Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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Jerusalem itinerary in 5 days

Hotels

Inbal Hotel

♥♥♥♥♥

This hotel is large and modern, with all the amenities including a beautiful swimming pool for hot days. It is walking distance to the Old City and overlooks the Bell Park. They serve a generous breakfast. Highly recommended.

David Citadel Hotel

♥♥♥♥♥

This is a luxurious hotel just a few minutes from the Old City. The pool area has magnificent views of the Tower of David and the Old City Walls. The rooms are modern and have all of the best amenities. It is a very pricey hotel but worth it if you want to splurge. 

Jerusalem is the spiritual centre of Israel filled with holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians. There is so much history to see and breathe. The old city is so unique and the new part has been built to blend in so nicely.

The "City of Gold" as it is known, is magical. Almost all the buildings are built from Jerusalem stone, which is a yellow colour and shimmers like gold at sunset. You can spend a week here and never get bored. My itinerary covers many of the highlights. We took most of our trips with our kids so the activities are all family-friendly.

Day 1

 

Morning 

We arrived in Jerusalem and checked into the Inbal Hotel which is located in walking distance to the Old City and overlooks the Bell Park. . 

We went into the old city, walked around the Robinson's Arch and the Kotel (Western Wall). From there we took a tour of the Western Wall tunnels. This is an active archeological dig which has recovered the foundation of the Western Wall, the area outside the Temple Mount, as well as the city during the days of the Second Temple. This is fascinating.

Afternoon

Following the tour we wandered around the Jewish Quarter and stopped for a schwarma for lunch.

From there we headed to the Davidson Centre which houses some impressive archaeological excavations and finds from the Temple period including artifacts, illustrations, interactive multimedia and a virtual reality reconstruction of the Temple Mount on the eve of its destruction.  As well, there are two short films which are continuously screened. This is a good spot to visit, especially if you need some respite from the summer heat. 

 

From there we returned to our hotel for a rest via Mamilla Street and the beautiful outdoor mall. 

Evening

We walked down Emek Refaim Street, not far from the hotel. This area has lots of nice shops and casual restaurants. We had dinner at a nice cafe.

Day 2

Morning

Today we hired a guide, Shimon Mizrahi of Best Jerusalem Guide. Shimon gave us a private, 4-hour tour of the Old City. He was born and raised in Jerusalem and is very knowledgeable on the history, as well as the best spots to have authentic food and snacks.

 

His half day private tour took us through the Christian quarter, Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, walking in the narrow alleys of the Muslim quarter to the Western Wall, Byzantine Cardo, Horva Synagogue, Mount Zion Last Super Room and King David Tomb.


On the way we stopped for a quick bite of falafel and shawarma and then had an apple strudel at the Austrian Hospice -  all in the Old City.

Afternoon

From there, we exited the Old City and Shimon led us through the very orthodox neighbourhood of Meah Shearim and then to the Machane Yehuda market. This is the main food market in Jerusalem. This market is always bustling and full. It is very colourful and filled with delicious tastes, smells and noises. We got to taste some snacks including some of the best halva I've ever eaten!

We headed back to the hotel for a refreshing swim.

Evening

This evening we walked out to Yafo Street, one of the main pedestrian friendly streets in the New City. There are many bars and restaurants along Yafo as well as the small streets leading off of it. We chose a nice restaurant for dinner.

Day 3

 

Morning

This morning we headed to the Tower of David and did an audio tour. The Tower of David, also known as the Jerusalem Citadel, is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. It dates to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. It contains important archaeological finds dating back over 2,000 years including a quarry dated to the First Temple period.

From here we walked around the Jewish Quarter and had a lunch at a restaurant with lots of Israeli salads and dips. Delicious!

Afternoon

This afternoon we went to explore the City of David. The City of David, founded more than 3,000 years ago by King David, serves as a major archeology site. Visitors explore what remains of this ancient city (which includes what's left of the First and Second Temples), both above ground and below. The visitor's centre is located just outside the Jewish Quarter's Dung Gate.

 

For most visitors, the highlight of the City of David is Hezekiah's Tunnel. The tunnel was ancient Jerusalem's primary source of water, according to the Bible. Today, you can traverse this ancient waterway, an amazing feat of ancient engineering. Be forewarned that it can be wet and damp in the tunnels and is not recommended for anyone who is claustrophobic.

We headed back to the hotel for a rest.

Evening

This evening we met friends at Darna Restaurant, a Moroccan restaurant located in a beautiful 200-year-old building in the heart of Jerusalem. It serves delicious and authentic Moroccan cuisine.

Day 4

Morning

Today we decided to explore a couple of spots just outside of Jerusalem. 

