Discover the ancient heart of Israel with a trip to the city of Jerusalem, where old traditions and a modern metropolis meet. There are endless things to do in Jerusalem, like admiring the beautiful architecture of the old city while searching for your new favorite hummus spot.
Visit iconic religious sites and world-renowned landmarks. Experience each unique neighborhood, divided into four main districts, and stroll mystical streets and alleyways, allowing yourself to get lost in time. Taste fresh dates and just-squeezed pomegranate juice at local markets, where you’ll experience the city’s culture in the buzzing atmosphere of daily life.
See the best of one of the oldest cities in the world with this list of incredible things to do in Jerusalem.
Visit the Wailing Wall
Also known as the Western Wall, this is one of the most famous landmarks to visit in Jerusalem and highly significant to the Jewish religion. The wall draws thousands of visitors each year who come to pray and worship at this sacred place. It’s the lone surviving structure of the Second Temple that dates back to the first century BC.
The Prayer Plaza is open at all times for people to wedge notes of hope and prayer within the wall’s cracks or recite them aloud while standing at the sacred stone wall.
Uncover more about this site by exploring the underground tunnels that lie beneath the surface. Excavation throughout the years has revealed further layers of the Second Temple and Temple Mount. A guided tour through the narrow tunnel openings can offer lessons in history and archeology that date back to the Herodian period.
Learn about the original water channel, known as the Hasmonean Channel, that supplied water to the temple. View Warren’s Gate, which holds a hidden synagogue. Walk the ancient Roman street that is said to have existed for centuries.
Take in the View at Mount of Olives
Situated just east of the Old City, you’ll find one of the top Jerusalem attractions. The mountain ridge, known as Mount of Olives, is an important historic site and has served as a cemetery for thousands of years to biblical kings and other notable Jewish figures.
While visiting this iconic landmark, you’ll be rewarded with an expansive vista overlooking the city and surrounding area from the famous Rehavam Overlook. From there, marvel at the breathtaking view of the Old City, Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Church of the Redeemer, Hurva Synagogue, and even the Judean Desert.
Other highlights within the grounds include the Tomb of Benei Hezir, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of the Ascension and its bell tower, and the Dominus Flevit Church.
Explore the Israel Museum
One of the best things to do in Jerusalem is to dive into Israel’s art and archeology with a visit to the world-famous Israel Museum, located in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem. Discover over 500,000 pieces within the museum, whose exhibits feature Israeli artifacts from ancient times, Biblical and Holy Land archeology, and an impressive collection of art.
Perhaps one of the most famed artifacts within the museum is the Shrine of the Book and the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are said to have been written sometime between 150 and 70 B.C.
Stroll the sculpture garden and observe the model of old Jerusalem during the Second Temple era. Browse these extensive educational exhibits for a glimpse into the cultural and religious side of Jewish life.
Visit Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
Located less than half an hour outside of Jerusalem, you’ll discover the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most well-known holy pilgrimage landmarks significant to Christianity, as it’s said to be where Jesus was born.
Learn about the history surrounding this famous site as you explore the gorgeous grounds of this still-operating church. Touch the star on the floor of the grotto situated under the basilica; this spot is believed to be where Jesus was born.
Admire the intricate architecture as you venture into this place of worship, marveling at the beautiful mosaics that adorn the walls. One of the amazing pieces you’ll encounter is the six-and-half-foot mosaic angel that was discovered in recent years and then restored.
Marvel at the Dome of the Rock
A stand-out in the Old City’s skyline, the gold-hued Dome of the Rock is the subject of many photographs. Sitting at the highest point in the old city, the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock are some of the earliest examples of Islamic construction still standing today.
Observe the Byzantine architecture and marvel at the intricate, vibrant tiles that decorate the exterior as the golden-plated dome sparkles in the sunlight. Inside, the dome holds the rock where Muhammad, founder of Islam, is said to have ascended to heaven.
