Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Located just a short drive from Tel Aviv, this city will give you a totally different vibe and perception compared to the vibrant young Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt over thousands of years, it is a religious and historical epicenter of the world, with interlacing histories, clashing cultures and multisensory experience. Don't get me wrong, Jerusalem is a pretty advanced and dynamic city in Israel as well, but it has a totally different and more historical Old City. Exploring Jerusalem is a definitely must-see place whilst in Israel. 

What to do and see?

Jaffa Gate

If you will be entering the Jerusalem Old City, you will most probably go through Jaffa Gate. Jaffa Gate is one of the seven main open Gates of the Old City of Jerusalem. The name Jaffa Gate is currently used for both the historical Ottoman gate from 1538, and for the wide gap in the city wall adjacent to it to the south. Many tours have the meeting point just here outside of Jaffa Gate, and it is the gate nearest to the city center of Jerusalem as well. 

The Old City is just 0.9 square kilometer walled area within a modern city of Jerusalem.  This area constituted the entire city of Jerusalem until the late 19th century. The Old City is the main tourist and historical attraction of Jerusalem due to many key religious importance. The Old City is divided into 4 uneven quarters - Muslim, Christian, Armenian and Jewish Quarter. You will see different religious monuments in each quarter, together with different distinctive shops or decorations on the street. 

map olf old jerusalem four quarters | Jerusalem map, Jerusalem ...

Via Dolorosa

The Via Dolorosa is a processional route in the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. Now, the path is packed with many small shops and monuments marking Jesus pathway. The road is stretched from Lion's gate, passing Muslim quarter to the Christian quarter, just under one kilometer. The route is established by tradition rather than archaeological evidence. The final stations of the crucifixion and burial are within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. You can visit it yourself or join a walking tour.

Temple Mount and Dome of the rock

The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif and the Al Aqsa Compound, is a hill located in the Old City of Jerusalem that for thousands of years has been venerated as a holy site in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike. The pretty golden globe that is a symbol of Jerusalem and is visible for far. The Temple Mount is a holy site within the Old City for Jewish, Christian and Muslim people. All visitors are able to tour the compound and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with the exception of the Dome of the Rock, you can enter only if you are Muslim. The Temple Mount is the third holiest site for Muslims after Mecca and Medina. Within the area of the Temple Mount, there are about 100 different structures to see spanning different time periods, including prayer locations, arches, and fountains. Make sure to dress modestly before you enter Temple Mount, whilst the admission is free, check the opening time before you go, as it is always close for prayers hours, as well as it is closed to visitors on Friday and Saturday. Moreover, there is only one entrance for visitors from Western Wall, so be aware of it before you go. The best time to visit Temple of Mount is in the morning time. 

Western Wall and Wester Wall Tunnels

The Western Wall or so-called the Wailing Wall is located just underneath the Temple Mount. It is a limestone wall, a segment of a wall what existed during the Second Temple Period. This Western Wall is the most religious site in the world for the Jewish people. Each Friday on Shabat, hundreds of people come to the wall and recite prayers or write down on a paper and place it into the cracks of the wall. The wall is divided into two sections, for males and females. Make sure to visit the Western Wall during Shabbat, as this place turns into a religious destination for all Jewish people. Visitors can also visit the Western Wall tunnels, as archeologists have uncovered layers of the wall underground through years of excavation. 

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located as a final stop on Via Dolorosa, in the Christian quarter. The church contains, according to traditions dating back to at least the fourth century, the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified, at a place known as Calvary or Golgotha, and Jesus's empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected. The large complex of the church now shares part of the such for Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic, and to a lesser degree the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox. 

City of David

The City of David, is in a neighborhood of Silwan. Its a Palestinian Arab village intertwined with an Israeli settlement, and the archaeological site which is speculated to constitute the original settlement core of Bronze and Iron Age Jerusalem. The City of David is highly controversial in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; it is located in the area of the West Bank that was annexed to Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War and 1980 Jerusalem Law. Make sure to book a tour to visit City of David. 

