Deciding where to stay in Jerusalem is not as easy as it sounds. However, you have nothing to worry about. Jerusalem has beautiful neighborhoods and some of the best hotels in the region. Therefore, you will find the one that’s right for you.
The first time we went to Jerusalem was 12 years ago. We fell in love with this magical city. We’ve been back several times and hope to keep on going. The city needs no introduction. Who hasn’t dreamt of visiting the center of monotheism? In fact, even atheists like us should visit.
No matter what you’ve heard or what your expectations are, Jerusalem will blow your mind. Incredible architecture, ancient buildings, and lovely trees line its streets. Besides, the city is atmospheric and unique. Your mind will fly, and you will travel in time. That said, Jerusalem is vibrant and modern too.
The Best Places to Stay in Jerusalem
The Old City
The best place to stay in Jerusalem is in the Old City. Yes, it can get crowded, but it is one of the nicest old towns in the world. Besides, a lot of tourists only visit just during the day and leave early in the afternoon. You won’t believe how beautiful the Old City looks at night.
Massive ancient walls surround the Old City. Suleiman the Magnificent built the walls in the early 16th Century. We are talking about an area of 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2). You may think that it’s not that big, but it really is. Besides, some 35,000 people live in the city.
The area is a maze of narrow streets and alleys. Since every single one is interesting, you will spend a lot of time here. The Old City is divided into four neighborhoods: Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish. Each borough is different and full of ancient sites and landmarks.
We Recommend These Hotels in the Old City:
Austrian Pilgrim Hotel
Austrian Pilgrim Hotel our go to hotel in Jerusalem Old City when we visit. The hotel dates back to 1863. It’s got an unbeatable location, on Via Dolorosa. It’s got a beautiful garden and a great onsite restaurant. The views from the rooftop terrace will take your breath away. The best rooms have a balcony with views!
Considering its class and location, the Hashimi Hotel offers great value for money. The 400-year-old property is in the heart of the Old Town. We loved the arched public areas and the incredible rooftop terrace with glorious views. Some rooms have Dome views! They offer triple and quadruple rooms perfect for friends and family.
City Center (Mamilla)
Mamilla is the best area to stay in Jerusalem for tourists that want space. If you don’t like crowds, stay here. The neighborhood is within walking distance of the city’s top attractions. To go to the Old City, all you have to do is cross the New Gate or Jaffa Gate.
The posh neighborhood has some of the best hotels in Jerusalem’s city center. We like it because it surrounds a lovely green area. You can walk to the Mamilla Cemetery, and the nicest park in the city, Gan HaAtsmaut. The lifeline of the Mamilla is Ben Yehuda Street. Colorful shops and cafes line the pedestrian street.
The neighborhood dates back to the 19th Century, though there are Roman and Byzantine remains. However, it was completely transformed in the 1980s. If you are into shopping, go to Mamilla Mall, the fanciest in the country. At night, pick your favorite rooftop restaurant and enjoy fine dining with views.
We Recommend These Hotels in the City Center:
The David Citadel Hotel
If you like luxury, stay at the David Citadel Hotel. It’s worth every penny. The contemporary tower has the best pool in the city and a sumptuous spa. The rooms are big and luxuriously appointed. Book the Deluxe Room with a balcony to enjoy epic views. The service is in a class of its own.
Notre Dame Hotel
The gorgeous Notre Dame Hotel dates back to the late 19th Century. However, the recently refurbished rooms are comfy and posh. The best ones have a balcony overlooking the city. You can’t find a better location in the center: in front of the New Gate. Thus, it offers stunning views over the city. The complimentary breakfast is delicious.
Rehavia and Mahane Israel
Rehavia is a big upscale neighborhood 1 mile (1.5 km) from the Old City. Therefore, you can walk to the Old City in less than half an hour. You can also take the tram or buses there. The tram departs from Safra Square, and it’s a great way to see other parts of the city.
Mahane Israel is a tiny neighborhood next to Rehavia, south of Mamilla. Hence, closer to the Old City. It was one of the first Jewish neighborhoods built outside of the city walls, in the 1860s. Some of the best 5-star hotels in Jerusalem are here.
Both neighborhoods are the best place to stay in Jerusalem if you are looking for an authentic experience. Locals visit the neighborhood to dine, socialize, and have wine. The best restaurants are on Azza Street. Don’t forget to check out the Monastery of the Cross from the 11th Century and the contemporary Jerusalem Great Mosque.
We Recommend These Hotels in Rehavia and Mahane Israel:
King David Hotel
One of the best luxury hotels in Jerusalem, the King David opened in 1931 and was an instant success. It’s got everything you ever dreamed of, including a massive pool and manicured gardens. It has 4 restaurants and a hip bar. Even if you don’t stay here, stop for a drink and enjoy.
Bat Sheva Hotel by Jacobs
The Israeli chain took over the Wyndham a couple of years ago. The Bat Sheva Hotel is a tall tower next to Gan Hasat Park. The rooms are big, comfortable, and great value for money. The views from its rooftop terrace are some of the best in Jerusalem. The top-floor suites are spectacular.
The German Colony
The German Colony has some of the best accommodation offers in Jerusalem. The leafy neighborhood is 1.5 miles (2.3 km) to the south of the Old City. However, the borough is an attraction in itself. This is the best location to stay in Jerusalem if you like architecture and culture.
