Jerusalem is a city best appreciated on foot. By walking through the ancient streets, you'll feel more connected to the history of this iconic and holy destination. On these popular Jerusalem tours, you'll be accompanied by an expert local who will take you to all the best places.
Many excursions concentrate on Old Jerusalem, which is where you'll find many of the famous landmarks. Popular stops include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall and the room where the Last Supper was allegedly held.
For a fully rounded picture of the city, opt for an excursion that also takes in New Jerusalem. Here, you'll discover Yad Vashem and the Holocaust History Museum which honors the memory of Jews persecuted through the centuries.
Free walking tours are a fun way to explore if you're keeping an eye on your spending. There's no official charge – you just tip the guide what you feel the experience was worth at the end of the tour.
Jerusalem is probably the holiest place in the world, and with an accolade like that comes a whole lot of heritage. To get to know the real city, signing up for one of these historic Jerusalem city tours is a must.
The Christian Quarter is a great place to start. This is where you'll find the famous Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which marks the site of Jesus' crucifixion. You'll also see the Western Wall, the Jaffa Gate and the Citadel of the Tower of David.
Meanwhile, up on the Mount of Olives, you'll enjoy sweeping views of the old city. This area has been used as a Jewish burial site for thousands of years, so it has important religious significance.
Another site of note is the Dome of the Rock. This Islamic shrine lies at the heart of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is the oldest Muslim monument in the world. The rock beneath the dome is said to be where the Prophet Muhammad had his encounter with God.
You'll find the Dead Sea between Jordan and Israel – it's easily accessed from Bethlehem and is a popular destination for day tours. Renowned for their healing properties, the waters here are famed around the world. The high salinity levels in the Dead Sea make floating an effortless pastime.
The sea is 100 kilometers from Jerusalem, so additional stops are usually made to break up the journey. First up is Masada National Park where you'll see the sunrise over the desert plains. There are archaeological ruins to explore here too, with sweeping plateau views to enjoy.
Then you'll head to Ein Gedi in the Judean Desert. This idyllic oasis is home to a network of walking trails that take you to see stunning waterfalls that quench the thirst of the land. Keep an eye out for the birds of prey that often soar overhead.
The jewel in the crown is of course the Dead Sea itself. Here, you can indulge in a relaxing soak and float, rejuvenating your body after a busy day out.
Did you know that you can go and visit the birthplace of Jesus? Bethlehem is one of the most famous locations in the Bible, and this is your chance to see it in real life!
The subject of many popular Christmas carols, the little town of Bethlehem looks like a scene straight out of the holy book. On these Jerusalem tours you'll be exploring ancient and religious landmarks, following in the footsteps of Mary, Joseph and Jesus himself.
Built on the site of the stable where Jesus was born, the Church of the Nativity is the main draw. You'll also visit the holy place where Mary encountered the Angel Gabriel. The Chapel of Saint Catherine, Manger Square and the Milk Grotto are next up – all have solid Christian roots.
Bethlehem is located just 20 minutes from Jerusalem, which makes it a great destination for a day trip. Some tours add stops at the Dead Sea, Jericho and the Jordan River for a bit of a contrast.
The historic city of Jericho is another gem from the Bible and is packed with ancient monuments – some date back thousands of years. Popular with historians and religious travelers, Jericho is just a short distance from Jerusalem.
Jericho's most famous Biblical claim to fame is its ancient battlefield. The city is alleged to be the site where the Philistines and Israelites came to blows, with the latter emerging victorious. A far more peaceful place today, you can still feel the weight of history beneath your feet as you wander the modern-day settlement.
A highlight of your visit will be Zacchaeus' Tree. Legend has it that a tax collector once climbed this revered sycamore to watch Jesus passing by. Whether you believe this or not, the tree is still one of the oldest in the world.
You'll also see the Tell es-Sultan archaeological site, which provides a unique insight into Jericho's 11,000 years of history. These day trips also take in famous places like the Jordan River and the Dead Sea.
Another popular Biblical location is the city of Nazareth. Established way back in 2,000 B.C., this ancient settlement is one of the oldest on Earth. It's a culturally diverse place, with Jewish, Christian and Muslim sites of interest to explore.
As you stroll down the atmospheric streets of Nazareth, you'll feel like you've traveled back in time. The historical architecture has changed little over the centuries and makes for great vacation photos.
Top sights on your itinerary include the Church of the Annunciation and St. Joseph's Church – many of the attractions here are steeped in religion. If you're interested in learning about the roots of Christianity, this is the place to come.
These Jerusalem tours often take in the Sea of Galilee too. This is the lowest freshwater lake in the world and is a popular stopping point on pilgrimages. A final treat is the city of Tiberias where the waterfront and the Mount of Beatitudes are picturesque vantage points for viewing the famous sea.
Caesarea was one of the greatest Roman capitals in the world. Abundant ruins and a landscape steeped in legacy gives visitors a unique glimpse into the ancient past. The port city sits on the Mediterranean coast of Israel and was formerly an important Christian site.
Once conquered by King Richard the Lionheart and his crusaders, the Caesarea of today boasts a fascinating array of Christian and Muslim archaeological sites. Pontius Pilate ruled here during the time of Jesus, so Biblical influences are strong.
