Jerusalem – Visitors Guide – Attractions and Places to Visit

Western Wall, Jerusalem

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

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It is a must-visit for every citizen and tourist. Jerusalem has many attractions, and I will share the most popular ones with you on this page.

Map Of Jerusalem

Map of the city:

Attractions Inside and Near the Old City

If you are wondering where are the best viewpoints in the city, see 14 Best Views of Jerusalem.

Note: if you are looking for lodging, see Best Hotels in Jerusalem.

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.

Tours

  • 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 biblical and Holy Land archaeology holdings worldwide.
  • 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. You can find an art exhibition and a restaurant in this historic building.

For additional info about museums, see 15 Best Museums in Jerusalem.

Festivals

  • Knights Festival is an annual festival held at different locations in Jerusalem since 2009. You can see many Middle Ages activities at the Knight Festival beyond Knight fights.
  • Festival Of Light is a free annual event that has taken 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, and attractions, costing 63 euros. And the second covers only museums and attractions and costs 36 euros. Let’s check what this city pass offers 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, as far as I understand, 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 18 NIS (full adult price), and Zedekiah’s Cave also 18 NIS (full adult price). That is a total of 90 NIS.

So far we have 32 + 10 + 90 = 132 NIS. And 36 euros, according to today’s conversion rate, is about 150 NIS. Jerusalem City Pass is a little more expensive, but it offers various attractions discounts. 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, consider purchasing this card.

Extended City Pass

The seven Day Pass allows the use of public transportation for 63-36=27 euros, which is around 115 NIS. Most tourists will spend most of their time in or near the Old City. With only several rides to other areas. Therefore, it is not worth upgrading the city pass in most cases. The price of one trip on the CityPass light train is 5.9 NIS, and the cost of one bus ride is also 5.9 NIS. Thus, the upgrade equals 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, I recommend visiting Jerusalem. Moreover, if it is a short trip, a week or less, you can see only it as you will find enough things to do in Jerusalem and its surroundings. And if you plan a trip to Israel that includes other areas, check out Israel Trip Planner.

The end route depends on your interests, preferences, and limitations. Here I will only suggest a possible itinerary by day.

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, you will wander around the Old City and the market between all those attractions. 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 many tours in Jerusalem, and the most popular route is “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 Cenacle – Room of the Last Supper, King’s David Tomb, and Dormition Abbey. Mount Of Olives offers excellent 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 in 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 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, see Weekend in Jerusalem.

Near Jerusalem (1-3 days)

The most popular one-day getaway from Jerusalem includes visiting Masada National Park and the Dead Sea. Besides floating in the Dead Sea, you can visit 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.

Bet Guvrin National Park and Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve are located not far from Jerusalem (and each other). And visiting both will be an exciting experience.

Another one-day tour option includes visiting several cities on West Bank, like Nablus. It has become more prevalent 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 day tour to Jordan that will include Petra and other sites.

Common Questions

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 an entire 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 plenty of options. First of all, you should keep in mind that all Christian places are not affected. Thus you can easily visit them in the Old City (including the Western Wall). Another option would be visiting 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.

Selichot tour in Jerusalem, Israel
Night view from roofs of the Old City