Make Your Pilgrimage to Sacred Jerusalem – Jerusalem is famous for its 3,000 years of history and its diverse cultural profile. The city is a melting pot with people from all over the world. Jerusalem is inspiring, fascinating, and an impressive place to visit. One minute you can be in an ancient religious shrine or an ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and only a few minutes down the street you will find the trendiest tapas bars or hipster hangouts.
While Jerusalem is a large city that spans many miles, a majority of the tourist attractions are within walking distance of the city center and can be enjoyed by foot, bike or Segway. It is also a city of inspiration. Every picture is a postcard. Of all the Instagram-worthy locations in the city, the top three are sunrise over the city’s ancient walls, watching the sunset over the Haas Promenade, and the Machane Yehuda Market on Friday afternoon. You can also visit us on Pinterest here.
Jerusalem Weather – When to Visit
The best times to visit Jerusalem are April through May and October through November, when the weather is mild and the crowds are thin. However, make sure to cross-check your travel dates with major Jewish/ Christian celebrations such as the High Holy Day and Passover. Spring and fall in Jerusalem are the most pleasant; just bring a light jacket because the evenings can be cool. Springtime in Jerusalem, and in Israel in general, can be one of the most beautiful times of the year as the flowers are in full bloom and blanket the surrounding hillsides.
Top 5 Jerusalem Area Beaches
The Dead Sea beach of Neve Midbar is situated just to the south of Kalia Beach at the northern tip of this vast salt lake. This is a fairly relaxed spot and has a spacious, sandy beach. Although people come to the dead sea primarily to swim / float in the hyper-salinated water, the region is also famous for its mud. Said to do wonders for the skin the thick gray mud is particularly plentiful here at Neve Midbar. Regardless of whether you bate in the sea or the mud you will be thankful of the showers afterwards!
Kalia Beach is a beautiful, laid back spot. It is a world away from the hotels and resorts of Ein Bokek down the coast, but that is not to say it doesn’t have great facilities. This is also one of the most accessible beaches on the Dead Sea, being just half an hour’s drive from Jerusalem. You will find many amenities here, including a natural mud area where you can pamper your skin. You will find campsites, showers, chairs, sunshades, and a bar, which is the self-proclaimed lowest on the planet.
Ein Gedi is a lush oasis situated between the sterile waters of the Dead Sea and the unforgiving Judean Desert. It is a hugely popular seaside resort attracting visitors from all corners of the globe, and the local economy has benefitted as demand for top-rated facilities remains insatiable. This is a unique seaside experience offering relaxing leisurely activities, together with life-boosting health treatments.
This is the most popular of Tel Aviv’s many beaches, and on a warm, sunny day you have to find your spot early as you compete with families, tourists and teens. Several modern high-rise apartment building and hotels serve as an impressive backdrop to Gordon Beach. This beach is free to use and there is no shortage of accommodation in the vicinity. An upmarket restaurant and beach café serve as popular eateries right on the beach.
Popular with both locals and tourists alike this central beach is a series of well-manicured sandy crescents separated by rocky breakwaters. Not only do the breakwaters help keep the sand in place and protect the beach from the Mediterranean waves; they also rather conveniently divide the beach into three areas, all with their own character. To the north is the “Dog Beach” (Hof Haklavim), which as the name suggests is a dog friendly beach. The Middle Hilton Beach is one of the most famous gay beaches in the world, marked out by the rainbow flags. The most southerly section of Hilton Beach is often referred to as the Surfer’s beach. Although the area offers a variety of watersports from kayaking to paddle-boarding it does actually have some good waves.
