When visiting Jerusalem, you can make an endless list of places to visit, things to see and foods to experience. We’ve curated a list of 12 “musts” every traveler should enjoy for a truly enriching pilgrimage and an authentic taste of the best bites in Israel.
If you’re traveling with us, you’ll reap the benefit of a fully planned pilgrimage that includes these top places to visit in Jerusalem. If you’re planning your own visit, make sure to add these destinations to your itinerary! In between stops, don’t forget to sample some of our recommended side dishes, street foods and desserts!
- Top 7 Places to Visit in Jerusalem
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre
- Palm Sunday Road
- Mount Zion
- Abbey of the Dormition
- The Church of Saint Peter
- The Western Wall
- Mount of Olives
- Top 5 Foods to Try While in Jerusalem
Top 7 Places to Visit in Jerusalem
While every religious site is worth visiting in Jerusalem, there are only so many hours in the day! Below are seven must-see places that draw 3 to 4 million tourists to the Holy City each year.
1. Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Located at the end of the Via Dolorosa (the “Way of Suffering”), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre contains both the location of Christ’s Crucifixion and His burial.
Inside this sprawling complex, you will have the chance to pray at:
- The Rock of Calvary: Encased in glass, this is the ground where Christ was crucified.
- The Aedicule: The small chapel housing Christ’s tomb (the Holy Sepulchre).
- The Stone of Anointing: The smooth stone slab that Christ was laid upon and anointed before His burial.
2. Palm Sunday Road
View from the Old City of Jerusalem, looking out to the Mount of Olives
The best way to see all the religious sites on the Mount of Olives is to take the Palm Sunday Road. Beginning at the Mount of Olives, the road winds down to the Old City of Jerusalem.
Along the way, you follow in the “hoof” steps of Jesus’ donkey upon which He rode into Jerusalem. You can imagine the road littered with palms and cloaks as it was that Sunday two thousand years ago (21:8).
3. Mount Zion
Mount Zion with the Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem, Israel
Mount Zion, also known as the City of David, is the highest of the three hills located outside the walls of the Old City.
It’s sprawling with religious sites that are worth visiting. The most notable places on Mount Zion are:
- The Abbey of the Dormition
- The Church of Saint Peter
- The Upper Room of the Last Supper
The Upper Room, or Cenacle, is where Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples before His Passion (see Mark 14:12-31). There, you can behold the very room where Jesus gave us the Eucharist for the first time!
4. Abbey of the Dormition
Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem
If you spot what looks like a fortress on Mount Zion, you’ve found the Abbey of the Dormition. It houses the location of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption.
The Assumption celebrates when Mary was taken, body and soul, into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.
This Benedictine Abbey receives its name from the belief that Mary was “falling asleep” (Dormition) rather than dying before her Assumption.
The event is commemorated in the circular crypt with a life-sized statue depicting Mary asleep.
5. The Church of Saint Peter
The Monastery of St. Peter in Gallicantu on Mount Zion
On a sunny day, you will see a golden rooster shining on Mount Zion. You’re not hallucinating! This is the peak of The Church of Saint Peter.
The Church of Saint Peter is located on the infamous spot where Peter denied knowing Jesus three times before the cock crowed (Luke 22:54–62). (Hence, the golden rooster!)
The Jewish high priest’s house once stood there. In its lower levels are prison cells. You can stand in the cell where Jesus may have been held the night before His Passion.
6. The Western Wall (The Wailing Wall)
A view of the Western Wall in Jerusalem
The Western Wall is all that remains of the Israelites’ Temple, built in the 1st century BC.
It was the center of worship for the Israelites before its destruction by the Romans in 70 AD.
The Western Wall is part of the larger complex known as the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is significant for several reasons:
- It is considered the site of Adam’s creation (see Genesis 2:7–8).
- It is believed to be the location of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (see Genesis 22:1–29).
- It is where the Ark of the Covenant once dwelt (see 1 Kings 8:1–11).
7. Mount of Olives
The hallways of the Church of the Pater Noster in Jerusalem
Any pilgrim would be remiss not to visit the Mount of Olives. While you explore its holy grounds, you can see:
- The Church of Pater Noster: This is the site where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray the “Our Father” (Pater Noster). Inside, you can see the Our Father inscribed in 140 different languages!
- The Church of All Nations (The Basilica of the Agony): Here, you will find the rock slab that Jesus prayed on the night before His crucifixion (see Mark 14:32–42). Outside its hallowed walls is the Garden of Gethsemane. There, Jesus was betrayed by Judas.
- The Chapel of Dominus Flevit: This is where the “Lord wept” (Dominus flevit) as He foretold the Temple’s destruction (see Luke 19:41–44). The teardrop shape of the chapel is a physical reminder of this event.
Top 5 Foods to Try While in Jerusalem
You really don’t have to go far for the best food in Jerusalem. Delights are found around every corner. However, we have some honorable mentions we wouldn’t want you to miss! Here are the top five foods to try while you stroll Jerusalem’s streets on your way to the next holy site.
Sweet, crunchy, light… What more needs to be said? Filled with chopped walnuts or pistachios and sweetened with honey, Baklava is a perfect meeting of subtle saltiness and sweetness!
Who knew that mashed chickpeas could be so creamy and smooth? Enjoy the traditional Israeli flavors of tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. This rich dip is perfect with freshly baked pita bread or a falafel…
Falafel is one of Israel's most popular street dishes! It’s well worth it to enjoy these savory, deep-fried chickpea balls. These can be enjoyed in a pita overflowing with pickled vegetables, salad, and hummus, or eaten without the pita as a salad.
“Sweet” (Halva in Arabic) is this dessert’s name! Similar to fudge in texture, Halva is certainly a nut-based snack. Take your pick of one of the many colorful flavors displayed in street shop windows. Pair it with your morning coffee or evening wine.
Take your tastebuds on a journey with this traditional Middle Eastern dessert. It’s composed of thinly shredded dough layered with cheese and soaked with sugary syrup. It's best enjoyed straight out of the oven.
There’s no need to be overwhelmed while visiting Jerusalem. Glimmer Tours will show you the way! Take a moment to learn more about our Holy Land pilgrimages.