Day 1: Arrival Day
Your 12-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 Highlights
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. For even more visual delights, we will head up further 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 is 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. Drive across the breadth of the country, and see the beautiful views, ending your eastward journey at a hotel near the Golan Heights.
Day 3: Golan Heights
On the third 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 4: 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 5: Old and New Jerusalem
Day 5 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. Enjoy another overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 6: 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. We will transfer you to your hand-picked Dead Sea hotel for the night.
Day 7: Timna Valley
South of the Dead Sea basin lies the Arava, a desolate region home to the spellbinding Timna Valley, also known as Timna Park, or the Red Canyon. This most striking desert oasis is home to some truly arresting rock formations and ethereal landscapes that will take your breath away. This copper-rich area has been mined for thousands of years and full of mystical landscapes – you’ll feel as if you’ve landed on another planet! Take a guided walk, climb some rocky cliffs and enjoy the spellbinding scenery. A truly unmissable desert experience for families who love dramatic landscapes. Finally, we will continue to your Eilat hotel, where you can refresh, relax and enjoy a gorgeous evening and overnight stay.
Day 8: Free Day Eilat / Petra Side-Trip
Eilat is perhaps the best seaside vacation spot in Israel and offers a kaleidoscope of seafaring adventures: from snorkeling and SCUBA diving to swimming with dolphins, sightseeing boat rides, and a wonderful underwater observatory. If you’d prefer, you can choose to take a full-day side trip to Jordan’s UNESCO-listed heritage site of Petra instead. Remarkable Petra, prescribed as ‘a precious cultural property of man’s cultural heritage’, is impossible to oversell. The rock-carved ancient city, believed to have been created in the 3rd-century BC and inhabited by the Nabateans, is undeniably one of the most extraordinary places you could ever visit. Unknown to the Western world until the early 1800s, this wonder of the world makes for an exceptional Petra Extension Tour from Israel. Your tour includes a horseback ride through the ethereal Ciq (canyon), one of Petra’s most iconic sights, emerging to a breathtaking view of the Pink Stone Treasury. We can guide you on a day-trip to Petra and have you back in your Eliat hotel by evening.
Day 9: Ramon Crater
We will depart in the morning northbound to another famous Negev Desert attraction, Mitzpeh (or Makhtesh) Ramon. Often mislabeled as a crater when in fact it is a unique, glacial eroded valley, Makhtesh Ramon is an extraordinary place to explore by 4WD and often dubbed Israel’s answer to the Grand Canyon. Makhtesh Ramon is a geological wonder and aside from jaw-dropping views, a visit on a Family Tour in Israel also offers chances to spot elusive desert fauna, like the Nubian Ibex, a subspecies of Europe’s Alpine Ibex that has evolved particular traits to enable it to thrive in such a dry environment. Makhtesh Ramon is Israel’s largest national park and one of the country’s most unmissable attractions on our family tours in Israel! Overnight Tel Aviv.
Day 10: Exploring the Southern Coast
This morning, we’ll head south from Tel Aviv and explore the ancient Philistine cities sprawled along the southern coast – each one offering historical, cultural, and natural highlights you’ll enjoy discovering. You might like to start with Ashkelon, an ancient port city whose roots date back to the Neolithic age yet is now a modern seaside town revered by surfers. Ancient ruins and a nearby nature park offer various options. You’ll no doubt also wish to stop for a visit at Yad Mordechai, a small kibbutz revered for its organic produce (honey, especially). Here, you can visit the memorial to the Holocaust, and learn about the history of this small settlement’s fight against the Egyptian army. You will then see Hetz Shachor, home to some of Israel’s most vulnerable communities. Visit a memorial to the paratroopers who fought in Operation Black Arrow in Gaza. Next could be a stop-over in Nachal Oz, which is a small kibbutz originally founded in 1951, that focuses on the traditional crop-growing of kibbutz but also boast a manufacturing planet you might wish to explore. In the evening, we will transfer you to your hand-picked hotel in Tel Aviv.
Day 11: Tel Aviv City Tour
Your Highlights of Israel dedicated day in Tel Aviv starts with a visit to the Diaspora Museum, where you can learn about the evolution of the Jewish heritage. A fascinating and entertaining museum, this is a fantastic first-stop on any tour and particularly valuable for first-time visitors! Enjoy 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 12: Departure Day
This morning, after your delicious breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight home. At Mazada Tours, we thank you for planning your unforgettable Highlights of Israel Tour with us and eagerly await your next visit!