Day 1 - Arrive in Tel Aviv
We will be met by our private tour guide and transfer to our hotel in Tel Aviv for room allocation, dinner and evening welcome meeting.
Day 2 – Caesarea
Head north to Caesarea Maritima, the city of Cornelius the Centurion, the first Gentile convert, and the ancient port from which St. Paul set out to Rome. We will visit the Roman theatre and the palace of King Herod, see the massive Crusader walls and the impressive aqueduct built along the Mediterranean Sea.
Next, we will drive to the Mukhraka on the southern slopes of Mt Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. Driving through the Jezreel Valley, we will enjoy a spectacular view of Mt Tabor which is one of the possible sites of the Transfiguration of Christ.
Finally, we will continue to our hotel in Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee for a two-night stay.
Day 3 - Sea of Galilee
On this day we will be looking at the ministry of Jesus on and around the Sea of Galilee. We will begin our day with a sail on the Sea of Galilee from Tiberius to Ginosar and here we will see a first century fishing boat known as the “Jesus Boat”. After this, we will visit the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, then on to the excavations at Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ ministry, followed by a visit to the lakeside beach of Mensa Christi where the resurrected Jesus made breakfast for his disciples and Peter was restored. The day will finish at the newly excavated site of Magdala with its beautiful church right on the shores of the lake.
Day 4 - Jordan Valley, Jerusalem
We will say goodbye to the Galilee this morning and head ‘up’ to the Holy City of Jerusalem. We will begin the day with a visit to Yardenit, the baptism site on the Jordan River. En-route south we will visit Beit Shean, one of the cities of the Decapolis, where we can walk the ancient streets, visiting the Roman period bath-house, theatre, temples, shops and see the ancient Tell. Lunch at Gan Hashlosha?
Continuing down the Jordan Valley, we will pass ancient Jericho, the city of palms in the midst of the JudeanWilderness. After journeying up theJerusalem-Jericho road, like the
Galilean pilgrims of ancient times, our first view of the Holy City will befrom Mount Scopus before we finish at our hotel in Jerusalem where we will stay for the rest of the tour.
Day 5 - Jerusalem, Western Wall
As an introduction to Jerusalem, we will start the day visiting the large-scale model of the city from the time of Jesus. From here we will visit the Shrine of the Book before driving to the summit of the Mount of Olives for a stunning overview of the City and Temple Mount. Next, following the Palm Sunday route, including the Tear Drop church, we will visit the Garden of Gethsema- ne and the Church of All Nations. Here we will take some time, at a smaller private garden, to reflect on Jesus’ agony and prayer in the garden.
After lunch, we will visit the Western Wall, the excavations at the Davidson Centre and the Western Wall Tunnel, the previously buried 486 metres of the wall and a street from the time of Jesus.
Day 6 – David’s City
Entering the ancient city by the Lion’s Gate, we will begin to walk part of the Via Dolorosa stopping at the Pools of Bethesda where Jesus healed the man who had been crippled for 38 years. Here we will also visit the church of St Anne and experience the beautiful acoustics of its two second echo. Then to the Sisters of Zion convent, on the site of the Roman Fortress of Antonia, and descend below the ground to see ‘the Pavement’ where it is thought that Jesus was tried before Pilate. We will continue on to the church of the Holy Sepulchre, a possible site for Golgotha and the tomb of Jesus.
Our afternoon is devoted to David’s City where we will explore the excavations in this area. We will walk through an ancient, now dry, Canaanite tunnel, which once channelled water to Jerusalem.
Day 7 – Dead Sea and Masada
An early start will help to ensure we avoid the heat as much as possible as we head to the lowest spot on earth, the Dead Sea. From here, we will ascend by cable car to the summit of Masada, Herod’s desert palace fortress on a strategic trade route. We will enjoy lunch here before heading to Ein Bokek beach where we will have the chance to take a relaxing dip in the Dead Sea and experience the unique properties of the salty water and the floating effect first hand! At the end of the day, we will take the opportunity to view Qumran (in the area where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered) en-route back to Jerusalem.
Day 8 – Death and Resurrection of Jesus
Starting at St. Peter’s Church of the Cock Crow, we will focus on Jesus’ final hours before his crucifixion. This will lead us to the Garden Tomb where we will have a guided tour of the site and take the opportunity to share together in a private communion service in the garden.
We will return to our hotel where you will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities or revisit individually any local areas of interest, such as the Garden Tomb which is only 5 minutes from our hotel.