Browse the Machane Yehuda Market
For a traditional experience in Jerusalem, venture to the biggest market in the city, the Machane Yehuda Market. More than 250 vendors sell goods such as fresh produce, specialty culinary delights, sweets, and souvenirs. Wander the maze-like lanes as you browse items, taste authentic foods, and take in the lively atmosphere of this market frequented by locals and visitors alike.
This is a great place to purchase delicious snacks such as nuts, dried fruits, fresh dates, the incredible za’atar spice, falafel, bread, olives, and baklava. For a real treat, make sure to sample some kanafeh, a local dessert made with filo dough, honey, and nuts.
Wander the Winding Streets of Jaffa
Explore the oldest neighborhood within the bustling city of Tel Aviv. Referred to as the gateway to Israel, the fishing port region of Jaffa offers a portal back in time with its stone architecture, narrow lanes, and rich culture. Wander through winding alleyways as you encounter quaint cafes and restaurants, boutiques, parks, and an intriguing artist’s quarter with studios and galleries showcasing handcrafted goods.
Browse the goods at the well-known Jaffa Flea Market which overflows with antiques, Persian tiles and rugs, jewelry, furniture, and other goods. See the soaring clock tower in the center of Jaffa. Indulge in a fresh seafood meal at the Port of Jaffa, one of the oldest ports in the entire world. For a fantastic panorama, head to the famous Wishing Bridge that connects Peak Park and Kedumim Square.
Float in the Dead Sea
Experience the healing waters of the Dead Sea—which is actually a lake—located about an hour from Jerusalem. The mineral-rich waters have lured visitors with the promise of health benefits since Biblical times. Figures such as Cleopatra have been said to have bathed here in hopes of experiencing its positive healing powers.
Float in the salty waters, where you’ll feel its buoyant properties thanks to the high salinity level found here. For the ultimate experience, spread the famed Dead Sea mud on your skin before wading into the water. This mud is known to have curative abilities for health issues such as rheumatologic diseases and skin conditions.
Enjoy the scenic views and relax as you float unassisted in the water. Afterward, enjoy a refreshment at one of the nearby restaurants; all that floating will make you hungry.
Tour the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Visit the site said to be built above the tomb of Jesus Christ. As one of the holiest Christian places, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre dates back to 326 AD and is located in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.
This amazing historical landmark is one of the most visited attractions in Jerusalem and marks the end of the Via Dolorosa, the world-famous Christian pilgrimage walk. Destroyed twice, this Byzantine-era church was rebuilt in the 12th century.
Wander through the basilica, taking in the sights and sounds while learning about the historical and religious significance of this place. Step into the rotunda and discover where the Holy Sepulchre, or tomb of Christ, is housed.
Some of the other highlights include Angel’s Chapel, believed to have been where the angel who declared the resurrection of Christ sat, and the Stone of Unction, where it is believed that Christ’s body was laid and anointed after his crucifixion.
Stroll Ramparts Walk
Gain a new perspective of the old city with a stroll along the ancient city walls that surround this section of Jerusalem, built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. In under two and a half miles, you can explore both the north and south sides of this path, which serves as an open-air museum.
On the north side, you can start at the Jaffa Gate, making your way towards the Lion’s Gate. You’ll see the Christian Quarter with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre from a unique vantage point as well as get a peek into everyday life in the Muslim Quarter.
While walking the south side, starting at the Tower of David, you’ll continue past Zion Gate, the Armenian Quarter, and the Jewish Quarter, eventually concluding at the Western Wall. Along the route, you’ll see ancient structures such as the Church of St. Peter, Dormition Abbey, and the Mount of Olives. This lesser-known activity is a great way to see a different side of Jerusalem.
Discover the ancient history and rich culture of the city on a luxury cruise to Jerusalem. Experience some of the top things to do in Jerusalem, from visiting famous landmarks to indulging in fantastic cuisine, while sailing on one of our luxury cruise ships. Browse itineraries on our website and book an unforgettable getaway today.