Jamie Spence

48 Hours In Jerusalem: The Cool Guide 

Jerusalem has discovered its sexy side. Trust us. Think of Jerusalem and the first thing that pops into your head will be history and religion, right? Us too, that was, until we went there. With cool tech start-ups, buzzing bars and creative restaurants, Jerusalem is now competing with Tel Aviv as the destination in Israel. 

This new side of Jerusalem is fresh, cosmopolitan and brimming with energy. Plus the city now hosts a schedule of cultural events like the Opera House Festival, Light Festival, Sacred Musical Festival and the Jerusalem Marathon.

It's this delicate mix of its religious past and its exciting future - fuelled by its food markets, trendy coffee shops, cool bars and innovative restaurants - that collide to create a melting pot that can be felt when you wander its streets. It's a city like no other. 

This is what you need to know for your visit to Jerusalem. 

Where To Drink

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    Mirror Bar

    For a touch of class try the Mirror bar at the Mamilla Hotel, it’s got a sexy, exclusive feel with none of the snobbery, and a huge cocktail list. 

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    Mahane Yehuda Market

    Come nightfall, the stalls at Mahane Yehuda Market turn into pop-up bars and you’ll feel like you’ve discovered a secret spot. 

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    Neighbour bar

    At nearby Haschena bar (literally means ‘neighbour’) is where the young, sexy crowd will be dancing into the early hours. 

    FYI: the big nights in Jerusalem are Thursdays and Saturdays. 

Where To Eat

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    Hachatzer restaurant

    Modern Hachatzer Restaurant for an Israeli twist on Mediterranean cooking. Think delicious meats, dips, breads desserts washed down with local wine and aperitifs. A perfect stop.

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    First Station

    Or for a more casual bite to eat, try First Station. Originally a train station, but now a vibrant hub with exhibitions, colourful markets and plenty of places to grab some food.

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    Bakery 1961

    And you can’t miss Bakery 1961 for delicious Israeli cakes, Halva, sweets, plus Boureskas, and pastries filled with cheese, potato and mushrooms.

Where To Stay

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    The Mamilla Hotel

    The Mamilla Hotel is a great base. Close to the old city and home to the beautiful Mirror Bar, it’s trendy yet minimalist with an incredible restaurant. And if you’ve got the time, let yourself be pampered in its divine Akasha Wellbeing Centre. 

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    Herbert Samuel Hotel

    If you want to be in the heart of the action, it’s Herbert Samuel you want. The rooftop restaurant has stunning views of the city. 

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    Post Hostel

    On a budget? Post Hostels have private rooms and dorms available. Located just down the road from the old city, it has a relaxed vibe and is perfect for solo travellers. 

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    Waldorf Astoria

    Just minutes from the Jaffa Gate and the Old City you’ll find the Waldorf Astoria and it’s luxe all the way. A beautiful art deco hotel designed to reflect and showcase Israeli design and culture. 

What To Do 

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    Old City Jerusalem

    A UNESCO World Heritage site, split into four sections: the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter and the Jewish Quarter. Walking through the maze of ancient alleyways you’ll discover centuries old synagogues, churches and mosques. Key sites include: the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims, the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians. The Church of the Sepulchre is where Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead and a visit there is a mind-blowing experience. 

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    Israel Museum 

    The Israel Museum has over 5000 years of history within its walls, from the Dead Sea Scrolls to art by Israeli artists like of Anish Khapoor.

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    The Western Wall

    Sunrise is the time to watch Jewish men, women and children pray against the Western Wall, while those who have prayers in letter form roll them and place them in between the cracks of the ancient wall. 

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    Yad Vashem

    A visit to Jerusalem wouldn’t be complete without going to the Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre. A deeply moving experience, especially the Children’s Memorial. 

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