3 days in Jerusalem: Itinerary That Will Keep You Busy!

> July 27, 2023
3 days in Jerusalem: Itinerary That Will Keep You Busy!


While Jerusalem is home to the most historically significant monuments, it's a modern metropole that houses some of the greatest museums I've ever seen.

I had undoubtedly high expectations for Jerusalem. I expected a lively blend of cultures, rich history, impressive monuments, delicious food, and friendly people. And it did deliver in terms of friendly people and a rich history. The blend of cultures felt somewhat annoying, and the monuments were not as grand as I had anticipated. But what it delivered exquisitely were high prices and freezing weather. Maybe December is not the best time to visit Jerusalem after all...

However, looking over these minor hiccups, I would rate the overall experience 8/10. Most of the places I visited here (as you will soon too) are landmarks that a person should see at least once in their lifetime. But once is enough, if you know what I mean. But no more yapping, more Jerusalem talking!

How many days in Jerusalem do you need to fully enjoy the city? I think 3 days are ideal, but also 2 days would do the trick. It depends purely on how deeply you want to delve into the secrets of this modern city and historical hub.

You could also be interested in reading:

Day 1 of Jerusalem itinerary

Map of Jerusalem itinerary day 1
See the route of day 1 on Google Maps


Main sites visited on day 1: Old Town, Via Dolorosa, Austrian Hospice, Church of Holy Sepulchre, Mount Zion, The Room of the Last Supper, Western Wall
Restaurant tips: Pergamon | Falafel Uzi | The Culinary Workshop
Hotel recommendations: Leonardo Hotel | The Inbal Jerusalem | Prima Kings Hotel
Further reading: Israel Itinerary | Tel Aviv Itinerary | 28 Insider Tips for Israel


Day 1, stop 1: Old Town

Jerusalem Old Town in Israel

Let’s our Jerusalem adventure begin in Old Town!


Time spent here: 1 hour

Old Town is not only the heart of Jerusalem, but also the historical and cultural center that holds an incredible significance. And that's why you can't start your Jerusalem wandering anywhere else.  It has possibly the greatest offer of monuments far and wide and the most important holy sites in the world. From the iconic Western Wall to the majestic Church of the Holy Sepulchre, this place has it all. And you will see them, one by one, following this Jerusalem 3-day itinerary. Just be patient, okay?

But now just between you and me, my dear friends, however the monuments might be famous and hyped, they felt sometimes a little underwhelming. On the other hand, the Old Town with its four quarters was a big surprise, where the Arabic quarter stands out as the largest, and interestingly, the only one with fully armored police officers (cough, cough). I have to admit, I expected Jerusalem to be more Jewish than Arabic, but it just once again proved me wrong.


Streets in Jerusalem Old Town, Israel

Wandering around the Jeruslaem Old Town streets


Speaking of, I particularly preferred the Jewish and Christian parts of the Old Town. They felt cleaner, but came with a slightly higher price tag It felt funny that the quarters are literally a few inches away from each other,  yet the impression they left couldn't have been more different. But don't skip the Arabic part and the tasting of all the Arab sweets and fresh pomegranate to experience the essence of Jerusalem.

While the walls that surround the Old Town undoubtedly make an impressive sight, I couldn't help but feel that their purpose was purely functional—it's just a wall, nothing that impressive, okay? The eight gates looked cool, but there wasn't much to do apart from staring at them. Except for Jaffa gate, that's the most photogenic one—so, run there and take the perfect snap!

The Old Town of Jerusalem is a captivating area full of testaments to the city's history and cultural diversity. It has its ups and downs, some places you like, some you almost hate. But that's the magic of Jerusalem, I guess.


