Things to see in the West Bank
Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Most people don't think of Palestine or the West Bank as vacation destinations. However, stereotypes must be left aside: Travel restrictions in the West Bank were eased by the Foreign Office several years ago.
Visitors to Palestine will be greeted with enthusiasm and warmth. More historical, religious, and cultural history can be found in this little area than almost anywhere else on the planet. Because of its modest size, it is entirely possible to see a good amount of its sights in a relatively short trip. New community tourism and hiking or bike vacation companies make it easier to enjoy Palestine's magnificent scenery and delicious cuisine.
The informal but vast shared taxi (or service taxi, pronounced "service") network makes getting about the West Bank very easy.
Here are some of the best spots to visit in the West Bank for tourists:
Sebastian's spectacular Hellenic watchtowers wrecked Samaritan palaces, and crumbling Byzantine churches are a well-known stop on Israeli travel itineraries. However, a new community tourism project in the Palestinian village of Sebastia makes visiting this beautiful area a pleasure.
Jerusalem's Haram ash-Sharif
Although the golden Dome of the Rock is a globally recognized icon of Jerusalem, getting into the "Noble Sanctuary," Islam's third holiest place, can be challenging. The entry for non-Muslims is hidden behind the Western Wall Plaza's security gates.
The Old City of Jenin
Being awakened at 4.30 a.m. is rarely a good thing. The evocative musical waves of the azan, or call to prayer, roll around Jenin's hills, as heard from the Cinema Jenin guesthouse in the city center in chilly, clear dawn. In this bustling town, which is tragically more known for the Israeli army's devastating 2002 onslaught on the refugee camp, it's a moment of serene beauty.
Nablus' Hammam ash-Shifa
After all that walking and cycling, a good night's sleep may be in order. Two Ottoman hammams can be found in Nablus, both of which provide the customary combination of hot steam, cold water, locally made olive oil soap, and bruisingly thorough massages.
Oktoberfest in Taybeh
Taybeh, a lovely hilltop village, is host to the world's most unusual Oktoberfest. The Taybeh Brewery, run by a local family who learned to brew in Germany, offers a lively celebration every autumn.
Jericho's Hisham's Palace
Jericho's ancient, peaceful desert city has an entirely different vibe than the rest of the West Bank. Summer visitors may notice that locals go semi-nocturnal to avoid the heat; thus, the vast, flat roads are packed with silent riders at night.
The souk in Hebron
A tiny, tight shop right inside the main entrance to Hebron's historic souk is crammed with finely embroidered fabrics and checkered scarves from the West Bank's only remaining keffiyeh manufacturer, located just up the road. This is the headquarters of Women in Hebron, a tenacious tiny co-operative that is one of the souk's few remaining shops.