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Epic 2 days in Jerusalem itinerary – Top Things to do

Why Israel? Isn’t it dangerous? What are you going to eat? Are you going to Jerusalem also? Are you on a pilgrimage? Such were some of the questions that bombarded us. Sure, Jerusalem is a holy city for the 3 major monotheistic religions of the world but this one is a contrasting journey of the current Jerusalem and the Old walled city. So let us see the incredible 2 days in Jerusalem itinerary. Actually, if there is time even 3 or 4 days in Jerusalem will be most enjoyable when you can include Bethlehem and other nearby cities

The Dome of the Rock or Kippat ha-Sela, Jerusalem

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4000 years of Jerusalem

Jerusalem itself has been more or less continuously inhabited for the last 4000+ years. The original city, inside the walls, was just about one square kilometer. Now it has grown to 125 Sq KM. Quickly mounting the Mt. Scopus we see before us a sweeping view of the old city. Dome of the Rock shines at its best and Holy Sepulchre stands at a distance.

Almost all the buildings sport a similar color and architecture owing to two reasons. One, by a rule the owners are advised to use the Dolomite stone which is available in abundance in this region and two, to have arched windows on the façade.

We have made the 2 days in Jerusalem itinerary based on our experience and also what tourists and pilgrims want to see in 48 hours.

View of Walled city of Jerusalem from Mount Scopus (Mount Olive). Dome of rock is prominently visible.

Yad Vashem, Holocaust Memorial

We descend and drive towards Yad Vashem, some distance away, the biggest memorial in Israel to the holocaust victims, on a hill suitably called the Mount of Remembrance.

Hall of names at Yad Vashem or the holocaust museum | Jerusalem 48 hours |

This is not only a memorial for the 6 million Jews who lost their lives in the holocaust; this also works as a research and education center on the holocaust. Entering one room after another we have goosebumps that stay till we step out of the museum. Artifacts, books, clothes, footwear and other belongings bring tears in our eyes. The last room, the Hall of Names, has files and files containing the names of the heroes.

The Children’s Memorial at Yad-Vashem or the holocaust museum

Goosebumps start all over again when we enter the memorial for all the 1.5 million children who lost their lives to the mindless killings. Projected on the glass are the photos of the young boys and girls and in the background we can hear their names, age and country of origin. Millions of reflections of twinkling lights, which actually originate from just 5 candles kept at various angles using mirrors, intensify the grief. There is also a memorial named Righteous among the nations, for all those non-Jews who risked their lives and helped Jews at their time of plight.

Anish Kapoor’s Turning world upside down at Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Jerusalem can also be called the city of museums! The Israel Museum, one of the biggest, is our next stop.

The first thing we notice about Israel Museum is that it looks like an open air museum. The 20-acre campus sprawls across the lip of central Jerusalem’s Valley of the Cross and is divided into three sections featuring an impressive variety of around 50,000 collections from prehistoric archaeology to contemporary art of today.

Miniature Walled city of Jerusalem at Israel Museum, Jerusalem in 48 hours |

A mini Jerusalem, a model of Jerusalem city depicting its topography and architectural character in the Second Temple Period, greets us with historical context to the Shrine’s presentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Among the highlights of the Museum, is the Shrine of the Book resembling the lids of the jar which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world.

While the most interactive is the children’s wing with its multiple workshops, the Art Garden is clearly a winner. It displays the evolution of the modern western sculptural tradition. An Oriental landscape combined with Jerusalem hillside, the garden serves as a platter to sculptures by international masters such as Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Mark Dion, James Turrell, Israeli artists Benni Efrat and Menashe Kadishman and India’s Anish Kapoor. Anish Kapoor’s Turning the World Upside Down is the real leader.

A street in Walled City of Jerusalem

Walled city of the old Jersulaem

Closer to the old city, just outside the Zion Gate, lies the historic Mount Zion. King David is said to have set up his palace and the City of David here, in around 1000 BC. We can see the Tomb of King David, the room where Jesus had the Last Supper (the cenacle), place where he regularly met his disciples, and also Dormition Abbey, where Virgin Mary fell into an eternal sleep. On the slopes is the grave of Oskar Schindler and is perhaps the most visited grave in Jerusalem.

The Tower of David museum, besides presenting Jerusalem’s history, has a sound and light show. Night Spectacular is billed as one of its kind in the world! Suddenly the dead stones of the citadel seem to come to life at night and we are transported many centuries in the past.

