The Holy City of Bethlehem is one of the oldest cities in the world. According to the Christian Gospels (Mathew 2 & Luke 2) Bethlehem is the birthplace and childhood home of Jesus Christ. Bethlehem is approximately 10 km (6 miles) from City of Jerusalem. We will tell you where the city of Bethlehem is located in more detail below.
If you have ever thought about travelling to the City of Bethlehem now is the best time to travel. Many will tell you that it’s dangerous but the reality of is that it’s a very peaceful place to go to. I have personally traveled to the holy land and Bethlehem several times, and to my surprise it was very peaceful and the people their were very friendly. The news creates a scary image of Palestine and Bethlehem, but if you go there you will be shocked at how peaceful and beautiful this place is.
Where is Bethlehem Located?
Bethlehem is located in the occupied Palestinian Territory commonly known as the West Bank. Bethlehem is a small city surrounded by the City of Beit Sahour and the City of Beit Jala. Bethlehem is home to The Nativity Church where Jesus Christ was born.
If you’re travelling to the City of Bethlehem from Jerusalem you will have to go through the Israeli checkpoints to reach Bethlehem. For tourists these checkpoints are super easy to get through to visit Bethlehem but for Palestinians that’s another story, so if you’re visiting from places like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, or elsewhere you should be good to go.
Bethlehem is a big trade town as well an important tourist center. Many people come from all over the world to visit Bethlehem because it is the location of The Church of Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
While visiting Bethlehem you will find shops that sell souvenirs, such as mother-of-pearl with religious inscriptions and olive-wood carvings of religious figures. These souvenirs are hand crafted by local people living in Bethlehem.
The town of Bethlehem neighbors the town of Beit Jala to the Northwest and the town of Beit Sahour to Southeast. Bethlehem is not only home to the Nativity Church, it has many other churches, schools, convents, and hospitals that receive funding by Christians from all over the world.
Bethlehem is home to Bethlehem University which teaches its students in both Arabic and English. So, if you’re looking to study in Bethlehem, this may be the University for you.
Where is Bethlehem on a Map?
Here is a close look at the city of Bethlehem located on the map. So, if you’re wondering where Bethlehem the biblical city and the city where Jesus was born, here it is!
Here is a zoomed out view of the City of Bethlehem on the Map. So, if you were ever wondering where Bethlehem is on a world map, these photos should help you out.
What does Bethlehem Mean?
Bethlehem is written as Bayt Lahm in Arabic and translate into “House of Meat.” Bayt in Arabic means “house” and Lahm means “meat,” so combine the two and you get “House of Meat.” So, if you were ever wondering what Bethlehem means, it means “House of Meat.”
Places Near Bethlehem
When visiting Bethlehem you will find a variety of places to visit. Bethlehem is full of religiously significant sites that you can visit yourself or as part of a tour group. Many people who visit Bethlehem either stay in the City of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, or Jerusalem. The area is full of tourists and there are plenty of great hotels in Bethlehem and the surrounding cities that we just listed.
A popular city that is near Bethlehem and many tourists like visiting is the City of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is approximately 10 km (6 miles) from Bethlehem so you’re looking at about a 30 minute bus ride from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. On the way from Bethlehem to Jerusalem you will have to cross a checkpoint at the Palestinian-Israeli border and for tourists this is very easy and effortless. You don’t have to get out of your vehicle or bus if you’re traveling as part of a group, you will simply have to stop, answer a few questions and you’ll be on your way to Jerusalem.
Ben Gurion International Airport is 65 km (40 miles) away from Bethlehem. Many travelers and pilgrims who come to Bethlehem choose this airport to fly into. Ben Gurion Airport is controlled by Israel and it offers the easiest route to the town of Bethlehem in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Tel Aviv is also somewhat close to Bethlehem, it’s approximately 77 km (48 miles) away from Bethlehem. We highly recommend visiting Tel Aviv so that you can enjoy visiting the coast line of the Mediterranean Sea. Tel Aviv is very different from Bethlehem. Bethlehem is full of ancient monuments and religiously significant locations, Tel Aviv is more modern has a few exciting tourist attractions that you’ll enjoy.
If you’re visiting Bethlehem you may also want to visit Amman, Jordan. Amman is approximately 160 km (100 miles) from Bethlehem. There are some historically significant sites in Jordan, however please note that if you’re travelling to Jordan from Bethlehem you will be entering a different country and you will cross the Israeli-Jordanian Border.
Beit Jala is another town that is connected to Bethlehem and you may want to visit it while you’re in Bethlehem, it’s less than 2 km (1 mile) away from the center of Bethlehem. It has some historically significant sites that you may want to visit on your trip to Bethlehem.
Beit Sahour is also closely connected to Bethlehem, Beit Sahour is approximately 3 km from the center of the city of Bethlehem. It is home to many churches and significant religious shrines for Christians.
