Experience ancient Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv visiting Tiberias and Jericho

Undertake your own pilgrimage to one of the world’s great holy lands on this short but sweet uncovering of Israel’s highlights. Entrenched in the ancient but emphatically modern in outlook, nominally Jewish but with oodles of Muslim and Christian influence, this is one intriguing place to get your head around. Stroll the Old City’s age-old ramparts in Jerusalem, visit the spot Jesus entered the world in Bethlehem and see where some pretty steadfast Jews held out on Massada’s rugged outcrop. Break bread with Palestinians in Nablus’ Old City, go for a swim with a difference in the Dead Sea and get among the everyday hype of Tel Aviv. Young or old, fun-minded or enthralled by history, Israel has more than a little bit of something for everyone.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017:
From 1 January 2017 this trip will now depart on Saturday instead of Monday. This is so the trip dates can match up with our Egypt Adventure trip (XESB) and Jordan Trip (EESJ) to create the combination trip Explore Egypt, Jordan & Israel (XESIC)
This trip will also not include lunch in Taybeh on Day 4. This change comes as a result of traveller feedback that indicated that they did not find this added value to the trip
There are no other changes to the itinerary.


Start
Jerusalem, Israel
Finish
Tel Aviv, Israel
Country
Israel
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
ENSI
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Discover for yourself famed religious towns of Jericho, Bethlehem and Nazareth, and find out about daily life in the legendary city of Jerusalem as you chat with locals in the Old City on the way to the Western Wall

  • Journey to the village of Taybeh to uncover daily Palestinian life, and sip a beer from the first micro brewery in the Middle East

  • Look down on one of the world’s most amazing city skyline with views across Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

  • Experience the contrasts between the nightlife of modern, cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv, and the reverential atmosphere of Jerusalem

Is this trip right for you?

  • As the days get warmer, temperatures can start to soar in this region. From April to October, to avoid the midday heat, we start some days very early (e.g. at 5am). Though we try to make things as comfortable for you as possible, please be prepared for these conditions.

  • It’s not all hot desert days in Israel, as the winter months (December through to February) can be quite cold. Temperatures in northern parts of the country can drop to freezing overnight. Snowfall around these areas is also common. Be sure to pack clothes that will prepare you for varying temperatures if travelling during these months.

  • We recommend packing light and smart, but just in case your tempted to bring a big, heavy bag, remember you’ll have to carry it to and from hotels, bus stops, train stations etc.

  • Some of the sites we visit involve walking on rocky and/or steep hillsides, where there is often little or no shade. Comfortable walking shoes and a hat will make it easier to explore the sights.

