After covering Tel Aviv last year, Melissa from The Family Voyage is now back again in the series… Yayyy!
Still covering another city in Israel, this time she’s gonna talk about the capital city Jerusalem. The city is known as one of the oldest cities in the world, whereby it is also considered holy for the three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and even Islam.
From history’s point of view, it’s not necessary to debate whether the city is worth visiting. But what about from the budget’s point of view? How far could you get in Jerusalem for $10 USD there? Let’s go find out! 🙂
A Great Day in Jerusalem for Just $10 USD
Jerusalem, Israel is an amazing place to visit… But, unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap!
$10 USD is equivalent to around 35 Israeli New Shekels (commonly just referred to as “shekels”). Since Jerusalem is expensive, you’ll have to choose how to spend those shekels wisely!
Explore Israeli Traditional Food Within Your Tastebuds
The good news for you, the budget traveler, is that you can spend an entire day in Jerusalem on just those 35 shekels. Israel has lots of awesome, inexpensive traditional food options and that’s what you’ll spend most of your money on in between taking advantage of the city’s great free tourism offerings.
Start your day at one of the city’s many cafes, where you can grab a coffee and a pastry for 15 shekels (or less). Burekas, phyllo dough pastries filled with cheese, are a common breakfast food.
Then head over to the Jaffa Gate of the Old City to explore the nooks and crannies of all four quarters. If you find a few spare dollars in your backpack, hop on this excellent free-but-tips-recommended walking tour.
Whether you’re touring yourself or on a guided tour, at the end you’ll want to stop at Tala Hummus near Jaffa Gate for a much-deserved lunch. You can get a traditional plate with hummus, falafel and salad for just 15 shekels! That’ll fill you up as you continue on your way.
People-watching and Treat Yourself with Some Nuts and Dried Fruit around Jaffa Street
Enjoy a lovely stroll all the way up Jaffa Street (though you can take a little deviation on Ben Yehuda Street for some window shopping if you’d like) until the entrance to Machne Yehuda, more commonly known as “the shuk” – Jerusalem’s bustling mostly-covered outdoor market.
This is a great place to soak up the colors and aromas of the myriad cultures you’ll find in Israel today – Israeli, Iraqi, Yemeni, Moroccan, Russian, European and more. Take your time strolling through the market.
Many of the vendors will be happy to give you samples of their nuts, dried fruit, spices, cheeses, halva and more. It’s also a prime opportunity for people-watching, especially if you visit on Friday afternoon as families are buying their ingredients for Shabbat dinner.
Spend your last few coins on whatever treat strikes your fancy as you enjoy the sights and smells of the bustling city around you.
Some Other Ways You Can Spend Your $10 USD in Jerusalem
If you’re not really into food, there are still a few alternatives that are doable in Jerusalem to spend your dollar there, such as:
- Go on a guided tour of the Western Wall tunnels, the 2,000-year-old complex hidden underground (35 shekels)
- Take the new light rail (12 shekels round trip) to Yad Vashem (free), Israel’s national Holocaust museum and memorial.
- Learn about the founder of the modern State of Israel through the lens of Menachem Begin’s life at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center (25 shekels, must be arranged in advance).
- Ride the shuttle bus between Ben Gurion Airport and the Jerusalem Central Bus Station (16 shekels each way).
What You Can’t Get in Jerusalem for $10 USD
Unfortunately, the most important thing you can’t get in Jerusalem is a place to sleep. Even the hostels (like the venerable Abraham Hostel) cost around 120 NIS (~$35 US) or more for a bed in a mixed dorm!
You also can’t buy a ticket to one of the country’s treasures, The Israel Museum. It’s worth the splurge to see the Dead Sea Scrolls in person along with so many of the country’s other treasures. An adult ticket is 54 shekels, approximately $15 US, and we think it’s a worthwhile splurge.
Contributor: Melissa from The Family Voyage
Melissa is an avid traveler who loves exploring the world with her family. Israel is their favorite place to visit and they love sharing it with others through writing! You can find more of their adventures in Israel and around the world at The Family Voyage and on their social media handles.
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