We are normally the DIY type of family travelers, but one place we feel like is worth making an exception for and going with a guide is the ancient city of Jerusalem. There is so much fascinating history here that to maximize your time (and the attention span of the kids), we really recommend a tour to tell you what you’re looking at.
We partnered with Abraham Tours to show us around this historic place and it was definitely a highlight of our trip to Israel. We met early at the Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv and were transported to Jerusalem by shuttle bus. Our guide showed our small group of 12 around all the main sights through a maze of narrow alleys and tucked away passages and provided a lot of background information. After our tour of the Old Town, we went by shuttle to the market in the New Town to check it out and have some lunch.
What we really loved about the tour was that we were able to see the sights and some off the main path treasures with plenty of information but not too much to be overwhelming. The pace was good…not tons of standing around that would be boring for the kids and we had some short breaks to get drinks or take a little rest which was nice with the blazing sun! The tour was from around 9 am to 2:30 in Jerusalem, arriving back in Tel Aviv around 3:30 so it’s really the perfect length of time for families. We also liked the chance to see the market in the New Town where we were able to sample some local bites.
One of my favorite parts of the tour was the visit to the Western Wall where you are given time to write a message, pray, or just wander around. Even if you are not religious, it’s a remarkable and powerful experience steeped in so much history. I also really liked walking through the old market passages and only wish I had a little more time to browse through the treasures (although I’m sure Lukasz was glad we did not! 😉 ).
We really enjoyed this tour and were surprised how much our boys liked it too. While they did have a great time, I’d generally recommend this tour for families with older children. It’s a lot of walking, a lot of stairs, and it can be very hot. Keep in mind that Jerusalem is usually a few degrees warmer than it is in Tel Aviv. If you do go with younger children, I’d definitely recommend a baby carrier or hiking backpack as the Old Town is not very stroller accessible. I would also recommend bringing snacks and water although there are opportunities to stop and buy what you need in case you forget. I’d also recommend hats and sunscreen and remember to dress modestly as you will be entering some of the holy places like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where shorts and bare shoulders are not allowed. It is fine for the children to be dressed in shorts though!
You can also take the tour directly from Jerusalem if you are staying there, but with five nights in Tel Aviv, we appreciated the fact that we could take a day tour from there without having to make arrangements to stay the night. Thank you so much to Abraham Tours for hosting us on this can’t miss experience! They have loads of different tours available so definitely check them out if you’re planning a trip to Israel.