Sunday: En Route
Depart the U.S.A. on your flight to Israel.
Monday: Tel Aviv
Welcome to Israel! Arrive Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv; Meeting, assistance and transfer to your hotel on the Mediterranean shore in vibrant Tel Aviv. Tonight, enjoy a light meal in the executive lounge of your hotel. Overnight in Tel Aviv.
Tuesday: Tel Aviv/Haifa
Drive through the main streets of vivacious Tel Aviv to the ancient port of Joppa (Jaffa) from where Jonah set sail and where Peter had his housetop experience at the home of Simon the Tanner. Walk along the charming cobblestone streets, now filled with boutiques and galleries. Then, drive along the Mediterranean coast to ancient Caesarea; tour the theater, aqueduct and Crusader fortress. Arrive at Armageddon, focal point of the Book of Revelations, and inspiration for Michener’s The Source. Continue to a Druze Village high in the Carmel Mountains; meet these unique Israelis and enjoy an authentic Druze Lunch. Proceed to Muhraka, traditional site where Elijah manifested the Lord’s supremacy against the false prophets of Baal. Arrive in the seaport of Haifa for overnight. Dinner at the hotel. (B.L.D)
See the extraordinary Persian Gardens and the Bahai Temple before departing Haifa. Then, on to Tzippori, 1st-century capital of the Galilee, one of the most important archeological sites in Israel today. See the magnificent mosaic floors, including the “Mona Lisa” of the Galilee. Continue to Nazareth where Mary learned from the angel Gabriel that she would miraculously conceive a son, named Jesus. Visit Mary’s Well, the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Church of St. Joseph. Continue to the small village of Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle. Drive through the rolling hills to the Sea of Galilee; enjoy a lunch at a restaurant. Afterwards, at Kibbutz Ginnosar, see the extraordinary ancient boat reclaimed from the Sea of Galilee, dating from the time of Jesus. Dinner and overnight at the Kibbutz Guest House. (B.L.D)
Drive via Magdala to Capernaum, home to Peter and center of Jesus’ preaching. On to Tabgha, site of the miracle of the multiplication of the fish and loaves. Continue to the Mount of the Beatitudes site of the Sermon on the Mount; enjoy the beautiful view of the entire Galilee. Drive to Safed, where Kabbalah flourished during the golden age; visit the picturesque Artists’ Quarter. Proceed through the Hula Valley via Hazor, a Canaanite city rebuilt by King Solomon to command the Golan Heights. Ascend the Golan Heights and cross the Hatzbani River to Dan and Banias (ancient Caesarea Philippi) at the foot of Mount Hermon. Evening: Dinner at the Kibbutz followed by “home hospitality” with a Kibbutz family. (B.D)
Friday: Galilee/Dead Sea
Depart the Galilee. Stop at Yardenit on the Jordan River with its specially built Baptismal site. Continue to Bet Shean; explore the extraordinary excavations of an ancient Roman city. On to the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth, to your spa-hotel for dinner and overnight. (B.D)
Saturday: Dead Sea
Day at leisure. Rest, relax and enjoy all of the wonderful facilities at your spa-hotel and swim in the therapeutic “unsinkable” waters of the Dead Sea. Dinner at your hotel. (B.D)
Sunday: Dead Sea/Jerusalem
Drive to Masada; ascend by cable car to this palace/fortress built by Herod the Great. Visit the excavations, Herod’s palace and the bathhouse. Continue passed the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Ascend to the holy city of Jerusalem; see the spectacular view of this “golden” city. Visit the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive trees. Overnight in Jerusalem. (B)
Enter the Old City from the Dung Gate. View the Dome of the Rock, mosque of Islam; continue to the Western Wall. Walk through centuries of history in the Hasmonean Tunnel (tunnel schedules permitting). On to the Crusader Church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethesda; see Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation and the Arch of Ecce Homo. Follow the steps of the Via Dolorosa through narrow alleys and souks to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Enter the Jewish Quarter; walk along the excavated Cardo, once a main street of Byzantine Jerusalem. Ascend Mount Zion; visit Dormition Abbey, the traditional Upper Room and the Tomb of King David. End the day with a visit to the Friends of Zion Heritage Center celebrating the Christian heroes who have contributed to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. These heroes come alive through cutting edge, high tech imaging, audio-visual presentations, holograms and much more. Evening: Restaurant Dinner and Night Tour of “illuminated” Jerusalem followed by the “Night Spectacular” Sound & Light show at the Citadel Museum. (B.D)
Begin the day with a visit to the Garden Tomb. Drive via the Knesset (Parliament) to the Shrine of the Book, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Continue along the rolling Judean Hills to charming Ein Karem, birthplace of John the Baptist; see the Church of the Visitation. Deep within the Judean Hills lies a magical cave full of natural sculptures formed over hundreds of thousands of years. Then proceed to Yad Vashem, Memorial to the Holocaust; visit the Museum, Children’s Pavilion and walk along the Avenue of the Righteous. End the day with a visit to Bethlehem (conditions and timing permitted; tour operated by a local agent in Bethlehem – Passports required). (B)
Day at leisure to explore this fascinating city on your own. (B)
Thursday: En Route
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Enjoy our Express Check in Service and complimentary entrance to the Dan VIP Lounge at Ben Gurion Airport. Or, continue on an extension to Jordan (see pages 68-70).