Day 1: Arrival Day
Welcome to your Holy Land Tour …. And Israel! Our trusted travel representative will be waiting for your arrival at the Ben Gurion International Airport. Once customs formalities are completed, you will be transferred to your hotel of choice in Jerusalem, in your private, air-conditioned vehicle.
Day 2: Jerusalem – Overview of the Old and New
We’ll kick off our tour with a comprehensive overview of The Old and New cities of Jerusalem. Starting in Old Town, enjoy a guided tour, strolling along the Byzantine-era colonnaded Cardo avenue and exploring the remains of the ancient perimeter wall of Jerusalem. Continue to the Western Wall (Kotel) and take your time exploring the intricate alleyways of the Christian Quarter – visit synagogues, churches and so much more. Walk along the Via Dolorosa, the processional route that showcases the Stations of the Cross, before exploring Rechavia and Mamila, two up-scale neighborhoods where culinary delights and brilliant shopping await. Mamilla Mall is a 2000’-long outdoor shopping strip (the only one of its kind in West Jerusalem) replete with trendy café and awesome street art. We’ll take a comprehensive tour of Machane Yehuda, the largest market in the entire country, home to over 250 distinct vendors. These two bustling neighborhoods offer a fantastic overview of the pulsating vibe of modern-day Jerusalem. Finally, it’ll be time to soak up an overview of a different kind – head up to Mt Zion to soak up spellbinding views of all you have seen and experienced today. Spend another lovely evening and night in Jerusalem.
Day 3: Jerusalem – Retracing the Footsteps of Jesus
Our day in Jerusalem starts with a visit to the Mount of Olives (Mt Olivet), where Jesus spent much of his ministry days. The all-encompassing vistas offer an excellent overview of this immensely unique city. At the feet of the mountain is the Church of the Tomb of the Virgin Mary and is particularly sacred to followers of Eastern Christianity. Nearby is the Church of Pater Noster, where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples after they asked him how they could possibly talk to God. Inside the church is a plaque with the prayer inscribed in over 120 different languages. The church is part of a Carmelite monastery and there’s a stunning Byzantine-chapel on site that you will surely enjoy discovering. Continuing on foot, we will visit the small Franciscan Church of Dominus Flevit, right opposite the walls of Old Jerusalem. This is the spot where Jesus wept over his foreseen destruction of Jerusalem. We will then continue to the Gardens of Gethsemane (where Jesus suffered his Agony, right before the Last Supper) and visit the enchanting Church of All Nations (aka the Basilica of the Agony) where Jesus prayed for one final time, before being arrested, following Judas’ betrayal. This is, without a doubt, one of Israel’s most beautiful churches. Overlooking the Valley of Kidron, visit the tombs and monuments of Absalom, Jeosphate, and Zaccariah, dating back from the 2nd Temple Period. You will then enter the city via the Lions Gate, visit the 12th-century Crusader Church of St Anne, and the biblical healing Pool of Bethesda. We’ll complete our day with a visit to the Abbey of Notre Dame De Sion, where the Via Dolorosa begins. Enjoy your free evening and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 4: Bethlehem & Jericho
Today, we’ll visit two of the most important stops on our Holy Land Tour in Israel: Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, and Jericho, home to the Mount of Temptation and a bevy of exceptional archeological ruins. We’ll start our day with a drive through the Judean hills to the desert, stopping by the Inn of the Good Samaritan, an ancient caravanserai where, as the name suggests, the parable of the Good Samaritan took place. We’ll make a brief stop at sea level so you can enjoy the spectacular views, before continuing to Jericho, the oldest and lowest city in the world. In Jericho, retrace the words of the Gospel of Luke and see the Sycamore Tree of Zacchaeus, and enjoy a stunning view of Mt Temptation, where Jesus was tempted by Satan. Our visit here will include a tour of the UNESCO-listed site of Tel Jericho, where archeologists uncovered over two dozen ancient cities. You will have the option (extra charge) of taking a cable car ride, although it is not included in the tour. After Jericho, we shall continue on to Bethlehem. We’ll walk through Manger Square and visit the Church of the Nativity. Commissioned in the 4th century by Constantine the Great, the church is located above the cave believed to be Jesus’ place of birth. This is one of the world’s oldest churches! Visit the aptly-named Shepherds’ Field, where the shepherds are believed to have sighted the Star of the Nativity and the Church of the Milk Grotto, where it is believed that Mary just fed Jesus, letting a drop of milk escape her breast, and turning the limestone rocks a from yellow to white. This is a beautiful and contemplative place, right in the heart of mystical Bethlehem. We will end our day with overnight accommodation in Ein Gedi, an oasis village along the shores of the Dead Sea – known in biblical times as The Spring of the Goat’.
