Middle East & Africa

Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem, Israel is one of the oldest cities in the world, and a religious center for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The city is also a major tourist site. The well preserved Old City (east Jerusalem), while not even 0.9 km sq., is the location of the Temple Mount, Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb, and the al-Asqua Mosque. The western part of the city is where the bulk of the residents live, and is home to Israel’s main government buildings. If you’d like to have an in-person guided running experience in Jerusalem, we highly recommend our friends at Go! Running Tours.

We would not consider Jerusalem a major running city. You’ll see fewer joggers here than many other world cities. We would not recommend running in the Old City. The streets are narrow, crowded, and for reasons of religion and respect, running in the Old City might not be appropriate. But there is some good running to be had in Jerusalem! One can piece together a good ‘tourist’ run of some of the major sites, using busy Hebron Rd. as an anchor, and heading up to Hebrew University and Mount Scopus. This is part of the Jerusalem Marathon route. There is also a wonderful Promenade (Tayelet), with great views of the Old City. The best off-road run is the Rekevet, which is a several km ‘rail trail’ accessible from the central part of Jerusalem. The best green spaces for running are the centrally located Sacher Park, and the Jerusalem Forest, which is a few km west of the Old City and has some good running trails and roads.

Jerusalem is well served by buses. A new light rail system runs to Mt. Herzl (a good running spot), and to Jerusalem.

A few particular notes. We also recommend to be careful about running in certain neighborhoods, for both safety and religious respect concerns. Please consult a guide book or speak with your hotel concierge. Also, Jerusalem is crowded and busy with cars, and some roads have narrow sidewalks or no sidewalks at all. Use caution.

Our particular thanks to Mollie Feldman, and her Treasure Your Being blog, for her help with this Jerusalem running post.

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Some of our favorite runs in Jerusalem, Israel

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Jerusalem has a Mediterranean climate, but moderated by its altitude. It’s pleasant nearly year-round for running. Summers are warm to hot, with high temps 80–85F (26–29C). Winters can be cool, with average highs in January around 54F (12C), and chilly evenings, around 4C. Temps occasionally go below freezing. Snow is rare. Winters can be rainy. Summers are very dry with virtually no rain between May and October. Jerusalem’s weather is much more pleasant than Tel Aviv’s in the summer.jerusalem-climate-graph

Jerusalem is a major tourist destination, and there is a good selection of hotels. The best hotels and most centrally located are in the Downtown Triangle and off Hebron Rd. (Rt. 60) near the Old City. Try to stay in this area to be close to the best running routes in Jerusalem. There are no hotels in the Old City.

There are not any dedicated running stores in Jerusalem that we are aware of. You are likely to find running necessities in one of the two major malls in Jerusalem: the Malcha (Azrieli) Mall (near the Malcha Train Station) and the Mamilla Mall (near the Old City).

The running scene in Israel continues to grow and there are many running events in different parts of the country.

Article on Israel’s most important running events.

Jerusalem Marathon. March. This has become a major international marathon event, with 30,000 runners. There are also 5k, 10k, and half-marathon options.

Jerusalem Night Run. Has been run annually. Running at night in Jerusalem is special.