Top attractions in Caesarea include King Herod's Palace and the enormous Roman amphitheater, which is one of the biggest on the planet. There are lots of temples and towers to explore too.
During your day trip to Caesarea, you'll also stop at the city of Haifa to see the beautiful garden terraces. A visit to the historic sites in the seaside resort of Acre is also on the agenda. Finish your trip with a flourish at Rosh Hanikra where dramatic cliffs will take your breath away.
The West Bank has long been a politically controversial tract of land, sitting at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet despite past tensions, it's still a popular area for culturally curious visitors from around the world.
It's best to visit the region on one of the Jerusalem tours that are readily available from the city. You'll be in the safe hands of an expert local who will know exactly where to go and what to see. Bethlehem and Jericho are often included in the itinerary to make the most of your day out.
Across the West Bank, you'll come across dozens of historically important sites, including ancient monuments and religious landmarks. This is a place where you can feel the centuries beneath your feet.
You'll focus on Ramallah, which is the unofficial capital of the region. Here, you'll explore the charming streets and see Yasser Arafat's tomb. Enjoy views across the Jordan River and visit Qasr al Yahud where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
Golan Heights is a mountainous area beside the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. It's about 200 kilometers from Jerusalem, so tours here usually incorporate other stops along the way. Nazareth and of course the sea itself are popular choices.
The area presents quite a contrast from the ancient cities and urban monuments. Here, you'll discover a land of rolling hills where nature rules supreme. The views out over the Sea of Galilee are breathtaking, and up on Mount Bental you'll have a great vantage point over the Kuneitra Valley.
Follow your guide along local hiking trails to get to know this rural region. You'll learn about the natural and human heritage of the plateau and discover why land ownership here has been so hotly contested over the centuries.
There's plenty of history here too, with trenches and bunkers giving an insight into the past tensions between Israel and Syria. Ancient synagogues dot the landscape, while in the settlement of Katzrin you can visit the Golan Antiquities Museum.
Once you've ticked off the main Jerusalem tours, why not treat yourself to an overnight adventure that takes place in another country? Neighboring Jordan is a treasure trove of archaeological gems, with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra being the most famous.
Budding explorers can harness their inner Indiana Jones for escapades beyond their wildest dreams. Tucked away in a remote desert canyon in southern Jordan, the "Lost City" never fails to live up to expectations.
You'll get to see the Treasury carved into the cliff face as well as the Royal Tombs. Some trips go the extra mile and include a night under canvas in a traditional Bedouin camp. You'll eat around the campfire, listen to local folk tales and fall asleep beneath the starry night sky.
Other stops on the journey include Amman, where you'll stroll around the ancient citadel of Jordan's capital city. Here, the Umayyad Palace is a particular highlight. The towering Jerash Ruins are also on the cards – they give a glimpse of life in the Roman era.
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, and a popular destination for travelers interested in religious heritage. Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities have lived here for centuries, creating a unique cultural and architectural environment beloved by historians. Even if you're not into religion, it's a beautiful place to visit.
The city sits up on a plateau in Israel between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. Many people use Jerusalem as a base for exploring the wider region, with day trips to places like Bethlehem and Jericho being popular choices. You can even enjoy overnight adventures into Jordan from here if you fancy taking in favorites like Petra and Wadi Rum.
When it comes to historical sites, the offerings in Jerusalem are second to none. This ancient settlement is an archaeologist's dream, and excavations are still ongoing in some parts of the city. Exploring with a guide will ensure you'll get the most out of your experience.
The easiest way to reach Jerusalem from abroad is to fly into Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. You'll then take a land transfer to your destination. Buses and private shuttles are available – the road trip takes around an hour.
If it's your first visit to Jerusalem and you want to have the top sights on your doorstep, staying in the old town is recommended. Here, you'll be in the heart of history with a handful of family-run guest houses and hostels to choose from. Meanwhile, over in the city center, you'll find a greater range of boutique hotels, restaurants and bars.
Jerusalem is an easy city to travel around, with many of the major attractions best accessed on foot. Walking around the compact old city is indeed one of the most enjoyable pastimes here. For longer journeys, taxis are readily available, and there's a bus and light rail service too.
To respect local culture, it's advisable to wear modest clothing while visiting religious sites. The tops of your arms and legs should be covered so carry appropriate attire with you when exploring.
Entry interviews at the airport will likely be far more stringent than what you're used to. Don't worry, this is common practice but be prepared to answer lots of questions about your trip. Instead of a passport stamp, you'll be issued a paper visa – keep this safe as you'll need it for onward travel.
Walking tours of the historic center should be your first point of call when visiting Jerusalem. They are a great introduction to the city and will help you get your bearings.
For something a bit different, you can book an Underground Jerusalem tour and see ongoing excavations in the city. Original mosaic floors, foundation walls and ancient synagogues are the highlights of these trips.
Once you've ticked off all the Jerusalem tours and explored the surrounding area, consider taking an excursion to the Dead Sea, Bethlehem or Jericho. Day trips to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem are also available, with lots of museums and historic neighborhoods to discover.
There are plenty of free things to do in Jerusalem if you're watching your spending – a trip to the city doesn't have to be expensive. You can stroll around the old city quarters, visit the Western Wall and head up Temple Mount without paying anything. Over in New Jerusalem, the Yad Vashem museum is also free to enter.