Must see attractions in Palestinian Territories

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bethlehem

    Mar Saba Monastery

    A must-see on any journey through the Holy Land is Mar Saba Monastery, a bleak and beautiful 20km drive east of Bethlehem (beyond Beit Sahour). Women must view the phenomenal cliff-clinging copper-domed hermitage, founded in 439 CE, from the opposite slope, but men are permitted inside, where tours are available with one of the 15 monks in residence.

  • Sights in Bethlehem

    Church of the Nativity

    For the millions of pilgrims who descend on the Holy Land every year, the Church of the Nativity is the main reason for visiting Bethlehem. The church, believed to be built on the spot where Jesus was born, was originally commissioned in 326 CE by Emperor Constantine and has seen innumerable transformations since. A restoration project is underway to preserve the building. To really get the most out of a visit, negotiate a price from one of the handful of tour guides you’ll find milling about outside.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ramallah

    Yasser Arafat Museum

    Next to the ornate tomb of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is a new museum that bears his name. Divided into two parts, the first half traces Arafat's life alongside that of his Fatah movement and other Palestinian factions. Those less interested in Palestinian politics may prefer the second section, where Arafat spent his final years under Israeli siege from 2001 to 2004. The restored facility includes his bedroom, where khaki green uniforms still hang in the wardrobe.

  • Sights in Nablus

    Samaritan Ruins

    The ancient site of the Samaritan Temple is a 10-minute walk uphill from the village, via a locked gate: ring the intercom and a guard will let you through. Once you pay at the desk, you are free to wander around the site at your leisure. You’ll see the lowered floor that Samaritans say was the foundation of their temple, which was built in the 5th century BCE and only survived 200 years before being destroyed by the Maccabees (a Jewish rebel army) in 128 BCE.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jericho

    Hisham’s Palace

    A short drive north of Tel Al Sultan, this is a spot not to be missed. The sprawling winter hunting retreat of Caliph Hisham Ibn Abd al Malik must have been magnificent on its creation in the 8th century, with its baths, mosaic floors and pillars – so much so that archaeologists have labelled it the ‘Versailles of the Middle East’. It was not fated to last, however – it was destroyed by an earthquake soon after its creation.

  • Sights in Hebron

    Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs

    The focal point of Hebron for most visitors is the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Cave of Machpelah), known to Muslims as Ibrahimi Mosque (Ibrahim is the Muslim name for Abraham). The site is sacred to both Muslims and Jews – be aware of the strict security and separate prayer spaces for each. When coming from the Old City, you will need to pass through an Israeli checkpoint and show your passport.

  • Sights in Nablus

    Sebastia

    Sebastia is a collection of ruins above a village of the same name that is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the West Bank. A prominent settlement during Hellenistic and Roman eras, Christians and Muslims believe Sebastia to be the burial site of St John the Baptist. Situated on a hill with panoramic views across the West Bank, the site includes an amphitheatre (which once held 7000 people) and the remains of a Byzantine church.

  • Sights in Jericho

    Qasr Al Yahud

    At an isolated spot on the Jordan River, on the border between Jordan and the West Bank, stands the reputed spot of Jesus’s baptism by John, which began his ministry. John is said to have chosen the site because it was an important crossroads for passing traders and soldiers, but the same cannot be said today. Guarded by an Israeli checkpoint, the access road passes through minefields before reaching a car park, from which it is a short walk to the river.

  • Sights in Nablus

    Tell Balata Archaelogical Park

    Tell Balata is the remains of what is believed to be the first settlement in Nablus, the Canaanite town of Shechem, dating from the first and second centuries BCE. Shechem was orientated around a spring in the valley between two mountains, Gerizim and Ebal. Close to Jacob's Well, Tell Balata boasts some interesting ruins and an excellent – albeit tiny – museum.

  • Sights in Jericho

    Mount of Temptation & Monastery of the Qurantul

    One of Jericho's – indeed, the entire West Bank's – most impressive sights is the Monastery of the Qurantul, built on the spot where the Bible says Jesus resisted Satan after his 40-day fast in the desert. It is an incredible feat of engineering, cut into the cliff face with dramatic views over the Dead Sea to Jordan.

