Basic Tour – This more in-depth itinerary will take the visitors through significant Old and New Testament historical, religious, and cultural events. It fits people of all ages, especially those who have already taken an introductory tour.
Upon arrival at Tel Aviv airport, passport control and luggage pick-up, meet your local friendly guide. A one and a half-hour drive will bring you to your hotel for your first overnight in the Negev Desert.
Beer Sheva / Mitzpe Ramon
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Beersheba, the capital of the Negev Region, visit the Abraham’s Well where Abraham made a covenant with the Philistine King Abimelech.
Proceed to the Canyon of Ein Avdat, a freshwater spring that comes as a surprise in the middle
of the Zin desert. A 10 minutes’ drive brings us to Avdat, a significant Nabatean settlement that flourished in the third century BCE on the incense trade route after Petra. Discover the fantastic remains of monasteries, a palace, a Roman fortress, the byzantine church of Saint-Theodore as the city converted to Christianity.
Our next stop will be at Mitzpe Ramon on the edge of the Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert. The Ramon Visitor’s Center offers interactive exhibits explaining the natural processes that led to the Crater’s creation.
The second overnight will be at the same hotel as the previous night.
Tel Arad / MASSADA / QUMRAN / JERICHO.
After breakfast, check out from the hotel, drive to Tel Arad, an important archaeological site, showing the remains of a Canaanite city and a fortress from the Kings of Judah’s time. Drive to the Dead Sea area take the cable car climb up to visit Massada King Herod’s Palace built around 30 BC, where the last Jewish stronghold against the Romans. Our drive continues along the Dead Sea coast, passing by Ein Gedi Nature Reserve in the Judean Desert. It has four springs flowing all year round, making it an Oasis in the middle of the desert, converting it to a paradise for hikers. It is here that King David escaped the wrath of Saul.
proceed to the Qumran Caves, a series of caves found around Qumran’s archaeological site in the Judaean Desert, a settlement of the Essenes, where a shepherd found by accident the worldwide famous Dead Sea Scrolls. Stop at one of the beaches on the Dead Sea for an unforgettable experience, floating in the salty waters at the lowest spot-on earth.
After a dip in the Dead Sea, we head to Jericho, a Palestinian town 300 meters below sea level. It is an Oasis in Judea’s desert, believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities globally and known as the city of palm trees.
The third Overnight in the Dead sea area or Jericho.
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out.
This day starts with Jericho’s city tour at Tel Jericho’s archaeological site, where excavations evidence the settlement in Jericho dating back to 10,000 BCE. Explanation about the Mount of Temptations where Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and overcame Satan’s temptations. Then a city tour in Jericho to see The Sycamore Tree (a reminder of Zacchaeus’s conversion) Continue to Jordan River to discover the Baptismal site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus and the Israelites entered the promised land after 40 years in the desert under Joshua’s Leadership. Proceed through the Jordan Valley to the ancient city of Beit Shean, housing the spectacular ruins of the glory of this Roman and Byzantine city. It was also known as Scythopolis, the leading city of Decapolis.
Continue to Nazareth, an Arab city in the North of Israel known as the place of the Annunciation. Visit the Annunciation’s domed Basilica where the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear the child Jesus. See the gallery with mosaic and ceramic icons depicting the Virgin Mary. St. Joseph’s Church, also known as Joseph’s carpentry workshop; the underground Synagogue Church where Jesus studied and prayed and Mary’s Spring, where the Virgin used to draw water.
The fourth overnight will be in the Galilee area.
Breakfast at the hotel and take the bus to visit the ancient Korazim, a Jewish town condemned by Jesus Christ together with Capernaum and Bethsaida (the hometown of the apostles Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John the sons of Zebedee), as mentioned in the New Testament. See its ancient Synagogue and the old road. Descend to the Mount of Beatitudes, offering a breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee, the location where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. The Octagonal church stands next to the ruins of an earlier Byzantine church. Continue to Capernaum, Jesus Home Town, became the center of Jesus’ public ministry in Galilee, where he spent time teaching and healing. Visit the Synagogue and the House of Peter.
Nearby is Tabgha, the site where Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish and the church of St. Peter’s Primacy the place where Jesus bestowed church leadership on Peter. A rock at the seashore known as Mensa Christi, where Jesus appeared to his disciples after his Resurrection.
Stop at Magdala, Mary of Magdalene’s hometown, Visit the excavations of a first-century Synagogue, and will help experience a crossroads of Jewish and Christian History. At the Visitor’s Center of Ginossar, visit the museum where an ancient boat from the time of Jesus is displayed. Enjoy a Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee, just as Jesus did with his disciples on various occasions.
The fifth overnight will be at the same hotel as the previous night.
After a healthy breakfast at the hotel, drive to visit the ancient town of Sepphoris. or Zippori, known as le Saforie by the Crusaders, is a former village and an archaeological site, it was the capital of Galilee during the time of Jesus. It is famous for its numerous and well-preserved mosaics. Continue to Cana, the Arab village of Kafar Kanna, here is the place where Jesus performed His first miracle by turning water into wine at the wedding.
