Discover Israel’s culinary traditions from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Celebrate classic dishes and delectable delights on this Real Food Adventure through Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Get a taste for shakshuka in Tel Aviv, soak up the vibe in Acre’s Old Town fish market, tour a tahini factory, pick up local cooking techniques in Buq’ata and sample mouth-watering knafeh. Somewhere in between these tantalising experiences, float in the Dead Sea and see the historic sights of Jerusalem. This is a journey abounding in culinary delights, complex history and charismatic places.

Start
Tel Aviv, Israel
Finish
Jerusalem, Israel
Countries
Israel
Themes
Food
Code
EUZF
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
506kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • The markets! This region produces some fantastic fruit, vegetables and herbs, and there’s no better place to sample and savour them than the bustling souqs
  • You’ll eat and drink with the locals, whether it’s in a winery in the legendary Zichron Yaakov or in a traditional Druze village in the Golan Heights
  • Visiting Bait Al-Karama women’s centre, you’ll not only learn the slow-food secrets of Palistinian and Nablusi cuisine but also support a great social enterprise
  • Israel has one of the world's youngest cuisines and most ancient histories, making for a dynamic combination
  • The region is a true melting pot – one of North African, Eastern European and Mediterranean flavours

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Shalom and Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Your adventure begins in Israel's liveliest city, Tel Aviv. There will be an important welcome meeting at 7 pm. Please check with the hotel reception or notice boards for where and when it will take place. For dinner afterwards you'll enjoy one of the country's most celebrated dishes, shakshuka, at a beloved local institution located in the heart of the Jaffa Flea Market. Enjoy this traditional North African dish of poached eggs, spicy tomato sauce and Mediterranean vegetables with a glass of homemade lemonade.
Drive to Caesarea, the ancient harbour city built by King Herod in the first century BC to honor Augustus Caesar. It's home to some of Israel's finest classical ruins, including an aqueduct and a graceful theatre overlooking the Mediterranean. Continue through Zichron Yaakov, one of Israel’s first modern Jewish agricultural settlements. This region is also home to many of the best wineries in Israel. Stop and sip some of Israel's lovely vintages from recent years. You'll enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the vines. Continue to Haifa and visit the spectacular Baha'i Gardens. These perfectly manicured grounds are a sacred site for the Baha'i faith, one of the world's youngest religions, whose teachings aspire to the spiritual unity of all humankind. The evening is free to make your own discoveries or you have the option to join a Haifa food enthusiast for a delicious home-cooked meal.
Continue to the preserved stone city of Acre. This ancient crusader port town, otherwise known as the Acre of Crusaders, is a World Heritage-listed site and a place alive with an eventful history, from the crusades through to Napoleonic battles. Visit the massive complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John, and the Knight Templars' secret tunnel which was built during the Crusader period. Stop in at the bustling souq. Here you will be tempted by freshly caught fish cooked to order by local fisherman – a highly recommended lunch option. From Acre, drive on to Nazareth and the Basilica of the Annunciation. This historic site incorporates, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the cave in which Mary received the news from Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus. Reach Tiberias in the early evening and stay in a traditional guesthouse.
Sail across the Sea of Galilee to Tabgha, the site of Jesus' legendary loaves-and-fishes miracle. Later in the morning, drive to up to the Golan Heights to visit a Druze Village called Buq’ata. Many Druze people in this area regard themselves as Syrian citizens. Historically, the Druze have been an agricultural people, tending olive groves and fruit orchards (mostly apples and cherries). Many families also grow their own fruit and vegetables, bake their own bread and live on a largely vegetarian diet. Meat, primarily lamb, is only served on special occasions. For lunch today you'll join a Druze family in preparing a traditional feast. Return to Tiberias in the evening.
