An Itinerary for Two Days in Jerusalem

Lee Saunders 18/06/2023

When you have 24-karat gold, you have pure gold in its most valuable and precious form. Widely referred to as the city of gold, Jerusalem never stops shining as a mecca of the ancient and the modern, blending an incomparable history with an often surprising contemporary and vibrant cultural scene. With so much to absorb and just two days to do it, you won’t want the key highlights to pass you by. In this blog, we have devised an itinerary to give you the best experience of two days in Jerusalem, whose flagship and off-the-beaten-path attractions also lie all within reach of the four splendidly luxurious and relaxing Dan Hotels.

Be organized
Situated just one train stop from Ben Gurion Airport, you can start a two-day Jerusalem itinerary with some thinking ahead and solid planning. Upon leaving the airport, head to the sign for the train station, where you can buy a temporary RavKav travel card from the automated machine. This can be used on the Jerusalem Light Rail, which can take the weight off any weary feet, and bring you to your chosen site. Download a few apps, such as Moovit/HopOn – which will show you transport times, lines and updates in the city – and Gett, for taxis-on-demand. Apps aside, the most important thing you will need is comfortable shoes!

Day 1: Morning: All you need to know
Start your journey by heading towards Jaffa Gate, one of the seven entrances to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old City. Take the Light Rail to Safra Square Light Rail station, less than a 15-minute walk away, and begin with a visit to the recently modernized Tower of David Museum, which impresses with its innovative multimedia exhibits and architectural design, all blending seamlessly into a 3,000 year old archeological park. Here, a fascinating multimedia journey will escort you through Jerusalem’s long, complex and colorful history. Since June 2023, new galleries have opened that trace the sanctity of Jerusalem and its religious significance in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with the gallery devoted to Islam particularly beautiful, located in a former mosque from the 13th century Mamluk period. If you want to just get started instead, buy a ticket at Jaffa Gate for the Ramparts Walk, two separate walks, both under 2 miles, and among the most rewarding activities in terms of history, beauty and a greater sense of the Old City

Afternoon: Old City – the highlights
Make your way through the Old City for a bite to eat at the Austrian Hospice, a pilgrims hostel of the Austrian Catholic Church, located at the corner of Via Dolorosa and el-Wad Street in the Muslim Quarter. Head upstairs to the famous Austrian café, sample the apple strudel and iced teas, and don’t forget the rooftop panorama from the 4th floor viewing platform. Afterwards, take a slow walk along the Via Dolorosa, the widely believed route of Jesus’ final journey, weaving your way through the labyrinth of narrow streets and religious sites in its four astounding and well signposted quarters: Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian. Spend a few hours exploring and visiting the holiest sites that have adorned TV screens, magazines, posters and postcards since forever and a day. Visit the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, and pray or leave a note in its ancient stones. Marvel above at the iconic golden Dome of the Rock, sitting on the Temple Mount, the third holiest site in Islam. Explore the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Just 15-minutes away is the Room of the Last Supper, where Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples, just adjacent to the Tomb of King David, a revered site for Jews.

Evening: Spectacular Night at the Tower of David
As you prepare to leave the Old City, head back towards Jaffa Gate and grab a ticket for the famous Night Spectacular, back at the Tower of David. Rest and enjoy this mesmerizing sound and light show, during which a sophisticated, innovative laser projection system will show a breathtaking video that will transport you back thousands of years, bringing to life the reigns of kings and queens who rose and fell, armies which fought for Jerusalem, and the holy landmarks that you have just witnessed.

Day 2: Morning: Life in Mahane Yehuda market
Less than 30-minute away on foot, from either the King David Hotel or Dan Panorama Jerusalem, is the legendary Mahane Yehuda open-air market. Breathe life into your soul with an amazing coffee at Power Coffeeworks, across the road, and then enter this bubbling cauldron of life, the essence of Jerusalem’s culinary scene. As locals buy their challah (braided loaves of bread for the Sabbath and holidays), fruit and spices, the abundance of market stalls and alleyways offer you unique mementos and a place to stop for a soft drink, or something stronger. Engage with the local sellers – many there for decades – and sample local delicacies, such as the amazing different rugelach pastries, originating in the Jewish communities of Poland, and savor the aromatic spices, and browse through stalls selling fresh produce and artisanal products.

Afternoon: Israel Museum
After lunch in the market, a 15-minute bus ride on the number 7 bus takes you to the must-see Israel Museum. Among the incredible range of artefacts and collections, you must see the renowned Shrine of the Book, housing the Dead Sea Scrolls, found in 1947 and in 1956 in eleven caves in the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea, and date to around AD 132 – 35. There is also the impressive outdoor model of ancient Jerusalem in the Second Temple period. Immerse yourself in art, archaeology, and Jewish history at the Israel Museum, undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Jerusalem.

Evening: Last stop, First Station
Less than a mile from the Old City and a five-minute walk from the Dan Boutique Jerusalem hotel sits the First Station complex (Hatachana Harishona), in the city’s downtown tourist and culture neighborhood. A major center of entertainment, culture and culinary delights awaits, with a mix of kosher, vegan and other restaurants – some of the city’s finest, all in one place – and also invites you to discover a whole world of adventures and activities for children and the whole family at the Children’s Station! Set in the former Ottoman railway station of Jerusalem, at Jerusalem’s First Station was originally the city’s first train terminal. Opened in 1892, during Ottoman times, the railway station connected Jerusalem with Jaffa and the coast in “just” a 4 hour-train ride.

The modern trains are considerably faster, bringing you from Yerushalayim/Yits’hak Navon station to the airport in 20 minutes. With two days at your mercy, you can take advantage of this itinerary, the many professional local guides, and assistance from the staff of all Dan Hotels in Jerusalem. Whether drawn to religious, architectural or historical significance, or you merely want to experience the mouthwatering food and buzzing nightlife, Jerusalem will leave an impression like no other place on earth.