The Germans settled their Templar Colony in Palestine here in the 1850s. Locals call it Moshava. We love it because of its eclectic architecture. Art deco mansions, Ottoman palaces, and Bavarian-looking houses dot the neighborhood. Get lost in its streets searching for beautiful buildings. Don’t worry if you get hungry. There are eateries of all kinds.
Some of the best restaurants in the city line Emek Refaim. You have to visit the Hansen House, near the Golden Gate. The 1887 former leper hospital is now the coolest cultural center in Jerusalem. They have concerts, food, and loads of activities. The Museum of Natural History and the First Station are nearby.
We Recommend These Hotels in the German Colony:
The Colony Hotel
We stayed in the Colony Hotel a couple of years ago and had a great time. The hotel used to be a Templars’ residence. Emek Refaim is around the corner, and the bike lane is meters away. The rooms are big and clean. You won’t get better rooms in the city center at this price.
Villa Brown Moshava
Our favorite hotel in the German Colony is the Villa Brown Moshava. The monumental stone building is from the 19th Century. Though it is pretty central, the hotel is very quiet. The plush rooms are big. We stayed in a superior room and loved chilling on the balcony.
We’ve seen how Musrara has changed over the years. The somehow neglected neighborhood is now hip and cool. Musrara is north of the Old City. You have to walk some 15 minutes to the New Gate. The neighborhood used to be Palestinian. However, the wealthy fled in 1949, and it fell into oblivion. Today, Musrara attracts young artists from all over the region.
Some of the best art galleries in the city are here. Besides, there are a couple of very famous music schools. You have to visit the Museum on the Seam. It used to be the residence of a wealthy Palestinian family. Today, it is one of the best cultural centers in the world.
The Ticho House is to the east of Musrara. The palace has a fantastic garden where you can chill in summer. It’s all about one of the country’s most important painters, Anna Ticho. From there, walk to Ethiopian Orthodox Church from 1888. Don’t forget to check out the Museum of Underground Prisoners: creepy and fascinating.
We Recommend These Hotels in Musrara:
Villa Brown Jerusalem
The grand mansion is next to the Russian Consulate and overlooks the Ethiopian church. Villa Brown Jerusalem has a splendid garden with lounges. It’s got a rooftop terrace with brilliant views, lounges, and a hot tub. The arched bar has a wide selection of cocktails.
Sergei Palace Hotel
The Sergei Palace is one of the best luxury hotels in Jerusalem. The imposing historic building in the heart of Musrara. The onsite restaurant is set in a beautiful garden with tall cypress trees. The rooms are some of the biggest in the city. We loved the extra big and comfortable beds!
To fully understand the city, you have to visit the East Jerusalem. We won’t go into politics, but if you want to see a different Jerusalem, the east is where to stay. We are referring to the area north and east of the Old City. The olive gardens will take your breath away.
The whole area is full of green parks and gardens. Begin your walk at Gethsemane. Continue to the Church of Mary Magdalene, a Russian Church with golden domes. From there, go to the Church of the Ascension, believed to be the place where Jesus went to heaven. The Pater Noster Church is nearby.
You can walk all the way to the top of the Mount of Olives. It’s the best place to watch a killer sunset. Since the Mount of Olives can be crowded, we recommend you walk to the Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens. The lush gardens offer peace and incredible views in the middle of all the hassle.
We Recommend These Hotels in East Jerusalem:
Seven Arches Hotel
The best hotel in East Jerusalem is the Seven Arches. You can’t beat its location and price. Since it’s on top of the mount, the views of the city will leave you speechless. The rooms are big and spotless. Their triple ones are perfect if you are traveling with friends or family.
Mount of Olives Hotel
If you are looking for budget accommodation in Jerusalem, book a room at the Mount of Olives Hotel. It’s a simple but very clean hotel on top of the mount. Since it’s in the Arab section of the city, it offers a completely different experience. There’s a bus stop on the corner that takes you to the Old City.
How Long to Stay in Jerusalem
We’ve been several times to the city and never got bored. There’s so much to do and see in Jerusalem that you can easily spend weeks discovering. You’ll never have a dull moment. Some people move for long periods to Jerusalem. However, we all have time constraints and a big world to discover.
Consequently, you are probably wondering how many days are needed in Jerusalem to cover the basics. We strongly recommend spending at least three nights. You will have to rush, but you will be able to see the main sights. Less than that, and you won’t see much.
Remember that Jerusalem is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Hence, it can be too crowded, especially in summer. Besides, we visited in summer, and it was simply too hot for us. That’s why we believe Jerusalem in winter is a fantastic choice. Fewer tourists, mild weather, and lower prices!
The best way of moving around the city is walking. Though Jerusalem is packed with landmarks and fascinating neighborhoods, it is not that big. The only way of moving in the Old City is walking. The streets and alleys are narrow, and there’s no space for other means of transportation.
Biking is another way to discover the city. You can bike all around west Jerusalem, out of the Old City. However, take note that it can be way too hot in summer. Take it easy, stop for water, and avoid noon to 4 PM. You can rent bicycles in several places.
The city launched a bike sharing system a couple of years ago. It is online, in several languages, and easy to operate. Official info here. Jerusalem has a good public transportation system that includes buses and trams. You can go anywhere in no time. Don’t worry and ask around for directions. Israelis are good hosts and will be happy to help you.