Leave Tiberias, cross into the West Bank town of Jenin and continue to Nablus. Located in the Palestinian Territories, this is one of the West Bank’s largest cities. Meet a volunteer from the Nablus chapter of the International Slow Food movement for a produce-to-plate experience. You'll take a guided walk through the fragrant stalls of the local Kasbah, sampling some street food specialties and collecting ingredients for a hands-on cooking class. Dine with your new friends, enjoying the dishes you have created. After lunch your hosts will take you to a factory that makes the popular local sweet knafeh. This delicious Levantine cheese pastry soaked in syrup is considered a specialty of the regions of the former Ottoman Empire. Next, drive to Mount Jerazim for an encounter with the Samaritans, a Jewish minority group whose members hold Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian passports (the only group in the country to do so). Learn about Samaritan religion, culture and history up and stop past the town's tahini press to discover how this important local product is made. Once the sesame seeds have been ground into a paste, enjoy a taste fresh from the press. You'll arrive in Jerusalem by early evening.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast done the local way with falafel and ka'ak (ring-shaped bread). Embark on a full-day tour of Jerusalem. It starts with a short drive to the Mount of Olives, where panoramic view of the city's extraordinary surrounds await. Then drive to the Garden of Gethsemane. From there, walk to St Stephen’s Gate, a memorable way to enter the Old City. Pass by the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It's also sometimes possible to visit the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, when entry is permitted. Along the way, you'll enjoy a snack of muttabaq from one of the best street food stands in Jerusalem. Muttabaq (translated from the Arabic term for 'folded') is a delicious, stuffed, pan-fried bread commonly found all across the Middle East and in parts of Asia. Catch the train to nearby Machane Yehuda. Its wonderful produce market is affectionately known as 'The Shuk' to locals. Wander around the aromatic stalls selling fresh produce, meat, chicken, fish, cheese, herbs, dried fruits and spices. If you're feeling peckish, you can buy a Shuk Bites card and go on a snack crawl. Otherwise there are plenty of restaurants around the market at which you can sit back and enjoy the action. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you please.
Head off down the western coastline of the Dead Sea. Take a cable car to the Herod's clifftop fortress of Masada, whose tale of doomed resistance by the Zealots against the Romans resonates deeply for the Jewish people. Retrace your steps to Qumran, an archaeological site of a small monastic community from the time of Christ who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found by a shepherd in caves nearby as recently as 1947. After lunch in Qumran, take a float in the Dead Sea, the saltiest body of water on earth. Your final stop is Jericho, a slow-paced town in the West Bank, considered by some to be the longest inhabited city in the world. Continue on the road back to Jerusalem, glimpsing the Mount of Temptations. This evening you have the option to attend a Shabbat service, followed by the traditional Shabbat eve meal. Shabbat, according to Jewish religious law, is a day of complete rest, observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening through to Saturday evening. On Shabbat eve, the meal typically begins with a blessing called kiddush and another blessing is then recited over two loaves of challah (traditional bread).
Sit down to breakfast in one of the Old City's most revered hummus restaurants. Then take a short drive to the recently listed UNESCO site of Battir where villagers continue to practice ancient agricultural methods. The village is surrounded by an impressive Roman-era system of stone-walled terraces and a unique irrigation system fed by seven springs; this has been the village's fresh water supply for millenia. Then head to the holy city of Bethlehem. The route passes through a gap in the controversial security wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. Enjoy a walking tour of this famous city. Opposite Manger Square is the Church of the Nativity, the world's oldest continually operating church that marks the birthplace of Jesus. Enjoy a final lunch with new friends at a restaurant well known for its terrific barbeque. Get behind the scenes and have a go at mincing your own meat. You'll have two huge cleavers to get the job done the authentic way. Return to Jerusalem and make a toast to the end of your adventure.
Your trip comes to an end this morning and you are free to depart at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner
Transport
Boat, Minibus, Train
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nights), Hotel (6 nights)
Included activities
  • Tel Aviv - Welcome Dinner
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
  • Caesarea - Roman Amphitheatre & Aqueduct
  • Zichron Ya'acov - Winery visit
  • Akko - Old Town Walk, including Templar Tunnels
  • Nazareth - Visit to Church of Annuniciation & Mary's Well
  • Golan Heights - Druze Cooking Demonstration and Home-cooked Meal
  • Tiberias - Sea of Galilee visit
  • Bait Al-Karama - cooking class
  • Nablus - Samaritan & Tahini Factory visit
  • Jerusalem - Guided City Tour
  • Jericho - Mount of Temptations visit
  • Masada - Dead Sea & Fortress visit
  • Battir - Guided Village Walk
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field

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Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Reviews

Our Real Food Adventure - Israel & the Palestinian Territories trips score an average of 4.64 out of 5 based on 11 reviews in the last year.

Real Food Adventure - Israel & the Palestinian Territories , April 2016

Real Food Adventure - Israel , November 2015