Best Places in West Bank
Updated: Dec 19, 2021
The West Bank, which is part of the Palestinian Territories and a part of the world that is less explored by most tourist. Both Israel and the Palestinian Territories are home to an array of mind-blowing archeological and historical sites that have been on the lands of millennia. Although the language and cultures differ, you will find welcoming and friendly people no matter where you go. In the West Bank, you can expect Arabic hospitality, a friendly smile and an abundance of buildings, ruins and unique landscapes to explore, so make sure you add this place to your bucket list!
This magnificent hilltop village overlooking the Judean Desert is the birth place to one of the most well known people that have every walked the planet. This man was Jesus, and his story is know far and wide, with a narrative that is over two thousand years ago, beginning when Mary gave birth to a baby in a barn, in Bethlehem. Nowadays, the Church of the Nativity sits on the site that is believe to be where the story unfolded, and is open to tourist who would like to go an experience this.
There are also a number of other highlights Solomons Pools, St. Catherine's Church and Milk Grotto but if you are up for more of an adventure and to see more of the West Bank in modern times, you can head toward Rachels Tomb and visit the Israel/West Bank Separation Wall which is full of graffiti with artist from around the world, even Banksy has made a couple of cameo appearances here. After you have check out the Wall, you can continue down to the Aida Refugee Camp and stroll the streets, grab a falafel and mingle with the locals. For more information feel free to check out our Bethlehem Travel Guide.
The blue-domed Mar Saba Monastery, carved into the canyon cliffs overlooking the Kidron River to the northeast, is so remote that you will not be able to access it via public transport. You will either need to drive, take a private taxi or hitchhike from Bethlehem. Do this sounds like an adventure or what?
The Monastery founded in AD 492 by its namesake, St Saba, although it has been rebuilt since then. The massive protective wall that surrounds the compound is the hermitage's most visible feature today. If the walls could talk, they would tell tales of triumph and horror, the later being because of a massacre of 120 monks in the Monastery in 614 CE by the Persians. St Saba bones where also robed from the monastery but were returned in 1965. The bones are now on display, as are the skulls of the hundreds of monks slaughtered by the Persians. The monastery does not allow women to enter, tours through the monastery are taken by one of the fifteen remaining monks and remember that it also close from 12 - 1pm so the monks can have lunch.
The walls of ancient Jericho, which lies beneath Tel es-Sultan, is a biblical tale from ancient Judea. The walls are said to have fell, after Joshua and the Children of Israel encircled it the town, marched around the walls once each day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day then blew their trumpets under the walls come crumbling down.
Today, Jericho is a tranquil town of 7,000 people, with most of the action concentrated in the town's center. Men and women congregate here to talk, drink coffee, and play backgammon on rattan seats. Vast bunches of dates and bananas swing from the market's beams, the markets are ablaze with fruit & vegetables and the cafes serve authentic Middle Eastern cuisine and beverages.
With a population of more than 130,000, Nablus is the largest city in the West Bank. It is home to several biblically significant landmarks, including Jacob's Well, which locals still use, and Joseph's Tomb. Nablus appears to be a pointillist painting from afar, with many blue doors dotting houses neatly spaced across a hillside. There's a cacophony of sounds within earshot: honking automobile horns, bustling markets below and the stately muezzin calling the Muslim faithful to prayer from above. If you get the chance to come to this raw patch of Palestine, you likely will not see any other tourist and will get a real taste of the West Bank (especially if you try its world famous Knafeh). Make sure you head to a rooftop to get a perspective of the city, and the mountains which surround the city.
Nabi Musa's Mosque
Built by the Mamelukes in the 13th century, the incredible Nabi Musa Mosque arises out of nowhere and in the middle of nowhere. It is believe to be the tomb of Moses in Islam, a cenotaph stands here in his honour and muslims pray and pay their respects. The mosque is open during Muslim prayer times and all day on Friday. In April, when thousands of Muslims make their pilgrimage from Jerusalem, only Muslims are allowed to enter.
Hebron, represents many layers of history and displays the contrast between the Muslim and Jewish communities which live within the city boundaries. Wander through the kasbah's maze of alleyways on there Palestinian side and you'll discover a variety of artists making ceramics, compressing and sculpting olive wood, and blowing the town's famously brilliant glass. Cross through the checkpoint into the Jewish Settlement and you will feel like you are in another world world. The Tomb of the Patriarchs, is believe to be the tomb of Abraham, the father of the Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The tomb, which dominates the city and is visited by both Jews and Muslims, is located atop Hebron's highest hill. Hebron is an amazingly vibrant place and there are amazing people on both sides of the city who will be eager to explain a little about their religion, but just be careful as there can be sudden burst of hostility in the area without warning.
Can I travel to Gaza?
Now that you know all of the best places to check out in the West Bank, we think that we know your next question.. Can I also go to Gaza? For those who aren't aware the Palestinian territories are divided into two seperate regions, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. You now know that you can in fact travel through the West Bank, but unfortunately unless you are working for an NGO, or have a permit to work as a journalist, you will not be able to enter Gaza. This territory has been cut off from the Israel, the West Bank and Egypt since 2008, and unfortunately does not look like it will be opening again any time soon.