Woman Taking Pictures of Ruins

Travelling to Bethlehem / Pennsylvania as Solo Traveller.

Bethlehem – A Haven for Solo Women Travelers

Welcome to Bethlehem: A Woman Solo Traveler’s Guide

Introduction

Planning a solo trip to Bethlehem? Get ready to explore a city steeped in fascinating history, religious significance, and unparalleled beauty. As a woman traveling alone, you’ll find Bethlehem to be a safe and welcoming destination, offering a unique experience filled with enchanting sights, delectable cuisine, and warm-hearted locals.

Getting to Bethlehem

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Bethlehem is by flying to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a shared shuttle service directly to Bethlehem. Be sure to prearrange your transportation for a smooth journey.

By Land

For adventurous travelers, crossing the border from Jordan at Allenby Bridge is another option. Hop on a shared taxi or a private car and enjoy the scenic drive to Bethlehem.

Accommodation

Safe and Cozy Stays

Bethlehem offers numerous safe and comfortable accommodations suitable for women traveling alone. Opt for guesthouses or boutique hotels located in the heart of the city, where you’ll find friendly staff ready to assist you with all your travel needs. Some highly recommended options include “Hotel Bethlehem” and “Bethlehem Museum Hotel.”

Local Homestays

For a truly immersive experience, consider staying with a local host in one of Bethlehem’s homestays. This provides an opportunity to connect with the community, embrace authentic culture, and create lifelong memories.

Must-See Attractions

The Nativity Church

A visit to Bethlehem would be incomplete without exploring the Nativity Church. Step foot inside this significant religious site, touch the star that marks the birthplace of Jesus, and soak in the spiritual atmosphere that surrounds you.

Manger Square

Take a leisurely stroll in Manger Square, the bustling heart of Bethlehem. Admire the magnificent facades of historic buildings, browse the local markets for unique souvenirs, and indulge in delicious traditional Palestinian cuisine.

Exploring Bethlehem Safely

Dressing and Etiquette

Bethlehem is a conservative city, so it’s advisable to dress modestly. As a solo woman traveler, respect local customs and cover your shoulders and knees when visiting religious sites or wandering around the city.

Moving Around

Getting around Bethlehem is easy and safe. Consider using a reputable taxi service or hire a local guide who can accompany you on your adventures. It’s always wise to inform your accommodation about your planned activities, ensuring someone knows your whereabouts.

Connect with Locals

Join a Cultural Workshop

Immerse yourself in the local culture by participating in workshops offered by Bethlehem’s community organizations. Learn traditional Palestinian cooking, engage in handicraft sessions, or join a local dance class to connect with the vibrant and welcoming people of Bethlehem.

Engage in Responsible Tourism

Support local businesses and initiatives that empower women in the community. By purchasing handmade crafts from women’s cooperatives or dining at women-owned restaurants, you can contribute to female empowerment while enjoying an authentic experience.

Conclusion

Bethlehem is a remarkable destination for women traveling alone, offering a safe environment, rich history, and warm hospitality. Engage with the local community, embrace the city’s cultural heritage, and create unforgettable memories as you enjoy the wonders of Bethlehem. So pack your bags, embark on a journey of a lifetime, and let Bethlehem enchant you with its beauty and charm.

Possible Accommodation Options in Bethlehem for Women Solo Travelers

1. Bethlehem Hotel

Located in the heart of Bethlehem, this hotel offers comfortable and safe accommodation for solo female travelers. It has modern facilities and is within walking distance of major attractions.

2. Dar Sitti Aziza Guesthouse

This guesthouse offers a cozy and homely atmosphere for women traveling alone. It is run by local women and provides a unique cultural experience. The guesthouse is conveniently located near the city center.

3. Queen Plaza Hotel

Situated in a prime location, this hotel provides a secure and comfortable stay for solo female travelers. It offers a range of amenities and is known for its friendly staff.

4. Hosh Al-Syrian Guesthouse

This guesthouse provides a tranquil environment for women traveling solo. It features traditional architecture and beautifully decorated rooms. It is located in the historic center of Bethlehem.

5. Shepherd’s House

A budget-friendly option, Shepherd’s House offers a safe and welcoming atmosphere for female solo travelers. It provides basic amenities and is conveniently located near major attractions.

Must-See Places in Bethlehem

1. Church of the Nativity

One of the oldest surviving Christian churches, the Church of the Nativity is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ. It features stunning architectural details and is a significant pilgrimage site.

2. Manger Square

Located in the heart of Bethlehem, Manger Square is a bustling plaza known for its historical and religious significance. It is surrounded by various important landmarks and is a hub of activity.

