This comprehensive article from ISRAEL21c presents 11 walking tours that explore different aspects of Jerusalem, including the holy sites of the Old City, ancient archaeological remnants, modern historical, political and cultural landmarks, food, photography, national memorials, and even a late night pub crawl. The article provides basic information for each tour, as well as relevant links and whether the tour is free or for pay, with a guide or self-guided, a regular daily/weekly organized tour or one that needs to be arranged privately. The featured video introduces Sandemans’ New Jerusalem Tour, a free twice-daily walking tour of the Old City. Please note that the original article has been edited to reflect up-to-date information.
1. Free Guided Walking Tours
Every Saturday, the Jerusalem municipality offers 31 different free (Editor’s Note: from January 1, 2018 all tours will cost 15 NIS) guided walking tours in English beginning at the Safra Square municipal complex on Jaffa Street at 10am. For more information, go to the website, press 106 locally or call +972-(0)2-531-4600.
Among the areas covered are Nachlaot, Supreme Court and Knesset, Jaffa Road, City of David, King George Street, the Old City, Abu Tor, Mount Zion, Mamilla, First Station and German Colony, Yemin Moshe and Via Dolorosa.
New Jerusalem Tours offers a free two-hour walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem every day at 11 and 2. Guides accept tips. Book online or show up at the Jaffa Gate tourist information kiosk 10 to 15 minutes before start time.
The Jerusalem Development Authority’s audio walking tour app for the Old City, available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, lets you choose from among 20 different guided explorations of churches, synagogues, mosques, historical and religious points of interest, marketplaces and local eateries. To download the iOS app, click here. To download the Android app, click here. The video below presents the JDA’s audio tour of the Temple Mount Compound, with accompanying video footage.
Starting and ending at the City of David Visitors Center, this three-hour tour takes you through archaeological excavations of a palace and royal acropolis from the period of the Judean kings; an underground water system from the time of Abraham; and a recently discovered Canaanite fortress that guarded ancient Jerusalem’s main water source, the Gihon Spring. Walking through King Hezekiah’s water tunnel is optional. See prices and booking details online.
4. Walking the Old City and Beyond
Abraham Tours’ four-hour Holy City Tour starts at Jaffa Gate at 11am Sunday to Thursday and goes through the four quarters of the Old City, King David’s Tomb, the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa Mosque, Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulcher and more. Book online; ₪90 per person.
Zion Tours’ three-hour guided tours step off at 10:30 and 2 Sunday to Thursday from the Jaffa Gate, available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. Seven routes are offered: the Old City quarters; Mount of Olives to Gethsemane; Southern Wall excavations and Herodian Quarter; rooftops and underground passages; Machane Yehuda market and Meah She’arim; City of David and Zion Gate; and the Old City Walls, Mount Zion and Yemin Moshe. Each requires a minimum of three participants at a cost of ₪120-160 per person. (Editor’s Note: It appears that Zion Tours no longer offer daily organized tour, but you can be in touch to organize your own private tour.)
5. Machane Yehuda Marketplace
Dating from 1930, the downtown “shuk” is a favorite with tourists because there’s so much to see, hear, taste, touch and smell within a few blocks. After the shops close for the day, come back to see how the metal shutters have been transformed into a street-art gallery. Click here for details on official guided walks through the shuk: A classic tour, bakery tour, wine-and-cheese tour, chef-guided tasting tour and cooking tour/workshop.
Or buy a YallaBasta Bite Card for ₪99 and wend your own way through Machane Yehuda, tasting as you go. It includes a map and smartphone audio guide.
Established in the 1920s, Rehavia was Jerusalem’s first planned garden neighborhood. Leafy Rehavia, which includes the Prime Minister’s Residence and several landmark buildings, features streets named after Jewish scholars and poets from the Golden Age of Jewish culture in Spain. Explore it on a three-hour walking tour offered by Tanach Tiyulim.
7. Picture Jerusalem
Given the countless iconic images in Jerusalem, it’s not surprising that several professional photographers and tour companies offer walking tours designed to show participants the best sites and angles for taking memorable pictures. A few options include Israel Photography Tour with Laurie Cohen; Photo Tour Israel one-on-one half-day workshops with Yahel Herman; and Machane Yehuda photo workshops with Yehoshua Halevi.
8. German Colony and Greek Colony
Learn the history of these trendy Jerusalem neighborhoods built in the 19th and 20th centuries and anchored by Emek Refaim Street. They’re just two of the 24 walking tours of Jerusalem neighborhoods in English offered twice a week by licensed tour guide Miriam Safira Simon. Tours usually take place on Tuesday and Thursday mornings starting at 9:30am and ending at noon. Cost: ₪60. Information: 972-(0)54-521-6933 or www.miriamsafiratours.com.
9. Mount Herzl National and Military Cemetery
Named after Binyamin Ze’ev (Theodor) Herzl, the visionary of the Jewish state who is buried here, the terraced and meticulously landscaped Mount Herzl is the final resting place of Israeli presidents, prime ministers and other dignitaries as well as Israeli soldiers and police officers. Tanach Tiyulim offers a walking tour replete with stories of the famous, the heroic and the anonymous statesmen and soldiers buried here.
10. Jerusalem Pub Crawl
Meet at the Abraham Hostel Bar at 9:30pm on Wednesdays for a nightlife journey through the alleys, streets and thoroughfares of downtown Jerusalem. Free shots, VIP entrance and special drink offers are included in each venue along the route. Book online or in person; ₪60 per person (age 18+).
Thank you for rating!