Advance Planning

Three months before Search the calendar for events and festivals, as well as major holidays like Ramadan and Yom Kippur that might alter plans.

One month before Schedule guided tours of the Old City and book accommodation.

One week before Make reservations for concerts, shows and any restaurants that call for them. Order a Jerusalem City Pass online.

Resources

iTravel Jerusalem (www.itraveljerusalem.com) Extremely useful and comprehensive website operated by the municipality; includes itineraries.

Enjoy Jerusalem (www.enjoyjerusalem.com) Excellent source for recommended activities, restaurants, hotels and tours with an interactive map.

Go Jerusalem (www.gojerusalem.com) Handy tourist website with info on events, festivals, tours and attractions.

Israel Nature & Parks Authority (www.parks.org.il) Covers nature reserves and archaeological sites.

Jerusalem.com (www.jerusalem.com) Overview of the city, its attractions and events; includes virtual tours of important sites.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/israel-and-the-palestinian-territories/jerusalem) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Top Tips

  • Take religious holidays (and the weekly Shabbat) into consideration when planning your trip: many sites, shops, bars and restaurants will be closed, and accommodation prices can be much higher.
  • There's no need to spend your first and last night in Tel Aviv – Ben Gurion International Airport is only 45 minutes from Jerusalem.
  • Bear in mind that while walking is a great way to get around, the hills can be gruelling, particularly in summer.
  • It can be difficult to avoid talking politics with Israelis and Palestinians; best to avoid expressing viewpoints that are overtly critical, particularly with strangers.
  • Approach soldiers and police with caution. Remember that soldiers may not know you are a tourist.
  • You'll need several hours to a half-day to fully appreciate many of Jerusalem's sights. Best to streamline your itinerary rather than become overwhelmed trying to stuff things into limited time.

What to Take

  • Two-pin plug adaptor for charging laptops and mobile phones.
  • Portable charger to keep mobile devices working when out all day.
  • English-language books, to avoid their high cost in Jerusalem.
  • A bookmark or printout with a timeline of Jerusalem's historical periods.

What to Wear

Jerusalem is not Tel Aviv, where beach wear is de rigueur. However, outside of especially conservative neighbourhoods and religious sites where lightweight long pants and long-sleeves (or shawls for women) are required, you can generally wear what you like. In summer (June to August), the city can be extremely hot, so pack sandals, shorts and t-shirts. In winter – and even in spring and autumn – it can be surprisingly cold, so be sure to pack layers, including a jacket. No matter the time of year, you'll need a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and comfortable walking shoes.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date.
  • Ensure that you have the correct visas for any onward travel (eg to Jordan).
  • Keep informed of any political developments that could lead to tension.
  • Prescription medication that might not be available at your destination.
  • Check your bank's ATM withdrawals fees; they can be hefty.