Jerusalem is known for its famous holy sites. But what many people do not know is that the city is also an excellent destination for bikers.
When you think of biking in Israel, Tel Aviv almost always comes to mind. The coastal city is all plane ground, making it indeed perfect for cycling that is pretty much a way of life there.
In contrast, Jerusalem has a hillier and more uneven terrain. However, cycling in the capital is possible if you stick to the flatter, more central routes. But some of the inconveniences will be rewarded with delightful discoveries when cycling in the city.
Since Jerusalem is a city that was never planned properly, there are networks of shortcuts and alleyways that you can only gain access by biking. With over 150 bicycle routes dotting around the capital, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts can find many options in Jerusalem.
Cycling in Jerusalem allows you to see the city differently and gives you the chance to discover the places that you cannot usually see when you go to the city on foot or by a tourist bus. Many will agree that Jerusalem is best experienced on two wheels!
You can also sign up for professional guides for organized one-day or multi-day tours. Or, rent a bike, choose a self-guided tour, and go for the off-the-beaten path – the element of uncertainty will bring a dash of adventure and excitement. Whichever way you choose, it’s guaranteed that you’ll get the best biking experience in Jerusalem, or Tel Aviv, or elsewhere in Israel.
Aside from discovering interesting and wonderful places along the way, another advantage of cycling in Jerusalem (and the rest of Israel) is meeting surprising and wonderful people. Israelis are known for their open and welcoming demeanor towards guests and strangers. As you cycle along, you will have the opportunity to meet new folks who will give you real, unfiltered insights about what it is like to live in Jerusalem (and anywhere in Israel).
Cycling paths in Jerusalem
If you’re looking for dedicated biking paths in Jerusalem, there is a trail that leads to Sacher Park. You can go there in the direction of Herzog Road and another on Harakevet Road in the suburb of Baka. There is also a cycling path in the Jerusalem Metropolitan Park on the city outskirts.
Many tourists, especially the first-timers, opt for organized bike tours, while others who have visited the city many times will try their luck by going on self-guided bike tours.
If you want to see the city at dawn, you can sign up at Abraham Tours, which offers fantastic sunrise bike tours. It will take you to the Old City (circumventing all eight gates), pedaling along the beautiful boulevards and some secret alleyways. You can also view the sun rising on the horizon as Jerusalem awakens.
Gordon Tours, one of the leading bicycle tour companies in Jerusalem, offers twice-weekly Jerusalem bike tours on Tuesdays and Saturdays and special night bike tours in the Old City. Guests can choose individual, group, or family tours. The company also offers tandem and kiddie bikes, which visitors can request in advance. Not in the mood for cycling? Rent a scooter instead (it costs about 120 NIS as of this writing – but it will be cheaper if you rent it for several days).
If you’re feeling confident to travel on your own, though, you can go on a self-guided bike tour. This is also the best option if you want to avoid group tours. With a self-guided bike tour, you can set your own time and budget and explore the city and the outskirts wherever, whenever and however you wish.
The right time and year for cycling in Jerusalem
The southern route consists of mostly flat grounds and has less elevation gain, making it the perfect place to bike during the winter. The northern route, on the other hand, is a bit more challenging but has good weather during the spring and fall.
Annual cycling event in Jerusalem
There’s also an annual cycling event in Jerusalem that occurs during Green Weekend in the Spring. The event takes place on a beautiful path built in Jerusalem Park to celebrate the city, the open spaces, and the unique landscape around it. This 40 km or 20 km cycling event is open to both professional and amateur cyclists. Proceeds go to Alyn Hospital, which specializes in pediatric and adolescent health care.