A Trip to Remember: Visit the land of your ancestors and see history unravel itself before your eyes. The venues you know from the Bible come alive in this exciting tour you'll cherish forever.
Begin your Jerusalem experience on the Mount of Olives, with its panoramic view of the Old City and its ancient Jewish cemetery. Then, it’s time to begin your tour of the Old City. Start with the Ramparts Walk – a walkway atop the Old City walls offers a unique panoramic view of the Old City and its surroundings and is a shutterbug’s delight. (Entry points: Citadel moat, Jaffa and Damascus Gates).
Continue to the Western Wall, Judaism’s most sacred site. See Bar Mitzvahs on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays). While at the Western Wall, arrange your schedule to join a public tour of the Western Wall Tunnels by enquiring at the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.
Visit the Southern Wall Excavations, walking on the original two thousand-year old street and climbing the ancient steps. At the Davidson Center, in the basement of an eighth-century-CE palace. Look into the possibility of seeing its virtual-reconstruction, high-definition interactive model, and enjoy the high-definition film open to all visitors that depicts ancient pilgrimage to the Temple in a unique way. On Mount Zion, visit King David’s Tomb, a site of Jewish pilgrimage since the Middle Ages.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Begin the day at the City of David, where Jerusalem started, includes exploring Warren’s Shaft, the new Visitor’s Center and Hezekiah’s Tunnel, through which water has flowed since the days of King Hezekiah some 2,700 years ago. Then, it’s time to discover the rebuilt Jewish Quarter including the old Sephardic synagogues, the Cardo, the Broad Wall, the Burnt House with its captivating audiovisual presentation, the Herodian Mansions, and more.
Get acquainted with the Christian Quarter with the ancient and famous Church of the Holy Sepulchre, site of the crucifixion and tomb of Jesus according to Christian tradition.
Visit the Tower of David Museum showcasing the history of Jerusalem from its beginnings to modern times.
Wander the Old City markets, steeping yourself in its sights, sounds and aromas, and try your hand at hunting and bargaining for treasures.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Today is devoted to the New City, beginning the day with a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Walk through the astounding new Museum with its new and moving focus on the individual in the Holocaust, the Children’s Memorial and Hall of Remembrance. Drive through the New City viewing old and new neighborhoods, the Knesset (The Israeli Parliament) (open for visits on Sundays and Thursdays) and the beautifully designed Supreme Court building.
At the nearby Israel Museum, among many other fascinating exhibits you can discover the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book and see the Model of ancient Jerusalem.
Stroll through the city’s venerable ultra-Orthodox Me’ah She’arim quarter (modest dress required) to get a sense of Jewish life of yesteryear.
At picturesque Mishkenot She’ananim, in Jerusalem’s Yemin Moshe neighborhood see the first Jewish houses built outside the city walls, named after the philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore. Montefiore's reconstructed carriage stands in a display-window next to the famous windmill, with the bonus of a beautiful view of the Old City walls.
End the day along the pedestrian malls of Ben Yehuda St. and Nahalat Shiva, restored quarter of shops, galleries and cafes.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Drive down to Jaffa, beginning your day with a tour of Old Jaffa, the ancient seaport, enjoying the galleries and shops and Visitor Center in the renovated Old City.
Tour the Tel Aviv’s White City to see the preservation of buildings of Bauhaus architecture (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site) including Independence Hall, where Ben-Gurion declared independence in 1948. Sheinkin Street is famous for its fun shopping, dining and people-watching in a youthful atmosphere, while the open-air Carmel fruit and vegetable market is a treat for all the senses. On Tuesdays and Fridays, the Nahalat Binyamin pedestrian mall comes alive with stalls selling handicrafts of every type. Choose from a variety of museums, including the Tel Aviv Art Museum, the Eretz Israel Museum, the Palmah Museum and the Diaspora Museum, among others. Take a walk through Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park and head to the nearby Tel Aviv Port for sunset and a fish dinner.
Overnight in Tel Aviv.
Leaving Tel Aviv, head north for your first stop of the day, Caesarea National Park, magnificent remains of Herod’s city, the Roman capital and port and fortified Crusader town. Tour the Roman theater, hippodrome and, walk the promenade to the renovated port area.
Then, it’s on to Haifa, Israel’s third largest city with its highlights, including The Baha’i Shrine and Gardens - World center of the young Baha’i faith with its magnificent terraced gardens that are a Haifa landmark, the panoramic of the city and the bay from the Louis Promenade, the gentrified old German Colony, with its galleries and restaurants and an unusual accent: the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art.
Overnight in the Haifa Area.
Begin the day at Acre, a historic walled port-city with continuous settlement beginning in the Phoenician period. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact both above and below today's street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader kingdom, along with touches of the Ottoman fortified market town Acre was during the 18th and 19th centuries. Explore the Knights Halls, the Al-Jazaar Mosque, the bathhouse with its multi-media display, and the new ethnic museum, built right into the rooms of the old wall.
Continue to the Tiberias, the historic resort town on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) and one of Israel's traditional “four holy cities”.
Overnight in the Tiberias area.
Drive north this morning through the Hula Valley and take the historic crossing of the Jordan River at the Daughters of Jacob Bridge, to the Golan Heights’ “capital city” of Katsrin, home to the Golan Winery, a Talmudic village, and an archaeological museum. History and nature buffs will want to continue to Gamla National Park, for a view of the dramatic ruins of a fortified Jewish city destroyed during the Great Revolt against the Romans (66-70CE.), as protected Griffon’s vultures soar overhead.
Cross back into the Galilee mountains to spend the afternoon in Safed, one of the four holy cities in Israel and the home of Lurian mysticism,a branch of Jewish mysticism conceived by the 16th Century Rabbi Isaac Luria, the traditional author of the seminal mystic work, the Zohar. Stroll along the lanes of the Old City and see its many synagogues, as well as its unique artist’s colony.
Overnight in the Tiberias area.
Get an early start today and drive south to the Dead Sea and Masada, taking the cable car to the top to view the ruins of King Herod’s mountaintop fortress and the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 73 CE, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the new museum in the Visitor Center, which reveals the secrets of the daily life of the rebels, the story of the excavations, and understand how the site became one of Israel’s most important symbols.
At the Ein Gedi Antiquities National Park see the remains of the Talmudic village with its synagogue and mysterious mosaic floor. End the day with a dip in the Dead Sea, the “greatest outdoor spa in the world” and the world’s lowest, saltiest body of water.
Overnight in the Dead Sea area.
It’s on to Eilat today, Israel’s southernmost resort town on the Red Sea. Snorkel at the Coral Beach Nature Reserve, visit the underwater observatory, swim with the dolphins, go bird-watching, camel riding, hiking, chose from a host of other fun activities, or just veg out on the beach.
Overnight in Eilat.
Drive up the Arava Valley to the Hai Bar Reserve, where biblical animals are being fostered and take a safari-like drive through the reserve and see its reptile enclosure, nocturnal animals and other four-footed and winged surprises. Then, head up to the central Negev and Mitspe Ramon, located on the edge of a unique geological wonder. It is a phenomenon known as a Makhtesh: a huge crater developed by water erosion on top of a mountain ridge. There are three Makhteshim in Israel, which are the only formations of their kind in the world.
As you continue north, pay your respects at the tomb of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion and his wife Paula, overlooking magnificent Nahal Tsin near Kibbutz Sde Boker before driving north via Be’er sheba.