Run your hands over the Holy Lands on this historic adventure.

A journey through the Holy Land is way more than just a pilgrimage. Entrenched in the ancient but emphatically modern in outlook, nominally Jewish but with lots of Muslim and Christian influence, the complexities of Israel and the Palestinian Territories keeps even the most seasoned history buff intrigued. Eat Israeli street food in Tel Aviv, check out the terraced Bahai Gardens in Haifa, run your hands over the Western Wall, stroll around Manger Square and head out graffiti-spotting in Bethlehem, take a dip in the salty Dead Sea and journey into the Negev Desert to spend a night under the stars. Israel and the Palestinian Territories have more than a bit of history, they are brimming with life.


Start
Tel Aviv, Israel
Finish
Jerusalem, Israel
Destination
Israel
Style
Comfort
Code
ENKI
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Explore the Negev Desert, spotting constellations unimpeded by light pollution, and spending a night under the stars.

  • Walk the Way of Sorrows – the path Jesus took to the crucifixion, according to the Bible, and see the empty tomb he is said to have risen from.

  • Stop by a social organisation and enjoy a drink of their local drop at responsible boutique winery that employs adults with disabilities.

  • Wash off the dust of the desert with a float in the salty waters of the Dead Sea – a surreal experience that has to be felt to be believed.

  • Devour classic Israeli staples like hummus and falafel in the bustling metropolis of Tel Aviv or in the lively Machane Yedhua markets in 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 (i.e. 5 am). Though we try to make things as comfortable for you as possible, please be prepared for these conditions.

  • Sites can get congested during peak travel periods with coaches of large pilgrim groups. We do our best to plan our visits around these times but sometimes it is unavoidable. There may be delays, queues and private services that prevent us from entering the site. Your trip leader will manage this as best as they can on the day.

  • 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.

  • Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry. If you are satisfied with the services provided a tip is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.

  • With so much to see and do, Israel and the Palestinian Territories can sometimes be expensive. Expect to pay more than you would in other Middle Eastern countries for a lot of things. It might be a good idea to do some research about places to eat, for example, before you arrive.

Itinerary

Your journey through the Holy Lands begins in Tel Aviv, a modern city that truly doesn't sleep. With its lively cafe culture, relaxed Mediterranean beach scene, and renowned diverse nightlife, Tel Aviv is a great place to start your exploration of the Holy Lands. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Some of the best beaches, such as Gordon Beach, can be found a 15-minute walk from your hotel. Perhaps head out tonight and get to know your fellow travellers at one of the many bars in this area of the city – your leader will have some recommendations.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, maybe fly in a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

There are many cafes in this part of the city, so the hotel doesn't offer breakfast on the premises. It is still included, so make you sure you confirm with your leader which cafe breakfast will be served in tomorrow. A great way to support more local businesses.

