Day 1: Arrival Day
Your 10-day Highlights of Israel Tour begins with a meet and greet at Ben Gurion International Airport. Our trusted travel representative will be there to assist you from the moment you alight the plane. Once customs have been cleared, you will be transferred to your overnight accommodation in Tel Aviv in private, air-conditioned transport. Depending on your arrival, you may have free time to explore your hotel’s surrounding area at your leisure.
Day 2: Western Coast of Israel
This morning, we will first visit 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. Upwards and onwards, we’ll head to the Carmel Mountains to visit one of Israel’s earliest modern settlements: Zichron Ya’akov. Located on the western flanks of the mountain range, this lovely town is known as one of the country’s very best wine capitals and boasts a fascinating history, dating back to its inception in 1882, that you will enjoy discovering. We’ll also enjoy a gorgeous stroll nearby, at the stunning Ramat HaNadiv Memorial Gardens and Nature Park, where we’ll find the grave of Baron Edmund Rothschild and an array of artistic, beautiful gardens. The park is sensational at any time of year, every season offering specific delights. For even more visual delights, we will head up further into the Carmels, 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. Tonight, you will have the chance to spend a lovely evening and overnight stay in Haifa.
Day 3: Acre (Akko)
Today, we will tour 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. The Acre Old City Markets are immensely famous for many thigh lights of Israel – the local hummus being particularly unmissable! Shop, browse, feast, and enjoy the spectacle of these colorful markets, before completing your day of explorations with a visit to the Acre Prison, now turned into a fascinating museum. Crossing the upper Galilee, our afternoon drive will see us head east, finally stopping for the night at a traditional Kibbutz Hotel in the Golan Heights.
Day 4: Golan Heights
On the 4th day of your Highlights of Israel tour, we’ll drive to the Golan Heights and visit the Museum of Antiquities, which does an excellent job of introducing the area’s rich ancient history even to those with absolutely no prior knowledge. After an enlightening visit to the museum, it will be time to tour the wonderfully preserved Talmudic Village and Synagogue. This ancient settlement, which dates back to the 4th-century, is now an open-air museum that offers a fascinating glimpse into an ancient way of life – you’ll learn how olive oil was extracted, the wine was produced and bread prepared. With your expert Mazada Tours guide, Talmudic will be brought to life! The Golan offers an array of activities for young and old alike and we leave it up to you to decide what you’ll do next. Perhaps you’d like to visit a local winery or hike on Mount Bental for breathtaking views. There’s an ancient Roman Bathhouse to discover or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can join a thrilling ATV tour. Enjoy your overnight stay in wonderful Tiberias.
Day 5: Biblical Highlights of the North
We’ll start our day with a visit to Nazareth, so you can finally cast your eyes on the biblical childhood village of Jesus Christ. As you might imagine, the array of highlights in Nazareth is quite extensive! Known as the City of Churches, Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel and comprises an eclectic mix of cultures and faiths. The city is enticing, with its wonderful churches, of course, as well as an entire market district you may wish to explore. Driving along the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Kineret Lake) we will visit Capernaum, another village of biblical importance in Israel. This is where Jesus taught: you can see the ruins of the old synagogue. 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 is believed to have given his Sermon) and, finally, a visit to the Jordan River, before driving to Jerusalem, perhaps the most important biblical cities of all!
Day 6: Old and New Jerusalem
Day 6 of your Highlights of Israel Tour will be dedicated solely to exploring both the Old and New Jerusalem. The day can be planned as you wish but we love to first take our guests to the Mount of Olives (Mt Olivet): the panoramic views are out of this world from here and this gives an excellent overview of this immensely unique city. We’ll then have the chance to enter the city through the 16th-century Zion Gate, one of the seven ancient gates of Old Jerusalem. Our trail back allows us to explore the enchanting Armenian and Jewish quarters. Enjoy a stroll along the Byzantine-era colonnaded Cardo avenue and explore 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. Walk along the Via Dolorosa, the processional route that showcases the Stations of the Cross. After an exquisite traditional lunch of local specialties in old Jerusalem, it will be time to visit the new city. Your afternoon can be planned as you desire: you might like to take a very moving tour of Israel’s official Holocaust homage: the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Or you may opt to visit the Israel Museum instead. This is an art and archaeology treasure that houses the Shrine of the Book, displaying the Dead Sea Scrolls. The museum is expansive and comprises a sculpture garden sprawled across six acres and displays that range from ancient gems to modern art creations. Your overnight accommodation will be in Jerusalem.
Day 7: Masada Fortress and the Dead Sea
This morning, we’ll take you through the Judean hills to the desert, stopping by the Inn of the Good Samaritan, an ancient caravanserai built along the Jericho to Jerusalem trading route. We will then move to one of Israel’s historical highlights and 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. You will then be taken to your hand-picked Jerusalem hotel for the night.
Day 8: Judean Mountains
You will take a tour of Gush Etzion, a Jewish settlement block in the West Bank that now comprises almost 20 communities and is home to over 40,000 people. The historical essence of Gush Etzion is fascinating and it’s astonishing to learn about its trials and tribulations since its inception, almost a century ago. Spending a full day in and near Gush Etzion is immensely rewarding – aside from learning all about the ancient modern history of the city, you’ll also find an intoxicating array of eateries that appease even the most discerning foodie. Visit a local boutique brewery or winery to make the most of your visit. At the end of your historical and culinary tour, we will drive to Tel Aviv, where you will settle into your chosen hotel.
Day 9: Tel Aviv City Tour
The last full day of your Highlights of Israel tour starts in earnest, with a visit to the Diaspora Museum, an incredible place to learn about the Jewish heritage and its evolution through the eras. This is an enthralling and unmissable museum, especially for first-time visitors to Israel! Our museum visit will be followed by a driving tour of downtown Tel Aviv, exploring the business and entertainment districts. We’ll make a brief stop at Rabin Square and visit the memorial marking the spot where former Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995. After this, we will continue on to Old Jaffa, an 8000-year-old port city and now a fascinating neighborhood defined by its art galleries, theatres, and an array of excellent restaurants. Walk along the cobbled streets that hide endless ancient stories and discover the old painter’s quarter which has been beautifully gentrified. Next up is a walk through the oldest neighborhood in Tel Aviv, Neve Tzedek, We’ll also meander along Nahalat Binyamin, one of the city’s outdoor pedestrian malls and a place brimming with lively entertainment and a bevy of boutiques selling handmade jewelry and objets d’art. By mid-afternoon, we will explore the neighborhood around Sheinkin Street, a bustling and colorful area revered for its unique shops, café life, and young and trendy vibe. We will transfer you back to your chosen hotel in Tel Aviv so you can enjoy your last evening in Israel!
Day 10: Departure Day
This morning, your private transfer will take you to the Ben Gurion International Airport. We wish you a wonderful trip home and thank you for choosing Mazada for your Highlights of Israel Tour – we hope to see you again soon!