Whether or not you are religiously inclined, visiting Jerusalem at Christmas time is a wonderful experience. Though the typical trappings of the holiday are not omnipresent, the city has a lot to offer for any traveler.
While in Jerusalem, be sure to venture toward the Western Wall, and to stop into the Davidson Center in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park; which was built into the basement of an eighth-century structure. Here you will receive a wealth of information about the history of the city. Another major attraction is the settlement of the City of David, a must-see no matter the time of year. Be sure to visit the Via Dolorosa and the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but be aware that both are likely to be quite crowded, particularly around the Christmas holiday.
There is a charming Christmas market operated near the New Gate on the upper part of Via Dolorosa, where you will find decorations, crafts and treats. If that puts you in the Christmas spirit and you are craving more seasonal decor and lights, visit the YMCA on King David Street.
In addition to the myriad sites within the city, Jerusalem can act as a fantastic home-base for visiting different places around Israel at Christmas time. The holy city of Bethlehem is a mere 6 miles south of Jerusalem, and is a vibrant place to visit during the holiday. Be sure to schedule your visit around the annual Christmas tree lighting, which is complete with fireworks and caroling. Just a bit further, across the Palestinian border, is the city of Jericho, which is easily accessible. Additionally, there are many biblical sites on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, often referred to as the “Jesus trail.”