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.. Explore 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.. Gain an unmatched understanding of the region while travelling with an experienced local leader and spending time with the locals. Discuss history with a geopolitical expert, meet a local Rabbi and have dinner with a Christian family.. Taste the flavours of Israel and the Palestinian Territories when you dine in a 120-year-old building, break bread with a local family, and take part in a hummus tasting.
Welcome to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the land of ancient cultures, biblical treasures and thriving cities. Journey from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv with an experienced local leader and gain an understanding of the region’s diverse viewpoints. Meet with a Christian family, a geopolitical expert, a local affected by the Holocaust and a rabbi along the way. Get a taste of local life with a number of authentic food experiences, and visit major religious and historical sites with insights from local experts. The Holy Land is so much more than just churches, so discover a country with a beautifully preserved past and a vibrant beating heart.
Breakfast Included: 6 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included: 2
Welcome to Israel! Your journey begins in Jerusalem, a city brimming with ancient history and holy sites. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your centrally located hotel, where you’ll meet your small group and experienced local leader for a 6pm welcome meeting. After your meeting, join your leader on an orientation walk to get acquainted with your home for the next three nights. Discover a captivating city influenced by its multicultural residents who have roots across the world, and leave feeling like a local. Then it’s time to get to know your group over an included dinner at a restaurant set in an atmospheric 120-year-old building, serving up traditional and international delights. You may like to try maqluba, one of the region’s most celebrated dishes, and find out why the name translates to “upside-down”.
Set off on a walk through Jerusalem as your leader shares local knowledge and ancient tales. Enter the Old City and visit the church of St Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Follow the Via Dolorosa along Jesus’s path to crucifixion and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, then visit the remains of the Western Wall on the Temple Mount. Take some time out for lunch before meeting with a regional expert for a lively conversation about the fascinating geopolitics of the area, then check out the views from the rooftop of a 19th-century guesthouse. Then onto an activity you won’t find in the guidebooks - spend the evening with a local family in the Old City who will serve up a home-cooked dinner with Armenian and Arabic influences. Relax in their beautiful garden, surrounded by lemon and mandarin trees, and learn about living a Christian life in the Holy Land.
This morning, head to the clifftop fortress of Masada, where you’ll take a cable car to the top. Your leader will explain why this World Heritage-listed site is so important to Jewish people, as 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’ll even have a chance to float in the famously buoyant Dead Sea, which is not only fun but is also believed to provide numerous health benefits. Discover the slow-paced town of Jericho in the West Bank, where people have lived for over 11,000 years. Return to Jerusalem where you’ll have the unique opportunity to meet with a local rabbi, learning of Jewish traditions and a different perspective on the Israel–Palestine conflict.
Drive out to visit the Garden of Gethsemane before stopping at the Mount of Olives, where you’ll be treated to incredible views of the Old City. See the Church of All Nations then continue to Yad Vashem for a sobering visit to Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Take a guided tour with a local expert to hear personal stories of those affected by tragedy. Continue to Bethlehem and see the Church of the Nativity and the nearby Shepherds’ Fields in Beit Sahour. Arrive in Bethlehem and discover the Jacir Palace, a magnificent 100-year-old mansion and your feature stay hotel. Commissioned by Bethlehem’s former mayor, the hotel offers tranquillity in the heart of the city paired with service worthy of a sultan. The charming courtyard and pool are fringed with elegantly decorated guestrooms, and its four restaurants serve almost anything you could dream of.
Travel to Tiberias, where if weather permits, you’ll take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. Then visit Tabgha, where the Bible says Jesus performed the ‘Feeding of the 5000’ with loaves and fish. 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, home to two ancient synagogues and a church said to have been the home of Saint Peter. Sit down to a traditional St Peter’s fish lunch as your leader tells you how the famous fish got its name. Visit the Church of the Annunciation, where Mary received the news of the Immaculate Conception. Continue on to the eclectic city of Haifa, where you’ll spend the evening. On arrival in Haifa, take in the views over the perfectly landscaped 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, and take a peek at the secret tunnel of their rivals – the Knights Templar. Continue to Caesarea, once a great port town built by King Herod around 25 BC, the city was eventually abandoned and lost under the desert sands. Thanks to excavations in the 1950s, an amphitheatre, hippodrome, palace, Roman temple and a network of aqueducts are now on display. Arrive in Tel Aviv and spend the afternoon discovering this high-energy city with your leader, visiting the Old City of Jaffa and Peace Square. Take a dip into some of the world’s most heavenly hummus during a special tasting session in downtown Tel Aviv. Tempt your tastebuds with a range of toppings, textures and flavours and find out why this city takes its hummus so seriously.
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.