This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Jerusalem. To help you make friends with Jerusalem before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Jerusalem, a city of more than 4000 years old, is the holy place for the three major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and the desired capital by both Israelis and Palestinians. No wonder Jerusalem consists of many distinctive parts and there are many Jerusalem hostels to serve the numerous visitors to the city.
The oldest part is the walled Old City, in which you can find four different quarters: the Jewish, the Arab, the Christian, and the Armenian. The Old City is where many of the holy pilgrimage sites are located: the Western (Wailing) wall for the Jews, the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the Muslims, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa for the Christians, to mention a few. Visitors also like to indulge themselves in shopping at the souqs of the Old City.
West of the Old City is the modern Israeli Jerusalem which includes the official city centre, situated around the Ben Yehuda, Yafo and Ha-Melekh George streets’ triangle. Here some of the locals leading their everyday lives can be observed (as the Old City is heavily occupied by tourists on a regular day). A major attraction in West Jerusalem is the Yad Vashem museum-memorial for the Holocaust victims - you will likely need to take a bus to get there from the city centre.
The Arab East Jerusalem officially belongs to the West Bank. The main route between the Palestinian West Bank and the Muslim part of the Old City goes via the Damascus Gate. Outside the Damascus Gate is the Arab bus terminal at which you can find buses and shared taxis to all the major destinations in the West Bank.
The Israeli Central Bus Station, meanwhile, is located in West Jerusalem. To get there you will need to take a city bus, such as the #1 from outside the Western Wall on the opposite side of the Old City. Otherwise, prepare for a long walk.
When choosing a hostel in Jerusalem, think what are you going to see and where are you going to spend most of your time. You can find hostels in the Old City and in the modern city center as well as in the Israeli Central Bus Station neighborhood.
If you are going to concentrate on the holy pilgrimage sites or use your stay in Jerusalem as a base for exploring the West Bank, you may want to look for a hostel in the Old City. If you are interested in the nightlife and the modern city center, you could do with a place there. And if you want to take side trips to other parts of Israel (e.g. Tel Aviv or the Dead Sea) consider finding a hostel close to the Central Bus station.
Written by local enthusiast for Jerusalem hostelsAgne Drumelyte