Planning Your Time

Israel itineraries tend to favor Jerusalem. The Old City alone offers an absorbing two days. Beyond its religious shrines are ancient sites, panoramic walks, and museums. Allow time for poking around the Arab market and the stores of the Jewish Quarter. The immediate environs—the City of David, Mount of Olives, Mount Zion, and a few sites north of the Old City walls—can add another day. West Jerusalem's spread-out attractions take patience to explore. Add time for shopping and you're quickly up to a five- to six-day stay. Jerusalem is also a convenient base for day trips to Masada and the Dead Sea, and even Tel Aviv.

A few tips for maximizing your time: Make a list of must-see sights. Pay attention to opening times and plot out your day's destinations to minimize backtracking. Mix experiences each day, to avoid overdosing on museums, shrines, or archaeology. Above all, take time to let your senses absorb the city. Take time to walk around and sip a coffee at a sidewalk café. Jerusalem is as much about atmosphere as it is a checklist of world-class sights.

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