Visiting the Holy Land? Don't miss all the hotspots with our suggested itinerary: visit Jerusalem's Via Dolorosa and the room of the Last Supper, check out the Sea of Galilee and all the famous sites of the New Testament, and explore ancient cultures in various archaeological sites.
Begin in Jerusalem with the inspiring panoramic view of the Old City from the Mount of Olives. From here it is a short walk to Dominus Flevit and then a walk (or drive) to the Church of All Nations and the Garden of Gethsemane.
Continue to the Temple Mount, scene of Abraham’s offering of Isaac today marked by the Dome of the Rock.
Then, it’s on to the Western Wall, revered as Judaism most sacred site as the last remnant of the Second Temple. On Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays you can see Bar Mitzva ceremonies at the Western Wall, the joyful occasion when a Jewish boy of 13 reads from the Torah in public for the first time.
It’s time to get to know Jerusalem close-up today. Begin at St. Stephen’s Gate, also known as Lion’s Gate, and visit the Pool of Bethesda - site of the miraculous healing of a paralyzed man by Jesus, and the Church of St. Anne, where Christian groups love to sing hymns as they visit.
Take the Via Dolorosa passing the Stations of the Cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the ancient site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus.
Wander the Old City markets, steeping yourself in its sights, sounds and aromas, and try your hand at hunting and bargaining for treasures.
Continue to Mount Zion, to visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter denied Jesus, King David’s Tomb, the Room of the Last Supper and the Church of the Dormition - where by Catholic tradition Mary fell in to eternal sleep.
End your day at the Garden Tomb – a rock hewn tomb believed by Protestant denominations to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
Overnight: in Jerusalem.
Travel to the Judean Desert today past the Inn of the Good Samaritan, viewing Jericho, and stopping at Qumran - ruins of the ancient Essene settlement in whose nearby caves the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
Enjoy a walk through the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, a biblical oasis with a spring and waterfalls, where David hid from Saul.
In the afternoon, take the cable-car to the top of Massada scene of the epic stand by Jewish rebels at the end of the Great Revolt against Rome nearly 2,000 years ago. The new museum at the visitor’s center reveals the secrets of the daily life of the rebels, the story of the excavations, and how the site became one of Israel’s most important symbols.
End your day in downtown Jerusalem, walking the pedestrian malls of Ben Yehuda Street and Nahalat Shiva, enjoying this restored quarter of shops, cafes and restaurants that are favorites with Jerusalemites.
Overnight: in Jerusalem.
Head to Jaffa today, the ancient seaport mentioned in the biblical narrative of Jonah and the whale, and in the story of Solomon’s import of the cedars of Lebanon. Jaffa’s fishing port, St. Peter’s Church, artists quarter, Visitor Center and panoramic view of Tel Aviv are all highlights.
Continue to Caesarea National Park on the Mediterranean is your first stop today, where you’ll find the remains of former Roman capital home of Philip the Evangelist, and where Paul was imprisoned and appeared before Festus, Felix and King Agrippa.
Tour the Roman theater, the hippodrome and promenade to the renovated Crusader city. Don’t miss the “Caesarea Experience,” a fascinating computerized presentation about the city's history.
Cross the beautiful Galilee Mountains, stopping at Arbel National Park for an overview of the Sea of Galilee in the late afternoon.
Overnight: in the Sea of Galilee region.
Start the day with a visit to the Christian holy sites around the Sea of Galilee, including:
The Mount of Beatitudes: The traditional site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount with its beautiful view of the lake and its sacred sites.
Capernaum: Known as "Jesus' Town" in the New Testament, Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee is home to one of the earliest churches in the world as well as a monumental ancient synagogue. This was also Peter's home town where Jesus performed many miracles.
Tabha: Jesus' miracle of the Multiplication of the Fish and Loaves is illustrated beautifully in an ancient mosaic of the Byzantine church that stood here. Visit the renovated Benedictine church, built in the same style and along the same lines as the original one.
Bethsaida: Home of Peter, Andrew and Philip and scene of Jesus’ healing of a blind man.
The Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar: A magnificent display of the woodenGalilee Boat, dating from the time of Jesus, discovered mired in the mud on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
In the afternoon drive via Cana, scene of Jesus’ first miracle, to Nazareth - childhood town of Jesus, with the Basilica of the Annunciation; the Church of St. Joseph; Mary’s Well; the Church of St. Gabriel; and the reconstructed Nazareth Village, where you can learn about daily life in the days of Jesus.