Day One

  • Old City

Start day one queuing for the Temple Mount/Al Haram Ash Sharif (there are two limited access periods per day for non-Muslims), whose Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque make it the third holiest site for the world's Muslims. Exit via one of the northern gates. Grab a bottle of water and head to Jaffa Gate for the 11am Sandemans free walking tour, which provides an enriching overview of the Old City.

  • Lunch Sample exceptional hummus at Abu Shukri.
  • Old City

Meander to the majestic Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where it's said Jesus was crucified and buried, and take in the scene, architecturally, historically and religiously, along with pilgrims, priests and other tourists. Wander the souq and alleyways of the Christian and Muslim quarters at your leisure.

  • Dinner Leave the Old City by Jaffa Gate and have a creative Bible-themed dinner at Eucalyptus.
  • Old City

If you have the energy, pop back through Jaffa Gate and settle in for the mesmerising sound and light show at the Tower of David (you need to prebook). Top off an exceptionally full day with Old City views and a cocktail at the Mamilla Rooftop Restaurant.

Day Two

  • Jerusalem

Begin early at the vast, world-renowned Israel Museum, where you need a good half day to begin to do it justice. Check out the Dead Sea Scrolls, the reconstructed synagogues and fine art collection, among other exhibitions.

  • Lunch Take it easy on the outdoor patio at the Modern, the Israel Museum's exceptional restaurant.
  • Downtown

Approach the Western Wall (pre-book for the Western Wall Tunnels tour), Judaism's holiest prayer site, and after taking in the fascinating scene, lose the afternoon in labyrinthine Jewish Quarter alleys, pausing for panoramic views from Hurva Synagogue, and shopping and haggling in the Muslim Quarter's atmospheric souqs.

  • Dinner One of Mahane Yehuda's best restaurants is appropriately enough called Machneyuda. If you can't get a table, try Yudale across the street.
  • Downtown

Continue the night at Machneyuda's always-packed bar or grab a drink at one of the other fashionable restaurants on the same street. Walk back to the market's aisles, now a lively bar scene, and make a night of sampling beers at Beer Bazaar.

Day Three

  • Jerusalem

On day three, board the light rail for a sobering and enlightening trip to Yad Vashem, where you'll need several hours to absorb the museum's multimedia exhibitions about the Holocaust and walk through the various memorials. It has a cafe where you can take a break.

  • Lunch Returning from Yad Vashem, disembark at Mahane Yehuda Market for a smorgasbord of Middle Eastern speciality bites. Try for a sit-down meal of kibbeh at the long-running Morduch.
  • Old City

Find your way to the City of David, one of the city's most significant (though controversial) archaeological sites. Take a tour of the Givati parking lot excavation and wade through Hezekiah's tunnel (bring flip flops and a bathing suit). If time allows, head through the subterranean tunnel into the Old City at Robinson's Arch and the Davidson Centre.

  • Dinner Make your way to downtown for an outdoor meal at sophisticated Cafe Menza; if they're booked, Café Bezalel is next door.
  • Downtown

Start the evening next door to Menza at Nocturno Live for whatever live performance is happening that night. Afterward, make your way to Rehov Ben Sira or Joseph Rivlin St for a evening of bar hopping.

Day Four

  • East Jerusalem

Dedicate day four to East Jerusalem. Begin by taking in the politically minded contemporary art at the Museum on the Seam and then stop for a coffee in the bucolic garden courtyard at the American Colony Hotel. Only a few blocks away is the thought-provoking Palestinian Heritage Museum. If you have time, stop in to browse the excellent selection of English-language books at the Educational Bookshop.

  • Lunch Enjoy satisfying portions of Palestinian specialities at the relaxed Sarwa Street Kitchen.
  • East Jerusalem

Tour the Mount of Olives, the location of momentous biblical events, making time for the cavernous Tomb of the Virgin Mary, the Garden of Gethsemane and the evocative Church of All Nations nearby. Entering the Old City via Lions' Gate, walk in the footsteps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa.

  • Dinner Spend the early evening warming up in the German Colony's sophisticated sidewalk cafes before heading to lively First Station complex for a meal at Adom.
  • German Colony & Southern Jerusalem

After dinner, you might want to stay at First Station for a drink at or head next door to JVP Media complex housing Yellow Submarine (live music), Justice Club (dancing) or the swanky bar at HaSadna.