Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
It is a must-visit for every citizen and tourist. Jerusalem has many attractions, and on this page, I will share the most popular ones with you.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Map Of Jerusalem
- 2 Things To Do In And Around The Old City
- 3 Further Away Attractions
- 4 Tours
- 5 Museums in Jerusalem
- 6 Festivals
- 7 Jerusalem City Pass
- 8 Planning a Trip to Jerusalem
- 9 Q&A
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Map Of Jerusalem
Map of the city:
Things To Do In And Around The Old City
- We will start with the jewel in the crown: The Old City. On its premises, you can find “The Big Three,” which are the Western Wall, Church Of The Holy Sepulchre, and Dome Of The Rock & Al-Aqsa Mosque. We will also visit additional points of interest like the Church of the Redeemer, Davidson Center, and Zedekiah’s Cave. Another place that I did not mention in that post is the City Of David (not the same as the Tower Of David). The City Of David is the place where it all began. It offers several different routes. If you love archeology and walking underground, then definitely check it out.
- If you explored the Old City for several days and afraid there is nothing more to see, do not worry. Around The Old City, you can find many places to visit. On Mount Zion, there is The Cenacle – Room of the Last Supper, King’s David Tomb, and Dormition Abbey. And on Mount Of Olives, you can find many churches.
- Join us for a tour of the Tower Of David.
- At the Ramparts Walk in Jerusalem, we will cover both routes: Southern and Northern. Ramparts Walk offers a different view of the old city. While walking on top of the old city’s massive walls, you can see both inside/outside from a high viewpoint, which makes it an exciting experience. Moreover, this is something that most likely your kids will enjoy as well. But, there are downsides as well.
- Join us for a Weekend in Jerusalem. During the weekend, among other attractions, we will be visiting Hebrew Music Museum, YMCA, join the Machane Yehuda Market Tour and go for Kabbalat Shabbat at Western Wall.
- Have you ever wondered what attractions are there for children? If yes, then check out Jerusalem With Kids post.
Further Away Attractions
- At Tzurim Valley National Park, you can join the sifting project and enjoy a unique and genuine archeological experience.
- Our visit to the Rehaviya neighborhood will include Ratisbonne Monastery, Bezalel street, and Monastery of the Cross.
- Ein Kerem in literal translation: “Spring of the Vineyard,” was an ancient village of the Jerusalem District and now a neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem. This picturesque neighborhood has many churches and art galleries, and you can easily spend a half-day there.
- Biblical Zoo is probably my favorite zoo in Israel for several reasons. More about that can be found in the linked post.
- Israel Aquarium is situated in a newly constructed building near the zoo. Thus it has advantages. For example, you can visit it in any weather.
- Machane Yehuda Market is the most famous market in Jerusalem. In recent years it also became a popular tourist attraction with plenty of tours and workshops.
- Day Trip along HaNeviim street includes less popular points of interest, like Holy Trinity Cathedral, Italian Hospital, and Ethiopian Church. We also will be visiting Nachlaot and Mahane Yehuda Market.
- Selichot are Jewish poems and prayers of repentance, recited during the period before the High Holidays, in preparation for the Days of Awe from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur. Join us for Selichot Tour in the Old City.
- During Hanukkah, you can find many tours. We visited several of those Hanukkah Tours. In the first one, we went through the Jewish Quarter, Four Sephardic Synagogues, and of course the Western Wall. And the second one was Hanukkah Western Wall Tunnels Tour.
- Knesset – The Parliament Tours will take you through a brief history of Israel and the Knesset building.
Museums in Jerusalem
- The Israel Museum is the most significant cultural institution in Israel. Founded in 1965, the Museum has many different wings, including Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art Wings. It also features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world.
- Bloomfield Science Museum is a great attraction for kids and adults who love hands-on science. And it is open on Saturdays.
- Hebrew Music Museum is a wonderful museum for the whole family.
- The Museum For Islamic Art, despite its size, has many exciting findings, including a beautiful watch collection.
- Tower Of David museum tells the history of Jerusalem chronologically.
- Ticho House is a lovely and refreshing stop in the middle of the bustling city. In this historical building, you can find both an art exhibition and a restaurant.
- Knights Festival is an annual festival held at different locations in Jerusalem since 2009. At the Knight Festival, beyond Knight fights, you can see many Middle Ages activities.
- Festival Of Light is a free annual event that takes place since 2008. It is usually held for a week during June in the Old City. Each year new light installations are presented, and I would recommend visiting.
Jerusalem City Pass
Several days ago, Jerusalem City Pass was launched (official site). Usually, when I travel abroad, I do not buy such cards since, in most cases, they do not worth it. But, they are convenient. There are two types of cards. The first type includes transportation, museums, attractions, and costs 63 euro. And the second covers only museums and attractions and costs 36 euro. Let’s check what this city pass has to offer and how much it costs.
- Free Round-Trip Bus Ticket to/from Ben Gurion to Jerusalem – Afikim offers a direct bus between Ben Gurion airport and Jerusalem. Afikim line #485 cost 16 NIS one way. Meaning this will require 32 NIS.