  • Sights in Nablus

    Jacob’s Well

    Near the entrance to Balata, the largest refugee camp in the West Bank, is the spot where Christians believe a Samaritan woman offered Jesus a drink of water, before he revealed to her that he was the Messiah (John 4:13–14). A Byzantine church destroyed in the Samaritan revolt of 529 CE was replaced by a Crusader church, which itself fell into ruins in the Middle Ages. The current church, St Photina the Samaritan, was built in the 1860s by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jenin

    Freedom Theatre

    Set in Jenin's refugee camp, the Freedom Theatre has persevered in the face of unimaginable odds, including the assassination of its founder, Juliano Mar Khamis, by masked gunmen in 2011. Palestinian filmmakers, actors and directors who worked in the theatre since it was established have also had to put up with significant Israeli restrictions on movement. Despite this, the theatre holds regular performances and visitors are always warmly received. Drop them an email to let them know you are coming.

  • Sights in Jericho

    Tel Al Sultan

    It is impossible not feel a sense of history strolling around the mounds and ruins at Tel Al Sultan, where remains of dwellings and fortifications dating back some 10,000 years have been unearthed. You will see what look like sand dunes and stairways (the oldest known stairways in the world); underneath, the layers of civilisation beneath go back even further into the mists of history.

  • Sights in Jericho

    St George's Monastery

    The spectacular St George’s Monastery is a must-see in Wadi Qelt, built into the cliff face in the 5th century. The paintings inside the main chapel are worth the walk, and parts of the original mosaic floors are visible below perspex screens. Up another flight of stairs there is a beautiful cave chapel. From the car park, it is a gruelling 10-minute hike to the monastery – expect to be hassled by donkey-taxi vendors the entire way.

  • Sights in Ramallah

    Dar Zahran Heritage Building

    One of Ramallah's oldest buildings, Dar Zahran was restored and converted into a gallery-cum-museum in 1990, and plans are now underway for a coffee shop on the upper floor. Built 250 years ago when Ramallah was little more than a hamlet, the building has photographs from as far back as 1850 and exhibitions of contemporary Palestinian art.

  • Sights in Jericho

    Inn of the Good Samaritan

    Located just off the main road from Jerusalem to Jericho, this site is associated with the popular biblical story about the Good Samaritan who, according to the parable, stopped to help a stricken traveller, dressed his wounds and took him to a nearby inn.

  • Sights in Bethlehem

    Museum of Palestinian Heritage

    This impressive museum in the new complex of buildings opposite Soloman's Pools is the personal collection of one man, Ishaq al Hroub, who gathered this remarkable selection of traditional Palestinian exhibits over five decades in his basement in Dura, near Hebron. Ishaq, whose collection includes everything from Ottoman-era pottery to traditional Bedouin wedding garb, is happy to guide tourists around the exhibits between 8am and 4pm.

  • Sights in Bethlehem

    Al Rowwad Centre

    Al Rowwad is buried in the narrow streets of Aida refugee camp and is best visited as part of an organised tour. The centre is a wealth of information on the history of the camp and the Palestinian refugee issue more generally. Solo travellers should email ahead.

  • Sights in Jenin

    Canaan Fair Trade

    Located 2km beyond Buqi’in, this olive-oil factory practises fair-trade policy with its farmers. A tour of the factory includes a tasting, and if you want to get to know the olive farmers, they can set you up with a homestay. A good time to visit is the first Friday of November, when the factory holds its annual harvest festival.

  • Sights in Taybeh

    Taybeh Winery

    Canaan, the son of Taybeh Brewery founder Nadim Khoury, began making wine in this modern facility below the Taybeh Golden Hotel in 2013 and now produces five wines, three red and two white. Guests are given a tour of the winery and can choose to sample either three (50NIS) or five (80NIS) wines, alongside food. It is best to email ahead.