I love taking photos. Lately, I’ve even bought a new camera! So, I’m always looking for good viewpoints that offer the best views of Jerusalem. In this post, I’ll share my 5 favorite viewpoints, most of them free of charge. And at the end, I added some more viewpoints that you might want to visit.
Tower of David – 360 degrees view of Jerusalem
I’ll start from the paid viewpoint – the Tower of David. It’s my favorite viewpoint in Jerusalem. You don’t have to pay for the whole museum. You can just pay to access the lookout. It costs 20 shekels, and it’s worth it! Visiting the whole museum, including the viewpoint, costs 50 ILS per adult.
From the top, there’s a splendid 360 degrees view of both old and new Jerusalem. To the east, you can see all the way to the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount and Mount of Olives in the background. To the west, you can see Tower of David itself, Mishkenot Sha’ananim – the first Jewish neighborhood outside the Old City walls, and Jaffa Road, leading into the city. There’s much more to see from up top, but I guess you just need to come and see it yourselves.
How to get there? The Tower of David is located right next to Jaffa Gate in the Old City. If you’re not interested in visiting the museum, you will need to enter the Tower of David from its eastern gate. There’s no ticket booth there, so you’ll need to buy the tickets online or from the western side of the museum. To get to the viewpoint itself, you need to climb up a long set of stairs. There’s no elevator, so it’s not so accessible for people with walking problems. View it on Google Maps.
Best time to go: Come here in the morning when you start your tour of the Old City. The viewpoint opens at 9 AM.
The stairs to the Western Wall
Almost anyone who visits the Old City of Jerusalem visits the Western Wall. And one of the most beautiful views of Jerusalem is located on the stairs leading from the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall. Halfway down, you get to see the Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa Mosque, and the Western Wall all in one view. The Mount of Olives can also be seen in the background.
It’s totally free!
How to get there? As I’ve already mentioned, the viewpoint is halfway down the stairs from the Jewish Quarter. So, people who have trouble walking stairs don’t have easy access. Soon, there will be an elevator leading from the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall. Maybe, there will be a good view from there. View the location on Google Maps.
Best time to go: There isn’t a specific best time to go. The Western Wall and Temple Mount are beautiful all day long, even in the evening.
Ramat Rachel Archeological Garden – Yair Viewpoint
Next up is one of the lesser-known views of Jerusalem. Ramat Rachel is a kibbutz located on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem, right next to the Arab village of Sur Baher. It’s called Ramat Rachel (“Rachel’s Heights”) because it overlooks Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem. When I was there, I couldn’t see Bethlehem or Rachel’s Tomb but enjoyed a stunning view of modern-day Jerusalem. The view can be seen from Yair Viewpoint, at the edge of the Archeological Garden in Ramat Rachel.
The archeological site is impressive and includes some interesting findings from the First Temple and Second Temple periods, about 3000 years ago. So, it’s worth taking a stroll in the garden before coming to the viewpoint.
The Yair Viewpoint is a masterpiece created by the artist Ran Morin. It’s a circular viewpoint, with a small oak tree at its center. It is named after Yair Engel, who was killed during his military service in 1996.
Access to the archeological garden is totally free!
How to get there? Bus line number 7 goes from the Jerusalem city center to Ramat Rachel. The ride takes about 25 minutes. There are signs pointing to the archeological garden, so it’s no problem getting there. Also, there’s a large parking lot next to the garden, so if you have a car, you can drive there. The garden itself is very accessible, so anyone can visit. View the location on Google Maps.
Best time to go: It’s best to go in the morning, when the sun isn’t in your eyes, because the view is to the northwest.
Bonus: If you’re already in Ramat Rachel, visit the Park of Olives between Ramat Rachel and Sur Baher. There, you’ll see another beautiful sculpture by Ran Morin.
Armon Hanatziv Promenade
Not far from Ramat Rachel, about 10 minutes by car, is the Armon Hanatziv Promenade. It is a long promenade overlooking the Old City and parts of the new city of Jerusalem. I think it is the widest view of Jerusalem. From here, you can clearly see the Hinnom Valley, the Old City walls, Temple Mount, and the Mount of Olives.
