So many visitors ask Tourist Israel what to do with 24 hours in Jerusalem! Historically and biblically significant, this amazing city is normally the first stop for travelers in Israel. How is it possible to see ALL of the highlights in just a short time? We recommend spending two to three days here. It’s difficult to fit everything about the magical city of Jerusalem into one day. Jerusalem is also a great home base for tours around the region since many of them include the option to begin here – check out some Jerusalem hotels here. Nevertheless, if you can really only spare one day to spend in Jerusalem, then this is the perfect Israel itinerary to get a taste of the Holy City!
One Day Itinerary
Remember, you only have 24 hours in Jerusalem, so wake up early to make the most of the day! You should start your day in the most iconic site in Jerusalem: the Old City. Enclosed in walls more than 5,000 years old is a multitude of holy sites for the three major monotheistic world religions. The Old City is divided into four quarters: Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Armenian. When you are navigating the narrow Old City streets, a map won’t be of much use. But, there are various signs posted that will put you in the correct direction of major sites.
With so many gems hidden away in narrow alleyways, the best way to get to know the Old City is on a guided tour. For visitors who have only one day, we recommend this morning walking tour. You’ll be surprised at how much sightseeing you can get in with the right guide – all before lunchtime!
Mount of Olives: Possibly most famous for being home to the Garden of Gethsemane, this mountain overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem. While it offers great photos opportunities, there are several churches and mosques that are worth visiting. Visitors can also walk along part of “Palm Sunday” road, which eventually leads into the Old City. If you would like to spend more time here, we recommend this Jerusalem Mount of Olives and Temple Mount Tour. The tour only operates on Wednesdays, but its a must for visitors who would like to dedicate their day in Jerusalem to sightseeing.
Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial: This is a somber and moving museum in Jerusalem. As one of the most visited sites in the country, this museum gives an incredible Holocaust education and is a powerful experience. Entrance is free. You can join a morning Old City tour together with an afternoon at Yad Vashem here.
Explore Jerusalem’s Urban Neighborhoods: Many travelers are eager to see the ‘real’ city on their travels. If you’d like to see the local side of Jerusalem, check out our Jerusalem bucket list for some hidden gems, and our guide to the ‘secret’ side of Jerusalem. Or, you can arrange a private local guide to take you to the most unique spots in the city that’s right for your interests – get in touch here. These are just a few of the City of Gold’s treasures you should be adding to your Israel itinerary.
Machane Yehuda Market: If you want an authentic Israeli food experience, start your evening with a walk through Machane Yehuda Market. Prepare yourself for a bit of chaos and a lack of personal space. Also, keep a close eye on your purse or wallet. Located right off of Jaffa Street, a 15-minute walk from the Old City, this market sells seasonal fruits and vegetables, wine and cheeses, and amazing spices.
As one of the biggest Shuk‘s in Israel, all of the locals shop in Machane Yehuda. It’s busiest time is on Fridays before Shabbat. (The market is closed every Friday evening til Saturday evening and on holidays.) Even if you don’t need to buy anything, it is worth the visit. There are also a number of restaurants and bars within the market if you’re hungry and want to really take in the evening or nightlife experience.
If you only have one day in Jerusalem as part of your larger Israel itinerary, you should make it totally unique. Why not take a cooking workshop with a local chef? You’ll use ingredients sourced from the Machane Yehuda market to make a delicious Israeli meal. Or browse one of the city’s phenomenal cafes to pass the time in a more relaxed way.
One of the sweetest ways to finish off your 24 hours in Jerusalem is to experience the Tower of David light show, in the Old City, right next to Jaffa Gate. Then you can head back to the city center via Mamilla Mall, the high end shopping and food mall that connects Jerusalem’s Old and New cities – plus, it’s extra beautiful at nighttime.
More to See in Jerusalem
One day in Jerusalem is barely enough to give you a taste of the incredible things this city has to offer. However, following this structure allows you to experience its highlights as you explore more of your Israel itineray. Seeing the City of Gold within 24 hours is great for solo travelers and the whole family.
Have some more time? See our full array of Jerusalem tours and tours leaving from Jerusalem. We hope you’ll be back soon for a longer stay. In fact, we’re sure that your day in Jerusalem will leave you itching for more!