Thursday: En Route
Depart the U.S.A. on your flight to Israel.
Friday: Tel Aviv
Welcome to Israel! Arrive Ben Gurion Airport; meeting, assistance and transfer to your hotel in trendy Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean beach. Balance of the afternoon and evening at leisure in the “city that never sleeps”.
Saturday: Tel Aviv
Full day at leisure, to enjoy the vibrancy of Tel-Aviv, with its beautiful beaches, cafes, museums and restaurants. Overnight in Tel-Aviv.
Sunday: Caesarea /Druze Village/Haifa/Acre/Tiberias
Drive along the coastal plain to Caesarea, capital of Judea under the Romans; explore the Roman and Crusader ruins including the impressive 2000 years-old theater and aqueduct. Visit Caesarea Harbor, a fascinating multi-media presentation brings ancient history to life. Continue to Daliat El Carmel, a Druze village that offers colorful market and delicious restaurants. Proceed via Mount Carmel to Haifa for a panoramic view of the Haifa bay and the Golden domed Baha’i Shrine and gardens. Drive to Acre the Old City recognized by UNESCO as world heritage site; walk through the subterranean city and bazaars. Arrive in Tiberias for overnight.
Start the day with a short Boat-Ride on the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to see the ruins of the synagogue and the octagonal church of St. Peter; Visit the Mount of Beatitudes, site of the sermon on the mount, before traveling to Safed, one of the Judaism’s holiest cities, where the Kabbalah was developed in the 16th century. Visit the ancient synagogues and the charming Artists’ Quarter. Continue to the Golan Heights to see the former Syrian bunkers, Kuneitra and the new Israeli town of Katzrin. Stop at the Golan winery for a tour and wine tasting. On to a diamond factory, one of the leading industries in Israel, where you’ll be able to see and speak with new immigrants at work and get an explanation on how diamonds are produced. Back to the hotel in Tiberias for overnight.
Tuesday: Tzipori / Nazareth/Beit Shean/Jerusalem
Drive to Tzipori, one of Israel’s most impressive archaeological sites, in ancient times with its amazing water-supply system, a marketplace, bathhouses, synagogues, churches and a 4500-seat theatre. The star attraction is a mosaic portrait of a contemplative young woman nicknamed the Mona Lisa of the Galilee, one of several superb early-3rd-century mosaics discovered here in the 1980s. Continue to Nazareth, sacred town where Jesus spent part of his youth. Visit the church and view Mary’s Well. On to Beit Shean, and see the excavated remains of the magnificent Roman city destroyed by an air quake in the 8th century. Drive south and then rise through the mountains to the “golden” city of Jerusalem for overnight.
Wednesday: Jerusalem: the Old City
Start the day with a magnificent panoramic view from Mount of Olives; visit the church of All Nations, King David’s tomb and the room of last Supper on Mt. Zion.
Enter the walled city and walk through the newly restored Jewish quarter. Visit the Roman Cardo, the main street of Byzantine Jerusalem. Visit the Herodian Mansions, a completely excavated residential quarter from 2000 years ago. Continue to the Western Wall and walk through the Hasmonean Tunnel (Depends on schedule permitting). Follow the Via Dolorosa to the church of the Holy Sepulcher; walk through the exotic bazaars with their wondrous aromas. End the day at the Tower of David Museum presenting the history of Jerusalem and ancient remains of the city beginning with the first temple period.
Overnight in Jerusalem
Thursday: Qumran/Masada/Dead Sea/Jerusalem
Drive through the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, almost 1300 feet (400 meters) below sea level. Stop at Qumran to visit the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to Masada. Ascend by cable car and tour the ancient fortress where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans before committing mass suicide in 73 AD. Continue to the Dead Sea; cover yourself with the mineral rich mud and experience a “float” on the Dead Sea that many believe has its therapeutic effects. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Friday: Jerusalem New City/Optional Bethlehem
Drive to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Memorial and Museum of the Holocaust. Pass the Supreme Court and the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) en route to the Shrine of the Book, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Walk through the Israel museum and the Billy Rose garden; see the miniature model of Jerusalem as it was during the second temple period.
Afternoon at leisure to stroll through the many open air pedestrian areas of Jerusalem or proceed to Bethlehem to visit the church of Nativity, birthplace of Jesus (optional and included for those who wish to join this visit). .
Back to Jerusalem for overnight. Evening: Optional visit on own to the Western Wall for the welcoming of the Jewish Sabbath.
Day at leisure to explore Jerusalem on your own.
Sunday: En Route
Transfer to Ben Gurion for your departure flight.