Western Wall or the wailing wall, Jerusalem. See the golden Dome of Rock on the top left

Western Wall or the Wailing Wall

A visit to Jerusalem is not complete without following the paths of countless pilgrims of the 3 religions. One of the walls surround the temple mount, the Western wall, is the most sacred place for the Jews. The wall and the adjoining plaza is in two separate parts for men and women. It is also called the Wailing Wall since many worshippers come here to mourn the destruction of their temple several centuries before. It is believed wishes and prayers written on slips of paper stuck in the crevices between the stones will come true.

This is probably the highlight of our 2 days in Jerusalem itinerary.

A set of stairs leads us to a vantage point from where the golden Dome of Rock is visible. It is situated on the temple mount and is perhaps the oldest Islamic architecture. It is believed that Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from this spot.

Via Dolorosa, the Route of Sorrow

A few hundred meters inside Lions Gate is the starting point of Via Dolorosa which literally means the “way of sorrow”. It is believed to be the route taken by Jesus on way to his crucifixion. Today is Friday and we follow the procession taken out by the priests of various Christian domains.

Station #9 Last point of Via Dolorosa. All other stations are believed to be inside Holy Sepulchre Church

The route starts from the church of flagellation where Pontius Pilates pronounced Judgment on Jesus  to the ninth station just outside the Holy Sepulchre Church, depicting the place where Jesus falls the third time. One priest recites what happened at each station of the cross. Other stations, including crucifixion sites, are all inside the church of Holy Sepulchre, the holiest place for Christians.

Street Market, Walled City, Jerusalem in 48 hours |

The streets of the walled city seem to be like one big bazaar! Most of them geared to entice the tourists with their beautiful wares. Exquisite ceramic works claimed as original Armenian in one shop vying for attention with another selling souvenirs. So are those selling religious artifacts and clothes. Our favourite, however, is in the Muslim Quarters near Damascus Gate where they sell aromatic spices of all types. This is where we had one of the tastiest falafel.

We found that the emotional Via Dolorosa and a change of scene to crowded markets is a must in the 2 days in Jerusalem Itinerary.

The Mammilla Mall, Jerusalem 48 hours |

Mammilla Mall

Once a street bazaar now called the Mammilla mall was once a street bazaar but is now home to modern shops, premium brands, fashion chains and posh restaurants. The archeologists had numbered many of the original stones from the demolished bazaar, which were later used in the new mall. More on each of these will come in separate posts.

Tour of Jerusalem on Segway

We decide to take a ride on Segway to explore the area. After YMCA Tower observation point, archeological museum and Artists Colony where Artists open their studios to public; comes the Teddy park!
It is a huge patch of green in the stone city. Then we see something absolutely out of place here but not so in Netherlands. A Windmill! A nice way to end the 2 days in Jerusalem itinerary, don’t you think?

In conclusion, whether you are in search for inner peace as a member of one of the three major semitic religions of the world or you are a history buff  who wants to experience word war atrocities this is the place to be in. Maybe you are on a pilgrimage tracing the biblical places. Jerusalem has it all.

You may also want to know what all points of interest are in Jerusalem.

Useful Information on 2 days in Jerusalem Itinerary

Guided Tours in Jerusalem

The old city may be covered on foot by yourself. However a guided tour by professionals will enhance the tour experience by many folds.

Guided Tours in Israel by Get Your Guide!

Where to stay in Jerusalem

When it comes to stay, Jerusalem has it all. From hostels to super luxury hotels one can take a pick based on the budget. We stayed at Leonardo Jerusalem and Jerusalem Gardens Hotel and Spa. Both were excellent, even during Shabath. For more options on accommodation please click the link below. : Hotels in Jerusalem . Book your hotel now!

