Jerusalem – The Holy City of Tourism
Jerusalem is the holy city to three major religions – Christianism, Judaism, and Islam. But there is so much more to this unique city, an exciting destination for religious AND non-religious tourists alike!
What to Visit
You will not be disappointed with Jerusalem. This is a fascinating city, with a lot of history. Be sure to explore:
- The Old City: Take your time walking around this walled area, where history comes alive. Divided into four quarters (Muslim, Christian, Armenian and Christian), here you will find:
- Western Wall
- Church of the Holy Sepulcher
- Via Dolorosa
- Dome of the Rock
- Tower of David
- Machane Yehuda Market: So many different tastes and smell! Make sure to try what you can here. Delicious and authentic Mediterranean cuisine, cheaper than most restaurants.
- Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center: free entrance and an experience you will not forget. It takes at least a couple of hours to walk through the whole museum, so plan ahead.
- Mount of Olives: get breath-taking views of the city from this holy place.
Tips to Visiting the City
1.IT IS SAFE!
Rest assured, Jerusalem is completely safe. Because it is a high conflict region, you will see a lot of Israeli soldiers everywhere you go, which might be a bit of a shock, but you get used to it. They are around to make sure you are safe. Of course, you should do a little research ahead, and make sure they are not currently going through a period of special tension. But other than that, the everyday tourist has nothing to worry about.
2.PRICES ARE A BIT SALTY
The Israeli Shekel (₪) is not worth much (1£ = 4.7₪; 1€ = 4.1₪; 1 US$ = 3.6₪), however Jerusalem is overall an expensive city throughout the year. You will probably find better deals staying in hostels, many of which offer private rooms. The best places to stay are in or near downtown (near the streets Ben-Yehuda and Yaffo), where you will find good a variety of restaurants, while still being near the Old City.
3.DURING SHABBAT, THEY REST
Jews rest during the Shabbat, which goes from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. This will likely impact your travel plans, because all public transportation stops. You will also encounter many restaurants and shops closed. It is a good time to walk around the city that will be less busy than usual.
If you arrive in Israel through the Ben-Gurion Airport, your options to going into the city are:
·Train: costs 23.50₪, takes only 28 min.
·Public bus (line 485): costs only 16₪ but takes about 50 min.
·Shared taxi (your best option during Shabbat). You will find these minivans once you exit the airport. The “Sherut” will take you to wherever you need to go, and costs around 60₪ per person. It is still much cheaper than a private taxi (that will cost something around 280₪), unless you arrive in a group and can share a private taxi. Be aware that the Sherut only leaves after filling the whole minivan (around 10 seats), so you might have to wait a bit.
The transportation system in Jerusalem is very good. You can get around the city using the light train or city buses very easily. They display information and make announcements in both Hebrew and English, so you will not be completely lost. Most Israelis will also speak English, so when in doubt, ask around!