2-Day Itinerary for Jerusalem!
Updated: Oct 27, 2021
People from all over the world come to Israel just to visit Jerusalem, the Holy City. I live a 45 minute drive away and I've visited maybe 4 times (CRINGE, I know!).
Although I could definitely visit more, I think I've just created such an ultimate 1-day and 2-day itineraries that when I do go visit, I make sure to hammer out EVERYTHING. From historical landmarks to my favorite foody spots, I always leave feeling as though I made the most of my time up on the hill.
Most recently, I visited Jerusalem for 2-days and 1-night (Thursday & Friday) and it was the perfect amount of time to check out my favorite spots and discover a couple new ones too.
So here it is:
The Ultimate Jerusalem 2-Day Itinerary
for culture, history, wine-tasting, views, good food and great vibes.
Side Note for Tel Avivians: if you are coming from Tel Aviv, there are several buses that can be taken directly to the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. I left from the Arlozorov Station and the ride took about 40 minutes on a Thursday morning.
STOP 1: Tower of David Tour
Now, I'm not really one to run to a museum first chance I get (in Israel, or abroad), but I'm a huge fan of the museum at the Tower of David and go every time I make it to Jerusalem.
The Tower of David has an audio walking tour that takes you around and inside the tower. Over the last few years they've also implemented lots of digital aspects for an even more engaging experience. It's one of those tours that you don't find your mind off wondering about other things - which mine is the best at 😂.
Another reason why I really love the Tower of David (aside from the incredible history) is the entire compound is just so incredibly beautiful!
The Jerusalem marble is contrasted and lined with tons of amazing green trees, and this is inside the courtyard... Not only that but, THE VIEW! When you reach the top of the tower you get to see an amazing view of the "old vs the new Jerusalem". This is the perfect starting spot on your trip in Jerusalem because it's right on the path through the market that leads to the Kotel (aka Western Wall, aka Wailing Wall). But this is the next stop on our 1-day itinerary and we are here for 2 days! So.... ON TO....
STOP 2: Rachel BaSdera (FOOD STOP 🤤)
I kid you not. Just writing "Rachel BaSdera" is making my mouth water. This is hands down one of my top 5 places to eat in the history of all the places I've ever eaten. It's THAT good.
Rachel BaSdera is a must stop for every visit to Jerusalem (and soon also in TLV!). What can you expect when you go to Rachel's you may ask? Well, saying "it's a sandwich shop" just feels wrong because it is just SO. MUCH. MORE.
Rachel takes your taste buds on a freaking culinary excursion.
An absolute one-of-a-kind experience, Rachel (as seen on Master Chef) showcases her incredible ability to combine different words of tastes into one unforgettable bite. Although she has an extensive menu with endless options, I recommend getting the "Rachel, make me something YUMMY" menu item. Just close your eyes, expose your taste buds and let Rachel take you for a trip.
Think "french fries and milkshake" on steroids. She takes elements you would never put together and makes a perfect match. Sweet, spicy, sour, salty, hot, cold, soft, crunchy... You have to eat it to believe it.
Aside from her sandwiches, she has amazing salads and the best Knafeh for dessert. If I haven't made it clear yet, Rachel's is the best.
STOP 2b: VIEWS @ Hurva Synagogue
Let's call this stop "2b" since it's a really quick pit stop on our way to stop 3. To get really great views you can head over to Hurva Synagogue and make your way up to the top floor. The elevator will let you out onto an outdoor terrace that has a castle-like spiraling wire staircase up to a walkabout with some really nice views. (You can also skip this stop and go to Aish HaTorah on Day 2 before the Kotel for amazing views of the Western Wall - it's even well-known for being a spot for proposals).
We were here only for a few minutes to get some pictures and to take in the view.
Now on to stop 3!
STOP 3: Montefiore Windmill
If you saw my Instagram stories while I was in Jerusalem, you already know how much I LOVED this place. This was a new stop for me - I hadn't ever visited before and I know for sure that from here on out, I will visit every time I make it to Jerusalem.
The history of the Montefiore Windmill and Mishkenot Sha'ananim neighborhood will have you saying "WHAT NO WAY" several times! I was lucky enough to have a tour of the windmill and get a history lesson on the location. Here's a small tidbit behind this spot: the windmill was originally built in 1857 by Montefiore during one of his trips to Israel with the goal of building Jews a new neighborhood outside of the original (and at the time - only) city. The windmill was built in a strategic way to give the Jews a way to become more self sufficient (by grinding their own wheat) thus allowing them to feel more comfortable leaving the only place they ever knew to create a new community. Try to imagine that back then, it was completely unheard of and unfathomable to leave the original city. Years later the windmill was destroyed (another super interesting story in the history of the windmill - I’ll go more into it on my blog dedicated to the Montefiore Windmill), and the windmill went out of use for 150 years! That was until 4 years ago when two families decided to restore the Windmill and bring back its former glory!
The Windmill has gathered so much attention around the world that there’s a live stream recording of the Windmill from a hotel nearby so everyone anywhere can view the Windmill online!
