Day 1: Arrival day
Your 8-day/7-night 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 move on first to 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. During your visit, you’ll hear about Caesarea’s pivotal role in Jewish history and will have a chance to experience the history of the region via interactive displays using state-of-the-art technology. Afterward, we will continue up the coast to Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city, to visit the famous port and soak up breathtaking views of the city from its enchanting gardens. Haifa offers a bevy of interesting attractions so you will have plenty of highlights from which to choose: spend more time in Downtown Haifa or visit the Naval Museum, the stunning Baha’i Gardens, and Shrine or the resplendent Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery to see the exquisite frescos of St Elijah. Our time-travel experience continues as we make a visit to the recently-discovered underground Crusader city in Acre, hidden under massive piles of rubble for almost 300 hundred years. Parts of the subterranean city are now open to the public and a visit is immensely fascinating for history and culture lovers alike. Considered the ‘Pompeii of Israel’, Acre is a startling treasure in Israel and, during your visit, you’ll also have the chance to walk through the ancient town and oriental market, visiting the Mosque and the old port. After a sensational day discovering just a few of Israel’s best highlights, we will drive to beautiful Tiberias, where you spend the night.
Day 3: Golan Heights
Today, we’ll begin by discovering, tasting, one of Israel’s best culinary highlights: its internationally renowned dates! We’ll visit a prominent Kibbutz, an iconic Israeli collective farm that was really the backbone of the foundation of the country’s agricultural prowess. You’ll enjoy a tour of a date plantation and, of course, see and taste one of the country’s most coveted produce. We’ll then drive to the Golan Heights and visit the Museum of Antiquities. The museum does an excellent job of introducing the area’s rich ancient history even to those with absolutely no prior knowledge. Our efforts will be focused on showing you the very best vistas in the region, so we will include a stop at Mount Bental, a place we know you will love and one of the absolute highlights in Israel you should not miss. Optionally (or perhaps ‘as well’ if time allows), you could choose to spend your time at a traditional vineyard where you can taste some of Israel’s finest wines straight from the barrel. You will then be returned to your hotel for overnight accommodations in Tiberias.
Day 4: The Road to Jerusalem
This morning, we’ll take a drive on Highway 90, the longest road in the country which stretches for nearly 500km and borders the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. As we head south, we’ll pay a visit to one of the country’s most formidable and spellbinding Crusader Castles, where historical richness is etched in every ancient stone. Then, we will continue to Beit She’an. This amazingly preserved Roman city is one of the most underrated highlights of Israel so we always enjoy a quiet and contemplative visit. Learn all about the extraordinary 6,000year-old history and exceptional prominence of this once formidable place, which today is one of Israel’s largest archaeological sites. Stroll the colonnaded avenue, visit the ancient public baths and discover stores, workshops, and dwellings that seem to be older than time itself. Our drive will take us across Samaria, the central region of Israel, with our route overlooking Jericho, the oldest city in the world and revered place where Joshua defeated the Canaanites in biblical stories. Finally, after our whirlwind day of exploring Israel’s highlights along the ancient road to Jerusalem, we will drop you off in the ancient city so you may enjoy your first overnight stay here.
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. Your overnight accommodation will be in Jerusalem.
Day 6: Masada Fortress & Dead Sea
On day 6 of your Highlights of Israel Tour, 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. Our afternoon drive will see you cover 100km across the width of Israel, all the way to bustling Tel Aviv, where you will spend the night.
Day 7: Tel Aviv City Tour
This morning, we’ll begin our Highlights of Israel Tour in Tel Aviv 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 through the ancient 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 8: 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!