Day 1, stop 2: Via Dolorosa

Walking through the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, Israel

Jesus was forced to carry his cross down this street

Time spent here: 1 hour

We're staying within the area of Old Town, as we'll most of the time today, and we're going to walk, where Jesus walked. I know, goosebumps. But let's be for real, Via Dolorosa is a very, very significant place for religious people. This street was on the way, Jesus was forced to walk on his way to his crucifixion. Even I got chills when reading up on his last hike. But if you don’t know the story, you’d just think of it as a boring marketplace or an obvious tourist trap. Because it certainly looks like one.

Also, know that this isn’t one street, it’s bits of several of them, and it’s like a holy traffic jam! You’ll be led along by the Stations of the Cross—14 stops with paintings that mark significant moments along Jesus' path (where he was made to bear the cross, where he fell, where he fell again, where he was crucified, etc.). But here's the twist: each station is packed with pilgrims, locals, and enthusiastic tour guides, and people selling/forcing you overpriced souvenirs—I mean, who can resist a replica of Jesus on a keychain?

But amidst the chaos and commotion, don't let the vibrant marketplace atmosphere overshadow the significance of this sacred route. And if you happen to come across a Jesus souvenir that would be just right for you, who am I to judge. Just don’t wear the “I love Jesus” T-shirt to your visit of Temple Mount, thank me later.


Day 1, stop 3: Austrian Hospice

Austrian hospice in Jerusalem, Israel

Austrian Hospice


Distance from previous spot: 0 km/0 miles, 1 minute
Time spent here: 1.5 hour

We've walked for a while, so it's now time for a coffee stop! Okay, the primary purpose of this stop is not to have a good cup of coffee, but why not combine business with pleasure. The Austrian Hospice is the oldest Christian guesthouse in Jerusalem. This place is also known as The Austrian Pilgrim Hospice that served as a shelter for pilgrims from Austria traveling through the holy land.

There are two reasons why you have to pay Austrian Hospice a visit. Oh, three actually—I almost forgot on the famous apple strudel, that'll rock your world. Apart from this not exactly an Israeli delicacy, it's the atmosphere of the place. It feels like you found a secret little oasis of peace in the buzz hive. Not that secret actually, there were many visitors when I was there. But you don’t have to fight with your bare hands to get a spot. The place is huge with plenty of seating options—you'll get your strudel, no stress.

Even if this magnet didn’t lure you in enough, I reveal the magical roof with superb views card. The Austrian Hospice lies in the heart of Jerusalem's Old City you couldn't wish for a more astonishing setting.


Day 1, stop 4: Church of Holy Sepulchre

The Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel

The majestic Church of Holy Sepulchre can't be missed.


Distance from previous stop: 450 meters/0.3 miles, 10 minutes
Time spent here: 0.5 hour

We're not stopping on our way to see the best places to visit in Jerusalem even for a second. The next stop holds an immense religious significance. And it's such a nice building as a bonus! That's what I call multitasking. Both its beauty and importance mean only one thing. Lines that long, that if Jesus had to walk it to his crucifixion, he wouldn't probably make it. Well, he didn't anyways, but you know what I mean... I just wanted to say: don’t be like me, come early and don’t suffer.

It's the most sacred Christian pilgrimage destination. Millions of believers from all around the world visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher every year, probably trying to connect to Jesus (not sure the wifi was so good in Jerusalem, guys!). So, if you decide to visit during a significant Christian holiday such as Easter or Christmas, be ready for some serious waiting in lines with some slightly nutty individuals as well. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I just can’t get on board with this magic man mumbo jumbo, sorry.


Inside of the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel


The Church is now divided into six parts, each one of them belonging to a different Christian community. You see, multiple Christian denominations claim its rights to the site and have wanted the holiest place for themselves. This was a source of frequent conflicts and tension. So, since the 12th century, a unique arrangement has been in place, it's known as Status Quo. Now, everybody waters their plants on their part, and everybody is happy. As if everything was so easy in Israel, right?

Oh, and I can't leave out the spicy—and my favorite—fun fact: even though it's a Christian church and the holiest place of the religion, the keys to the church are owned by a Muslim family. Let that sink in, I’ll wait...


