Top attractions in Jerusalem
The 10 Best Things to Do in Jerusalem
A center of religions throughout its history, a visit to Jerusalem beguiles the spirit and the senses. A stroll through the Old City's labyrinth of alleyways, with its pungent aromas and the lilt of languages, will lead you from one sacred treasure to another.
1. Holy Sepulchre
The Church has the last five Stations of the Cross and the 14th is Jesus's tomb, known as the Holy Sepulchre. 2,000 years ago, this spot was an open area beyond the city walls.
2. Great Synagogue
Built in 1982, the structure reflects the original Holy Temple, which stood on the Temple Mount until its destruction in 70 AD. An exhibit also showcases thousands of "mezuzot."
3. Mount of Olives
The ridge east of Jerusalem has a series of pilgrimage sites, including churches and the Grotto and Gardens of Gethsemane. It's also the city's main cemetery with 150,000 graves.
Many claim that this garden, which surrounds the Church of All Nations, was where the Romans arrested Jesus. The site also has some of the world's oldest olive trees.
5. Western Wall
The holiest site in Judaism, this former retaining wall, erected by Herod the Great in 20 BC, supported the outer section of the Temple Mount, upon which stood the Second Temple.
6. Temple Mount
To Muslims it's Haram esh-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, and it's the third holiest site in Islam. It's also the location of the First Temple built by Solomon.
7. Dome of the Rock
Sacred to Muslims and Jews, the golden dome of the structure covers the rock from which Mohammed ascended to join Allah, and where Abraham prepared to kill his son Isaac.
8. Al-Aqsa Mosque
Built 20 years after the Dome of the Rock, the name means "the farthest mosque" and signifies Muhammad's "isra," or night journey, from Mecca to Jerusalem and back.
9. Israel Museum
This national museum not only houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it also exhibits a fine arts collection, and a model of the city during the era of the Second Temple.
10. Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
The original intention of the zoo was to collect animals mentioned in the Bible. The new zoo, which opened in 1993, has a Noah's Ark with information on the animals from that era.
Planning Your Visit
How many days to spend in Jerusalem?
You could spend years (maybe a lifetime?) delving into this city. However, five to seven days will allow you to visit many of the main attractions. Add another one to two days if you only have time to take day-trips either to the Dead Sea and/or Masada.
Your own two feet will get you around the Old City of Jerusalem. Beyond these, there are buses (known as Egged) and one light rail line, a part of which runs along Jaffo Road in West Jerusalem and also has a stop at Damascus Gate. Keep in mind that public transport comes to a halt once Shabbat begins (Friday just before sundown), but the Arab buses and taxi services still operate just outside Damascus Gate.
Where to stay in Jerusalem
You'll find all sorts of accommodations in the Old City, but there are other options in West Jerusalem, for example the area around Zion Square and Ben-Yehuda Mall. It's a lively area with restaurants, bars, cafes, and shopping.
Good to know
- Shekel (₪)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+02:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- Late spring and early fall are the best times to visit, when the temperature is mild and the crowds are thinner. However, make sure you check the calendar, as a Jewish celebration could bring masses into the city.
Other Sightseeing Options in Jerusalem
Want to discover all there is to do in Jerusalem? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Jerusalem
A terrific tour, no mucking about; Ashraf knows his stuff and ensures you get into the right places to get through lines quickly. Other tour guides defer to Ashraf; you’ll see what I mean when you visit the church if the nativity. Best value for money.
Well organized tour Transportation was comfortable and punctual Tour guide Mr Tamar gave a lot of information History was well explained by other tour guide Mr Abood in Bethlehem Good value for money
Fabulous tour and guide - it was a shame that Qasr el Yahud was closed as it would have been fab to visit!
Excellent guide and excellent day full of historical landmarks with unique stories. Thank you
Amazing tour guide, Dan Perges, made the experience beyond wonderful. Great driver, too.