- Discover the must-see sights in this ancient city when you visit Jerusalem
- Learn more about Jerusalem’s historic and cultural past, and today’s vibrant city
- Inspirational ideas for exploring sacred sites, modern museums and bustling markets
A holiday to Israel is a trip like no other, especially if you visit Jerusalem, one of the world’s most evocative cities. The heart of the Holy Land, Jerusalem is home to many sacred sites such as the Western Wall, Mount of Olives and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. But irrespective of your faith or religious belief, visit Jerusalem to discover a fascinating ancient city that has played a pivotal role throughout history.
Jerusalem isn’t just a destination linked to the past. Today, you’ll find a modern and dynamic city teeming with museums, markets, cafes, restaurants and bars. Of course you’ll want to explore the Old City, but don’t miss the chance to spend time enjoying the vibrant current-day attractions, too.
Intrigued to learn more? Here’s our list of the best 10 things to see when you visit Jerusalem.
Visit Jerusalem – top 10 things to see
Regarded as the holiest place in the world for Jewish people, the Western Wall is a must-see sight on a holiday to Israel. It’s the last remnant of the Second Temple built by King Herod, and Jews visit the site to pray and mourn the loss of the temple – hence it being known as the Wailing Wall. Pilgrims write notes to God, too, sliding pieces of paper between the ancient stones. Photography is not allowed.
Another highlight of most Jerusalem tours, Temple Mount is a holy site for Jews, Christians and Muslims as, according to the Bible, it’s the place where Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice to God. A hill located in the Old City, it’s also believed to be the location of the First Temple built by King Solomon, as well as where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to the heaven. Admission is free but there are often long queues. Entrance times are restricted for tourists.
Dome of the Rock
At the centre of Temple Mount you’ll see the Dome of the Rock – one of Jerusalem’s most iconic landmarks. It’s a 7th century shrine that’s a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. With its startlingly beautiful golden dome, ancient mosaics, coloured-glass windows and marble columns, the Dome of the Rock is today recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take in all its grandeur from the outside. Non-Muslims are forbidden from entering the building or praying in the grounds, and there are strict rules regarding dress code.
Mount of Olives
If you visit Jerusalem, don’t miss a trip to the Mount of Olives, the location of several important Christian churches and the world’s oldest continually used cemetery containing some 70,000 graves. It’s believed to be the place where Jesus spent much of his final week – the Garden of Gethsemane is located at the foot of the hill – and where God will begin raising the dead on Judgement Day. The mount also offers some of the best views of Jerusalem’s skyline.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Jerusalem tours typically include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on their itineraries. Said to be built on the site of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth – the Stone of Unction marks the spot where Christ’s body was prepared for burial – the church is an important place of pilgrimage as well as a popular tourist attraction. Be prepared to share any spiritual experience with others visiting the five Stations of the Cross found inside.
City of David
People visit Jerusalem for many reasons, one being the chance to study the archaeological wonders of the ancient City of David. Excavations at this historic site are ongoing and have revealed a settlement that dates back some 3,800 years. Visitors are able to tour the area where much of the Bible was written, go underground to walk knee-deep in the water in King Hezekiah’s tunnel, and marvel at Shiloah Pool where the New Testament claims Jesus performed miracles.
The Israel Museum is among the world’s best and following a major refurbishment it’s a place well worth visiting to learn more about Jewish culture, Israeli art, archaeological discoveries and to see a model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period. The museum is also home to the Shrine of the Book, a display of Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts dating back around 2,000 years. And don’t miss the Billy Rose Art Garden, counted as one of the finest outdoor sculpture settings.
Mahane Yehuda Market
As with many vibrant cities, there are plenty of lively markets to wander around when you visit Jerusalem. Mahane Yehuda is one of the best outdoor options, being the oldest and biggest, and it’s a great place to soak up the sights, sounds and scents of authentic Israeli life. Visit on a weekday, preferably early in the day, and wander through the colourful alleyways, watching traders busily attend their stalls. At night, it’s a hotspot for trendy foodies and beer fans.
Tower of David
Jerusalem’s Tower of David is a medieval citadel near the Jaffa Gate at the entrance to the Old City. Climb to the top and you’ll be rewarded with magnificent 360-degree views, but also make sure you spend time in its educational museum. Guided tours lasting around two hours will immerse you in the city’s 3,000-year history – English guides take place at 11am, Sunday to Thursday. The evening Night Spectacular, an outdoor sound and light show, will prove a holiday highlight.
When considering what to visit in Jerusalem, don’t just dismiss Yad Vashem. Yes, it’s a humbling experience touring the poignant Holocaust memorial, however the 45-acre campus allows visitors to remember the atrocities that occurred during World War II and ensures future generations will never forget what happened and why. Entrance to the Holocaust History Museum, Hall of Remembrance with its Eternal Flame and the extensive grounds is free. Note that Yad Vashem is closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
Visit Jerusalem on an escorted tour
A holiday in Jerusalem will be an unforgettable trip, one that’s etched in your memory for many years to come. If it’s a destination on your wish list, then why not consider looking at Jerusalem tours – they’re an easy and safe option, escorting you to all the must-see sights.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.