3 Days in Jerusalem: Unveiling the Wonders of the Holy City
BY Lee Saunders DATE 15/06/2023
Standing at the crossroads of the ancient and the modern, few cities around the world can realistically claim to match the marvel that is Jerusalem. With thousands of years of history beneath your feet and above your head, it’s a must-see destination for any world traveller. Its sheer number of historic, and religious sites across Judaism, Christianity and Islam is unrivalled, while each neighborhood has its own distinct character and cultural attractions, making it challenging to narrow down activities for your stay. Here, we set out a full itinerary for three days in Jerusalem, all conveniently located within touching distance of the Dan Hotels, among the most splendid, luxurious and iconic in the city.
DAY 1: ANCIENT JERUSALEM
MORNING: WESTERN WALL AND TEMPLE MOUNT
The Western Wall, also known as the “Kotel” in Hebrew, comprises massive stone blocks that once surrounded the Second Jewish Temple. In the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, the Western Wall is the holiest site in Judaism, as it is the closest accessible point to the Temple Mount, the former location of the Holy of Holies, a term in the Hebrew Bible referring to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle, where the Ark of the Covenant was held.
Millions of tourists and pilgrims come here each year to stand amazed at this spiritual and archeological miracle, often placing written prayers and hopes in the cracks of the Wall, as it is customary to do. The Western Wall is not only a symbol of the Jewish people’s connection to their past but also a testament to the resilience and perseverance of Jerusalem throughout history.
After visiting the Western Wall, take a short walk to the Temple Mount. Completed in 691 CE, the Dome of the Rock is widely believed to be the site where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven during his Night Journey, as well as the location of the Binding of Isaac in Jewish and Christian traditions. Adjacent to the Dome is the Al Aqsa Mosque, which has been in use for more than 1,000 years.
LUNCH DAY 1: HOLY CAFÉ
Enjoy the authentic charm and warmth of Jerusalem’s local culture while indulging in a delicious and satisfying lunch at The Holy Café. This charming eatery, nestled in a picturesque neighborhood, is today’s lunchtime spot and a perfect respite from the bustling city center.
AFTERNOON DAY 1: City of David
Experience a world of archaeological wonders and historical significance as you take the afternoon to explore the mesmerizing City of David. Discover insights into the city’s rich history including Hezekiah’s Tunnels, through informative exhibits and artifacts.
King David’s Palace, the Pool of Siloam, and the recently excavated Pilgrimage Road await you above ground. Travel the same well-worn roads as the biblical and historic figures you have read about, and while, you will also need comfortable walking shoes to take these familiar paths, ensure your camera or phone is charged to capture this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
NIGHT 1: DEJA BU BAR
Peeking out of the bustling Nachlaot neighborhood is Deja Bu, a popular evening hot spot with locals and visitors alike. This cozy, intimate bar is the perfect spot for end-of-day dining or a delicious cocktail to reflect on a long day of sightseeing. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic martini or a fruity sangria, the Deja Bu has something for everyone.
DAY 2 PAST AND PRESENT
DAY 2 MORNING: ISRAEL MUSEUM
Featuring a number of excellent exhibits, the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book is an excellent attraction housing the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. The unique building was designed to resemble the lids of the jars in which the scrolls were found, including some of the earliest copies of the Hebrew Bible.
Another impressive exhibit here is the miniature version of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period. This intricate model is based on historical and archaeological research and depicts the city as it looked in the year 66 CE, just before the outbreak of the First Jewish-Roman War. It’s a fascinating and immersive way to learn about the history of Jerusalem and the Jewish people.
DAY 2 LUNCH: THE TETA CAFÉ
Make sure you stop for a bite at the Teta Café, whose menu is filled with classic Middle Eastern dishes, including falafel, hummus, shakshuka, and more. All the food is made fresh each day, using high-quality ingredients, and the bold flavors are delightfully satisfying.
DAY 2 AFTERNOON: CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE
The shining jewel in Christianity is undoubtedly the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, the church is a major pilgrimage site and home to two of the holiest sites in Christianity – the site where Jesus was crucified, known as Calvary, and the tomb where Jesus was buried and then resurrected. Check out the many mosaics, frescoes, and domes in the chapels and shrines within the church. Whether you’re a religious pilgrim, a history buff, a people watcher, or an architecture fan, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is an absolute must-see. Walk along the world-famous Via Dolorosa takes you through the city’s historic and picturesque Muslim and Christian Quarters.
NIGHT #2: THE GATSBY
This chic and elegant Gatsby bar lies in the city’s trendy German Colony neighborhood. With glamorous decor inspired by the 1920s, the Gatsby is a cozy, dimly lit, plush, and well-stocked bar and a classic experience in a more modern Jerusalem.
DAY 3: AN UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY
DAY 3 MORNING: Dormition Abbey
Dormition Abbey is believed to be where the Virgin Mary fell into a deep sleep before being assumed into heaven. Go inside and explore the Chapel of the Last Supper before continuing your Jerusalem adventures. From the Abbey, head down to the park and enjoy the beautiful plants, trees, and flowers that populate this area. Not far from the Dan Panorama Hotel, head over to the Montefiore Windmill. This historic landmark was built in the 19th century, and the cute shops, cafes, and other sites to see make this an ideal spot to stop and smell the roses.
DAY 3 LUNCH: STATION 9
Located in the First Station complex, just a short walk from the Dan Boutique Jerusalem hotel, the Station 9’s menu epitomizes the city’s diversity and is filled with classic and innovative dishes from across Asia, including sushi, noodles, stir-fries, and more.
DAY 3 AFTERNOON: MAHANE YEHUDA
Filled with vendors selling fresh produce, spices, baked goods, and more, the bustling marketplace known as Mahane Yehuda is an ideal stop to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Jerusalem. Sample Jerusalem’s most delicious and authentic foods and be sure to pick up some culinary gifts before heading back home.
If you’re still looking for final souvenirs, just pop over to Ben Yehuda Street, where you can find t-shirts, religious apparel, artwork and just about anything else you could imagine.
With so many attractions fighting for your attention, it is always difficult to tackle a thriving metropolitan area both enriched and damaged by history. And while just scratching the surface, this three-day Jerusalem itinerary will leave you with unforgettable memories, especially if staying at one of the top Jerusalem Hotels. If you’re looking for a hotel primed with luxury amenities and classical beauty alike, The King David Hotel is among the best hotels in Jerusalem, and well known in the world and has been there throughout. The Dan Boutique Jerusalem offers an excellent option, particularly for those looking to enjoy the ancient city along with the modern shopping and amenities offered by the nearby Mamilla Mall, while close to the Dan Panorama Hotel Jerusalem is the splendid Bloomfield Garden, one of the largest parks in Jerusalem overlooking the city.
Written by Lee Saunders