Day 1, stop 5: Mount Zion and The Room of the Last Supper (Coenaculum)

Mount Zion in Jerusalem, Israel

Mount Zion


Distance from previous spot: 1 km/0.6 miles, 15 minutes
Time spent here: 1.5 hours

Conveniently located right next to Jerusalem's Old City is a small, inconspicuous hill called Mount Zion. You can very easily walk there, and you won't feel like you wandered Sahara dessert. As you come out, you walk through Zion Gate. It's another of the 8 gates you can use to enter—or exit, duh—the Old City of Jerusalem. A little less impressive than the Jaffa gate, but still makes up for a catchy sight.

On Mount Zion a biblical thing or two happened, as you are already used to. Every pavement in Jerusalem had some historical mark. I can explain again its importance to Jewish people—burial place of King David, to Christianity—The Room of the Last Supper on the property, but for me, it was the convenient location and cool views. Otherwise, not that interesting.

  • Google Maps link
  • The Room of Last Supper: Open daily from 8 am–6 pm
  • Free entry


Day 1, stop 6: Western Wall

Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel

The Western Wall exceeded my expectations!


Distance from previous stop: 1 km/0.6 miles, 15 minutes
Time spent here: 0.5 hour

Last stop before you go to get rest after this rather busy day and charge up the energy for a no-less-busy tomorrow to Leonardo Hotel (the best hotel in Jerusalem). As the evening comes, it's time for prayer. Well, not for me, but let's move to the greatest praying site in Israel for Jewish people, that smacks you right in your face. With its importance and how spectacular it is!

I have to say, my expectations for the Wailing Wall (aka Western Wall) were sky-high—perhaps even higher than the wall itself. And without any further ado or an awkward drumroll pause, I can confidently tell you that it surpassed all expectations with flying colors, earning an A+ on my strict test! Western Wall is undoubtedly one of the most famous and important holy places in Israel for Jewish people. You can feel in the air this is a sacred spot.

Jewish people come to pray to this site and leave small pieces of paper with prayers or wishes in the wall's slits. The wall is also divided into two parts—men's and women's praying side. You can probably guess which part is bigger. So, there is the first rule: go to your designated section. To avoid any other unnecessary faux pas, here's the second utmost important rule. Don’t ever turn your back towards the wall! It’s disrespectful. Walk backwards if you must, but don’t be an uninformed tourist and check out some of my other tips for your Israel vacay.



Day 2 of Jerusalem itinerary

Map of Jerusalem itinerary day 2

See the route of day 2 on Google Maps


Main sites visited on day 2: Yad Vashem, The Israel Museum
Restaurant tips: Pergamon | Falafel Uzi | The Culinary Workshop
Hotel recommendations: Leonardo Hotel | The Inbal Jerusalem | Prima Kings Hotel
Further reading: Best Things in Akko | Day Trips from Tel Aviv | Israeli Street Food


The second day will be a museum day. Because if you traveled to Israel and have no interest in going to museums and learn about breathtaking yet complex and twisted history of 20th century, I don’t get you people. I understand that you might not be a history geek or whatever, but if you believe that you're not obligated to know that significant stuff, you are just stupid. Sorry, not sorry. And I know you, my favorite readers are conscious and smart people. So, let's dive in.


Day 2, stop 1: Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, Israel

Yad Vashem museum


Time spent here: 3–4 hours

The location of Yad Vashem is a little outside of the center. But don't worry, a one taxi drive will do. The taxis are not expensive in Jerusalem and we used them a lot. They are very affordable and available in most places—use a taxi. The trip to the museum cost us 60 shekels (USD 16), and that's a bargain.

Yad Vashem is a place that is hard to describe—it's beautiful yet heartbreaking at the same time. I expected a lot from Yad Vashem before I visited it, mainly because of its significance and the stories it holds. But little did I know that the emotional rollercoaster that was waiting for me would make my heart race and my thoughts whirl through the depths of human suffering and resilience. Let me tell you, it's more than just one of the best places to visit in Jerusalem, nay in Israel—it's an experience that you'll not soon forget.


