Jerusalem is the kind of historic city with so many landmarks that it is easy to have your itinerary written for you before you even set foot within the city limits. A trip to this ancient capital could easily be dominated by the many major culturally and religiously prominent tourist attractions, from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Western Wall.
To truly bring the contemporary city of Jerusalem to life, however, it helps to dig a little deeper and uncover some local gems. Jerusalem is much more than just a history museum and the crossroads of religion. It is also a metropolis of modern, fun-loving, adventure-seeking and kind people ready to share a sense of their home with travellers open to a new kind of exploration.
Here are four suggestions for a more local look at Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Midnight Bike Tour
Adopt a more sustainable approach to getting around town by taking a Jerusalem Midnight Bike Tour. It not only takes you to the big-name destinations, such as the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion, but also the many wonderful neighbourhoods of Jerusalem where the locals live, work and love every day.
By travelling at night, you take advantage of ideal temperatures and experience Jerusalem in its element, not crowded by tourists, buses and more. Also, the bike tours are run by a local company, so you can take comfort in bringing business to true residents of Jerusalem, not just some big-chain hotel.
Pub crawls are popular in Europe, Australia and New Zealand – and now in Jerusalem too! While a Jerusalem pub crawl is certainly for a specific travelling audience (i.e., not people with children in tow), joining one is a fine way to experience the many locally owned and operated pubs around this great city.
It is a little-known fact that the nightlife of Jerusalem is actually up there with some of the most swinging cities in the world, and a pub crawl is the perfect way to meet locals and other travellers. Of course, you will also have a great time.
Mysteries of Jerusalem Walking Tour
Walking tours are excellent ways to slow down and see every nook and cranny of the mysterious city of Jerusalem. You not only burn calories, but save the city from additional car or bus pollution. Also, walking tours give you the opportunity to eat at local hole-in-the-wall eateries, which pumps money through the economy and into the hands of the people of Jerusalem.
The Mysteries of Jerusalem Walking Tour in particular takes in common sacred tourist destinations like the Coptic Egyptian Church, the Holy Sepulchre, the Armenian Church of Gregory the Illuminator, and others, but then delves deeper into the true significance and mystery of each one. By learning more about true history, controversy and significance, you gain a deeper understanding and respect for the intersection of cultures and religions in Jerusalem.
Arab Market, Old City
Last but not least, no sustainable trip to Jerusalem is complete without a stop at a local farmer’s market. At the Arab Market in the Old City of Jerusalem, you will find the most sinfully delicious and freshly made local fare, including hummus, baklava, candies, spices and much, much more.
Buy local ingredients and whip up a dinner for yourself in the kitchen at your hostel or just purchase gifts from local craftsmen to bring home to your friends. Either way, you will be stimulating the local economy and coming face to face and smile to smile with the local people of Jerusalem.