Top things to do

Top Choice Middle Eastern in Bethlehem

Afteem

A Bethlehem institution for decades. Top-notch hummus and masabacha (warm hummus with whole chickpeas) are dispensed to locals’ delight, just down the ramp from Manger Sq. For something a little different, go for a …
Church in Bethlehem

Church of the Nativity

Though many have argued over whether X (or, in this case, a star) really does mark the spot, the Church of the Nativity nevertheless makes an imposing marker for the birthplace of Jesus. Also called the Basilica of …
Palace in Bethlehem

Herodium

King Herod’s spectacular fortress-palace, Herodium, built between 23 and 15 BCE, was known through the centuries to Arab inhabitants as the Mountain of Paradise.Even from a distance, you won’t miss the site: it rise…
Monastery 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). This phenomenal cliff-clinging copper-domed hermitage, founded in 439 C…
Religious Site in Bethlehem

Rachel’s Tomb

In a desolate corridor created by Israel’s separation wall, near the main checkpoint into town on the Israeli side of the wall, stands Rachel’s Tomb. Another Bethlehem sojourner during labour, Rachel is said to have…
Park in Bethlehem

Solomon’s Pools

A prominent site in the Al-Khader area is Solomon’s Pools. During Roman times a system of springs filled three mammoth rectangular reservoirs supplying water via aqueducts to Jerusalem and Herodium. King Solomon enj…
Church in Bethlehem

Al-Khader Church

Just outside Bethlehem, on the road to Hebron, Al-Khader Church is dedicated to St George, famous enemy to dragons and patron saint of travellers and the sick. St George is also known as the patron saint of Palestin…
Park in Bethlehem

Shepherds’ Field

If you’ve always wondered where exactly ‘shepherds watched their flocks by night’ (Luke 2:8), drop into Shepherds’ Field, a parklike area just outside Beit Sahour, to see for yourself. While the Beit Sahour Shepherd…
Church in Bethlehem

Milk Grotto Chapel

A short walk from Manger Sq is the lesser-known Milk Grotto Chapel. The white rock inside this stony chapel is said to bring milk to a mother’s bosom and enhance fertility in women who swallow a morsel of the chalky…
Sandwiches in Bethlehem

Peace Center Restaurant

This spacious, central spot is great for a light snack or something more refined such as Mediterranean salmon or shish tawooq (chicken skewers). The restaurant has daily specials, including traditional Palestinian d…