Tower of David

The Tower of David also known as the Jerusalem Citadel, is an ancient citadel, museum and archaeological site located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to western edge of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Mahane Yehuda market

MahaneYehuda Market, Jerusalem’s largest market with over 250 vendors. The Machne Yehuda Market is one of the most vibrant parts of the city, offering a place to buy groceries and household items, delicious hole-in-the-wall style restaurants, and great bars for nightlife enthusiasts. Located in Jerusalem city center, it is a perfect place for dining or buying some grocery souvenir home.

Israel Museum

The Israel Museum was established in 1965 as Israel's foremost cultural institution and one of the world's leading encyclopaedic museums. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighbourhood of Jerusalem, just opposite Bible Lands Museum. 

Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives or Mount Olivet is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City. It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes. The southern part of the Mount was the Silwan necropolis, attributed to the ancient Judean kingdom. Book a tour to get to Mount of Olives and explore many interesting small churches and holy places, as well as the magical viewpoint on Jerusalem Old City at the background.

Church of Nativity

The Church of the Nativity, or Basilica of the Nativity, is a basilica located in Bethlehem in the West Bank, just a short driver from Jerusalem. The grotto it contains holds a prominent religious significance to Christians of various denominations as the birthplace of Jesus. The grotto is the oldest site continuously used as a place of worship in Christianity, and the basilica is the oldest major church in the Holy Land.

Where to eat and drink?

Machneyuda restaurant - This superb restaurant owned by three of Israel's most acclaimed chefs near Mahane Yehuda Market. A perfect playful place to experience some Israeli cuisine.

Roasters Cafe - A perfect small coffee spot inside Mahane Yehuda Market. Get our tasty coffee to drink in or out, whilst exploring the stands of the market with some yummy fresh food.

Ben-Sira Hummus - Cheap and delicious hummus place, where they give you will all toppings. Located in the city center of Jerusalem. 

Focaccia Bar - A pretty Italian restaurant set in a typical Jerusalem building. With beautiful decoration, lively atmosphere, it is a great spot for drinks and dining for both tourists and locals.

Kadosh Cafe Patisserie - A cozy patisserie and coffee shop with handmade desserts and cakes, located in the city center. 

Notre Dame Cheese and Wine rooftop restaurant - A perfect dining place with some magnificent skyline views over Jerusalem 

Where to stay?

An affordable stay just right at the city center. A train station can be found 450 yards away. The Jaffa Gate is a 15-minute walk from Stay Cook Suites, while the Old City is 1.9 miles away. Mamilla Open Mall is at a distance of 900 yards. Ben Gurion Airport is 29.8 miles away.

A beautiful hotel with modern interior design is located just few minutes from the main train station and just about 1.6 miles away to the Old City. The hotel has its own bar and 24/7 reception available.

Set in Jerusalem, 1.9 miles from Garden of Gethsemane and few steps away from Davidka Square or Mehuna Yehuda Market, My Jerusalem view provides accommodation with a private parking and a terrace or room views on the beautiful Jerusalem.

High-end luxury restaurant with a rooftop pool and wellness center for its guests is just located about 0.9 miles away from the city center. A restaurant and a bar are at guests' disposal. The wellness centre includes sauna, hot tub, hammam and fitness facilities. Guests can also enjoy an indoor and a seasonal outdoor swimming pool.

As with any travel destination, Airbnb is always an option for travelers who are looking for more privacy or kitchen facilities. Make sure to use my Airbnb link to get some ££ off your first booking.

How to get around ?

The best way to get around the Old City and downtown is by walk. Therefore make sure to find an accommodation that is near the Old City or City Center, as it will ease your planning and getting around. 

If you are looking to visit other neighborhoods or to go to the main train station, Jerusalem is well connected by buses and trams. You can purchase a ticket in the ticket machine at each station. 

Hire a car if you are planning to travel around Israel or do day trips, if you want to visit nearby tourist attractions or you are short of time, always research and check for tours options, as they may already have a perfect itinerary to get you around visit and see number of places, including Bethlem or Dead Sea. 

Taxis or Grabb is also available in Israel, so make sure to download the app beforehand.

To get to the airport, you can either catch a bus or a train from the main train station, and yet again, you can buy the ticket on the day from a station, so no need to reserve it early. Make sure to always have cash with you if you are using ticket machines.