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5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

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5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

For our first trip to Israel, we thought we would spend the first 5 days based in Jersualem, and 5 days based in Tel Aviv (with at least a day trip to Haifa). We are interested in major historical sites, but also current culture and want to see a lot but don't want to be crazed with checking in and out of different hotels and cities. We are arriving on a Friday evening in late May. Due to our interests in having an authentic experience and the apparent high price of hotels in Jerusalem, we are considering staying in the old city (Lutheran Guest House?) but are getting overwhelmed with all of the factors to consider. Will arriving on Friday night, with our first day being Saturday, be problematic because everything we want to see will be closed? Will staying in the old city be too far to walk to restaurants (more than 10-15 minute walk)? We were thinking of spending at least 2 full days in the old and center of the city, then spend one day on a tour to the Dead Sea/Masada/Ein Gedi, and another day on a tour to see Bethelem, Jericho, Nazareth and/or somewhere in the Palestinian area for a cultural contrast. Any thoughts on hotel, hotel locations, challenges associated with things being closed on religious holidays, or itinerary would be greatly appreciated!

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1. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

First of all start your trip in Tel Aviv for 2-3 days and then move north for 3 days, staying the remainder of your time in Jerusalem. This is the more logical way to plan the trip. Arriving on Shabbat in Jerusalem you will find alot of things closed and totally miss the Friday night Kabbalat experience.

Using Haifa as a base in the north is not a good idea due to the time it takes driving to sites during morning/afternoon traffic. I would consider Nazareth, Tiberias or a kibbutz hotel for your stay in the north.

It is possibe to stay in the Old City especially if you are looking for budget and/or a religious experience. There are places to eat, most in the Jewish Quarter - all of which are closed from Friday afternoon till Saturday night. There are a few places in the Moslem Quarter, they are open on Shabbat but some may be closed on Friday or Sunday.

Will you be renting a car?

Chana

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2. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

It is not clear what type of "authentic experience" you are looking for in Jerusalem. If you are interested in a Christian one then any of the Christian guest houses in the Old City are a good choice. If you want a Jewish one, then you need to stay in West Jerusalem.

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3. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

Actually, I don't have any particular religious orientation. What I meant by authentic was anything that was culturally interesting and unique, something I might not experience in more generic modern environments (e.g., suburban Chicago). Also, something that might provide a contrast with Tel Aviv, which I am also interested in experiencing.

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4. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

Also, I had not considered renting a car, should I?

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5. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

Being in Jerusalem on Shabbat is similar to being in West Rogers Park, or Oak Lawn on Friday. Just being in a different country will be culturally stimulating. I would suggest staying in West Jerusalem and not the Old City for convenience and variety. The Old City can be creepy in the evenings when everything is closed and the alleyways empty.

Chana

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6. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

Thank you Chana. I am still undecided, as I also wanted to experience a little Tel Aviv night life, and since we are just arriving Friday evening (isn't Thursday and Friday considered the weekend?) I might be too wiped out that night. I'm also finding that staying in West Jerusalem is more expensive than staying on Michigan Ave!

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7. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

Yes Israel is one if the most expensive places to stay as far as hotels are concerned and Shabbat is even more expensive ( Friday night).

Chana

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8. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

Yes rent a car in TLV to drive north and then drop it off when you get to Jerusalem. Driving is easy between cities.

Check the prices of hostels in Jerusalem - they are better priced and in good locations.

9. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

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10. Re: 5 Days in Jerusalem: Hotel Location, Shabbat, Itinerary

Why is the American Colony your stock answer to every question? And there is no way anyone can consider it a budget conscious hotel - it has it's own spot but it's quite expensive.

I also wonder how it is that you say you live in Jerusalem yet stayed at this hotel? And you joined Trip Advisor today just to tout this place? Seems like advertisng.