Tips on Jerusalem Travel

  • Plan Ahead: Research and plan your itinerary, including must-see sites like the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On some days the walled city may get too crowded and on others there may be restrictions, especially on Fridays.
  • Dress Modestly: Respect local customs, especially when visiting religious sites. Modest dress is required, so bring appropriate clothing.
  • Stay Hydrated: Jerusalem’s climate can be hot and dry, so carry water with you at all times. Don’t forget to taste their awesome orange juice!
  • Be Security Conscious: Always have your passport handy for security checks, and be aware of the security situation and sudden turn in the events.
  • Respect the Sabbath: From Friday evening to Saturday evening, many businesses including public transport, close for Shabbat, so plan accordingly
  • Try Local Cuisine: Don’t miss out on local dishes like falafel, shawarma, and shakshuka.
  • Use Public Transport: Jerusalem has a good public transport system, including trams and buses, which can be a cost-effective way to get around. However beware that On Sabbath they don’t operate.
  • Visit Markets: Explore local markets like Mahane Yehuda for a taste of local life and fresh produce
  • Learn Basic Hebrew or Arabic: Knowing a few phrases can go a long way in enhancing your experience.
  • Stay Flexible: Be prepared for unexpected changes in plans due to weather, holidays, or political situations.
  • Stay in Central Locations: Choose accommodations in areas like the Old City, Mamilla, or downtown Jerusalem to easily access major attractions and vibrant markets.
  • Explore the Old City: Don’t be afraid to dive into the maze-like streets of the Old City to discover ancient landmarks, bustling souks, and hidden gems around every corner.
  • Respect Photography Rules: Some religious sites in Jerusalem prohibit photography or have specific guidelines. Always respect these rules to avoid causing offense. If in doubt, ask.

Tidbits on Visiting Jerusalem

  • City of Gold: Known as the “City of Gold,” Jerusalem’s historic significance spans millennia, with archaeological treasures waiting to be unearthed amidst its ancient streets.
  • Holy Land Hub: Jerusalem serves as a focal point for three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, making it a magnet for pilgrims from around the globe.
  • Old City Wonders: Within the walls of the Old City lie some of the world’s most revered religious sites, including the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
  • Cultural Melting Pot: Wander through Jerusalem’s neighborhoods to experience a vibrant tapestry of cultures, from the Armenian Quarter, Christian Quarter, Jewish Quarter to the bustling markets of the Muslim Quarter.
  • City of Contrasts: Jerusalem juxtaposes ancient traditions with modern developments, where centuries-old rituals coexist with contemporary art galleries, cafes, and innovative startups.
  • Gastronomic Delights: Explore the city’s culinary scene, where traditional Middle Eastern flavors mingle with gourmet cuisine, offering a feast for the senses in every bite.
  • Spiritual Sanctuary: Seek solace in Jerusalem’s serene gardens and sacred spaces, where moments of reflection and prayer offer respite from the city’s bustling energy.
  • Living History: From the remnants of ancient civilizations to the scars of recent conflicts, Jerusalem’s streets echo with the whispers of history, inviting visitors to unravel its multifaceted past.
  • Mount of Olives: Ascend the Mount of Olives for breathtaking panoramic views of Jerusalem’s skyline and to visit sites of religious significance, including ancient Jewish cemeteries and historic churches.
  • Gateway to the Desert: Beyond its city limits, Jerusalem serves as a gateway to the rugged beauty of the Judean Desert, where adventurous travelers can hike ancient trails and discover hidden oases.

More Stories on Israel for you

FAQ on 2 days Jerusalem itinerary

Is 2 days in Jerusalem enough?

Two days in Jerusalem can give you a good taste of the city’s highlights, but it might feel a bit rushed, especially if you want to explore the historical and cultural sites thoroughly. If you have specific interests or want to delve deeper into certain aspects of Jerusalem’s history or culture, you might consider extending your stay for a more comprehensive experience. Do get in touch with us if you need more help.

Can you do Jerusalem as a day trip from Tel Aviv?

Absolutely! Experience the timeless allure of Jerusalem on a captivating day trip from vibrant Tel Aviv. It is just about 66 KM and takes around 1 to 1.5 hours. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can get there, and even in a short time, you’ll see why Jerusalem is so special. It’s like getting a sneak peek into its incredible history and spiritual importance, and you’ll definitely remember it. If you need a 1-day itinerary for Jerusalem, you may create yourself or get in touch with us at

What is the best way to see Jerusalem? How to get around Jerusalem?

The best way to explore the walled city of old Jerusalem is on foot, immersing yourself in its ancient streets and landmarks like the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Joining a guided tour ensures you don’t miss any highlights while learning about the city’s rich history and culture. However to visit Yad Vashem, Israel museum etc you may need to take cab or the light rail.

What can’t be missed in Jerusalem’s Old City? 

Visit the Western Wall, walk the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and explore the vibrant bazaars. Read our article above to know more.

Is the Tower of David worth visiting? 

