What are the best things to see and do in Jerusalem?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Dan Heching

Jerusalem offers a mixture of history, religion and gorgeous views like no other city in the world. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ tips for the five best things to see and do in Jerusalem:

1. Wander in the Old City. Just as Jerusalem makes Israel unique, the Old City is the heart of what makes this city so special. Divided into four quarters — Muslim, Armenian, Christian and Jewish — this bustling walled city is the birthplace of so many religious movements and historical traditions, it’s almost impossible to keep track. Notable sites are the Wailing Wall (or ‘Kotel’), the spiritual center for Jews; the Temple Mount with its emblematic Dome of the Rock, which is a Muslim holy site;  and the Via Dolorosa.
 
2. Swim in the Dead Sea.  Jerusalem is in a prime location not far from the Dead Sea. The lowest point in the world, this body of hyper-saline saltwater is a bizarre and breathtaking natural experience worth the 50-minute drive from Jerusalem (accessible by bus as well). As you float on the water, you’ll see the sweeping Jordanian mountains to one side and the desert on the other. The Dead Sea is famous for its mineral riches and therefore has several fantastic spas in the area, like the one at Ein Gedi.
 
3. Tour Yad Vashem. The world-renowned Holocaust remembrance museum is filled with excellent multimedia and high-tech displays, and is also in a class by itself architecturally: the space becomes increasingly claustrophobic as the war years rage on, soon opening up to a glorious view of Jerusalem and the surrounding Judean Hills. The tours are well run, but this can also be a museum to experience solo.
 
4. Follow Hezekiah’s Tunnel. For a truly archeological experience, explore the network of tunnels under the City of David, which once supplied water to the denizens above. The tour through the Biblical tunnels is an exciting one and meant especially for the more able-bodied. Bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet!
 
5. Mount of Olives.  For the quintessential view overlooking the Jerusalem skyline, head up to this holy site which is held sacred in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions. Notably, Jesus famously spoke on the Mount of Olives and the famous 3,000-year-old Jewish cemetery lies here.

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