsemane, where he prayed before being crucified. The sacred hill became a cemetery for important biblical figures.
Reviving in the Dead Sea
The famous Dead Sea, which is a short drive from Jerusalem, provides a relaxing change of pace from its other attractions. Because of its salty waters, this unique geological formation cannot support any life, but it keeps tourists afloat all day long! An unforgettable experience that will allow you to take memorable photographs.
When to visit Jerusalem
Jerusalem has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers (average temperatures of about 32°C) and cold winters (average of 4.5°C). The winters are also very humid and there is occasional snow. Therefore, spring and autumn are the most pleasant times to visit it.
How to get to Jerusalem
Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) is near the city of Lod, on Highway 1, 52 kilometers from your destination. It is recognized as one of the safest airports in the world, so you will spend a lot of time at its controls. When you get past them, you can travel to Jerusalem using the Nesher shared taxi service, which will cost you ₪ 64.
You will arrive at the Jerusalem Malha train station (in the Malha neighborhood) using national trains that connect it to Tel Aviv and other cities in the north. They leave every hour, until 8pm, although this frequency is reduced on weekends. These journeys are remembered for their scenery, not so much for their speed.
Any foreigner can drive in Israel if he has a driver’s license in his home country. Jerusalem is connected to all major highways, including the 60, 50 and 1.
These vehicles are a popular and quick way to get in and out of Jerusalem. Buses run by the Egged Cooperative connect all of Israel. Their passengers travel to Tel Aviv in one hour. Most arrive at the central bus station, located on Jaffa Road.
Airports near Jerusalem
(TLV) Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport
(SDV) Tel Aviv Sde Dov Airport
Where to stay in Jerusalem
Jerusalem has a multitude of hotels, from budget to luxury resorts. The Old City usually has the cheapest hotels, while West Jerusalem is home to newly built establishments. In the Old City, the Jerusalem Garden Guest House is well located. Shlomtzi Hotel is a mid-price option, while the King David Hotel is the city’s most famous establishment.
Interesting neighborhoods in Jerusalem
The Old City is the same old Jerusalem that has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is home to religious sites of global influence, which are visited by believers from all over the world. They also do so, of course, for its unique arts, museums and cuisine. The Old City is divided into 4 parts: Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim. Don’t miss any of them.
Ein Karem is a quiet area that provides the familiar and close character that big cities don’t usually have. Its streets are outlined at the foot of the hills covered with olive and cypress trees. In addition to this charm, it has galleries that exhibit the work of many contemporary artists.
East Jerusalem is one of the most contested areas, because it is home to proud Christian, Muslim and Jewish populations, as well as countless holy sites, museums and architectural wonders – a must on your trip!
How to get around Jerusalem
There are quite a few buses that provide public transport service, but their use is complicated. Routes change often and there are usually no maps. To use them, just get on and pay the driver ₪ 5.90. Although, without a Hebrew by your side, it can be complicated. The light train is also a popular option for travelling from the north-east to the south-west. The price for a trip without transfers is ₪ 6.90.
It is easy to find a taxi in Jerusalem, as most serve both locals and tourists. It is not easy to get a good price when haggling, so you should be on the lookout for a meter. The flag drop costs ₪ 12 and the fare for every 1.6 kilometers is ₪ 8.05.
Driving around Jerusalem allows you to visit the city in safety and comfort. The starting price for renting a car is around ₪ 98 per day. Sixt and Zvi Cars are the usual companies.
Cost of living in Jerusalem
Shopping options abound in Jerusalem, but the most entertaining is the Old City, where you’ll find everything from T-shirts to works of art. But you have to bargain. There are also pedestrian malls, such as the one on Ben Yehuda Street and the Mamilla Shopping Center. Clothes are not cheap: for example, a pair of jeans costs ₪ 366.
Groceries and others
There are many food stores and generally the goods are good. The most popular supermarkets are Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing and Shufersal Sheli Agron. In them you can buy apples for just over ₪ 8 per kilo, a loaf of bread for ₪ 7 and a good bottle of wine for ₪ 14.
Where to eat in Jerusalem
Jerusalem is a cosmopolitan city, so its cuisine has an international flavor. Falafel salads are the most popular local food, but you can try dishes from all over the world. A dinner for two is available at ₪ 130. Recommended restaurants include Eucalyptus, which has reinvented so-called biblical cuisine, and Melech Hafalafel Shawarma.