Uncover hospitality, history and the holy in a complex land

Get a kaleidoscopic perspective on Israel and the Palestinian Territories on this eight-day tour. Entrenched in the ancient but emphatically modern in outlook, nominally Jewish but with oodles of Muslim and Christian influence, this region is endlessly fascinating and rewarding one to travel in. Stroll the Old City’s ramparts in Jerusalem, visit Jesus' biblical birthplace in Bethlehem and see Massada’s rugged outcrop. Break bread with Palestinians and Israelis, walk the graffitied separation wall in Bethlehem, go for a float in the Dead Sea and form your own impressions of this captivating region.

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Terms & Conditions

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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Challenge your perspective in Jerusalem. Walk the ‘Way of the Cross’, meet a local Rabbi and dine with a Palestinian family.

  • Learn the stories behind some of the most challenging and poignant works of graffiti that decorate the barrier wall in Bethlehem during a walking tour.

  • Access the glowing blue grottoes of Rosh Hanikra by cable car, then enjoy views over the Mediterranean Coast of Western Galilee.

  • Go underground to explore the excavated dungeon, crypt and halls that were used by the Knights of St John over 700 years ago in Acre.

  • Visit the remains of the clifftop fortress of Masada, the site of the famed siege at the end of the First Jewish—Roman War.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Popular sites can get congested with large groups of coach travellers in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. We do our best to avoid peak times, but there may be delays, lines and private services that prevent us from entering in a timely manner. If this occurs your tour leader will arrange alternative activities.

  • Some of the sites we visit involve walking on rocky and steep hillsides with little or no shade.

  • Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is an entrenched part of life in this region. Tipping is not compulsory, but if you are satisfied with the services provided a tip is appropriate.

  • Israel and the Palestinian Territories is by no means a cheap destination and you should budget accordingly. The good news is that your expert local leader is on hand to help you uncover the best deals!

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Welcome to Jerusalem, a city steeped in spirituality and legend that is called home by Palestinian Muslims and Christians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts and Greek Orthodox monks, among others. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. If you arrive with some time to spare before your tour, perhaps drop by the Israel Museum and browse its superb collection of art and history. If you feel like a more intense and fragrant start to your journey, maybe head to the Mahane Yehuda Market. You can find everything from produce to clothing boutiques in this partially covered market.
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.
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.
Explore the Old City this morning on foot. Start with the Courtyard of the Dome and the Western Wall, then continue to St Stephen’s Gate, passing the crusader church of St Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Continue along the ‘Way of the Cross’ (Via Dolorosa) and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, buried, and resurrected. Sip tea, sample fresh local bread and then walk through the Christian Quarter up to Jaffa Gate. This afternoon use your free time to explore more of the city. This evening enjoy a homecooked meal of chicken maqloubeh (an upside-down layered dish) with a Palestinian family. With a full belly, enjoy a traditional oud performance from a local musician.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
  • Jerusalem - Local Family Dinner Old City Jerusalem
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
The Dome of the Rock/Al-Aqsa Mosque is open from 7.30—10.30 am Sundays through Thursdays, and again for an hour in the afternoon. In order to beat tourist traffic, our guides usually like to go there first thing in the morning.

