If you’re planning your trip to Jerusalem, you may be wondering how long you need and more importantly, what to do and see. Whether you’re heading to Jerusalem for religious reason or not, you should know that there’s more to it than just religious sites. (I’m only saying this because I’m not a religious person). To help you make the most of your time there, here are my recommendations for your 3 days in Jerusalem.
To help you understand how fascinating and complex Jerusalem is – I’ll start with a short history lesson.
Jerusalem is located in the Middle East between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. Jerusalem might be one of the oldest cities in the world but is also important for religious reasons. In fact, it’s considered holy in Judaism, Christianism as well as Islamism religions.
Over the years, Israel and Palestine have been claiming Jerusalem. Even though this conflict isn’t resolved yet – you can still visit Jerusalem as a traveler.
Wondering what to do in Jerusalem? Let’s start!
Table of Contents
How to Spend 3 Day in Jerusalem
If you only have 3 days to visit Jerusalem, it should be enough to cover the essentials. In fact, you might even have extra time to add some shopping time or a short day trip from Jerusalem. You might be able to squeeze some of these things in 2 days if you’re on a tight schedule.
Visit Jerusalem Day 1
Explore the Old City of Jerusalem
The Old City of Jerusalem is a small neighborhood (4 km-wide) which is very interesting. The Old City is divided into four quarters: Armenian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim. That said, walking around the Old City is basically discovering different cultures, enjoying different smells and diving into a whole new world every time you turn the corner.
You might be seeing people following Jesus’s path Via Dolorosa which is a Christian pilgrimage marked by 9 stations of the Cross.
Personally, my favorite quarters are the Muslim and the Christian one as I really love their colorful markets and it feels like a lot more is going on around there. If you want to do some souvenir shopping, these are the spots!
Tower of David
In the Armenian quarter of the Old City, you might be able to spot the Tower of David (as well as a museum). You can access the tower only if you’d like to enjoy the view. The lookout costs ILS 10 and is only open on weekdays. You’ll find a great view of the Old City – which is totally worth it.
The Western Wall is also known as the Wailing Wall is known worldwide. Regardless of your religion, you can still come and leave your prayer (or your wish) between the bricks of the walls. When visiting, you’ll find out that the wall is divided for men and women and you’ll see people praying on chairs as well as while touching the wall.
You might be interested to know that in busy times of the year, they will remove the prayers every three days and will bury them – which means your prayer will stay safe.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
While you’re around the Old City, I suggest you visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. If you aren’t that religious, you can still go inside (it’s free) and take a look at the Church – it’s beautiful even for those like me who aren’t religious.
This church is very popular for Christians visiting from all around the world. It is known to be the place where Jesus was crucified as well as his tomb. Don’t be surprised – you’re going to see long queues of people waiting to touch the closest thing to Jesus.
Visit Jerusalem Day 2
Machane Yehuda Market
Mahane Yehuda Market seems like any other markets in Israel – which is why you must visit this market during day time… and night time. Two times? Yeah – you read this right. What appears to be a normal market during the day is quite the opposite during the night. All stands become bars with different DJs and are quite popular amongst the younger generations.
Did you know? You could get an extra Airbnb discount using this link! If you already have an account, you can create a new one. Thank me later!
Mamilla Mall is basically a shopping street for pedestrians located on Alrov Mamilla Avenue. You’ll find popular shops, cute cafés and some great views around there. Located not too far from the Old City (close to Jaffa Gate), you can always go back there if you feel like you didn’t have enough time the previous day.
The First Station
I discovered the First Station in 2018 during a previous trip to Jesuralem. I was surprised to find such a hype place with busy restaurants, cultural events as well as shops. If you want to experience something different, this would be my first pick when it comes to unusual things to do in Jerusalem. Seeing it at night time would also be a great option as it gets even prettier.
Visit Jerusalem Day 3
Day 3 is a bit of a buffer day which means you might have arrived in Jerusalem on an evening, or perhaps you’re going to leave Jerusalem for your next destination. Either way, here are some great options to consider if you have more time in Jerusalem.
Mount of Olives
Walking the Mount of Olives will give you all the great views you could be seeking. As it’s slightly further (save the location here), most people can’t go unless they have more time around Jerusalem.
Walking around Jaffa Street also show you another beautiful side of Jerusalem. You can find shops, restaurants and trams which is also great for photos.
Organize a Day Trip to the Dead Sea, Masada and Ein Gedi
If you feel like you’ve seen enough of Jerusalem, you could also organize a day trip just outside of Jerusalem. After all, I’m sure the Dead Sea is on your list. While you’re at it, why not seeing Masada and Ein Gedi too.
Read more about the Dead Sea and about day trips to the Dead Sea, Masada and Ein Gedi here.
Recommended Restaurants in Jerusalem
Cheese & Wine
Machneyuda is one of the most famous restaurants in Jerusalem – in fact, you have to book a table in advance to save your spot! The menu is always changing depending on what the market offers on that day. The atmosphere is vibrant. (Save the location here.)
Jacko Street is located in the same area as the previous one, which is super close to the famous market. It’s a bit more elegant and offers delicious meals. (Save the location here.)
Want to experience an Israeli dinner experience? Book a dinner with Betzavta. I’d recommend you to do it on a Friday for a traditional Shabbat family dinner.
Recommended Accommodation in Jerusalem
I’ve been to Jerusalem three times and here are my recommendations. These three hotels offer great views as well as very comfortable stays. They were all great! The only difference between them was the locations.
Mamilla Hotel: Mamilla Hotel is closed to Mamilla Mall as well as the Old City (my favorite location-wise).
Inbal Jerusalem Hotel: Inbal Jerusalem Hotel is located at a walkable distance from the First Station.
Herbert Samuel: Herbert Samuel is located around Jaffa Street (downtown).
Abraham Hostel Jerusalem: Hostels are quite expensive in Israel – so that’s also the case in Jerusalem. Abraham is great for backpackers as it offers a fully-equipped kitchen as well as great activities. You should know that families and couples are also welcome at Abraham Hostels.
Jerusalem Tips – Before You Go
You should know that Jerusalem is a bit more conservative than Tel Aviv depending on the neighborhood of course. That said, if you’re planning on visiting religious sites, you should cover your knees as well as shoulders. At the Western Wall, men will need a hat or they can grab a head covering.
You should also know that Shabbat is happening from Friday evening (at sundown) until Saturday evening (at sundown). Don’t be surprised if many shops and restaurants are closed during this time – especially in Jerusalem. You might need to make sure to buy food at the grocery store and book yourself. (Or you could join a traditional Shabbat dinner with an Israeli family. By the way, Betzavta (see in the restaurant section above) organizes dinner every day, not only for Shabbat. I strongly recommend it!)
Entering and leaving Israel is sometimes complicated – read more about what it’s like here.
Planning your week in Israel? Check out my recommended itinerary here.
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Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. Thanks to MediaCentral for inviting me to Israel. As always, all opinions are my own. Happy travels.