What to see and do
Recommendations on what to see and do in Bethlehem and Jerusalem brought you by the Palestinian Right To Movement team.
There are plenty of activities and things to do before and after the Palestine Marathon. The two cities of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala are 5 minutes away by car or taxi from Bethlehem.
There are many options for accommodation from hotels, hostels, and guest houses. Please check out our travel partner website for reservations at http://palestinemarathon.com/travel-info/where-to-stay/
There are many things to do and places to go around Beit Sahour, Bethlehem, and Beit Jala. If you enjoy good coffee, cafe food, and small quaint cafes, you should definitely check Singer Cafe in Beit Sahour. You can enjoy the atmosphere and hang out with the locals there. Little Italy is another cafe in Bethlehem, that’s very famous for its pizza, coffee, and delicious ice-cream. Read more on their Facebook page.
If you’re in Bethlehem, you should definitely go to the famous Afteem Falafel restaurant for breakfast; they offer one of the most delicious falafel you will ever taste. Afteem Falafel is located on Manger Square and famous for being one of the oldest falafel restaurants in Bethlehem, the owners opened the place in 1948, when they emigrated from Jaffa during the 1948 Nakba. For more western breakfast, Bonjour Cafe in Bethlehem has exactly what you need, a wide variety of pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches.
The three cities are very famous for the wide variety of delicious restaurants that can cater to many tastes. The Tent Restaurant and The Grotto Restaurant in Beit Sahour offer a wide variety of Arabic and traditional salads and mixed grills. . Hosh Al Yasmine in Beit Jala (near Al- Makhrour, where the Right to Movement do their weekly runs) is an organic farm, which offers homemade Palestinian food made on their farm from their own organic produce. The best time to go to Hosh Al Yasmine is during sunset to enjoy the spectacular view, in addition to that people can enjoy sitting outside around the bonfire.
Barbara Restaurant in the Beit Jala overlooks the three cities, people can enjoy the beautiful view, the delicious food, and cocktails. If you want to grab a drink after dinner, Taboo Bar is the place. Taboo is the local hangout bar for the locals and is located in Beit Jala. For dancing and more, Jacir Palace hotel has a really unique dancing bar. It has a long history of being the horse stable of the richest family in the city that used to own the palace, Jacir family. Now and for few years it has been the most appealing night club in the city attracting people from all over the country.
Visiting the Church of Nativity is a must if you’re in Bethlehem. While at Bethlehem, one can see the beautiful olive wood hand crafts, and the handmade embroidery. The shops along the old city in Bethlehem are filled with these handmade souvenirs. Prince of Peace Bazzar, which is located in the left side while going uphill to the Manger Square, will offer great deals on all items for runners and their friends and families.
Although the marathon course takes the runners along the wall, but going for a walk along the wall, seeing the drawings especially the famous Banksy, and how the wall cuts into people houses is a must do.
If you have an extra day or two, we recommend that you go to Hebron (it’s only 30 minutes away by shared taxi). Hebron is the vibrant commercial city in the West Bank; however, the old city of Hebron is now shut down because it has been separated between area H1 and H2- there are roads for settlers only to walk on. It’s very important to go there and go on one of the tours to fully understand the situation in Hebron. We also recommend the Political Tour done by Bahaa Hilu, people can book when going to Singer Cafe.
The old city of Jerusalem is a great place to visit. It is a story that has magnificent historical religious and regional values. The old city of Jerusalem is divided into four quarters. Within few kilometer squares, you are able to witness several civilizations and the main different religious believes. The four quarters are the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Armenian quarters.
We recommend you to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Holy Sepulchre Church.
In addition, eating Humus and Falafel is really something to make sure you do in Jerusalem. A little advice here is to visit a place called Humus Lina, located in the Watermelon neighborhood 500 meters down from the holy sepulcher church. It is one of the most authentic restaurants in Jerusalem. When you go there, make sure you ask them to show you the location of the Jerusalem Ka’ek bakery which is 20 meters from there. Warm, covered with sesame, baked bread that goes very well with Humus can be bought there.
Jaffa Gate is pretty cool. It is where the East meets the West. Restaurants and coffee shop do not serve traditional food. They serve traditionally oriented food cooked in a more of a Western way but ensuring that the local touch dominates. Jaffa gate leads to big markets where souvenirs and gifts can be purchased. It also leads to the Armenian quarter, where you find two restaurants serving all kinds of meaty Armenian dishes. We recommend you to try Bulghorli. It is in the entrance of the Armenian quarter.
We also recommend you to walk to tour of the Jerusalem Wall. You can buy the tickets at Jaffa Gate for almost 10 USD per person.
If you are in Jerusalem you cannot miss the most amazing view of the city. A big window showing every detail of the beautiful city. Really every single detail. The place is by Augusta Victoria Hospital in Mount of Olive neighborhood in Jerusalem. It is really a must see view.