The Hall of Names in Yad Vashem Museum, Israel

The Hall of Names


To truly understand and appreciate Yad Vashem's impact, I recommend setting aside at least 3 hours for your visit. You'll dive deep into the layers of history and try to understand the factors that led to the emergence and rise of antisemitism as a scapegoat for ignorance and poverty of people in the past. Just prepare yourself before your visit—you'll witness the haunting images of concentration camps and ghettos and especially emotionally charged Children's Memorial—an homage to the young lives lost during those dark and cruel times.

I consider myself to be quite an unemotional person, but the stories portrayed within Yad Vashem are depicted with an intense and undeniable humanity. It was an extraordinary experience that brought me to the brink of tears quite a few times. These were not just tales of the past—they were real stories of real people. And that can be hard to comprehend for a while.

Tip before you go: reserve a time slot online. There is free entrance, but it gets packed even during the offseason.


Day 2, stop 2: The Israel Museum

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem

One part of the Israel Museum


Distance from previous stop: 4.3 km/2.6 miles, 10 minutes by car
Time spent here: 3–5 hours

The next stop leads us to one of the largest museums I've ever visited. The Israel Museum is a behemoth, you can easily spend a half a day there if you're a real enthusiast. I managed to stay there for about three hours, but that’s because I'm a hyperactive fella. And keeping me busy even for three hours is something I applaud, they did a good job there! For real, The Israeli Museum and previous Yad Vashem are the top museums on my list, and I've seen my share of captivating exhibits in my time.

The Israel Museum proudly showcases over 500,000 works of art, ranging from ancient artifacts to modern masterpieces. But the museum's crown jewel, the Shrine of the Book, outshines them all. No, it's not a secret lair of literary superheroes, but it houses something even more extraordinary—the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. These ancient manuscripts were discovered about 80 years ago and they share some parts from The Old Testament—excluding the Book of Esther. There are some speculations about its faith. Either it had decayed over time, or it's still waiting to be discovered. Take a day trip to Dead Sea and channel your inner Indiana Jones archeologist—maybe you'll find the missing piece!


The archeological part of the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem

Indiana Jones vibe


And if you are not into archelogy—which this museum is promised land of—The Art Wing there has got you covered. You don't have to be an art snob to enjoy a nice piece by Rubens or Rembrandt. From European classics to modern and contemporary art, the Israeli Museum has an incredible collection.

So, based on your level of love for history, archeology and art, allocate as much time as you need. This museum can keep you entertained for the rest of the day. But now, there's only one thing on my mind. FOOD. Aren't you hungry already?

Restaurant tip: After nourishing your soul it's time to nourish your belly. And I know a great restaurant for that. The Culinary Workshop is an absolutely great place. I actually don’t have anything negative to say about this place, we had excellent food, the service was completely struggle-free, and we got shots on the house. What else could you wish for?


Day 3 of Jerusalem itinerary

Map of Jerusalem itinerary day 3

See the route of day 3 on Google Maps


Main sites visited on day 3: Temple Mount, Mount of Olives, Church of Mary Magdalene, City of David, Bethlehem
Restaurant tips: Pergamon | Falafel Uzi | The Culinary Workshop
Hotel recommendations: Leonardo Hotel | The Inbal Jerusalem | Prima Kings Hotel
Further reading: Holy Sites in Israel | From Israel to Petra | Israel Best Beaches


Day 3, stop 1: Temple Mount

Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel

If you’re not a Muslim, you only enter during very limited visiting hours!

Time spent here: 1 hour

First stop of our last day in Jerusalem. It's time to start the day with a mini hike and to walk a few minutes up to the Temple Mount.

