Arrival – (Jaffa)
Our guide will welcome you at the Ben Gurion International Airport and introduce you to the tour. If time permits; we will stroll through Old Jaffa’s alley-ways, which gave inspiration to many artists who have their Art Galleries there, and hear about Perseus, King Solomon, the Prophet Jonas, St. Peter, Napoleon Bonaparte, David Ben Gurion and many others who used Jaffa as the Gateway to the Holy Land. Transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv (most likely Dan Tel Aviv or Dan Panorama hotel in Tel Aviv) for dinner and over-night.
(Old Jaffa) – Tel Aviv City Tour – Maresha (Bet Guvrin) – Bedouin Hospitality
If not done after arrival, visit Old Jaffa before our city-tour of Tel Aviv, which will include the colorful (and noisy!!) Carmel Market, the chic Nachalat Binyamin Pedestrian Zone, the typical Tel Aviv “Bauhaus” Architecture and more… We leave Tel Aviv and drive to the ancient Greco-Roman city of Maresha (Bet Guvrin National Park) – the “Land of 1000 Caves”! Here we will visit the different types of caves which were used for burial, dwelling, hiding from the Roman army, raising pigeons, and much more… Driving further to the south we enter the Judean Desert, where we will stay at “Kfar Hanokdim” – an ecological Bedouin-style village where we will have a chance to enjoy the famous Bedouin Hospitality with the special coffee-brewing-ceremony and listen to their stories and legends told for generations around the fire
Camel Ride – Masada – Dead Sea – Jordan Valley
A Camel-Ride is a good way to start the day, but it can get even better by climbing the famous Cliff-Fortress Masada through the authentic Roman Ramp! At Masada National Park, Herod the Great built a magnificent palace in the middle of the desert. Masada was then used as a fortress by the Jewish “Zealots” who fought, few against many, against the pagan Roman Empire. Their heroic struggle became a symbol for the modern State of Israel. After descending the mountain by Cable-Car, we will not miss, of course, some floating (not swimming!) on the Dead Sea, known for its healing qualities… Now we drive along the Jordan Valley to our hotel in Tiberias or Nazareth where we will spend 3 nights (DLX package will be based on the Scots Hotel in Tiberias, Superior class hotels can be Rimonim Mineral Tiberias or Golden Crown Hotel Nazareth mostly
Yardenit Baptismal at the Jordan River – Sail on “Jesus Boat” – Capernaum – Tabgha – Mt. Beatitudes
After a stop at the Yardenit Baptismal Site to reassure our baptismal at the Jordan River, we visit the places where Jesus acted around the Sea of Galilee: We visit Capernaum, with St. Peters House and the famous Synagogue, enjoy the view from Mt. of the Beatitudes, where the “Sermon on the Mount” was given, and also the reconstructed church at Tabgha, where tradition puts the miracle of the Bread and the Fish. We will also sail on the sea in a boat similar to the boat used by Jesus and his disciples. Over-Night in Tiberias or Nazareth.
Nazareth – Cana – Kibbutz Tour
We start the day in Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water to wine at a wedding. Its modest church is a suitable place to reconfirm wedding-ties. We step back on the bus and continue to Nazareth, where we visit the Grand Basilica of the Annunciation and the St. Joseph’s Church. We will also stroll through Nazareth’s colorful market and visit the Greek-Orthodox church near Mary’s Well. In the afternoon we visit Kibbutz Shaar Hagolan, where a member of the Kibbutz will show us this unique Israeli way-of-life, the modern agriculture and industrial achievements which transformed Israel from a barren land to one of the world’s leading economies! Over-night in Nazareth or Tiberias.
Acco (Acre) – Haifa – Caesarea
Drive to the oriental city of Akko (Old Acre), where the Crusaders built their most important port. We can still visit the very well-preserved “Knights Halls” under the living oriental Bazaar with its colors and odors of the East, and listen to oriental stories (legends…?) in the restored Turkish Bath (“Hamam”). We drive to the modern port-city Haifa, situated on the slopes of the evergreen Mt. Carmel. The view from this mountain is famous for its beauty, and if the time permits, we can also visit the Carmelite monastery Stella Marris, where “Elijah’s Cave” can be seen. We drive along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea Maritima (Caesarea National Park), the magnificent port-city built by King Herod the Great. From here St. Peter went to Rome and started with his first miracles. In Caesarea’s well-preserved theater an inscription of the procurator Pontius Pilate was found. Now we ascend to the Holy City – Jerusalem! Over-night in Jerusalem (DLX accommodation – King David hotel, Mamila Hotel or David Citadel hotel, the superior class will be based on Ramada Jerusalem, Crowne Plaza Jerusalem or similar hotels
Jerusalem: Israel Museum – Yad Vashem – Knesset Menorah –Bethlehem
At the Israel Museum, we visit the scaled model of Jerusalem, as it was during the Second Temple Period (the time of Jesus) as well as the “Shrine of the Book” where the “Dead Sea Scrolls” are exhibited. visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s central Holocaust memorial, followed by the famous “Menorah” (Candelabra) situated in front of the Knesset Building, housing Israel’s parliament. If conditions allow it, we will drive to Bethlehem, to visit the Church of Nativity – the traditional place where Jesus was born. This is the oldest church in the world that is still active! Note: As Bethlehem is under the area controlled by the Palestinian Authority, responsibility there lies solely on our Palestinian partners! Over-Night in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem: Mt. Olives – Gethsemane – Wailing (Western) Wall – (Temple Mount) – Via Dolorosa – Suq –Church of the Holy Sepulcher – Departure
We start with a panoramic view of the Old City from the top of the Mount of Olives and then walk down to the Garden of Gethsemane. We also visit the “Wailing Wall”, the last remnants of the Temple in Jerusalem. If it’s open to visitors, we will try to visit the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque (no entrance into mosques!) We continue in the footsteps of Jesus along the Stations of the Via Dolorosa, Jesus’ “Way of Suffering”, and unto the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus was crucified and buried. The Via Dolorosa also passes through the Old City’s oriental “Suq” (Bazaar). Our bus will await us at the Jaffa Gate and take you to the Ben Gurion Airport for your flight back home.