Day 5: Masada Fortress & the Dead Sea
On day 5 of your Holy Land tour in Israel, we will start our explorations with a place that is very close to our hearts. A fortress that inspired our company’s founder! Enjoy a cable-car ride and guide tour of the spellbinding Masada Fortress, a magnificent castle built by King Herod over 2,000 years ago. Next on our schedule is a visit to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, where wild ibex roam free and glorious walking trails lead to waterfalls and sensational views across the Dead Sea. We can also visit Qumran where we’ll find the Dead Sea Scrolls caves. Afterward, you will not want to miss your chance for a therapeutic bathing experience in the Dead Sea – cover your whole body in mud, lie back and enjoy the sensation of floating on air, on one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. After a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing afternoon, we will drive north and spend a night in Tiberias.
Day 6: Tiberias, Capharnaum & Tabgha
We’ll start our day with a beautiful drive to the Golan Heights, where we can visit Syrian fortifications and stop by one of four remaining Druze villages, Majdal Shams, to learn more about the local culture and enigmatic religion. We’ll travel via Banias, the site of the ancient spring at the feet of Mt Hermon, and drive along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We’ll visit Capernaum, another village of biblical importance in Israel. This is where Jesus taught and you can see the ruins of the old synagogue, as well as Peter’s house where his mother-in-law was healed by Jesus – just one of several miracles he performed here. Showcasing a beautiful and poignant marriage of ancient and new, Capernaum is where you’ll find stunning ruins of ancient churches and a brand-new Catholic Church built in modern times. This is one of the most meaningful stops on Holy Land Tours in Israel so we can spend as much time here as you desire. Continuing, we will head just 3km away to Tabgha, at the foothills of the Golan Heights. This was the biblical site where the Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves took place, as well as being the spot of Jesus’ third apparition after his Crucifixion when he called on St Peter to lead the Christina Church. This is a wonderfully calm and contemplative place to visit on any tour of Israel’s best highlights. No biblical tour in Israel would be complete with a visit to the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus gave his Sermon. From here, you will continue on back to Tiberias where you can enjoy a tour of the gorgeous town. You’ll spend one more night here.
Day 7: Akko, Haifa, Caesarea & Tel Aviv
Start your day with a visit to the Old Market and Knight’s Hall of Acre (Akko), an ancient small town known for its well-preserved old city walls and considered the Crusader’s Capital in the North. Take a tunnel tour to retrace the steps of ancient residents and visit the amazing Treasures in the Walls Ethnographic Museum, which depicts life, as it was, from Ottoman times to the turn of the 20th century. For exceptional vistas, we will then into the Carmel Mountains, where we’ll soak up all-encompassing vistas of Haifa, followed by a visit to the exquisite Baha’i Gardens, also affectionately known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa. Next on our Christina Holy Land Tour in Israel itinerary is Caesarea, an ancient city built by King Herod the Great over 2000 years ago. The town served as a key Mediterranean transport hub for centuries and the historic port, along with its nearby national park, is an outstanding highlight to discover. The park houses a Roman amphitheater and hippodrome once used for chariot racing. We shall then transfer to Tel Aviv for your overnight stay.
Day 8: Tel Aviv & Old Jaffa
Declared a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site, Tel Aviv is Israel’s second-largest city and one of the most thriving and beautiful cities in the world. Your whirlwind day of discoveries in our stunning city starts with a comfortable, air-conditioned driving tour of downtown Tel Aviv, discovering the business and entertainment districts. Make a poignant stop at Rabin Square and visit the memorial marking the spot where former Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995. We’ll then continue on to discover Old Jaffa, an 8000-year-old port city and now a charismatic neighborhood filled with art galleries, theatres, and excellent restaurants. Discover the remnants of ancient worlds and explore the beautifully restored quarter of the dedicated artists who created this incredible place. Nearby, is where we’ll find Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv’s oldest neighborhood which was built in 1909. We’ll leisurely stroll along Nahalat Binyamin, one of the city’s outdoor pedestrian malls and a bustling hub home to boutiques selling handmade souvenirs, jewelry, and objets d’art, as well as ever-present street musicians that bring the street to life. By mid-afternoon, it will be time to head to the neighborhood around Sheinkin Street, a colorful and eclectic area renowned for its trendy vibe, unique shops, and outdoor café life. Tonight, you will spend your last evening in Israel and enjoy another overnight stay in Tel Aviv.
Day 9: Departure Day
This morning, it will be time to say goodbye, as we transfer you in a private vehicle to the international airport. At Mazada Tours, we thank you for planning your Holy Land Tour in Israel with us and eagerly await your next visit!