Jerusalem is a place of religious pilgrimage. People travel from all over the world to visit the holy sites that exist here, and so you should take some time to see as much as you can. In 24 hours you are not going to be able to fit everything in, however, if you are prepared you will certainly be able to see a lot of what Jerusalem has to offer. This is our guide to spending 24 hours in Jerusalem.
Start the day as you mean to go on- in style. At Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport you can have a completely stress free arrival. The VIP services here are second to none. Once you arrive in the airport, you will be greeted by VIP Club staff. Whilst you relax in a VIP lounge, drink in hand, the staff will take care of everything- from security screening, to passport control, to collecting your luggage.
After your relaxing journey out of the airport, you can use Jerusalem Airport Shuttle to take you to your hotel. The driver will welcome you holding a sign with your name on it. Then sit back and enjoy the air-conditioned journey to your hotel.
So where is your driver taking you? The the Harmony Hotel of course! The Harmony Hotel is an Atlas Boutique Hotel, situated in the Nahalat Shiva district. The rooms are beautiful deigned, in a comfortable, modern and stylish way. The hotel contains a billiard room, games room and a library.
Breakfast- the most important meal of the day. Haba has transformed from a failing bakery to the best brunch spot in the city. My favourite is the fried ricotta gnocchi, served with zucchini, tomato and Kalamata olives. Haba is in the heart of the city at Machane Yehuda Market, and is in the perfect location to commence your day.
Haba, 119 Jaffa Road Jerusalem Israel +972 2623 3379
There is so much to see in Jerusalem, but not enough hours in the day. Here are the two areas we believe you should definitely make time to call on.
Haram Al-Sharif, otherwise known as Temple Mount, is one of the holiest havens on earth. Jews, Christians and Muslims regard this place as the site where Abraham offered up his son as a sacrifice to God, where Solomon built the First Temple for the Ark of the Covenant and where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven during the early years of him preaching Islam.
Hours: Open Sat-Thu 7.30am-10am & 12.30pm-1.30pm (Oct-Mar); Sat-Thu 7.30am-11am & 1.30pm-2.30pm (Apr-Sep).
Admission: Free (non-Muslims must enter from the Western Wall gate)
Location: Entry from Western Wall Plaza, Old City
Another site of religious pilgrimage is the Wailing Wall. This is the surviving wall of Jerusalem’s First Temple. The Wailing Wall got its name due to the people lamenting over the loss of the temple in AD 70. When visiting the Wailing Wall (or the Western Wall) you can also explore the Jewish Quarter of the Old City- which was destroyed during the Israeli-Arab fighting in 1948 and extensively rebuilt since 1967. You can also visit the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, where archaeologists have discovered incredible remnants of the old Jerusalem.
Location: Western Wall Plaza, Old City
After a morning of holy discovery, it is time for some lunch. However, this does not mean that you have to halt your cultural crusade. Continue to explore the civilization of Jerusalem by dining at Little Jerusalem at Beit Anna Ticho. Beit Anna Ticho is nestled down an alley behind one of the busiest streets in the city centre. This restaurant is a living piece of history, as the house it is situated in holds a historical museum and an art collection. The food is as exciting as the setting, and I highly recommend the onion soup served in a sourdough bowl.
Little Jerusalem Restaurant at Beit Ticho Museum, HaRav Kuk St 9, Jerusalem, Israel, +972 2-624-4186
Lunch over, it’s time for some shopping. If you want suburban indoor shopping, then visit the Jerusalem Malcha Mall. When it opened- over twenty years ago- it was named ‘The Biggest Mall in the Middle East’. It does not hold this title any more, however it is still huge, with over 250 stores. These include Israeli stores such as LaTzarchan (the same department store as on Zion Square), and the Mega supermarket, and international stores such as Zara. Aside from shops, the Mall also houses restaurants, a synagogue, post office, bank, arts and crafts workshops and an indoor skating rink (during the winter months).
If you want a more authentic shopping experience, then visit the Old City’s Arab Shuk. Located in the Muslim and Christian quarters, you will find authentic clothing and foods and household wares, as well as souvenirs. Remember- you are in a market place, so haggle!
All this shopping and sight seeing has built up an appetite. After leaving your spoils at the hotel, head down to Majda. Majda is slightly outside of Tel Aviv, located in a small village called Ein Rafa, way up in the Judean Hills, but it is well worth the journey. The restaurant is run by Michal and Yaakov, a husband and wife team. Michal is the culinary genius in the kitchen, whilst her husband Yaakov is the magical host out front. The seasonal menu changes every day, but they will always be offering up spectacular, home cooked, enchanting meals.
Majda, Ein Rafa, Jerusalem, Israel (00 972 2 579 7108)
Finally, the day is drawing to a close. But it doesn’t end here. Now- it’s time for drinking and dancing! If you want to relax in a hip hotspot favoured by locals, then Kuli Alma is the place for you. The walls are covered in commissioned graffiti, the music is chilled out and the whole vibe is cool.
St 10 Mikve Yisrael. 03-6565155
If you fancy somewhere a little more upbeat, then go to the Parisian style bar Par Derriere. This is a little wine bar in Tel Aviv, and it is the place to see and be seen.
4 King George St. 03-6292111
For a wild party, Milk & Breakfast Club is where you need to be. The club hosts DJs from Israel and beyond to play for a the young, exciting and adventurous crowd.
6 Rothschild Blvd
That’s the end of your time in Israel. Spend the next few hours as you wish- whether that be resting in your beautiful hotel room, or dancing the night away into the early hours.
5 Quirky Things You Didn’t Know About Jerusalem
- Throughout Jewish History, Jews have wanted to be buried on Mount of Olives. It is estimated that there are about 150,000 graves there, dating all the way back to the 15th Century.
- King David was buried on Mount Zion
- The First Temple was overseen by 3,300 men and built by 150,000 Jewish workers.
- On average, 1,100 tonnes of trash are picked up and thrown away and over 8,500 km of road are swept daily.
- There is a replica of Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell in a park in the tony Talbieh area of Jerusalem.