Jerusalem’s double-decker bus is back in service and visits 27 different tourist attractions every day.
But if walking is your thing, try the soon-to-be-opened Jerusalem Trail.
My mother has always been a woman before her time, and Jerusalem’s renewed double decker tourist bus service just proves that again.
When I was 14, we came to Israel for the summer and my mother decided that we were all going to get to know Jerusalem in the easiest way: the bus. So my mother, my four siblings and I (or after the weekly rate of attrition, just my brother), would pick a new bus number every few days, take it to the end of the line, and then back.
Of course, there were glitches, like when we ended up in what was not yet the Holyland hotel.
In fact, it was just dirt and rocks for several miles around, and the bus sat there for three hours before turning around. Or the bus that took us out to the Judean hills beyond Jerusalem, but wasn’t actually planning on going back….
But I learned Jerusalem, truly like the back of my hand. Which is what inspired me, when I came back 15 years later as a new-married olah to relearn Jerusalem. Back then Jerusalem inaugurated the #99 bus, which took tourists around Jerusalem. And now it’s back as the #99 double-decker bus a la London.
The “Jerusaline” bus is now in service after a long hiatus due to the difficult security situation over the past few years in Jerusalem.
The bus visits 27 important Jerusalem sites daily, like the Mahane Yehuda street market, Ammunition Hill, King David hotel, Jerusalem Mall in southern Malha, Biblical Zoo, Yad Vashem, Knesset, Supreme Court and more. Explanations about the various sites can be listened to in eight different languages, and sightseers can get off the bus to visit any of them, and get back on later that same day.
The red, double-decker bus takes five turns around Jerusalem daily, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The whole trip takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes, and costs NIS 45 (about USD 10) an adult and NIS 36 (about USD 8) a child.
If you prefer to feel Jerusalem with your toes, then the “Jerusalem Trail” is what you’ve been waiting for.
A soon-to-be inaugurated trail that stretches seven kilometers (about 4.3 miles), the trail starts at the Emek (valley) Zurim national park at the foot of Mount Scopus, and ends at the Haas Promenade in Armon Hanatsiv (East Talpiot).
It passes through various places of interest like the Kidron Valley near Absalom’s Tomb, Mount of Olives, city of David, Gihon Springs, Silwan, Hinnom Valley and Cinematheque film center.
The trail is the result of a joint initiative by the city of Jerusalem, Ministry of Tourism and Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority. When the authority finishes preparing the trail and marking it, visitors would be able to walk it in its entirety.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski lauded the trail’s creation, saying that it is “unbelievable that the Israel Trail, a trail that spans almost the length of the country, and serves thousands of visitors every year, does not come through Jerusalem. Jerusalem deserves its own trail.”
Eventually, the city and the Parks Authority plan to connect the Jerusalem Trail to the Israel Trail.