The Western Wall area is open every day. However please note that on Friday evenings and Saturdays, tourists are not allowed to take any photos.
Start the day off 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, where Jesus is said to have prayed the night before his crucifixion. See the Church of All Nations (also known as the Basilica of the Agony), then drive the short distance out to Bethlehem and take a graffiti walking tour along the barrier wall. Graffiti by many artists has graced the wall over the years, including famous ones like Banksy. Hear the personal stories behind some of the more prominent pieces and walk past a large refugee camp and the sites of previous conflict. Continue to Manger Square and refuel with some of Bethlehem’s famous falafel. Visit the Church of the Nativity, marking the spot of the stable where Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus, then head back to Jerusalem. Visit the holocaust museum Yad Vashem. Later, meet a local rabbi who for a lively and informative discussion about the Israel—Palestine conflict, Jewish tradition and peace processes. After a fascinating day, retire to your Jerusalem hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
  • Bethlehem - Grafitti Walking Tour
  • Jerusalem - Yad Yashem Jewish Holocaust Memorial
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
  • Jerusalem - Local Rabbi Meeting and Discussion
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning drive out to the clifftop fortress of Masada. On the way stop at the sixth century Monastery of St George of Koziba and see the massive church built into the mountains. In Masada, take a cable car to the fortress built by King Herod around 35 BC. 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. Spend some time visiting the site, then drive around 30 minutes to the shores of the Dead Sea, where the dense and super-salty water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. Spend some time relaxing here and soaking in the mud, which is supposed to have healing properties. Tonight you’ll stay at a local eco-lodge, where the accommodation is part of a cooperative that aims to protect the ecology of the Dead Sea and the Jordan City Valley.
Accommodation
  • Eco Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dead Sea - Dead Sea visit
  • Masada - Masada visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Accommodation this evening is simple and multi-share. Rooms have private bathrooms.
Travel to the western shores of the Sea of Galilee today and Tiberias – established all the way back in AD 20. Swing by Hisham’s Palace in Jericho on the way. Continue via the Jordan City Valley and visit the ancient fishing village of Capernaum. See the site of two ancient synagogues and a church said to have been the home of St Peter. Pass by Tabgha, where the Bible says Jesus performed the ‘miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes’, then head up to Safed (Tsfat), one of Judaism’s Four Holy Cities. At over 900 metres above sea level, Safed is Israel’s highest city and is known as the centre of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. Spend a little time here before continuing to Nazareth to visit the Church of the Annunciation, where Mary is said to have received the news of the Immaculate Conception. Hit the road again and arrive in Haifa for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tiberias - Sea of Galilee visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave early this morning and drive to the ancient crusader port of Acre (Akko in Hebrew, approximately 45 minutes). 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. Continue on to Rosh Hanikra for a cable car journey up the cliff to view the spectacular grottoes. In the afternoon, visit the Baha’i Gardens, where the elaborate terraces and a golden shrine sit overlooking the city. Enjoy a free night in Haifa.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Akko - Templar's Tunnel visit
  • Rosh Hanikra - Cable Car & Grottoes
  • Nazareth - Church of Annuniciation - Mary's Well
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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. Built in 25 BC, the city was eventually abandoned and lost under the desert sands. Thanks to archaeological excavations since, its splendour is on show once again. Continue along the coast to Tel Aviv. Take a stroll through the Old City of Jaffa, then drop your luggage at tonight’s accommodation. Head out on an orientation walk with your leader, including Rabin Square. Finish up your walk at the promenade, the perfect place to find a restaurant for dinner this evening.
Included Activities
  • Caesarea - Roman Amphitheatre & Aqueduct
  • Jaffa - Tour of Old Jaffa
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This trip comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time after you check out.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport

Minibus

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights) Eco Lodge (1 night)

Included activities

  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City
  • Jerusalem - Local Family Dinner Old City Jerusalem
  • Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity & Shepherds' Field
  • Bethlehem - Grafitti Walking Tour
  • Jerusalem - Yad Yashem Jewish Holocaust Memorial
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
  • Jerusalem - Local Rabbi Meeting and Discussion
  • Dead Sea - Dead Sea visit
  • Masada - Masada visit
  • Tiberias - Sea of Galilee visit
  • Akko - Templar's Tunnel visit
  • Rosh Hanikra - Cable Car & Grottoes
  • Nazareth - Church of Annuniciation - Mary's Well
  • Haifa - Baha'i Gardens
  • Caesarea - Roman Amphitheatre & Aqueduct
  • Jaffa - Tour of Old Jaffa

Dates & availability

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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.

ITINERARY
This trips starts in Jerusalem and finishes in Tel Aviv.

WEST BANK 
Following recent safety incidents we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Israel (particularly within the West Bank) before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/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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