Day 9 – Fly Home
1 night at Grand Beach Tel Aviv or similar based on HB
2 nights at Lake House Tiberius or similar based on HB
5 nights at Trype Hotel Jerusalem or similar based on HB
Touring with a private tour guide
Executive midi-size coach with WiFi/AC
Entrance fees as detailed in the program
7 lunches as per program below in tourist-class restaurants
- UK transfers
* Optional excursions payable locally
* Supplementary charge may apply to single occupancy
The Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem and the Chaim Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Aviv require their nurses and doctors to know English.
Healthcare in Israel is not free and medical treatment can be expensive. Hospitals will insist on payment and may take legal action to delay departure until bills are met. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 101 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Check the latest country-specific information and advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website or useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
CUSTOMS and IMMIGRATION:
You should expect lengthy personal questioning and baggage searches by security officials on arrival and departure from Israel. Electrical items, including laptops, may be taken from departing passengers for security inspection and either stored in the aircraft baggage hold, or returned to you in the UK. Damage may occur.
If you arrive with valuable personal items (computers, camcorders etc.) you may be required to pay a deposit that is refundable on or after departure.
Israeli security officials have on occasion requested access to travellers’ personal e-mail accounts or other social media accounts as a condition of entry.
The currency of Israel is the Israeli New Shekel. There are ATMs in Israel and Jerusalem that accept international cards. Pound Sterling, US Dollars, Euro and other major currencies can be exchanged in Israel. ATMs and exchange facilities are available everywhere. It's advisable to request bank notes in smaller denominations, as it can sometimes be hard to get change from large notes and smaller notes are handy for smaller purchases and gratuities.
Travellers’ Cheques are not recommended as they are often difficult to exchange and incur high fees. A passport is required when exchanging Travellers’ Cheques. Your tour guide will collect gratuities and split these accordingly on behalf of the whole group.
The tap water in Israel is generally considered safe to drink, but as a precaution against stomach upsets you may want to drink bottled water, which is readily available from shops, hotels and restaurants.
Food in Israel is extremely diverse and generally very good. A well known favourite is falafel – small fried balls of mashed chickpeas, usually served inside unleavened pita bread with houmous (a cream of chickpeas, tehina, onion, lemon and olive oil). Another popular dish is Shawarma, sliced turkey meat which is also served in pita bread. Also try Me’orav Yerushalmi (Jerusalemite mix) which contain several types of meat, or Schnitzel. Fresh fruit and salads are very popular in Israeli cuisine and a Fatoush salad is a must try - chopped onions, cucumbers and herbs are mixed together and topped with fried bread and sometimes feta or grilled halloumi cheese.
Kosher food means anything that is allowed by the Jewish religious laws concerning food. In short, pork and shellfish are forbidden and meat and dairy products must not be cooked together or eaten at the same meal. Most of the hotels in Israel are Kosher (including those we use on our group tours), so breakfast is dairy, and during lunch and dinner it is not possible to have milk in tea or coffee. In religious cities like Jerusalem many cafes and restaurants are Kosher.
Regular Western style food and drinks are readily available for the not so adventurous. Fast food chains like Pizza hut, McDonalds and Burger king are readily available.
Alcohol is available at many hotels and restaurants (excluding the Palestinian territories). Maccabee and Gold star (costing approximately USD$5 a bottle) are both palatable pale lagers and certified kosher. Israeli wine is produced by hundreds of wineries, ranging in size from boutique enterprises to large companies producing over ten million bottles per year. The modern Israeli wine industry was founded by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, owner of the Bordeaux estate Château Laffite-Rothschild. Much of the country is suited for viticulture; prices are a little high but a top drop can be enjoyed with every meal.
The weather forecast is for temperatures between 19-24C with an average of 10hours sunshine.
CULTURE and DRESS:
Despite the inevitable ups and downs of travelling abroad, you will generally be shown great hospitality in Israel. Israel is generally a very relaxed country with a western-oriented outlook. Respect for religion is important to most Israeli’s and there are a few situations when this should be kept in mind.
Visitors to some synagogues, most churches and all mosques should be aware that entry will normally not be permitted to those with exposed legs or women with exposed upper arms. Women may be asked to cover bare arms and legs in both mosques and synagogues. Carry a wrap or bring long sleeved shirts for these occasions. Further, men should cover their heads when entering a synagogue with a hemispherical shaped skullcap called a kippah or yarmulke (often provided by the synagogue) though a normal sunhat is also acceptable and in mosques both men and women will be required to take off their shoes before entry.
Israeli people are generally quite direct in what they have to say. Openness and honesty are often valued over politeness and projection of niceness. Direct personal questions are common and should not be taken as offensive. Israelis are also very kind and hospitable. When you make a friend here, they will do their best to take care of you while you’re in their country. Foreign visitors are deeply appreciated and are generally shown the utmost respect by locals.