Planning your trip to Jerusalem needn't cause you undue tsuris (that's the Yiddish word for “stress”). This chapter covers the best ways to navigate the city and introduces you to the city’s most authentic and evocative restaurants and hotels, places that truly wouldn't exist outside the Holy Land. With these suggestions in hand, the practical issues involved in your stay should go smoothly and allow you to concentrate on sightseeing, which is really the reason you've come to Israel. But having a nice place to stay and great meals surely adds to the overall experience.
A Ministry of Tourism information desk (tel. 03/971-1145) is located in the arrivals hall of Ben-Gurion International Airport. The staff provides city maps and brochures (which you must buy) and answers questions. A hotel reservations desk nearby can also help you find a room for the night.
In the Old City, a Tourist Information Office lies just inside Jaffa Gate, a few steps down on the left (tel. 02/627-1422; Sun-Thurs 8am-5pm and Fri 8am-1pm). This office sells maps and booklets, but a shelf offers free maps and tourist brochures as well. Look for the Jerusalem Menus booklets, with its discount coupons. The office also rents a recorded walking tour of the Old City for NIS 50/day plus security deposit.
The Christian Information Centre, at the far end of the square inside Jaffa Gate (tel. 02/627-2692; www.cicts.org; Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:30pm, Sat 8:30am-noon), offers all kinds of useful information about tours, Christian hospices, group tours to Bethlehem (on the West Bank), and religious services.
If you’re surfing the Web, the Ministry of Tourism site is www.goisrael.com, and the Municipality of Jerusalem site is www.jerusalem.muni.il.
Publications-The “International New York Times” contains the entire daily English-language edition of “Ha’aretz,” Israel’s most respected newspaper (www.haaretz.com). The Friday “Ha’aretz” contains a detailed Weekend Section on events in Jerusalem and throughout the country. “The Jerusalem Post” (www.jpost.com) has a daily listing of city events, but the Friday (weekend) edition is your best bet. Another source of information is the free monthly “Events in the Jerusalem Region,” prepared by the Tourist Information Office and available at various tourist office locations and in many hotel lobbies.
Getting Connected in Jerusalem
Inside the Walled City of Jerusalem, wireless connections (including cell phones) are not great. The best (and possibly the cheapest) choice is Mike’s Centre Internet Cafe, right in the center of the Old City above the venerable Abu Assab Orange and Carrot Juice Shop, 172 Suq Khan es-Zeit St. (the main thoroughfare running from Damascus Gate south; tel. 02/628-2486). It offers private, air-conditioned booths and discount plans and is open daily 9am to 10pm. It also offers unique advantages, such as freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit, and carrot juice (the best in town) to keep you alert and healthy while surfing. You can even get your laundry done here while you browse the Web.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.