Absolutely, the Tower of David, also known as the Citadel, offers breathtaking views and a deep dive into Jerusalem’s history through its museum. The Byzantine Christians, who believed the site to be the palace of King David. Tower of David is also the venue for benefit events, craft shows, concerts, and sound-and-light performances.

Where can I experience Jerusalem’s nightlife?

The Mahane Yehuda Market transforms at night with bars and live music, offering a unique blend of culture and fun.

Can I tour the underground Western Wall Tunnels?

Yes, the Western Wall Tunnels provide a fascinating glimpse into ancient Jerusalem’s hidden depths. However you would need to spend more time in Jerusalem than 2 days. The open air part of the Western wall is just about 60 M long . In contrast the hidden part of the wall is over 400M long and is accessible via tunnels.

What’s special about the Mount of Olives?

It’s a place of pilgrimage with panoramic city view, Dome of the rock and historic churches. In ancient times, important people from Jerusalem were buried in the necropolis, found on the southern ridge where the village of Silwan stands today.

Are there any unique shopping experiences in Jerusalem?

The Old City’s alleys offer unique bazaar like ambience. The upscale Mamilla Mall blends luxury with history. Machane Yehuda Market also called the Shuk, is located outside the walled city of Jerusalem, about 2 KM from away, for fruits, vegetables etc.

What museums should I visit in Jerusalem?

Don’t miss the Israel Museum for art and archaeology and Yad Vashem for a moving Holocaust remembrance.

Where can I find Jerusalem’s best food experiences?

Sample traditional and modern Israeli cuisine at the bustling Mahane Yehuda Market.

How can I explore Jerusalem’s religious heritage?

Join guided tours of sacred sites like the Temple Mount, Western Wall, and numerous historic churches. Make sure you are dressed appropriately covering your shoulders, torso and legs.

What outdoor activities are available in Jerusalem? 

Enjoy the Ramparts Walk for city views or visit the the Tisch Family biblical Zoo for family-friendly fun.

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69 thoughts on “Epic 2 days in Jerusalem itinerary – Top Things to do”

  1. Israel , I think, does not have its place in the list of common people of India to visit but the beauty of this place is attracting more and more people . Israel is coming close in all the ways to India by political , travel , industry . Thnx for the post and beautiful pictures

  2. I must admit that I have never really considered visiting Jerusalem, but I have to say it looks like it has a lot to offer. The Holocaust Museum and memorial must have been extremely moving to visit. On a lighter note, I have always fancied doing a segway tour. Are they easy to control/ride?

    1. Amanda, I agree we had moist eyes when we came out of there. Initially it would seem that Segway has a mind of its own but a few minutes and you can master it. It is actually pretty simple.

  3. I’d never considered going to Jerusalem as I’m not religious at all, but I’ve heard so many good things about it perhaps I should reconsider! It certainly is a city with a lot of history and must to interesting to visit!

    1. Claire, even I can hardly be termed as religious. However I like the history and culture of the place. I think there is something for everyone in Jerusalem.

  4. Love this post! Powerful images. I really really want to visit Israel and everytime I mention it to people I get bombarded with the same questions! I actually met some Israeli people up a mountain in the French Alps and they told me how they feel safer there than they do in Europe after all of the terror attacks. Thought that was so interesting.

  5. I love this post. I have always had an interest in visiting and wondered what it as like. I think TBEX is actually going to have a conference here next year, if I am not mistaken. Going to bookmark this. Thank you!

  6. You seem to have enjoyed it a lot. Useful guide as I would like to plan something a like … a weekend or long weekend in Jerusalem and see all of that then come back Monday for work!

  7. Honestly I never considered visiting Jerusalem just because of its sad and controversial history that fails to fascinate me. But your post has given me a different point of view about the place that tells me it might be bad just in my mind and not in reality. Loved the post 🙂

  8. Looks like you had a blast in Jerusalem, Nisha. Look at you go on that Segway. How was it? U won’t believe it but I have never tried one. Israel museum sure looks interesting too.

  9. Absolutely gorgeous! I can’t believe you got to do so much in only 48 hours. I’d love to visit Jerusalem in the future as half my family is Jewish and the other half Catholic, and there’s so much to see and witness. I’m pretty sure I’d burst into tears at those memorials.

  10. To be very honest, I would also think it’s dangerous to travel there. It’s the wrong ideas we get from hearing rumors. The city has grown and how much! It has much more than I expected. As others, I thought it to be a religious site. Also, I find that similarity of structure/stone fascinating. I have been to one Holocaust Memorial in Miami and it gives you goosebumps and makes you angry. On a completely different note, do watch or read – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

    Weren’t you scared on the Segway? I am!

