Bethlehem
To See Manger Square, You Must Cross Borders

"Is it hard to get to Bethlehem?
Aren't there checkpoints and border guards and all kinds of problems?"

We found it wasn't hard at all.


Bethlehem is only about 6 miles (10 km) from Jerusalem, but in some ways it might seem a world away...

...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.


Bethlehem Is In The Palestian Territories

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

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 this Biblical town.

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.


Taking "The Arab Bus"

Blue Bus 21 from Jerusalem to Bethlehem


The Arab Bus... or the Blue Bus number 21 can be caught at the bus depot just outside the city walls near the Damascus gate.

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.


On the way back to Jerusalem, you have to go through an Israeli checkpoint, but they make it very easy for tourists. The size of the buses vary depending on the time of day, all the way from regular large buses to mini-van type buses.

Traveling through the countryside even for this short way, it all looks so... so biblical.


Taxi Or Walk Up To Manger Square

Manger Square - Bethlehem

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.

Door of Humility, Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem




The Church of the Nativity marks the traditional place of Jesus' birth.

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.



Other Site Around Bethlehem

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.

More Middle East

Israel
On Your Own


Old Jerusalem

Jordan

The Shepherd's Fields have been identified since ancient times as where the shepherds were when they saw the Star of Nativity.

You Can Hire Local Guides There

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

Curious about what else we've written about?  Search our site for a destination or travel tip.


Protected by Copyscape Online Copyright Infringement Tool

But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark

Go to International Travel Tips l Europe Travel Tips
Hotel and B&B Tips l Packing Lists and Tips
Go to MouseToursTravels Home Page

New! Comments

Have 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.

Ready For A New Adventure?

We escape by traveling…
But there are more ways to escape. 
Work on something you LOVE…

First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life

Timely Tips

The New Year is here...
What are your resolutions? To lose weight? To Exercise more?
Why not a FUN resolution!
Resolve to TRAVEL!
It's a good time to plan your travels...

And we have lists to help....

Custom Tour Planning List

Destination stories....
Europe Travel Tips
Africa Dream List
See America

Travel Planning
International Travel Planning Tips
Guidebooks can help you plan

Don't Forget Valentine's Day
Romantic Weekends

What About Your Passport?
Time to get one... or renew...

Answers about Passports and Visas

Dreaming of Warm Weather or Snow?

Jokulsarlon Iceberg Lake, Iceland


Packing for a Tropical Vacation
Cold Weather Packing List

…Or just make a resolution to explore more pages here and get ideas for travel destinations and how to get there.

NOW is the time to start planning for a great trip this year.

Search

Search MouseToursTravels
Travel questions or destination info?
Find our answers faster..
.

Translate

We want you to feel comfortable out in the world and on our pages - so surf away in your own language...

Updated Tips & New Travel Stories

  1. The Normandy Beaches, France

    The Normandy Beaches - the D-Day Invasion Beaches - are beautiful and peaceful now, but there reminders of their history all over.

    Read More

  2. Adventure Cruises - Sometimes the Only Way to Get There

    Sometimes adventure cruises are the only way to explore off the beaten track or experience a scenic wonder.

    Read More

  3. Tapas and Raciones Spanish Fun Food

    The Spaniards eat dinner late, so you'll learn to love tapas and raciones. What they are and where to find them.

    Read More

Two Ways To Like Us!

Like Our Site Top Left
Like Our Fanpage Below
Thank You!

Navigate Our Site

Related Pages
on
Trip Planning

Guide Books
Why Travel With A Guidebook

How to Choose A Travel Guidebook

Travel Agents
A Travel Agent - Do You Need One?

Choosing Destinations
Best Time To Go

What Kind Of Trip Do You Want
More Than Throwing Darts

Some of Our Ideas
Stories About Europe
Why Not Africa?
North America
International Travel Tips

What Kind of Vacation?
Group Tour

Independent Travel
Driving Vacations
Adventure Travel
Active Travel - OK, How Active?
Multigenerational Vacations

Eco-Travel and Volunteering
Green Travel Tips
Sustainable Tourism
Volunteer Vacations - Are They For You?
Try Volunteer Vacations Close to Home

Plan For Safety
Travel Advisories - Plan A Safe Trip

Don't Let Travel Worries Get To You
Keep Traveling

Planning Itineraries
A Custom Tour?
Custom Tour Planning List
Custom Tour Ideas
Top Ten Lists - Helpful, But…
Balance Your Itinerary - Mix It Up
Avoid Museum Sensory Overload
Hobbies for Trip Ideas
Where To Get Trip Ideas

Preparation
Get Passports and Visas

Travel Documents
Vaccinations and Meds 
Travel Preparation

Checklists So You Don't Forget
Travel Document Checklist

Travel Preparation Checklist
Home Departure Checklist
Pre-Departure Checklist