Experience a new unique adventure through the portal of modern Israel into biblical times. Leave contemporary Tel Aviv for ancient Jaffa, and Roman, Phoenician, and Crusader ruins in Caesarea, Acre, and Banias. Relive biblical history at the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, and Masada, and with excellent hikes on the Jesus Trail. In Bethlehem, a Palestinian Christian family gives a first-hand perspective on Christian communities in Israel and the political struggles in Palestine. Then dive deeply into Jerusalem, old and new. If you've longed to explore the Holy Land in a sensitive way, this is your journey!
Behold vestiges of religious history, from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the crucifixion site
Spend three full days exploring the fascinating must-see cultural sites of Jerusalem and hike 5 miles of the Jesus Trail
Rest and relax in modern, luxurious comfort in boutique hotels and a kibbutz resort
Welcome to Israel! Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv. After a rest you may want to stroll along the promenade or Rothschild Boulevard. Dinner tonight is on your own, as our guests will arrive well into the evening.
We will have a trip briefing at breakfast this morning before exploring the ancient port town of Jaffa, now a thriving artists' colony with many galleries, studios, and shops, and an unusual antique market. Walk through Neveh Zedek, one of the city's oldest neighborhoods now enjoying a revival with new galleries and restaurants. Stroll through White City, a UNESCO-listed district recognized for its Bauhaus and art deco architecture. On Rothschild Boulevard, visit the Independence Hall, which illustrates the role the city played in the establishment of the modern state. Enjoy a festive welcome dinner tonight.
Drive up the scenic coast to Caesarea Maritima, ancient capital of the Roman province and now a national park, to see impressive remains of the Roman and Crusader periods. Continue to Haifa, where there are lovely views of Bahai Gardens, and then on to Acre (Akko), an ancient Phoenician and Crusader seaport designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour the Citadel of Acre's stunning halls and buildings of the Knights Hospitaller and Templar, and walk through the covered bazaar. End today in Tiberias, where dinner is at the hotel.
Lace up your boots for today's hike along the portion of the Jesus Trail that descends from Mount Arbel to the Sea of Galilee. Enjoy stunning views and learn about the area's rich history: It is here that early Christianity evolved; Jesus delivered his famous Sermon on the Mount at the Mount of Beatitudes. At Nof Ginosar, visit a 2,000-year-old boat that was found preserved in the sea's muddy shores, and see the famous ruins at Capernaum, where Jesus lived and taught at the synagogue.
Drive up to Golan Heights and gaze into Lebanon and Syria to the lush Tel Dan Reserve - Dan was once the northernmost city in the ancient Kingdom of Israel - and its ruins. Continue up to Nimrod Crusader Castle, built by the Arabs and occupied by the Crusaders for its strategic position. After lunch, hike down to Banias to see the archaeological remains of this sacred place that span Pagan, Jewish, Christian Byzantine, Muslim, and Crusader eras. End the day with a visit to a local winery before returning to the hotel.
Journey west to Nazareth - the childhood home of Jesus - to see the Church of the Annunciation and the nearby remains of the major Byzantine church and Mary's Well. Then head south to Bet Shean, one of the Decapolis cities and where today you find Israel's best-preserved Roman ruins. After lunch, continue down the Jordan Rift Valley to Valley to Jericho, the world's oldest continuously inhabited city; excavations here reveal over 10,000 years of human settlement.
Rise early this morning to visit the ancient fortress of Masada, the last stronghold of the Rome-opposed Jewish Zealots. See Herod's palaces, baths, and other ruins that reveal the dramatic events that took place here in the Judean Desert 2,000 years ago. Continue to Qumran, on the Dead Sea's northern shore. Now a national park, Qumran was once the home of the Essenes, a secluded desert sect that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1947, a young Bedouin shepherd discovered manuscript fragments in clay jars hidden for centuries in the caves. Enjoy a swim in the Dead Sea before driving to Jerusalem through the Judean Wilderness.
Enjoy a dramatic view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, then walk down to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Judas betrayed Christ. Enter the Old City and view the Temple Mount, then visit the Western (Wailing) Wall. At the Davidson Center, learn how daily life revolved about the Temple in ancient times. Then walk the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) to the crucifixion site. Also behold the Tomb of David and the Upper Room, supposedly the site of the Last Supper.
Begin today at Yad Vashem, a powerful memorial to the six million lives lost in the Holocaust. Drive past the Knesset to the Israel Museum, home to the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls and other fascinating exhibits. Visit the lively Mahne Yahuda market where we will enjoy lunch. In the late afternoon, revisit the Old City to stroll through the Jewish Quarter where the residents will be preparing for the Sabbath. At the Western Wall, experience the celebrations to usher in the Sabbath as sunset approaches.
Travel to Bethlehem and walk through Manger Square to the Church of Nativity, where many believe Jesus was born. Lunch in a Palestinian Christian family's home in Bethlehem. Stop at the Banksy-inspired Walled Off Hotel to see the separation wall with its political graffiti and the exhibit on the occupation. In the afternoon, take a short walk up to Herodium, where you take in the views in all directions of the ancient landscape. Herod the Great's tomb was discovered here just a few years ago.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your homeward-bound flight.
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MT Sobek has been crafting unique and insightful journeys for 50 years, working with the best local guiding teams for immersive exploration
This journey includes Israel's top historical and cultural sights, while sensitively balancing both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives
MT Sobek has designed our itinerary for small groups to explore, experience and engage with Israel on multiple levels
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Insightful cultural touring of modern and ancient Israel, plus several hikes up to 3 miles per day on the Jesus Trail pilgrimage route.
Elegant modern hotels with high-quality service. Includes three nights at the legendary Scots Hotel in Tiberias.
Daytime temperatures will range from the mid-60's to low 80's and nighttime temperatures will range from the low 40's to mid-50's.
Our MT Sobek representative will meet you on arrival at the Tel Aviv Airport at 9:45 p.m. on Day 1. We have scheduled a group departure transfer to the airport on Day 10 at 9:00 p.m. to coincide with the 1:00 am (Day 11) United Airlines flights to San Francisco.
No. US citizens do not need a visa for Israel, but must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date they depart Israel.
No, you will need to get a second passport for your trip to Israel. Please contact the U.S. Department of State - Passport Services Office for information about applying.
Yes, please contact your Adventure Coordinator!
A number of US and European airlines (including United, Delta, Swiss, Lufthansa, Alitalia) as well as Turkish Airlines and El Al Airlines fly to Tel Aviv.
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