Top Tours & Activities in Bethlehem
This city in the Palestinian Territory of the West Bank has been the focal point of pilgrimages and Christmas stories throughout the ages. Perhaps overshadowed by Jerusalem's grandeur, Bethlehem's historical and religious sites nevertheless deserve a visit.
The Mosque of Omar, opposite the Church of the Nativity in the square, is the only one in the Old City. Be sure to visit the Peace Center and see Nativities from around the world.
Mind your head before passing through the Door of Humility. The Ottomans altered the Crusaders' initial change to the portal, so as to prevent would-be attackers from entering.
The Grotto of the Nativity holds a replica of a 14-point star, marking the spot where Jesus was born. It also contains The Chapel of the Manger and the Altar of Adoration.
Records show that this Franciscan church dates to the 15th century, and it's also from here that St. Catherine's broadcasts its yearly Christmas Eve Mass to the world.
This site indcates where the Holy Family stayed before fleeing to Egypt. They also say that while Mary was nursing Jesus, a drop of milk fell to the ground and turned it white.
In Beit Sahour, the Greek Orthodox Church of the Shephards claims to mark the place where the shephards received the angel's message. The Catholic Chapel of Angels is also nearby.
See what a 19th-century Palestinian home looked like, including old, black-and-white photos of the city. You can also purchase embroidered items here from the Arab Women's Union.
Though many arrive on a day-trip from Jerusalem to see the main sites in and around Manger Square, you could spend two days visiting Bethlehem. However, consider adding extra days to explore the historical sites of the area, such as Herodian, Mar Saba Monestary, Solomon's Pools, and the city of Hebron.
From Jerusalem, Arab bus 21 departs from the station opposite Damascus Gate. The final stop of the 40-minute trip is near Bethlehem's al Cinema Sq., 10 to 15 minutes away by foot to Manger Sq. For the return trip, the bus picks passengers up on Hebron Rd. in front of the olive grove, which is located down the hill from al Cinema Sq. It's imperative to bring your passport, which you have to show at the Israeli checkpoint on the way to Jerusalem.
The Old City is compact with a small concentration of accommodations. If you plan to stay during Christmas and Easter, it's wise to book well in advance.
- CurrencyIsraeli Shekel (₪) and/or Jordanian Dinar (JOD)
- Time ZoneUTC (+02:00)
- Country Code+970
- Best time to visitThe winter months (October - March) offer the coolest and most pleasant weather, with Christmas being an exceptionally festive time to visit.
Things to Do in Bethlehem
Other Sightseeing Options in Bethlehem
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