A short drive leads to Mount Tabor, At the height of 575 meters above sea level, a 360-degree view of the land. On a clear day, visitors can enjoy the magnificent view of the Jezreel Valley, Mount Gilboa, the Samarian mountains, the Golan Heights, Mount Carmel, Afula, Gilead, and Lower and Upper Galilee as Mount Hermon. It is the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Visit the Franciscan Basilica built on the ruins of an ancient Crusader construction from the 12th. Century.
The sixth overnight will be at the same hotel as the previous night.
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Leave the Galilee region and drive south via Affula and the Jalamah Checkpoint to enter Samaria in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories. A short drive through the Palestinian city of Jenin brings us to the small town of Burqin to visit one of the oldest churches related to the healing of the ten leapers by Jesus. Continue south to Sebastia, a Palestinian village located in the Nablus Governorate of the West Bank. Samaria (Sabaste) was the capital city of the Northern Kingdom during the Iron Age II and has continued to be an essential region’s administrative center. Local Christian and Islamic traditions locate the tomb of John the Baptist in Sebastia. The local population-built Churches and a mosque dedicated to John the Baptist. Sebastia is a UNESCO World Heritage Center. Continue to Nablus, the Biblical Shechem, some 12 kilometers further south to stop at Jacob’s Well. It is here that Jesus spoke to the Samaritan Woman, asking her for some water. As we leave Nablus, we pass between two high mountains, Mount Ebal to the north (940 m.) and Mount Gerizim to the south (881 m.), the Samaritan community center. Pass by important ancient biblical locations such as Shiloh, Bethel, the Lebonah Valley, and Beeroth to Jerusalem.
The seventh overnight will be in Jerusalem or Bethlehem.
Breakfast at the hotel and start a day tour to the picturesque village of Ein Karem in Jerusalem’s outskirts. Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist, is also the place of the Visitation when the Virgin Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Explore the Church of St John the Baptist and the Visitation Church. Continue further south to visit Herodium or Herodion, a truncated-cone-shaped hill to visit the palace fortress built by Herod the Great, where recent excavations located his tomb.
Proceed to explore the Shepherds’ Field in Beit Sahour, a Palestinian town east of Bethlehem. Proceed to Bethlehem, or the city of David, The biblical birthplace of Jesus, the cave under the 6th-century Church of the Nativity. The Basilica of the Nativity shares Manger Square with the 15th-century Church of St. Catherine and it’s rich history.
The eighth overnight will be at the same hotel as the previous night.
Breakfast at the hotel. from the top of the Mount of Olives an unforgettable view of Jerusalem’s Old City with its more than 3000 years of history. It is essential for the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Explanation from the top of the mount about the Chapel of the Ascension, the place from which Jesus ascended to Heaven, and the Pater Noster Church where Jesus taught his disciples the prayer “Our Father.” and the Dominus Flevit Chapel from where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Descending the Mount of Olives, by bus to the Garden of Gethsemane, we see the old olive trees and visit the Agony Basilica (Basilica of All Nations).
After we will cross over the Kidron Valley to visit the ancient City of David to explore the archaeological site, the original settlement of Bronze and Iron Age of Jerusalem, reaching the Western Wall, or “Wailing Wall,” the most important religious site for Jewish people. There is always a possibility to see a Bar Mitzva.
Mount Zion. Visit the House of Caiaphas and the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (the cock crow), where Peter denied Jesus three times. Discover the Upper Room, the Cenacle, or the Last Supper underneath is the Tomb of David. Opposite stands the Basilica of the Dormition of the Virgin.
The ninth overnight will be at the same hotel as the previous night.
Breakfast at the hotel and drive to enter by foot the Old city of Jerusalem through the Lions’ Gate to visit the best-preserved Crusader church of Saint Anne. Discover this beautiful church, built over the house of Joachim and Anne, Mary’s parents, and probably her birthplace. Discover the remains of the “Pool of Bethesda,” where Jesus healed the person with paralysis.
Follow the Way of Sorrow along the Via Dolorosa through the old city’s streets to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher. Venerate Calvary (Golgotha), the place of the Crucifixion, and the Holy Tomb.
Continue by foot throughout the old city to Jaffa Gate. Visit the Museum of the History of Jerusalem at the Citadel or the Tower of David. Them take the bus to visit the Israel museum in the new city of Jerusalem see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Model of the second temple.
The tenth overnight will be at the same hotel as the previous night.
Breakfast at the hotel and, luggage aboard, drive to Abu Gosh, a small Arab village, 10 Kms. to the west of Jerusalem on the way to Tel Aviv. Scholars identify as one of the possible Emmaus. In the village center stands the Benedictine monastery built on an earlier Crusader church with frescoes from the 12th-century. Another worthwhile visit is the Church of Our Lady of the Covenant located at the summit of biblical Kiryat Ye’arim, where the Ark of the Covenant remained for two decades. The church construction goes back to 1924 on the remains of an earlier Byzantine church.
Transfer to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport for the return flight.