Holy Land Highlights

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Holy Land Highlights

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Description

A journey through the Holy Land is way more than just a pilgrimage. Entrenched in the ancient but emphatically modern in outlook, nominally Jewish but with lots of Muslim and Christian influence, the complexities of Israel and the Palestinian Territories keeps even the most seasoned history buff intrigued. Eat Israeli street food in Tel Aviv, check out the terraced Bahai Gardens in Haifa, run your hands over the Western Wall, stroll around Manger Square and head graffiti spotting in Bethlehem, take a dip in the salty Dead Sea and journey into the Negev Desert to spend a night under the stars. Israel and the Palestinian Territories have more than a bit of history, they are brimming with life.

Trip Name
Holy Land Highlights
Last Updated
2020-02-22
Days
8
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Explore the Negev Desert, spotting constellations unimpeded by light pollution and spending a night under the stars.
  • Walk the way of sorrows – the biblical path Jesus took to the crucifixion, and see the empty tomb He is said to have risen from.
  • Stop by a social organisation and enjoy a drink of their local drop at responsible boutique winery that employs adults with disabilities.
  • Wash off the dust of the desert with a float in the salty waters of the Dead Sea – a surreal experience that has to be felt to be believed.
  • Devour classic Israeli staples like hummus and falafel in the bustling metropolis of Tel Aviv or in the lively Machane Yedhua markets in Jerusalem.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Tel Aviv
Your journey through the Holy Lands begins in Tel Aviv, a modern city that truly does not stop. With its lively cafe culture, relaxed Mediterranean beach scene, and renowned diverse nightlife, Tel Aviv is a great place to start your exploration of the Holy Lands. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Some of the best beaches can be found a fifteen minute walk from your hotel, you may want to check out Gordon Beach.   Lots of cafes and bars in this area of the city,  for this reason the hotel does not offer breakfast on the premises but it is still included so make you sure you confirm with your Leader which cafe breakfast will be served in tomorrow. What a great way to support more local business. Head out tonight and get to know your travel buddies your Leader will have some recommendations and maybe join you.
Day 2 - Nazareth
Today, make like a wise man for Nazareth, stopping at a few significant ports along the way. First up is Jaffa, now a vision of modernity but reputed to be one of the oldest ports in the world. According to the Bible, it’s also where Jonah set off in defiance of God’s wishes before being tossed into the sea and swallowed by a whale. You’ll continue on to Lewinsky Market – a very popular spot for locals and full personality and colour, take a stroll through its aisles and perhaps stop to sample some burekas (traditional pastries) as you walk around. You’ll then head up the coast to Haifa and enjoy the view of the renowned Bahai Gardens, which are a series of 19 terraced gardens that overlook the city. Afterwards, drive to Nazareth, arriving in the afternoon. An orientation walk will help you get your bearings so that you can make the most of your free evening in this holy city.
Day 3 - Nazareth
Start the morning with a visit to the Church of the Annunciation. This is the site of where Mary received the news of the Immaculate Conception, along with the well where she drew water every day. Get on the road again and head a short while north to the port city of Acre, known for its well-preserved old city a crumbling remains of its fortress. Explore the excavated hall, dungeon, dining room and crypt of an ancient Gothic church, once occupied by the Knights of St John. Before heading back to your hotel, stop by a local winery for a glass (or two) of their delicious drop. Spend the evening in Nazareth.
Day 4 - Ramon Crater
Head out of Nazareth this morning, on your way to the Negev desert region . Its main city is Be’er Sheva.   Today a special lunch at the Lakiya Negev Bedouin Weaving. This initiative, founded in 1991, is all about empowering Bedouin women in this region to apply their traditional weaving skills in manufacturing and sale of their products, and earn an income. Spend some time with the women, joining them for a cup of tea and a local lunch. Stop en route to Ramon Crater at Be’er Sheva – the only city built by Ottoman Turks during the rule over this land. In the afternoon, arrive at Mitzpe Ramon, perched on the edge of the Ramon Crater. Check in to your hotel and grab some free time before sunset when we hop in the back of a 4WD vehicle and head on a desert safari into the crater.  Ramon Crater has been recognised as an ‘International Dark Sky Park’ – the first in the Middle East – to promote the preservation of ecological, astronomical and cultural benefits of having a clear night sky, unimpeded by light pollution.  