We drove to Yad LaShiryon Latrun which is Israel's official memorial site for fallen soldiers from the armoured corps, as well as one of the most diverse tank museums in the world. The outdoor display includes 110 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles.

Afternoon

From there we drove to the Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve, also known as Soreq Cave. Here you descend with a tour into the cave, a magical world of stone statues created by Mother Nature - stalactites and stalagmites. They are in a multitude of shapes and sizes that stimulate the imagination and provide a spectacular experience. The tour lasts 45 minutes. It is one of the largest such caves in the world.

Evening

After returning to the hotel we decided to walk out to Emek Refaim for a nice dinner. On the way we walked through the Bell Park and Yemin Moshe neighbourhood.

Day 5

Morning

After breakfast we decided to relax at the pool. 

Afternoon

This afternoon we went back to Machaneh Yehuda Market to a unique restaurant for lunch at Azura, an Iraqi restaurant inside the market.

 

Azura, serves sumptuous home-style food. It is a unique experience as the food is cooked in large pots in the small kitchen. You have to get there early if you want to ensure that everything on the menu is still available. Some of the meats are slow-roasted and are tender and delicious. The restaurant is crowded and often has lines but it is worth the wait.

After lunch we visited the Holocaust memorial and museum, Yad Vashem.

This is Israel's main memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and is dedicated to four main goals: preserving the memory of those who perished, honouring those who fought the Nazis, honouring the Righteous Gentiles who risked their lives to save the Jews, and ensuring that such genocides never happen again. 

The beautiful and moving museum takes you through the history of the Jews in Europe, the events leading to the Holocaust, the atrocities that took place, ending with the establishment of the State of Israel.  After a very difficult walk through the exhibit, you end with a gorgeous view of the Jerusalem hills.

After the museum we drove to Ein Karem, which is an ancient village and neighbourhood in Jerusalem. There are several churches and monasteries in Ein Karem and it's lovely to walk around. 

Evening

We had dinner at Brasserie Restaurant in Ein Karem which has a lovely roof-top with gorgeous views of the Jerusalem hills which was a nice way to say goodbye to this moving city.

Guides and Tours

​Jerusalem

  • Shimon Mizrahi of Best Jerusalem Guide. Shimon gave us a private tour 4-hour tour of the Old City. He was born and raised in Jerusalem and is very knowledgeable on the history, as well as the best spots to have authentic food and snacks.

  • Western Wall Tunnels Tour. This interesting tour inside the tunnels below the Western Wall is fascinating. This is an active archeological dig which has recovered the foundation of the Western Wall, the area outside the Temple Mount, as well as the city during the days of the Second Temple. I highly recommend booking a tour time in advance through their website.

  • Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve. This is also known as Soreq Cave. Here you descend with a tour into the cave, a magical world of stone statues created by Mother Nature - stalactites and stalagmites.

Noteworthy Restaurants

Jerusalem:

  • Azura. This restaurant inside Machaneh Yehuda (Jerusalem's main market) is a must try. They serve home-style Iraqi and unique Middle-Eastern cuisine using many spices and flavours. The food is cooked in large pots in the small kitchen. You have to get there early if you want to ensure that everything on the menu is still available. The meats are slow roasted and are tender and delicious. The restaurant is crowded and often has lines but it is worth the wait.

  • Darna Restaurant, a Moroccan restaurant located in a beautiful 200-year-old building in the heart of Jerusalem. It serves delicious and authentic Moroccan cuisine.

  • Brasserie Restaurant. The French style bistro serves fresh Mediterranean cuisine. It is located in the beautiful village of Ein Karem and has a lovely roof-top with gorgeous views of the Jerusalem hills.

Favourite Museums

Jerusalem:

  • Tower of David. This museum is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. It contains important archaeological finds dating back over 2,000 years including a quarry dated to the First Temple period.

  • Davidson Centre. Houses some impressive archaeological excavations from the Temple period including artifacts, illustrations, interactive multimedia and a virtual reality reconstruction of the Temple Mount on the eve of its destruction.

  • City of David. This is a 3,000 year old major archeology site. Visitors explore what remains of this ancient city both above ground and below (in the water tunnels). The visitor's centre is located just outside the Jewish Quarter's Dung Gate.

  • Yad Vashem. This is Israel's main memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and is dedicated to four main goals: preserving the memory of those who perished, honouring those who fought the Nazis, honouring the Righteous Gentiles who risked their lives to save the Jews, and ensuring that such genocides never happen again. ​The beautiful and moving museum takes you through the history of the Jews in Europe, the events leading to the Holocaust, the atrocities that took place, ending with the establishment of the State of Israel.

  • Yad LaShiryon Latrun. This is Israel's official memorial site for fallen soldiers from the armoured corps, as well as one of the most diverse tank museums in the world. 

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