    1. Thanks Laura. Yes the street markets are so typical of this region. It is indeed our pleasure to bring to our readers what ever we experience.

  11. Jerusalem really does sound like the old world it claims to be and genuinely, I would like to step inside the museum there having visited many similar museums in Krakow and Auschwitz. I agree with you too, it’s silly that people are afraid to visit here and a real shame considering they may never get to uncover the history that you clearly did !

  12. You know I have never looked at Jerusalem as a destination but after reading this post I can see why its worth it. It looks absolutely beautiful. Plus there is so much history and seems so fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Wow, Jerusalem isn’t on my travel list *yet* but after your post and seeing how much history there is, looks like it’s totally worth going! Things about Biblical times really interest me. How long do you think it would be good to stay there for a holiday?

    1. Thanks Charlene. We do our bit. We are not even Christians but we know the history a bit and we were able appreciate the place. Definitely 3 to 4 nights. However there are a lot of places to visit nearby like Bethlehem and other historical places. You would need to ad a few days for those too.

  14. I have been wanting to go to Jerusalem for a long time now. I just may go to TBEX this year so I can dive deep into the culture.
    I have never felt it was unsafe – as a traveler, I have found my own home of Washington, D.C. scarier than most cities I gave ever explored.

  15. I’m going to be in Jerusalem briefly next year and so this is very interesting. I had no idea there were so many museums! That Holocaust museum looks very powerful.

    1. Absolutely , you must! I agree we rushed a bit 😉 but still it is not too difficult to do them in two days. There are a few day trips from Jerusalem which We have still to write about.

  16. Such an informative post on Isreal. I was getting goosebumps just reading about your museum experience and looking at the photos. I think I would enjoy the Muslim Quarters too, since I am a huge fan of spices. I love visiting spice markets 🙂

  17. I’ve read a lot about Jerusalem recently, because I would love to visit one day. And I’m very aware of the biblical points of significance being of the Catholic faith, though one part of the city I hadn’t heard anyone speak about until now was Yad Vashem. I had no idea there was a holocaust museum here, but wow, I can’t even imagine how chilling, and moving, and completely devastating it would be to visit. Thankyou for this itinerary, as I would have otherwise missed out on Yad Vashem – as sad as it is to relive history, I think it’s of vital importance to remember those who were so brutally taken, to remember and to never forget so that history may never repeat itself.

  18. Jerusalem is a great city and love getting lost in the small streets. Love the history and anicent sites here. Great read up.

  19. This is definitely somewhere I’d like to visit, though you seem to have managed to see so much in 48 hours. I’d really like to go for just a little bit longer, though the segway must have been a fun way to get around…

    1. It is not too difficult if you have a vehicle to ferry you around, but I agree a longer period gives you more to soak in the ambiance and also there are a few day trips you can take.

  20. Great stops for 48 hours! We were in Jerusalem for a week and never left Old City! I feel like we missed out on the Holocaust museum. And that miniatures museum looks cool, we went to a mini replica museum of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and I ended up loving it! Wish I had known about the one in Jerusalem!

    1. Thanks The Israel museum housing the mini Jerusalem is somewhere mid point between old city and Yad Vashem. (If my memory serves me right)

      We missed the mini replica at Siem Reap . Where was it?

  21. Israel seems like a really nice place to visit and it seems to be gaining popularity lately. Though 48 hours doesnt seem like a very long time, you have laid out a lot of great options

  22. People really ask you those question? Serious? However, people often surprise me with the same kind of question, so I shouldn’t be surprised at all.
    Not only Jerusalem but Israel in general, I hope to be one of my next destinations. Why? Why not!

  23. Fascinating look at a country I’ve only dreamt of going to. Wonderful! Loved all the museums, especially the Holocaust and miniature Jerusalem museums. I would be visiting those for sure.

    1. Thanks. There were also a couple of more museums close by which we could not cover owing to paucity of time. Hope you will be able to see them.

  24. You have managed to explore so much of Jerusalem in just 48 hours! Just reading about the holocaust gave me goosebumps, making me sad. I can imagine how it must have felt for you to experience up close. The sound and light show at the tower of David Museum looks interesting. Being a history buff, I wouldn’t miss it. Ditto with the bazaar with that rustic look!

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