The arrival transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 14 days prior to travel, as we may not b
Today, make like a wise man for Nazareth, stopping at a few significant ports along the way. First up is Jaffa, now a vision of modernity but reputed to be one of the oldest ports in the world. According to the Bible, it’s also where Jonah set off in defiance of God’s wishes before being tossed into the sea and swallowed by a whale. You’ll continue on to Lewinsky Market – a very popular spot for locals and full of personality and colour. Take a stroll through its aisles and perhaps stop to sample some burekas (traditional pastries) as you walk around. You’ll then head up the coast to Haifa and enjoy the view of the renowned Bahai Gardens, a series of 19 terraced gardens overlooking the city. Afterwards, drive to Nazareth, arriving in the afternoon. An orientation walk will help you get your bearings so that you can make the most of your free evening in this holy city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
  • Tel Aviv - Lewinsky Market Visit
  • Jaffa - Leader-led tour of Old Jaffa
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start the morning with a visit to the Church of the Annunciation. This is the site where Mary is said to have received the news of the Immaculate Conception, and of the well where she drew water every day. Get on the road again and head north to the port city of Acre, known for its well-preserved old city and the crumbling remains of its fortress. Explore the excavated hall, dungeon, dining room and crypt of an ancient Gothic church, once occupied by the Knights of St John. Before heading back to your hotel, stop by a local winery for a glass (or two) of their delicious drop. Spend the evening in Nazareth.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nazareth - Winery Visit
  • Akko - Knights Fortress Visit
  • Nazareth - Visit to Church of Annuniciation & Mary's Well
  • Nazareth - Walking Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your winery visit will be at any one of several in the region depending upon the time of your visit.
Head out of Nazareth this morning, on your way to the Negev Desert region. Today join a special lunch at Lakiya Negev Bedouin Weaving. This initiative, founded in 1991, is all about empowering Bedouin women in this region to apply their traditional weaving skills to the manufacture and sale of their products, and earn an income. Spend some time with the women, joining them for a cup of tea and a local lunch. Stop en route to Ramon Crater at Be’er Sheva – the only city built by Ottoman Turks during their rule over this land. In the afternoon, arrive at Mitzpe Ramon, perched on the edge of the crater. Check in to your hotel and grab some free time before sunset when we hop in the back of a 4WD vehicle and head on a desert safari.  Ramon Crater has been recognised as an International Dark Sky Park – the first in the Middle East – to promote the ecological, astronomical and cultural benefits of having a clear night sky, unimpeded by light pollution.  
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Beersheba Tour
  • Ramon Crater Jeep Safari
  • Negev - Lakiya Bedouin Weaving
  • Beersheba - Anzac Memorial
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take in a special sunrise then visit Masada, a spectacular cliff-top fortress built by King Herod around 35 BC that can now be reached by cable car. The fortress is seen as a symbol of the bravery and self-sacrifice of the Jewish people. Travel on to Ein Gedi, where you’ll have time to wash off during a swim like no other. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, sits at 420 metres below sea level and is so salty that you'll easily float on the surface. The nutrient-rich mud is great as a body scrub too. Later on, as the sun cools, the group will slip into the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve to visit the natural spring and waterfalls. Take a short walk on one of the gentle hiking trails before continuing to the Mount of Olives for your first view of the Holy City of Jerusalem. Visit the Garden of Gethsemane, known as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion. Also, take a visit to the Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony), which houses a section of the bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masada - Masada visit
  • Dead Sea - Visit and float
  • Ein Gedi - Nature Reserve
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
  • Jerusalem - Garden of Gethsemane
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Explore Jerusalem’s Old City this morning on foot. Start with the Courtyard of the Dome and the Western Wall – the remains of the Temple Mount, which acts as an outdoor synagogue, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. Then continue along the Via Dolorosa starting at St Stephen’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. 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. The afternoon is free for you to continue exploring, so perhaps have more of a wander around the Old City or check out the Israeli Museum.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, cross into Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity as well as Manger Square, where Jesus is said to have been born. Afterwards, discover a different side to Bethlehem on a graffiti tour at the Separation Barrier. Apparently even Banksy has contributed to these murals, so get your best artistic critique face on. Continue to Shepherds Field Chapel, a Roman Catholic religious building. The chapel marks the place where, according to Catholic lore, angels first announced the birth of Christ. Later on, head back to Jerusalem for some time to yourself. This afternoon, why not get a couple of your travel crew together and sit back with a cold beer at one of the many laneway bars near Machane Yedhua Market. There’s a heap of great eating spots around there too.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Departures in March, April and May
Please note that a visit to Bethlehem and activities in the West Bank may not be available on your departure. The border to the West Bank may not be open to visitors due to COVID-19 virus concerns. As an alternative activity we will visit the Herodion National Park, an impressive fortress built by Herod the Great and also the place where he was buried – from here you have a great view of the West Bank and Jerusalem in the distance.

Later in the afternoon enjoy a guided tour through the Machane Yehuda market.
Your journey through the Holy Lands comes to an end after breakfast today and there are no activities planned, so you are free to check out at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
  • Tel Aviv - Lewinsky Market Visit
  • Jaffa - Leader-led tour of Old Jaffa
  • Nazareth - Winery Visit
  • Akko - Knights Fortress Visit
  • Nazareth - Visit to Church of Annuniciation & Mary's Well
  • Nazareth - Walking Tour
  • Beersheba Tour
  • Ramon Crater Jeep Safari
  • Negev - Lakiya Bedouin Weaving
  • Beersheba - Anzac Memorial
  • Masada - Masada visit
  • Dead Sea - Visit and float
  • Ein Gedi - Nature Reserve
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
  • Jerusalem - Garden of Gethsemane
  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Holy Land Highlights trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may go up, so secure your trip today!
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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

ARRIVAL TRANSFER
A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

TRIP START AND FINISH
The trips starts in Tel Aviv and finishes in Jerusalem. I you would like to spend extra time in Jerusalem, additional accommodation is available for pre-booking with Intrepid or your booking agent.

SPECIAL INFORMATION – DEPARTURES MARCH, APRIL AND MAY 2020
Due to the closure of the border to the West Bank as a result of COVID-19 virus concerns and decisions implemented by the Ministry of Health, your departure may not be able to visit Bethlehem, the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square and Shepherds Field.

Alternative Itinerary:
DAY 7 – We have included a visit to the Herodion National Park, an impressive fortress built by Herod the Great, also the place where he was buried; from here you have a great view of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Later in the afternoon, take a tour of the Machane Yehudi Market with your leader.

These changes will remain in place until the Palestinian Territories Authority reopens it borders. Please consult a booking agent for further information.

We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page: www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts

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.

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