At the eastern end of the promenade, there’s the Commissioner’s Palace, or in Hebrew, “Armon Hanatziv,” which gave the promenade its name. The British commissioners lived in this place from 1933 to 1945, the year that the British mandate ended. Today, it is the headquarters of the UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organization) and is not open to the public. So, the most you can see is the gateway to the compound.
Entrance to the promenade is free of charge.
How to get there? The promenade is accessible for wheelchairs. There are some parking lots next to the promenade, so you can come in a car. But if you prefer public transport, you can take bus number 7 from the city center, get off at Yanovisky/ Derech Hebron and walk a short while from there.
Best time to go: The best time to come to the promenade is near sunset when there are beautiful colors in the sky, and you can still see the view before darkness. And even after darkness, the view is gorgeous with lots of lights.
Mount of Olives Viewpoint
This is probably the most famous viewpoint in Jerusalem. It has splendid views of Old Jerusalem and the modern city from the east towards the west. You can see the Mount of Olives cemetery spread beneath you, the Kidron Valley, and a clear view of the Dome of the Rock. You can also see a great view of the City of David, to the south of the Old City. And you can also spot the dominant structures within the walls, like the Hurva Synagogue and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It’s a great panoramic view with which you can finish the day.
Mount of Olives is one of the holiest places for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Christians believe that Jesus entered Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and wept on the city because he foresaw its destruction. They also believe that Jesus ascended to the sky from the top of the mountain, not far from the viewpoint where the Chapel of Ascension stands today. The Jewish and Muslims tie the mountain to the End of Days, and that is why there’s a large Jewish cemetery on the western slope of the mountain, facing Temple Mount.
How to get there? Since it’s located on the top of Mount of Olives, you will need to climb up on foot or take a bus or taxi to the top. There’s a long set of stairs to the top of the mountain, but the climb is not TOO long. A taxi should cost you no more than 50 shekels from Lions Gate or somewhere close by. To get there by bus, you will need to take the light-rail train to Ammunition Hill, and from there, take bus 84 to the top of the mountain.
Best time to go: The view is great at any time of the day. Though, I recommend coming in the morning to enjoy the clearest view of the landmarks. There’s also a nice sunset from here.
Read more >> The Many Sites of Mount of Olives: What to See?
For some reason, I can’t find a photo I took from the viewpoint. Maybe I was too dazzled. But here’s a (very) short video of the way down Mount of Olives, so you can get a general understanding of how the view looks:
Some more recommended views of Jerusalem
There are so many stunning views of Jerusalem, so it was hard to pick the 5 best ones. Another viewpoint that people mention a lot is the viewpoint of the Austrian Hospice. It costs about 10 shekels to go up to the rooftop. Personally, I think there are much better viewpoints, like the Tower of David Viewpoint, which I’ve already mentioned. So… I don’t really get all the recommendations on the Austrian Hospice.
A few more viewpoints that are worth mentioning:
- The Ramparts Walk. You can get on the old city wall and enjoy beautiful views of the old and new city from a variety of angles. It costs 25 ILS per adult.
- The Rooftops Viewpoint. From the Jewish Quarter, walk north on Habad Street until you see stairs. Climb up the stairs and then climb up to the platform to your left. From there, you can see a beautiful and free view of Temple Mount and Mount of Olives.
- The viewpoint from Ain Rogel Street. Near the First Station and above La’iver Garden, there’s a platform overlooking Mount Zion. I really like this viewpoint, because you can see a very charming view of the Dormition Abbey.
- The viewpoint from the top of the Visitation Church stairs. If you’re coming to Ein Kerem, one of the charming neighborhoods of Jerusalem, make sure to climb up the stairs to the Visitation Church. From up there, there’s a beautiful view of Ein Kerem, including the John BaHarim Church. Read more about Ein Kerem >> Ein Karem – Following John the Baptist.
- YMCA Belltower Viewpoint. If you’re looking for a viewpoint of the modern side of Jerusalem, this is it. You need to ask at the YMCA Hotel reception, pay 15 shekels, and they will let you into the elevator that brings you up to the top of the tower.
Jerusalem is full of fantastic views. If you like to take photos, you’ll get plenty of great opportunities in the city and outside it. In this post, I’ve recommended five viewpoints, but of course, there are much more. Wishing you a splendid and photogenic time in Jerusalem!
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