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

Welcome to Israel and Jerusalem, a city steeped in spirituality and legend; a rich tapestry of the many cultures, religions and nationalities that call it home, be they Muslim Palestinians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts or Greek Orthodox monks. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it’ll take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, maybe arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. In you arrive with some free time, perhaps drop by the Israel Museum and browse its superb collection of art and history. Get a feel for Israel’s hub of holiness this evening while exploring the Old City, taking in the one of the great urban skylines – the serried buildings and ancient ramparts of the Old City, the churches adorning the Mount of Olives and the iconic gold of the Dome of the Rock. Perhaps head up the walled ramparts for impressive panoramas over the surrounding area.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Jerusalem - Old City Ramparts - USD5
  • Jerusalem - Israel Museum - USD12
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning you begin your tour of Jerusalem with a panoramic view of the city. Drive out to the Mount of Olives that looks over Jerusalem’s Old City and visit the Garden of Gethsemane, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion. See the Church of All Nations (also known as the Basilica of the Agony), which holds inside a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. Drive the short distance out to Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity, marking the spot of the stable where Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus. Return to Jerusalem in the afternoon and enter the Old City via the St. Stephen’s Gate (also known as Lion’s Gate), passing the crusader church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Now located in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, this pool was mentioned in the Gospel of John and associated with healing. Walk along the ‘Cardo’ in the recently restored Jewish Quarter, which was a road that ran the entire length of the city in Byzantine times. Continue along the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) – the “way of sorrows” which follows Jesus’ path to crucifixion – and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, died, buried, and rose again. After a fascinating day, retire to your Jerusalem hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
  • Jerusalem- Mount of Olives
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning drive out to the spectacular cliff-top fortress of Masada. On the way, stop at Nabi Musa, a Shrine in the Judean Desert that’s built on what’s thought to be the burial place of Moses. From there, continue on to the 6th century cliff-side Monastery of St. George of Koziba in the desert (Deir El Qelt) and see the massive church built into the mountains. In Masada you will take a cable car to the fortress built by King Herod around 35BC. This UNESCO site is very important to the Jewish people, a symbol of their exile from the Holy Land and of bravery and self-sacrifice. The story goes that here a Jewish sect called the Zealots held out against the Roman army in AD66. Rather than surrender, they either fought to the death or committed suicide, every last man, woman and child. Then, you’d better have brought your swim gear as you can wash of the dust from exploring with a dip like no other. Drive around 30 minutes to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level). This isn’t actually a sea but a super-salty lake (dead because of the lack of life in it) where the density of the water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. Spend some time relaxing here and get some classic floating pictures. The mud here is supposed to have healing properties and so why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Return to Jerusalem for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dead Sea visit
  • Masada visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Pay an early morning visit to the holy sites of the Courtyard of the Dome and the Wailing Wall – the remains of the Temple Mount, which acts as an outdoor synagogue, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. Around 10am take a bus out to the village of Taybeh in the West Bank to visit the pioneering microbrewery there and, time permitting, the winery surrounded by olive groves and mountains. The predominantly Christian village of Taybeh sits atop on Mount Asur and is the home of the only Palestinian beer. You’ll enjoy lunch here in town, and then continue to Yad Vashem for a sobering and moving visit to Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The facility includes a research facility, art gallery, education department, archive, and numerous moving memorials. Return to the Jerusalem for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Taybeh- Beer Brewery visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Travel to the western shores of the Sea of Galilee today and Tiberias – established all the way back in AD20. You’ll stop in the Jordan Valley and visit the ancient fishing village of Capernaum – see the ruins of this old town, the site of two ancient synagogues and a church said to have been the home of Saint Peter. You’ll pass by Tabgha – this is where the Bible says Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, one of the only miracles that’s in all the gospels. Then head up to Safad (Tsfat), one of Judaism’s Four Holy Cities. The city, at over 900 metres above sea level, is Israel’s highest city and is known as the centre of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. It’s a beautiful setting, surrounded by pine forest, and has become a haven for both artists and those seeking spiritual enlightenment. You’ll continue on to Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tiberias - Sea of Galilee visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave early this morning and drive to Acre (approximately 45 minutes), the ancient crusader port. Here you’ll visit the vast complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John (Knights Hospitaller), excavated to uncover rooms including a large hall, a dungeon, a dining room and the crypt of an ancient Gothic church. You will also see the secret tunnel of their rivals, the Knights Templar – an underground passage between their fortresses. Continue through Haifa (approximately 20 minutes) where you’ll see the lush and immaculate Bahaii Gardens on Mount Carmel Mountains (a memorial and shrine to the Bahai faith) and look out across the Mediterranean Sea. Walk the stalls of the Druze Saturday market – you can sample Druze ethnic foods, smell the sweet aroma of baklava pastries, and try high quality olive oil, olives, pita bread and locally produced labaneh cheese. On the way back to Nazareth make a stop at the Church of the Annunciation. This is the site of where Mary received the news of the Immaculate Conception, along with the well where she drew water every day. You will overnight in Nazareth.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
  • Mount Carmel - Druze market visit
  • Akko- Templar's Tunnel visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After breakfast, journey to Tel Aviv via the coast and Caesarea (approximately 1 hour), which served as the capital of Israel during the Roman and Byzantine eras. This was once a great port town built by King Herod around 25BC, complete with a theatre, amphitheatre, hippodrome, palace, Roman temple and an extensive network of aqueducts, along with an artificial harbour. The city was eventually abandoned and lost under the desert sands, but thanks to archaeological excavations since the 1950s, its splendour is on show once again. Drop by the ancient port city of Jaffa (approximately 1 hour) before arriving in Tel Aviv, where this trip ends on arrival at around 5pm.
Please ensure that you allow plenty of time for delays/traffic if you plan on catching a flight on this day.

Tel Aviv is a modern cosmopolitan city, a true 'city that doesn’t stop'. With its lively cafe culture, relaxed Mediterranean beach scene, and renowned nightlife, Tel Aviv is a great place to continue your stay. We can help you book accommodation here (subject to availability). Perhaps gather together you fellow travellers and take advantage of the excellent food and nightlife with a final celebratory dinner or drink as this Israel and Palestine adventure comes to an end.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Minibus

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights)

Included Activities

  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
  • Jerusalem- Mount of Olives
  • Dead Sea visit
  • Masada visit
  • Taybeh- Beer Brewery visit
  • Tiberias - Sea of Galilee visit
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
  • Mount Carmel - Druze market visit
  • Akko- Templar's Tunnel visit

Dates & availability

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Important notes

This trip finishes on arrival into Tel Aviv at 5pm on Day 7. Please ensure that you allow plenty of time for delays/traffic if you plan on catching a flight on this day.

A Single Supplement is available on this trip. Please ask your booking agent for more information.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

Our Discover Israel & the Palestinian Territories trips score an average of 4.7 out of 5 based on 10 reviews in the last year.

Discover Israel & the Palestinian Territories, November 2016

Fee Felicity Rogers

Discover Israel & the Palestinian Territories, October 2016

Lauren Smith