3. Milk Grotto

The Milk Grotto is a sacred cave where, according to tradition, the Holy Family sought refuge during the Flight into Egypt. It is believed that drops of Mary’s milk fell on the stones, turning them white.

4. Bethlehem Peace Center

This center serves as a hub for promoting peace and understanding in Bethlehem. It hosts cultural events, art exhibitions, and workshops focused on fostering dialogue and cooperation.

5. Walled Off Hotel

An art hotel located near the separation wall, the Walled Off Hotel features thought-provoking artwork and installations. It offers a unique perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the impact on Bethlehem.

6. Bethlehem Museum

The Bethlehem Museum showcases the rich history and cultural heritage of the city. It houses a collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that provide insight into Bethlehem’s past.

Favorite Foods to Eat at Bethlehem

1. Musakhan

Musakhan

Musakhan is a traditional Palestinian dish that is very popular in Bethlehem. It consists of tender roasted chicken seasoned with warm spices such as sumac, allspice, and cinnamon. The chicken is then placed on top of a flatbread, which is smothered in caramelized onions and a tangy olive oil sauce. The combination of flavors and textures in musakhan is truly delightful.

2. Maqluba

Maqluba

Maqluba is a flavorful one-pot dish that is commonly enjoyed in Bethlehem. It translates to “upside-down” as the dish is prepared by layering ingredients such as rice, vegetables (usually eggplant, cauliflower, and carrots), and either chicken or lamb. These layers are then cooked together until they form a beautiful and fragrant dish. When served, the maqluba is flipped onto a platter, presenting all the layers in an appetizing manner.

3. Falafel

Falafel

Falafel is a Middle Eastern staple and a favorite street food in Bethlehem. These crispy and golden-brown balls are made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, mixed with herbs and spices. The mixture is then shaped into balls or patties and deep-fried until crispy on the outside. Falafel is often served in a pita bread pocket with fresh salad, tahini sauce, and sometimes pickles. It is a delicious and satisfying option for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

4. Knafeh

Knafeh

Knafeh is a sweet and indulgent dessert that Bethlehem is famous for. It features a layer of gooey melted cheese, usually akkawi or mozzarella, sandwiched between layers of shredded phyllo dough that are soaked in sweet sugar syrup. The dessert is typically garnished with crushed pistachios or other nuts. The contrasting flavors and textures of the soft cheese, crispy phyllo, and sweet syrup make knafeh a heavenly treat enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Daily Costs for Solo Travellers in Bethlehem

Food

The daily cost of food in Bethlehem for solo travellers can vary depending on your preferences and where you choose to eat. On average, you can expect to spend around $15 to $25 USD per day on meals. If you opt for budget-friendly local eateries and street food, you can save some money. Alternatively, dining at mid-range or high-end restaurants may increase your daily food budget.

Stay

Accommodation options in Bethlehem range from budget hostels to luxury hotels. Prices can vary greatly depending on the location and amenities. On average, solo travellers can expect to spend around $20 to $50 USD per night for a budget-friendly hostel or guesthouse. Mid-range hotels may cost between $50 and $100 USD, while luxury accommodation can go upwards of $100 USD per night.

Transportation

Getting around Bethlehem is relatively affordable. Local transportation options include shared taxis, buses, and walking. Shared taxis, also known as service taxis, are a common way to travel within the city, and prices are generally reasonable, starting at around $1 USD per trip. Buses are also available for longer distances, and fares are usually under $3 USD. Walking is a great option for exploring the city center, where many attractions are within a short distance from each other.

Safety for Woman Solo Travellers in Bethlehem

General Safety

Bethlehem is generally considered a safe city for solo women travellers. Like any other destination, it is important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially when traveling alone. Stick to well-lit areas, avoid walking alone at night, and take common sense precautions like not flashing valuable items in public.

Dress Code and Cultural Sensitivity

When visiting Bethlehem, it is advisable to dress modestly and respect the local culture. While Bethlehem is relatively liberal compared to other conservative areas, it is still important to dress respectfully, especially when visiting religious sites. Wearing clothing that covers the shoulders and knees is generally recommended.

Traveling at Night

Traveling alone at night in Bethlehem is generally safe, especially in well-populated areas. However, it is always a good idea to use caution and take a taxi or transportation service when returning to your accommodation late at night. It is also helpful to inform someone about your plans and estimated return time.

Local Assistance and Communication

Bethlehem is a tourist-friendly city with locals accustomed to interacting with travelers. Should you need any assistance or have concerns, do not hesitate to ask for help from hotel staff, local authorities, or fellow tourists. It is also recommended to have a working phone with a local SIM card or access to Wi-Fi for communication purposes.