...because this famous little town is in the Palestinian Territories.
About half of the residents are Muslims and half are Christians, though the number of Christians is falling.
We had talked to people who went on tours to Israel, and they told us how the tour company had to change drivers at the border, and how they had to get special permission. So when we decided to go to Israel we wondered if we would be able to get to Bethlehem.
Let me tell you right from the start.... it was easy.
Our hotel had all of those glossy tour brochures that hotels provide, and we saw that we could take a day trip to Bethlehem for about US $70... each! That seemed a little steep for a half day trip to a city that was so close. But it did include a guide, and it was hassle free.
We like to be independent travelers, though, so what to do?
We stopped by the Tourist Information Office just inside the Jaffa Gate of Old Jerusalem, and the staff told us that we could easily take public transportation.
This only costs about US$ 2.00 per person each way... quite a savings!
The buses run at frequent intervals carrying Palestinians into and out of Israel.
Traveling through the countryside even for this short way, it all looks so... so biblical.
It's a bit of a walk uphill from where the bus line ends to the Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity.
We hired a driver for a nominal fee. You should bargain with them, though we didn't bargain hard because there are not that many independent tourists, and we were happy enough with the price.
He took us to the Church of the Nativity, the Milk Grotto and the Shepherds' Fields and waited for us at each stop.... giving us as much time as we wanted.
The entrance is by a low, unadorned door called the Door of Humility.
Underneath the alter is the Grotto of the Nativity.
A silver star in the floor marks the spot where Christ is believed to have been born.
The Milk Grotto, also known as the Grotto of the Lady Mary, is where the Holy Family took refuge before their flight into Egypt.
The Shepherd's Fields have been identified since ancient times as where the shepherds were when they saw the Star of Nativity.
You can also hire a local guide at the Church of the Nativity. Official guides should have a badge. We opted to visit the sights on our own with just our guidebook. There are other sights to see depending on how much time you have.
Whether you opt to take an organized tour, or see it independently, the little town of Bethlehem is easy to visit and well worth it. Travel is illuminating. Surrender to its mysteries, share, learn, embrace and enjoy.
Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark
Hotel and B&B Tips l Packing Lists and Tips
The Backstory on Travel Article A Day
Go from Bethlehem to MouseToursTravels Home Page
Privacy and Legal Policy
Use one of the handy "share this page" buttons below. Thanks, Judy and Mark
New! CommentsHave your say about what you just read! Did it help with your travel planning and preparation? Eager to leave on that next vacation? Please leave your tips or comments in the box below.
How about a website of your own...
... work for yourself ... or...
Exercise your brain in retirement.
Follow Your Passion
Who knows where it will take you?
(Look around at where it's taken us!)
Click below to start your own journey
Like Our Site Top Left
Like Our Fanpage Below