The Montefiore Windmill is located in the absolutely gorgeous Mishkenot Sha'ananim neighborhood. A small, quite neighborhood that definitely feels like walking in the small streets of Europe! Not only is the location amazing but the views are WOW.... Making it the perfect spot for wine tasting which is perfect because....
Just under the windmill is the cutest little spot for wine tasting from “Jerusalem Vineyard Winery”. Now, I loveee wine. And this place had me falling in love with every tasting.
No exaggeration every single tasting had me saying “no no, THIS is my favorite”
This stop was incredible and we ended up staying here until sunset (which meant we stayed for a good several hours). But no complaints for the lost track of time... I thoroughly enjoyed learning the history of the location, exploring the inside of the windmill, walking around on the cobble streets and wine tasting with views of Jerusalem. Side note: this would be an amazing place for an engagement party or a date with girlfriends.
STOP 4: Inbal Hotel
After the Montefiore Windmill we headed to our hotel, Inbal Hotel, which is conveniently located nearby, to clean up before dinner. I have an entire post dedicated to this 5-star hotel that you can read here.
Inbal Hotel is highly recommended. To sum up my experience, it truly exemplified "5-STAR" excellence in every aspect of the hotel. The staff was incredibly kind, helpful and attentive. My room was exceptionally clean, beautiful and had everything (and more) that I could need for my stay. And the in-house restaurant exceeded all expectations... Which brings be to our next stop, dinner! But first, if you want to read more about my experience at Inbal Hotel, just head over to the blog here.
STOP 5: Dinner @ O2
O2 is a restaurant located inside the Inbal Hotel and the 02 menu was created by the renowned Jerusalem Mona Group, headed by Chefs Moshiko Gamlieli and Itamar Navon. Together with the hotel’s chef, they created a menu that combines authentic Jerusalem cuisine with up-to-date culinary methods.
Dimmed lights, pleasant music and delicious smells wafting out of the kitchen... You'll be wishing you had a second stomach in order to try everything on the menu.
The smell, oh lord, the SMELL. I knew the second the food came out that it was going to be nothing short of freaking incredible. The meat tartar melted in my mouth like butter and was accompanied by the perfect crunch of toast. The salad, perfectly dressed and hits the tongue with a zing of lemon. The eggplant tachina will have you googling "how to make eggplant tachina" under the table. And the MAIN dishes will hit the perfect spot and have you ready to go back upstairs to your room for a long night's sleep with a smile on your face (but not quite yet because we still have dessert and some more stops before the night is over!).
STOP 6: Drinks @ TAP & TAIL
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
This was an extremely cool place to stop at. They are amazing at their cocktails, and they come out in totally instagrammable glasses. Not to mention they have just about the world's tastiest late-night cookie. I don't smoke, but I assume this cookie would be a stoners wet dream.
Okay, that's it for Day 1! We got history, views, wine tasting, good food, late-night drinks and dessert to boot! Now back to the hotel to get lots of sleep before Day 2!
STOP 1 (Day 2):
Good morning, sunshine!
First things, first. Breakfast! Since I wake up really early, I had breakfast at the hotel. Inbal Hotel did an awesome job upholding COVID regulations and everyone in the dining hall was using gloves and had their mask on. They also didn't disappoint with their vast selection of breakfast items as you can see from the pictures on my Hotel Inbal blog post!
But this isn't our first stop, our first stop for the day is..... YES! The Kotel.
I recommend taking the route along Batei Mahse Maalot Harav Shlomo Goren St. so you can catch these pictures for instagram:
Now for the Kotel!
A few tips:
- Remember to dress modestly. Nothing too short or too open. My dress was honestly a little bit on the shorter side but a change in plans had me going to the Kotel earlier than originally planned. A pro tip is to pack with you a light scarf you can drape over your shoulders.
- No alcohol allowed in. This sounds silly but if you purchased a bottle of Jerusalem wine to take home and had it on you, they won't let you in.
- Bring water! Especially if you visit in the summer.
STOP 2 (Day 2): Machane Yehuda
Here I recommend going to the Machane Yehuda to walk around the market and maybe shop for Shabbat! On the way their you can walk through Mamilla Avenue for some clothing/jewelry shopping. I love going to Machane Yehuda and stopping somewhere in one of the nooks for beer and backgammon. A popular place to eat at Machane Yehuda is "Machneyuda".
STOP 3 (Day 2): Hashchena
Hashchena was a new one for me this past trip and I loved it! It has the coolest concept of being a restaurant bar with an inside (downstairs) and outside (terrace).
The vibes are super down to earth and laid back. This was the perfect spot to stop after all the hustle and bustle at the Kotel and Machane Yehuda.
Good vibes, awesome pizza and cool drinks. It was the perfect way for me to finish the afternoon before heading home.
So there you have it! My 2-day itinerary for Jerusalem.
I hope you made it this far and you're able to hit some of these the next time you visit the Holy Land. Let me know, tag me on instagram @livebydanielle and if you find any other amazing spots PLEASE share! I am always looking to discover more.
Tip: If you are returning to Tel Aviv on a Friday, make sure to check final bus schedules so you don't get stuck in the city when Shabbat begins!