How Do I get to Bethlehem?
If you’re coming from the United States, Canada, or the UK, or any other country you can get to Bethlehem in two different ways:
Method #1 Entering Israel Via Ben Gurion International Airport.
You can enter Israel by flying from your location to Ben Gurion International Airport, which is Israel’s primary airport. Once you reach Israel via Ben Gurion, you can take a Taxi to Bethlehem, which is in the Palestinian Territory. Make sure that once you’ve arrived in Israel you have your identification and passport because you will need to cross a checkpoint when traveling from Israel to Bethlehem under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
Method #2 Entering Israel via Jordan
Some people like to visit Jordan before visiting Bethlehem and so you will find plenty of flights coming from the U.S, Canada, and UK heading to Jordan. Jordan has a border with Israel, so you take a taxi from Queen Alia International Airport, which is Jordan’s main airport to the Alenby Crossing Bridge to cross into Israel. Once you have reached Israel you can drive or take a taxi from the border crossing directly to Bethlehem.
Is it Safe to Travel to Bethlehem?
You’ve probably heard about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine but we are hear to tell you that it is completely safe to travel to Bethlehem. The news has a tendency to exaggerate the situation and make it look like both sides are constantly fighting each other. So rest assured it’s totally safe to travel to Bethlehem.
We know that you will probably get bombarded with warning from your friends and family members not to travel to Bethlehem but they have all probably been listening to the same news that we all listen to which is that the area is very problematic. However, we urge you to ask people who have traveled to Bethlehem about their experience and we are pretty confident that you will get a different version which encourages you to go and check it out for yourself.
Bethlehem in particular is a very peaceful town and the surrounding areas of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala rarely see any problems. When you visit you may see checkpoints if you’re travelling between large towns but the truth is that people are just going about their daily life. I have personally traveled to Palestine on at least 20 different occasions and I have never had any problems while travelling anywhere in Palestine. So, to answer your question, it is completely safe for american tourists and any other tourists to travel to the City of Bethlehem in Palestine.
Is Bethlehem Still a Town?
We are happy to report that Bethlehem is still the same old town that it once was at the time of Jesus Christ. If you ever visit Bethlehem the historic landmarks are breathtaking. Many of the buildings in the old town of Bethlehem are hundreds of years old but they are still kept in good condition to preserve the town’s rich history.
You will see some newly constructed buildings but the old souk (market) is still there and you also have great sites such as the Church of Nativity which is visited by tens of thousands of tourists and pilgrims on a yearly basis. If you choose to come to Bethlehem and truly experience it’s rich culture, we recommend going there during Christmas. The atmosphere is amazing and you will find a lot of people there celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. You will see for yourself the Christmas card depictions of the scenic village of Bethlehem.
What Continent is Bethlehem In?
For those of you who are wondering Bethlehem is in what continent, Bethlehem is located in the Continent of Asia. To be more specific it is in the occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank. There is a common misconception that Bethlehem is located in Israel, but the more accurate answer is Palestinian Territory, people living around the town of Bethlehem are all Palestinians, there isn’t a single Israeli person living in that area as well as the surrounding areas.
Where is the Nativity Church in Bethlehem Located?
The Church of Nativity is located in the heart of Bethlehem near the old souk (market) in the Palestinian Territories. The Nativity Church has remained unchanged since Justinian reconstruction, however the Palestinians continue to care for the church by performing small repairs and additions to the church to preserve the original construction of the church.
Where is the Bethlehem Christmas Tree?
Every year a few weeks before Christmas, the Palestinian put up a large Christmas Tree in front of the Church of Nativity. There is a huge open space in front of the Nativity Church which is used as a gathering place for people to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In this open space, you will find beautiful decorations and Christmas during the month of December leading up to Christmas day. If you ever travel to Bethlehem during Christmas, you will truly enjoy the Christmas Spirit and atmosphere of the local people of Bethlehem.
What to do in Bethlehem?
If you’re going to Bethlehem, the first thing to do is to visit the holy sites. Once you have visited the Church of Nativity and numerous other churches in Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour, you should check out the Mediterranean Cuisine. There is no shortage of awesome restaurants in Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour. If you smoke Hookah or have ever wanted to try it now is your chance as almost every restaurant in Bethlehem has a full menu of exotic hookah flavors to choose from. If you don’t smoke or don’t want to try it, ask to be seated in a non-smoking section and I’m sure the restaurant employees will accommodate your request.
Bethlehem, Oh Bethlehem
We hope this article was able to shed some light as to where Bethlehem is located. We hope that you found our travel information to Bethlehem helpful. Just remember it’s a peaceful little town in the middle of the beautiful country of Palestine. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to drop them in the comments section below.