Jerusalem is a city not only of ancient cobblestone streets, bustling markets and religious sites, but also one of sprawling green spaces and charming gardens, which serve as much needed sanctuaries of calm and tranquillity in this hectic city.
Gan Sacher is Jerusalem’s largest park, stretching from the Valley of the Cross to near the Central Bus Station. It is sandwiched between the Nachlaot and Rehavia neighbourhoods and the area of government buildings and museums in Givat Ram. With plenty of shade around its edges, this is a great place for a picnic, while its large unshaded areas are great for sports. The park’s facilities include football (soccer) fields, tennis and basketball courts, a bike path and the Bird Observatory. Grab some delicious food from the nearby Machane Yehuda Market and spend the afternoon picnicking in this urban oasis!
This public park, known as Gan Ha’atzmaut in Hebrew, is nestled in the heart of Jerusalem, a short walk from the ancient streets and religious sites of the Old City. Often used as a venue for events, rallies and concerts, this is a green haven of tranquillity amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Jerusalem.
This sprawling, mountainous forest is an inextricable part of the Holy City’s fabric and history. It was from here that the stones of the Holy Temple and Western Wall were quarried and numerous ancient artifacts have been found within its confines. Planted shortly after Israel’s establishment in 1948, the forest lies poignantly between Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, and Mount Herzl, the site of Israel’s military cemetery. Abundant with a variety of trees, flowers and wildlife (roaming gazelles are a common sight), in addition to excellent hiking and cycling trails, this is one of the city’s best spots for a day of nature, outdoor activities and tranquillity.
Garden of Gethsemane
Located at the bottom of the Mount of Olives, this is not only a beautiful garden but also a religiously significant one: Christians believe this to be the place where Jesus prayed the night before his crucifixion. Moreover, a scientific study revealed that the olive trees in this garden are up to 2,000 years old, making them some of the oldest in the world.
Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
Located on the southern edge of the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus, this 30-acre garden is home to some 10,000 species of plants from all over the world, the largest collection in Israel. In addition, it contains a lake and the world’s largest collection of bonsai trees. Visit for a leisurely stroll among stunning and exotic plants. Tours are available and the garden has a cafe overlooking its lake.
Ein Hemed National Park
Nestled just 10 minutes outside of Jerusalem, Ein Hemed is a delightful national park featuring a stream, a two-storey Crusader house and shaded picnic areas. Come here for a morning stroll before heading to the nearby Arab village of Abu Ghosh, where you’ll find some of the best hummus in Israel. You will have to pay a small fee to enter the park.
Wohl Rose Garden
This is a beautiful spot close to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) and the world-renowned Israel Museum. With around 400 types of roses and 15,000 rose bushes, in addition to a pond with aquatic plants, this is one of the most picturesque gardens in the city. Come in April and May to see the roses in full bloom and to unwind with a picnic or a book.