If you are passionate about social innovation, then you want to make sure that you add Palestine to your list of destinations to visit this summer. While the media might be filled with only images of war and destruction, life on the ground is filled with resilience and inspiration.

Our team at BuildPalestine curated a list of hidden gems that will offer you an authentic and transformative experience when visiting Palestine. You won’t only be having a once in a lifetime experience visiting some of the most historic sites in the world, but you’ll also be playing an important role in supporting the tourism sector and empowering Palestinian communities.

As you prepare for your trip, here are some tips to help make sure that your visit has a positive impact on the lives of people and you are not implicated in the oppression. By being mindful of these aspects, you can fully immerse yourself in the culture, support local communities, and foster meaningful connections:

1- Research the Occupation beforehand. Rather than expecting people on the ground to explain the basics, do your research beforehand so that you can engage in meaningful conversations. Grassroots Al Quds is an excellent source to gain comprehensive and authentic information, especially about Jerusalem.

2- Be Aware of your Privilege. Palestinians are not allowed to move freely on their own land. To many in the West Bank or Gaza, visiting Jerusalem is a lifelong dream.As a tourist, you have the ability to travel more freely than most Palestinians themselves.

3- Go Off the Beaten Path. To truly support the Palestinian resilience, include informative hikes and workshops that take place in villages and camps in your itinerary. By participating in these activities, you actively contribute to the empowerment of local communities and gain a deeper understanding of their struggles. (Resources below)

4- Be Intentional on Social Media. It’s important to be mindful of the locations you share on social media. Using the right locations of the Palestinian cities and villages, you help promote an accurate representation of Palestine.

5- Support Businesses to Stay Steadfast. When traveling to cities like Jaffa, Haifa and Acre, be sure to support local Palestinian restaurants and shops. By opting for these establishments, you are helping them stay steadfast on the land.

To help make sure you get a truly authentic Palestinian experience during your visit, here is a list of initiatives that you probably won’t find in a typical travel guide and will ensure you are centering Palestinian voices, talent and experience. These experiences provide an opportunity to explore the rich history, vibrant culture, and remarkable people of Palestine:

  • Faz3a: is a Palestinian youth movement that empowers Palestinian youth through cultural and artistic activities. They organize art exhibitions, music performances, poetry readings, and workshops to showcase Palestinian talent and raise awareness about social issues. Website: Faz3a
  • Let’s Hike: is a Palestinian hiking group that promotes eco-tourism and explores the natural beauty of Palestine. They organize hikes across diverse landscapes, including the West Bank hills, Jordan Valley, and desert regions, offering participants the chance to discover scenic areas and historical sites. Check out their weekly hikes and book yours: Let’s Hike
  • Bait Al Karama: meaning ‘House of Dignity,’ is a women’s center and cooking school in Nablus. They offer cooking classes, culinary workshops, and food tours that highlight Palestinian cuisine and empower women in entrepreneurship. Visit their website, Bait Al Karama, to learn more and book your immersive experience: Bait Al Karama
  • Alternative Tourism Group (ATG): ATG offers a variety of tours and activities that provide a unique perspective on Palestinian culture, history, and daily life. They focus on promoting sustainable tourism and supporting local communities. Website: http://atg.ps/
  • Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies: Siraj Center organizes cultural tours, hiking trips, and home-stays that allow visitors to engage with Palestinian communities and learn about their traditions and heritage. Website: https://sirajcenter.org/
  • Palestine Wildlife Society: If you’re interested in nature and wildlife, Palestine Wildlife Society organizes eco-tours, hiking trips, and bird-watching activities in various regions of Palestine. Website: http://www.wildlife-pal.org/
  • Riwaq: works on the preservation of Palestinian cultural heritage, including architectural restoration projects and community development. They offer guided tours that explore historic sites and traditional architecture. Website: https://www.riwaq.org/
  • Palestinian Heritage Center: This center promotes and preserves Palestinian heritage and crafts. They offer workshops, demonstrations, and exhibitions to showcase traditional Palestinian arts, crafts, and cuisine. Website: http://www.palestinianheritagecenter.com/
  • Mashjar Juthour: If you’re interested in environmental conservation and eco-tourism, Mashjar Juthour is an ecological forest reserve that offers guided tours, tree-planting activities, and educational workshops. Website: http://juthour.org/
  • Dar Zahran Heritage Building: Located in Bethlehem, Dar Zahran is a restored heritage building that serves as a cultural center. It offers exhibitions, art workshops, and performances to promote Palestinian arts and culture. Website: Dar Zahran Heritage Building
  • Freedom Theatre: The Freedom Theatre in Jenin provides theater performances, workshops, and cultural events that shed light on the Palestinian struggle for freedom and human rights. Website: https://thefreedomtheatre.org/
  • Walled Off Hotel: The Walled Off Hotel, located in Bethlehem, offers a unique art and hospitality experience. It features art installations and exhibits that reflect the Palestinian experience and provides guided tours. Website: https://www.walledoffhotel.com/
  • Grassroots Al-Quds: was established in 2011 out of the belief in Jerusalem’s historical and current importance and the need for a platform for Palestinian networking in the city. Their goal is to support Palestinian resilience (steadfastness and resilience) in Al-Quds. They research and create knowledge that supports community mobilization and build networks between the different Palestinian communities in Jerusalem, so that they can overcome their fragmentation by the Israeli occupation authorities, and make long-term plans and strategies for the city as a whole. https://www.grassrootsalquds.net/
  • BuildPalestine! Our team is based at the uMake Coworking Space in Ramallah and we’d love for you to stop by to say hello when you’re in town! Just email: [email protected] to set up an appointment. Ahlan Wa Sahlan!

It is important to acknowledge the political complexities and challenges that exist in Palestine. However, by choosing responsible and ethical tourism practices, visitors can contribute positively to the local economy and support the preservation of Palestinian heritage and culture.

The warmth and hospitality of the Palestinian people as they welcome visitors with open arms and share their stories, traditions, and resilience, make any trip worth it.

BUILDPALESTINE 2023 SUMMIT: Reclaiming Funding

🗓️ October 7th and 8th

Join us at the fourth-annual BuildPalestine Summit to “Reclaim funding” and ask questions around the role of money in building the Palestine we all want to see.
How has financing been wielded as a tool to colonize civil society, and what lessons can we learn from other countries in the Global Majority? What traditional indigenous practices for community support might be renewed and reconstituted toward building a sustainable funding mechanism for Palestine?
This year’s BuildPalestine Summit will be a virtual and in-person event, combining engaging virtual discussions with interactive in-person gatherings in Ramallah and Washington D.C.