Experience for yourself some of the world’s most renowned religious sites – the Church of the Annunciation, the Church of the Nativity, Via Dolorosa and the Western Wall.. Visit the hilltop fortress of Masada overlooking the vast Dead Sea, and venture down into the valley for a gravity-defying swim in its salty waters.. Get a local perspective of daily life at dinner with a Christian family, and meet a local Rabbi to gain a better understanding on the Israel–Palestine conflict and its progress towards peace.. Taste the flavours of Israel and the Palestinian Territories while eating with a local family, and spend some time working out your favourite hummus at a tasting in downtown Tel Aviv.
Welcome to the land of ancient cultures, biblical treasures, enigmatic history and thriving cities – Israel and the Palestinian Territories is layers upon layers to explore. Spend seven memorable days experiencing Roman Caesarea and the Crusader port of Acre to religious sites in Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Jericho, stopping by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa, Garden of Gethsemane and the Dead Sea. The Holy Land is so much more than churches, so discover a country with a beautifully preserved past and a vibrant beating heart.
Breakfast Included: 6 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included: 1
Welcome to Jerusalem – a city awash with ancient history and holy sites. You will be met at the airport by a Peregrine representative and transferred to the hotel (approximately 1 hour). There are no activities planned today until a welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers. Afterwards, join your leader on an orientation walk and drink, then consider having dinner with some of your group members on your free evening.
Meet your leader for a walk, beginning at St Stephen’s Gate (or Lion’s Gate) to enter the Old City, and visit the church of St Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Walk along the Via Dolorosa – the 'Way of the Cross’ or ‘Way of Sorrows' following Jesus’ path to crucifixion – and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified. Continue along the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter – a road that ran the entire length of the city in Byzantine times. Visit the remains of the Western Wall on the Temple Mount, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to wander around the city at your leisure. Meet up with your group later this evening for a meal with a local family in the Old City, learning about living a Christian life in the Holy Land.
This morning, drive to the biblical town of Ma'aleh Adumim and the Inn of the Good Samaritan in the Judean Desert. This inn is a museum located near the original site mentioned in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Continue to Masada and take a cable car to discover the clifftop fortress of Masada. This World Heritage-listed site is important to Jewish people – a symbol of exile from the Holy Land, of bravery and self-sacrifice. Afterwards, drive to Qumran, an archaeological site on the West Bank, home to major discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. You will also have a chance to float in the extremely salty and buoyant Dead Sea. Discover the slow-paced town of Jericho in the West Bank, where people have lived for over 11,000 years. See the Mount of Temptations and a Sycamore Tree mentioned only in the Luke’s Gospel. Return to Jerusalem and meet up with a local Rabbi, learning of Jewish traditions and a different perspective on the Israeli–Palestine conflict.
In the morning, drive out to visit the Garden of Gethsemane – the place where Jesus prayed beside his sleeping disciples before crucifixion. See the Church of All Nations, which holds inside a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. Continue to Yad Vashem for a sobering and moving visit to Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and take a guided tour with a local. Travel to Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity – marking the spot of the stable where Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus, and the Shepherds’ Fields in Beit Sahour just a couple of kilometres east of the city. This area has been identified as the scene where angels visited the lowly shepherds and informed them of Jesus’ birth. The rest of the evening is free for you to explore.
This morning, travel to Tiberias and, weather permitting, take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. Afterwards, visit Tabgha. This is where the Bible says Jesus performed the ‘Feeding of the 5000’ with loaves and fishes. Here, you can see the church and its ancient mosaics that were built to mark the spot of this miracle. A short way up the lakeshore is Capernaum, where you’ll see the site of two ancient synagogues and a church said to have been the home of Saint Peter. Here you will have the traditional St Peter’s Fish lunch – ask your leader about his significance. Visit the Church of the Annunciation, where Mary received the news of the Immaculate Conception, along with the well where she drew water every day. Continue to Haifa for the evening, perhaps taking a late stroll through the Baha’i Gardens. With 19 terraces flowing down to a domed shrine, these gardens are considered Haifa’s crowning glory.
Today, stop at the former crusader port of Acre. Visit the complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John, excavated to uncover rooms such as a large hall, dungeon, dining room and the crypt of an ancient Gothic church. You will also see the secret tunnel of their rivals – the Knights Templar. Continue to Caesarea, which served as the capital of Israel during the Roman and Byzantine eras. This was once a great port town built by King Herod around 25 BC, complete with an amphitheatre, hippodrome, palace, Roman temple and a network of aqueducts. The city was eventually abandoned and lost under the desert sands, but thanks to excavations since the 1950s, is on show once again. Arrive in Tel Aviv and spend the afternoon discovering the city with your leader, visiting the Old City of Jaffa and Peace Square. This afternoon, you’ll also partake in some hummus tasting – the city claims to have the best. Arrive at the hotel for an evening at leisure.
With no activities planned for today, your journey through Israel and the Palestinian Territories comes to an end after breakfast. You are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out times.