During your gap year in Jerusalem there will be many exciting activities to enjoy organised by Aardvark, but you will also have plenty of free time. You will discover that there are many great things to do in Jerusalem, but you will also realise that Israel is a fairly expensive country. Luckily, plenty of enjoyable things in Jerusalem are completely free.
The obvious place to start is the Old City; you can spend days exploring its sites and markets. There are also regular free things taking place in the Old City, such as the Light Festival, the Knights in the Old City festival, the Sounds of the Old City festival and more. There is a truly unique atmosphere in the Old City and it is one that you should definitely enjoy while you have the chance.
If you are looking for something a little less busy then take a walk to the Haz, Sherover and Goldman promenades in Armon Hanatziv. They offer amazing panoramic views of the city and are conveniently located next to one another, so you can easily walk them all in one afternoon. They run from Jabal Mukabaar Park in the east all the way to Abu Tor in the north. At the end of the Goldman Promenade, you will find the United Nations Middle East Headquarters, in the former palace of the British High Commissioner, which is a site worth seeing in itself.
If you are interested in architecture then there are many impressive buildings to visit in Jerusalem. For instance, the Supreme Court of Israel, which was called “Israel’s finest public building” by The New York Times, is certainly worth a visit. It fuses together numerous styles and references Herodian, Hellenistic, Crusader, Greek Orthodox, and even British Mandate periods. Best of all, there are free tours of the building in English on workdays at noon.
If you are in need of a bit of nature then head to the Wohl Rose Park, which is opposite the Knesset and next to the Supreme Court. It is a 19-acre public garden that is home to 15,000 rose bushes and is considered one of the top rose gardens in the world. In addition to roses, you can enjoy fishponds, waterfalls, sculptures, and a sixth-century mosaic floor.
If you are in the centre of town then you can also enjoy a beautiful park, the Teddy Park located opposite the Jaffa Gate. It is best to visit at 8pm when you can enjoy a sound, light and water show. You can also stop by the visitors’ centre that tells the story of the development of modern day Jerusalem.
There are many more places to explore in Jerusalem without having to spend any money. You can visit the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, various interesting neighbourhoods, such as Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Ein Karem, and Nachlaot, there are more parks to visit, street markets and fairs, and so on. You may think that a year is a long time to spend in Jerusalem, but you will soon realise that it is barely enough time to start exploring all that it has to offer.