Day 1 Jerusalem, The Old City
A walking tour from the Mount of Olives via the Kidron Valley to the City of David. We will enter the Old City through the Dung Gate and visit the Western Wall. From there, we will turn to explore the different quarters of the Old City, wander through the colorful markets and walk in the path of the Via Dolorosa. The tour will end at Jaffa Gate.
Day 2 Modern Jerusalem
We will visit Yad Vashem (the Holocaust memorial) and the Israel Museum: the Dead Sea Scrolls, the model of ancient Jerusalem and the exhibition of Herod’s desert mausoleum. From there we will continue to explore the colorful Mahane Yehuda market on Jaffa Street, where we will have lunch. Finally, we will visit the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist.
Day 3 Judean Desert and the Dead Sea
On the way to the Dead Sea we will stop to overlook the canyon of Wadi Kelt, with the Byzantine Monastery of St. George. We will enjoy a light hike through the Ein Gedi National Park, the largest oasis in the Desert, with fresh water springs and a jungle-like scenery. Then we will climb by cable-car to the hilltop of Masada, Herod’s desert palace and a fortress later used by Jewish zealots in their struggle against the Romans. At the end of the day, we will float on the Dead Sea.
Overnight: Dead Sea area.
Day 4 Judean Desert and Jordan Valley
We will visit Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered. Then, we will drive to the Oasis town of Jericho, with views towards Mount Nebo and the Quarantal monastery, including a visit to Qasr al-Yehud, the baptismal site of John the Baptist. Finally, we will drive through the Jordan Valley, along the border with Jordan, and visit Belvoir, the Crusader fortress that controlled the Jordan valley, and Bet Shean, the ‘Pompeii of Israel, exhibiting Biblical, Roman and Byzantine remains.
Day 5 Lake Galilee, the Golan Heights and the Galilee
We will explore the northern shore of the lake, considered the cradle of Christianity, dotted with many historical sites, such as Capernaum, Khorazim, Bethsaida and Mount Beatitudes. We will then drive up to the Golan Heights, to the top of Mount Bental, a non-active volcano and an old Israeli army-fortification that is open to the public. We will enjoy spectacular views towards snowcapped Mt. Hermon and the Galilee. Our last stop will be a short hike through the Banias National Park, one of the sources of the Jordan River and ancient Caesarea Philippi.
Day 6 Safed, Akko and Caesarea
At 1000 m above sea level, Safed is the highest town in the country, a center of Kabala, with old synagogues and an artists’ quarter. From there we will travel to the old city of Akko, a fortified Ottoman town with a citadel, mosques, khans and a bathhouse. The remains of the Crusader town lie almost intact, both above and below today’s street level, including the monastery of the knights of St. John. We will enjoy the view overlooking the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa, drive through Druze villages on Mount Carmel, and finally, visit Caesarea Maritime, an ancient port and city, built under Herod the Great. We will walk from the Roman theater, via the hippodrome and bathhouse, to the remains of the port and Crusader walls.
Overnight: Tel Aviv