Yeah, its religious importance couldn’t be probably bigger, but if you are not a part of religious community, like me, it’s just a seriously overhyped shack with a golden roof. That's it. It looks nice, but from far away does the work. And if you happen to be non-Muslim, you are probably not even getting in. Non-Muslims are forbidden from entering Dome of the Rock (aka the shack with a golden roof) or Al-Aqsa Mosque. So, that's that.

You can get to the Temple Mount for free, as to most of the monuments in Jerusalem. Good move right there, Israelis! Keep people interested and educated, you have my support.

The limited visiting hours of the Temple Mount complex for non-Muslims make it clear that while they say everyone is welcome, they might mean it with a disclaimer of “but not too much”. If you are not an early bird and want to sleep in at Leonardo Hotel (with those comfy beds who could blame you?), you can move your visit to the teeny tiny time window when it's open after lunch—depending on your intentions. My intention was just to get some epic views and superb sunrise from the top and it was hella successful.

According to our guide, all it takes is a little Jewish swaying action (as in prayer) and the whole of Palestine is on their feet and up to their teeth in armor. He said it in a funny way, but you could tell the atmosphere here is pretty darn tense.

  • Google Maps link
  • Open Sunday to Thursday 7:30 am–11 am and 1:30 pm–2:30 pm
  • Free entry


Day 3, stop 2: Mount of Olives and Church of Mary Magdalene

Visiting Mount of Olives in Israel

Conquer the Mount of Olives for jaw-dropping views and a heavenly history lesson

Distance from previous stop: 2 km/1.2 miles, 30 minutes
Time spent here: 1–2 hours

When I get to the Mount of Olives, only one thing came to my mind. Where the heck are those olives?! I have to warn you, so you're not as disappointed as I was—there were less olives than the patience Arabs have for Jews at Temple Mount. But if I forget this injustice I suffered, I can tell you this place is your answer to “What to do in Jerusalem?”.

To get to the top of the Mount of Olives, you'll sweat a bunch—especially in the summer! The summit of the Mount is 818 meters (2683 feet) high, so for some unfit people it can be quite a challenge. But once you make it to the top, take a five at the viewing platform. You'll be rewarded with possibly the greatest views over the Old City. The walk from the center won't take you more than an hour, even if you're the slowest hiker in the world.

And what's so special about Mount of Olives apart from the views? It used to be a Jewish burial ground, so you can wander among the tombs that hold secrets dating back thousands of years—I felt like Indiana Jones! The hill is also specifically mentioned in both Old and New Testaments, making it an important site for Jews and Christians. It was the stage for pivotal events like Jesus' fervent prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane and his awe-inspiring ascension into heaven. Talk about a front-row seat to biblical drama!

You'll find many significant monuments in the surroundings of Mount of Olives. But the one that stands out is a well-known religious landmark, the Church of Mary Magdalene. The sight of the building will amaze you and even hurt you (or your eyes if the sun catches the golden roof just right). But the inside feels like it's missing something, and it didn’t shake my ground at all. Never mind, I guess they wasted all their creativity on the outside of the church.


Mary Magdalene Church in Jerusalem, Israel

Mary Magdalene’s church—you can go inside, or you can admire it just from the outside like I did


Needless to say, Mary Magdalene’s church is a tourist magnet rather because of the legends that surround the place. Imagine Mary Magdalene's presence during Jesus' crucifixion and her extraordinary encounter with the resurrected Jesus—I can see how that would make worshippers run to be part of the holy gossip.

The opening time of the church is only 2 hours, three days a week. That's doesn’t exactly scream supercool and important monument, right? But be sure, you'll have to wait a while to get in. Remember: if the line is too crazy and you trust my judgement, you can just skip the interior and have fun outside.

  • Google Maps link
  • The Church: Open only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 am–12 am
  • Free entry


Day 3, stop 3: City of David

The ancient city of David archeological site in Jerusalem, Israel

The ancient City of David... and just wait until you see the underground tunnel system!