- 1 Free & Refreshing Unique Jerusalem Drink – depends on the place and drink, but this is probably a 10-15 NIS benefit. Moreover, AFAIU, you need to install a particular application and go through a tedious process to get this drink. I would not bother.
- Free Visitor’s Guide and Jerusalem City Map – come on, with mobile apps and the internet, this can hardly be called a benefit. It is nice to have but not worth paying for.
- Free Entry to 3 of Jerusalem’s Top Tourist Attractions + 20-30% Discount on Multiple Jerusalem Attractions. The attractions are: Israel Museum – 54 NIS (full adult price), Rampart’s Walk is 18 NIS (full adult price), and Zedekiah’s Cave is also 18 NIS (full adult price). That is a total of 90 NIS.
So far we have 32 + 10 + 90 = 132 NIS. And 36 euro, according to today’s conversion rate, is about 150 NIS. Jerusalem City Pass is a little more expensive, but it also offers discounts on various attractions. Thus, if you visit the three attractions mentioned in the previous paragraph and other attractions like Night Spectacular in the Tower Of David, the Hebrew Music museum, or any other from the list, then consider purchasing this card.
Extended City Pass
The seven Day Pass to use public transportation costs 63-36=27 euro, which is around 115 NIS. Most tourists will spend most of their time in the Old City or near it. With only several rides to other areas. Therefore, in most cases, it is not worth upgrading the city pass. The price of one trip in the CityPass light train is 5.9 NIS, and the price of one bus ride is also 5.9 NIS. Thus, the upgrade is equal to 115/5.9, i.e., almost 20 rides. It is more than what the average tourist uses.
Planning a Trip to Jerusalem
If this is your first time in Israel, then I would recommend visiting Jerusalem. Moreover, if it will be a short trip, a week or less, you can visit only it as you will find enough things to do in Jerusalem and its surroundings. And in case you are planning a trip to Israel that includes other areas as well, check out Israel Trip Planner.
The end route will depend on your interests, preferences, and existing limitations. Here I will only suggest a possible itinerary by days.
Old City (1-2 days)
Old City includes The Western Wall, Church Of The Holy Sepulchre, and Dome Of The Rock. Besides “The Big Three,” there are plenty of POI. You can explore the ancient parts of the Old City at the Davidson Center. Enjoy stunning views from the bell tower at the Church of the Redeemer. Hike on the walls using the Ramparts Walk. Go underground with Western Wall Tunnels Tour. And enjoy Night Spectacular at the Tower Of David. Furthermore, in between all those attractions, you will be wandering around the Old City and the market. And these are not all the attractions. So you can easily spend more than one day in the Old City.
I should mention that many people want to learn and save time. Therefore they join one of the tours. There are plenty of different tours in Jerusalem, and the most popular route is called “Jerusalem of three religions.”
Around The Old City (1 day)
You can spend another day Around The Old City. A popular place to visit is the City Of David. Little further ahead, on Mount Zion, there is The Room of the Last Supper Room, King’s David Tomb, and Dormition Abbey. Mount Of Olives offers great views and houses historical places like the Garden of Gethsemane, Church of All Nations, Tomb of the Virgin, Church of Mary Magdalene, and others. On the other side of the Old City, you can enjoy a stroll at the picturesque Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood.
Exploring The Modern City (2-3 days)
You can hike along HaNeviim street till you reach Machane Yehuda Market. You can also spend a nice half-day at Ein Kerem. And then visit nearby Yad Vashem. It is among the top 10 of the most popular sites in Israel. Moreover, you can enjoy the museums mentioned above (like the Israel Museum).
If you want to see how we spent a weekend in the city, then read Weekend in Jerusalem.
Near Jerusalem (1-3 days)
The most popular one-day getaway from Jerusalem includes a visit to Masada National Park and the Dead Sea. Besides floating in the Dead Sea, you can also visit the nearby Ein Gedi and Qumran Caves National Parks. And if you do not want to rent a car or prefer having a guide you can join a tour.
Another one-day tour option includes visiting several cities in West Bank, like Nablus. It has become more popular in recent years, but I would not advise you to do it yourself. If you are interested, look for a tour.
Jordan (1-3 days)
Some people combine a visit to Jerusalem with a visit to Jordan. You can book a 1-3 days tour to Jordan that will include Petra and other sites.
What To Do in Jerusalem With Kids?
Jerusalem offers many different attractions for kids. Here are several examples: Bloomfield Science Museum, Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, Israel Aquarium, Hebrew Music Museum, Jerusalem Knights Festival, and the list goes on. For a complete post on this topic, check out Jerusalem With Kids.
What Do You Do On Saturday In Jerusalem?
Though there is no public transport and many attractions are closed on Saturdays, there are still plenty of options. First of all, you should keep in mind that all Christian attractions are not affected. Thus you can easily visit them in the Old City (including the Western Wall). Another option would be visiting one of the open museums, for example, the Israel Museum and Bloomfield Science Museum. You can also go to Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, Israel Aquarium and explore Ein Kerem. Moreover, you could always travel to nearby attractions (as mentioned in the Near Jerusalem section above).
Are you looking for a hotel or an apartment in the Jerusalem district? Check out booking.com
What are your favorite Things To Do in Jerusalem? Let us know in the comments below.