Day 5 - Masada - Jerusalem
Take in a spectacular sunrise then visit Masada, a spectacular cliff-top fortress built by King Herod around 35 BC that is now reached by cable car. The fortress is seen as a symbol of the bravery and self-sacrifice of the Jewish people. Travel on to Ein Gedi, where you’ll have time to wash off during a swim like no other. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, sits at 420 metres below sea level and is so salty that you'll easily float on the surface. Perhaps rub the nutrient-rich mud on your body and later on, as the sun cools, the group will slip into the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve visit the natural spring and wanter falls. Take a short walk on one of the gentle hiking trails before continuing to the Mount of Olives for your first view of the Holy City – Jerusalem. Visit the Garden of Gethsemane, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion. Also, take a visit to the Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony), which is said to hold inside a section of the bedrock Jesus used to pray before his arrest.
Day 6 - Jerusalem
Explore Jerusalem’s Old City this morning on foot. Start with the Courtyard of the Dome and the Western Wall – the remains of the Temple Mount, which acts as an outdoor synagogue, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. Then continue along the Via Dolorosa starting at St Stephen’s Gate, passing the crusader church of St Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Now located in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, this pool was mentioned in the Gospel of John and associated with healing. Continue along the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) – the ‘way of sorrows’ which follows Jesus’ path to crucifixion – and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, died, buried, and rose again. The afternoon is free for you to continue exploring, so perhaps have more of a wander around the Old City or check out the Israeli Museum.
Day 7 - Jerusalem
This morning, cross into Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity as well as Manger Square, which was, of course, around where little baby Jesus was said to have been born. Afterwards, discover a different side to Bethlehem on a graffiti tour at the Separation Barrier. It’s said that even Banksy has contributed to these murals, so get your best artistic critique face on. Continue to Shepherds Field Chapel a Roman Catholic religious building. The chapel is said to mark the place where, according to Catholic tradition, angels first announced the birth of Christ.  Later on, head back to Jerusalem for some time to yourself. This afternoon, why not get a couple of your travel crew together and sit back with a cold beer at one of the many laneway bars near Machane Yedhua Market. There’s a heap of great eating spots around there too.
Day 8 - Jerusalem
Your journey through the Holy Lands comes to an end after breakfast today and there are no activities planned, so you are free to check out at any time.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
05-03-202012-03-2020AUD $ 3,285-
19-03-202026-03-2020AUD $ 3,860-
16-04-202023-04-2020AUD $ 4,090-
23-04-202030-04-2020AUD $ 3,980-
30-04-202007-05-2020AUD $ 4,055-
14-05-202021-05-2020AUD $ 4,125-
21-05-202028-05-2020AUD $ 3,615-
28-05-202004-06-2020AUD $ 3,720-
11-06-202018-06-2020AUD $ 3,615-
18-06-202025-06-2020AUD $ 3,965-
20-08-202027-08-2020AUD $ 3,615-
03-09-202010-09-2020AUD $ 3,755-
10-09-202017-09-2020AUD $ 3,760-
17-09-202024-09-2020AUD $ 3,760-
01-10-202008-10-2020AUD $ 3,945-
13-10-202020-10-2020AUD $ 3,900-
15-10-202022-10-2020AUD $ 3,945-
22-10-202029-10-2020AUD $ 3,615-
29-10-202005-11-2020AUD $ 3,615-
12-11-202019-11-2020AUD $ 3,720-
19-11-202026-11-2020AUD $ 3,615-
26-11-202003-12-2020AUD $ 3,755-
11-03-202118-03-2021AUD $ 3,495-
25-03-202101-04-2021AUD $ 3,495-
08-04-202115-04-2021AUD $ 3,495-
22-04-202129-04-2021AUD $ 3,495-
06-05-202113-05-2021AUD $ 3,495-
20-05-202127-05-2021AUD $ 3,495-
03-06-202110-06-2021AUD $ 3,495-
26-08-202102-09-2021AUD $ 3,495-
09-09-202116-09-2021AUD $ 3,495-
23-09-202130-09-2021AUD $ 3,495-
30-09-202107-10-2021AUD $ 3,495-
07-10-202114-10-2021AUD $ 3,495-
21-10-202128-10-2021AUD $ 3,495-
28-10-202104-11-2021AUD $ 3,495-
11-11-202118-11-2021AUD $ 3,495-
25-11-202102-12-2021AUD $ 3,495-
23-12-202130-12-2021AUD $ 3,495-

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Transport

Private Vehicle

Map