Distance from previous stop: 1.7 km/1 mile, 30 minutes
Time spent here: 3 hours

This next one is a true OG of the ancient cities, where kings ruled, prophets preached, and civilizations flourished. The City of David is a place where history comes alive that will knock your socks off. You’ll be exploring the remains of a grand palace and catching glimpses of the ancient private homes. It’s almost impossible not to be captivated by the sheer magnitude of the history that surrounds you when you walk through this place.

The City of David is an archeological site with an amazing location. You won't only discover the above ground excavation areas, be ready go also underground for this adventure—and get wet! While you wander through the underground tunnels, you can get into almost knee-deep waters. So, leave your best sneakers at home, flip-flops and shorts are the powerful duo you'll need.

The archeological site is simply breathtaking—and don't even get me started on the views! It’s located southeast of the Old City and nestled on Ophel Hill near the Western Wall, just waiting to reveal its ancient secrets.

Like most of the other monuments, you can visit The City of David for free. Only if you want to take a guided tour, you have to pay about NIS 35 (USD 10) for it.


Day 3, stop 4: Bethlehem

Bethlehem in Israel

This is the famous city of Bethlehem where Jesus was born


Distance from previous stop: 10 km/6 miles, 30 minutes
Time spent here: 2 hours


So, let's end this biblically and historically significant wandering through Jerusalem with a place that made its mark in the world too. Bethlehem is not exactly a part of Jerusalem anymore, but it's 30 minutes away by car, so it's manageable. You can either take a taxi for a few shekels, or public transport, which is also surprisingly convenient in Jerusalem. The city just wouldn’t stop top amaze me.

Bethlehem probably doesn’t need to be introduced that much. It's the legendary Bethlehem that takes the spotlight as the birthplace of a certain someone you may have heard of. Yes, that's right, the big guy with the beard and the red suit—Santa Claus! Okay, I'll try to keep my humor to myself. Bethlehem is the birthplace of none other than Jesus himself, earning it a spot on the holiest sites list for Christians around the globe.

To make it a little spicier, Bethlehem lies in the West Bank territory, and it gets political. West Bank is a place of ongoing Palestinian-Israeli tension but remains a symbol of hope and peace. It’s like walking through a doorway where history, religion, and modern-day challenges collide.


The West Bank territory in Israel

The West Bank territory


Is it safe to visit West Bank territory, though? Of course. Lately, there has been no significant escalation of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, so other than possible police check, nothing should surprise you there.

The star of the Bethlehem show is definitely the Church of the Nativity, where Jesus Christ made his grand entrance to the world. Check out the exquisite mosaics and sacred atmosphere. Having to navigate through the sea of enthusiastic believers is a little annoying, but I guess if anyone were to leave, they would probably unanimously vote me out. Just be prepared for some crowds—it's a popular spot. I wonder why that is...

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About me

About me

Hi! I’m Jan. I live in Prague, Czech Republic. I try to experience the best the world has to offer, and I don’t cease to be impressed. But if I’m not, I’m sure going to tell you! You can count on my full honesty and real opinions here. No bullcrap. I own and run several companies, which gives me great (but not unlimited) freedom to roam the world.  

I was first inspired to start this blog by my own experience of researching for upcoming trips—I often struggle with a lack of good information, accuracy, and authenticity of resources. You wouldn’t believe how many “travel bloggers” don’t even visit the destinations they write about! 

My goal with this blog is to provide you with complex and practical information so that you can plan your own vacation, complete with insights you’d only get if you visited the place. I also put together itineraries that are fully planned out trip guides.

Another aspect that drives this platform is my curiosity about the history, geography, politics, and economy of each country I visit, so I try to include this information in my articles, too. It’s always great to get the bigger picture, right? 

And just to be clear, I am not trying to compete with backpacking blogs or provide hacks for an economical and affordable experience. My vacations follow the standard pattern of traveling by plane, staying in good hotels, and renting a car on the spot to get around. I’m also always up for a fantastic meal, though I don’t shy away from local delicacies and street food, either.  

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