Best Jerusalem Restaurants
Sarwa Street Kitchen $11 – 30
Brothers Mo and Mick Tahhan opened this cheery café in the space that was once their father’s travel agency with the vision of creating a gathering spot as comfy and as fun as your living room at home. Changing daily specials include maqloubeh, a Palestinian rice and chicken dish, or the bright orange knaffeh, the traditional cheese pastry soaked in syrup, for dessert. Excellent coffee, pastries, Wi-Fi, and in-house printers create a kind of co-working vibe during the day, but the wine list and excellent pastas also attract more serious diners later on. Telephone: 2 627 4626 Web: Sarwa Street Kitchen
1868 $30 & Over
1868 is Jerusalem’s most innovative, exacting kosher restaurant, on par with the city’s best. Jerusalemite chef Yankele Turjeman combines the flavors of the city with high-quality ingredients and exquisite cooking techniques to create an unforgettable dining experience. Most of the fruits and vegetables are organic, and the menu changes monthly to incorporate the best of the season. If it’s on the menu, don’t miss the charcoal-grilled veal sweetbreads, served with steamed slices of baguette and pickled onion. The duck is spectacular, served with fruits of the season. The whiskey selection is endless, as is the list of local Israeli wines. Cocktails are beautifully balanced. Telephone: 2 622 2312 Web: 1868
Eucalyptus $30 & Over
Grab a seat on the outside porch, adjacent to the Old City walls on one side and overlooking the picturesque Hutzot Hayotzer artists colony on the other. The appetizers are all tasty, but try the crepelike pastilla filled with duck confit and pumpkin jam, or the extraordinary stuffed mallow leaves (instead of the more conventional grape leaves). Two exquisite mains include traditional makloubeh with chicken and rice, and the clay-baked lamb with okra. Vegetarians will also find plenty of options, and there are a few tasting menus if you want to try it all. Finish with unusual desserts and herbal tea. Telephone: 2 624 4331 Web: Eucalyptus
Café Yehoshua $11 – 30
One of the restaurants that locals flock to for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Café Yehoshua offers an Israeli take on American diner food. The menu includes everything from tahini pancakes to spaghetti tossed with shrimp. A laid-back yet vibrant atmosphere and a location just a few minutes’ walk from the prime minister’s residence make it a great spot for some quality people-watching in one of Jerusalem’s quaintest neighborhoods. In good weather, the rooftop dining area lets you enjoy the fresh air. Evening is a great time to stop by for a drink and a bite-sized burger. Telephone: 2 563 2898 Web: Café Yehoshua
Talbiye $30 & Over
Talbiye is a cozy neighborhood restaurant and wine bar specializing in French-Israeli cuisine. The soundtrack of classical music during the day and jazz at night, as well as the rustic-chic decor, provide a sophisticated atmosphere for a solid clientele of politicians, judges, and Jerusalemite intelligentsia. Don’t miss the moules frites (mussels served with french fries) or the sea bream cooked in white wine, and finish off the rich meal with a baba au rhum, a small bundt cake doused in sweet rum. Telephone: 2 581 1972 Web: Talbiye
Best Jerusalem Nightlife
Whatever genre of music tickles your fancy, or your ears, or your feet – Yellow Submarine is the place to indulge in all of those musical pleasures. From jazz to funk to rock or folk, Yellow Submarine offers a performance stage, a sitting and standing area and a fully equipped bar. The sound is sublime too. Telephone: 2 679 4040 Web: Yellow Submarine
Set foot inside Gatsby and let the sounds of jazz, swing, and bubbly conversations enlighten your senses. Aromatic herbs swirl around you as you slip into the era of flappers and dappers. Cocktails at this 1920s speakeasy are brewed to perfection, justifying the bar’s slightly higher than normal prices. Telephone: 54-814-7143 Web: Gatsby
A tiny bar … a landmark institution … Sira Bar is hard to define. It’s frequented by students, so don’t be put off by its exterior either. The mini dance floor, DJs and beer will lure you into its magical world. If you’re a lover of Electronic beats and eclectic tunes, then Sira will thrill you right to the core and keep you coming back for more! Telephone: 2 623 4366 Web: Sira
Located next to the old neighborhood of Nahalat Shiva, the Toy Bar is a fantastic place for experiencing the Jerusalem scene and rubbing shoulder with some of Jerusalem’s locals. The bar regularly hosts parties for the student crowd too, luring them in with its vibrant atmosphere, comfy sofas and a wide variety of beverages. Telephone: 2 623 6666 Web: Toy Bar
Located in the chic Mamilla Hotel, the Mirror Bar is a perfect pick for a romantic date or cocktails with friends in a serene setting. Mirror bar attracts an assortment of people too, from tourists to businessmen, to native Israelis. Want an added bonus? Reflect on the cool cocktail list and get tasting, the food is sumptuous too. Telephone: 2 548 2200 Web: Mirror Bar