Visit Jerusalem’s most famous archaeological and religious sites in just two days, from the Western Wall to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the famous Machne Yehuda Market and the Mount of Olives. The holy city, home to the three Abrahamic faiths, is best visited on weekdays as many sites may be closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during public holidays religion. Plan to avoid long lines and dress casually – long pants for men and skirts or knee-length dresses and long sleeves for women. Keep reading on to know how to spend 48 hours in Jerusalem.
How To Spend 48 Hours in Jerusalem
Day one: Old City and East Jerusalem
Enjoy breakfast on the go from the numerous street food stalls piled high with kaak bel simsim (a type of sesame-coated bread) or nawa’im (a sweet saffron-flavored bread filled with dates). Pass through the Old City to the Temple Mount, sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. At the top of the site is the stunning Dome of the Rock, decorated with glazed ceramic tiles and a large golden dome. Non-Muslim visitors are required to use the Mughrabi Gate next to the Western Wall to enter the Temple Mount. It should be noted that the opening times are strict and the lines are long. In addition, the site may be closed frequently.
Via Dolorosa and Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Walk down Via Dolorosa, the way Jesus walked with his cross to be crucified. Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours is a handy app that provides an audio tour along with navigation. Stop at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus was crucified, and visit the Tomb, where historians say Jesus was buried before his resurrection.
Take a lunch break at one of Jerusalem’s most famous hummus places – Hummus Lina in the Christian Quarter or Abu Shukri in the Muslim Quarter.
Museum on the Seam and East Jerusalem
Walk through the Arab Quarter and exit through the Damascus Gate. Head to the Museum on the Seam for contemporary art exhibits. From there, visit The Garden Tomb, home to Jesus’ tomb, then head to the American Colonial Hotel for coffee and aperitifs at the courtyard café or garden bar.
Check out ongoing events at Yabous Cultural Center or Dar Issaf Nashasodas, or search GoJer Jerusalem.com to discover more timely experiences. In summer, the Sacred Music Festival is not to be missed. End the day at one of the restaurants in the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center hotel, which has a beautiful terrace overlooking the Old City.
Day one: Old City and East Jerusalem
Morning: Mount of Olives
Either walk (20-30 minutes uphill from Gethsemane) or take a taxi to the top of Mount Olives and walk down, exploring the sights. Start with the Mosque and Chapel of the Assumption, where Jesus ascended to heaven, then descend to Pater Noster Church, whose beautiful courtyards are decorated with the Lord’s Prayer in over 160 language.
Go down another floor to the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene. Admire its glittering golden domes and gaze out over the Old City and the Jewish cemetery below. Many Jews believed that at the Messiah’s return, God would begin to redeem the dead at the Mount of Olives, and as a result, more than 150,000 Jews chose to be buried there to have a best chance of salvation. Continue past the Tombs of the Prophets and descend into the Church of All Nations, located next to the Garden of Gethsemane, and admire the beautiful golden mosaics on its facade.
Walk or take a taxi to the bustling Machane Yehuda Market in West Jerusalem and sample some street food from the many stalls. Enjoy a spongy boureka stuffed with cheese and spinach, Iraqi sabich (aubergine bread and hard-boiled egg) from Aricha Sabich, Yemeni malawach bread (made with two fried buns) from Jachnun Bar or some of the chefs Kurds in Ishtabach.
Head further west and spend a long afternoon at the Israel Museum or the moving Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. Be aware that both attractions are vast and will take up the best part of your day. If you want to learn more about Palestinian culture, head back east and spend the afternoon at the Palestinian Heritage Museum. If you have time, visit the nearby Rockefeller Archaeological Museum.
Evening: Western Wall
Return to the Old City in the evening to enjoy the atmosphere at the Western Wall before watching the sunset one last time from the roof of the Austrian Hospice. For dinner, try The Eucalyptus, a kosher-friendly biblical-themed restaurant overlooking the Old City walls. It offers three tasting menus – King David Feast, Duet Feast and Queen of Sheba Feast.