Full buffet breakfast daily; 9 three-course dinners with wine: including a welcome dinner in Tel Aviv, and a farewell dinner at the Dead Sea
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN TEL AVIV, ISRAEL. Welcome to Tel Aviv! Enjoy this evening’s welcome dinner with your traveling companions and Tour Director.
TEL AVIV–JAFFA–CAESAREA–NAZARETH–CANA–HAIFA. Stop in Jaffa for a walk through the beautifully restored ancient port, where medieval pilgrims started their strenuous 2-day trek to Jerusalem. Then, continue your tour of the Holy Land to Caesarea, the perfect place to learn about the Roman and Crusader presence in the country. Visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER and the impressive CRUSADER FORTRESS, and admire Herod’s stadium and harbor. On to Nazareth in Galilee, to visit the contemporary CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION. Then Cana, site of the first miracle where Jesus changed water into wine at a wedding. To this day, many couples renew their wedding vows at this sacred place. Arrive in Haifa, a city with a long history dating back to biblical times.
HAIFA. EXCURSION TO THE MOUNT OF BEATITUDES–CAPERNAUM–SEA OF GALILEE. Start your day with a visit to the golden-domed BAHA’I SHRINE, the world center of Baha’i faith. Heading towards the Sea of Galilee, visit the MOUNT OF BEATITUDES, where Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount. Then proceed to CAPERNAUM, where Jesus recruited his first followers among the fishermen. Via the ruins of Kursi arrive at the Jordan River and visit the BAPTISMAL SITE, followed by a relaxing [LF] CRUISE on the Sea of Galilee.
HAIFA–VALLEY OF ELAH–LATRUN–BETHLEHEM–JERUSALEM. Drive into the ancient land of the Philistines and the Valley of Elah. Stop at the site of David’s victory over the Philistine champion, Goliath, and hear about this biblical event. Later, hear the tale of Samson and Delilah as you travel through the land of the Dan tribe to the wide Valley of Ayalon. At strategic Latrun, visit the MONASTERY OF THE TRAPPIST MONKS. Stop en route for a breathtaking panoramic view of the Holy City of Jerusalem, considered one of the oldest places in the world, with a history dating back as far as 4000 BC. Proceed to Bethlehem and see Shepherd’s Field, where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. Next, visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, which stands on the site where Jesus was born. Overnight in Jerusalem.
JERUSALEM. EXCURSION TO THE ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM, AND MOUNT ZION. Visit the ISRAEL MUSEUM with the Shrine of the Book, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, followed by the YAD VASHEM MEMORIAL created to commemorate the six million martyrs of the Holocaust. Continue to MOUNT ZION, and visit the UPPER ROOM, where Jesus and his disciples had the last supper, and then the TOMB OF KING DAVID.
JERUSALEM. EXCURSION TO THE OLD CITY. This morning, visit the GARDEN TOMB. After seeing a stunning panorama of the city from the revered MOUNT OF OLIVES, start your guided walking tour. Via the Chapel of Dominus Flevit, designed in the shape of a tear drop to symbolize the tears of Christ, arrive at the GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, where Jesus prayed the night before his arrest. Nearby are the Caves of the Assumption of Mary and of the Betrayal. Follow the Stations of the Cross along the VIA DOLOROSA to Golgotha, and visit the CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE. Erected over the site of the crucifixion, this church is shared by six Christian communities. Also see the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, a splendid mosque on the holy mount. Continue to the WESTERN WALL, the most holy shrine in the Jewish religion.
JERUSALEM. EXCURSION TO MASADA AND THE DEAD SEA. Drive through the Judean wilderness to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the surface of the Earth. Enjoy the scenery as you follow the road between the salty water and majestic desert mountains. Catch glimpses of the caves of Qumran, where the precious Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Ascend by cable car to the spectacular cliff-top FORTRESS of Masada, and hear how 960 Jewish zealots preferred death at their own hands to the indignity of surrender to overwhelming Roman forces. Around lunchtime, reach one of the comfortable Dead Sea resorts and experience the feeling of buoyancy in the heavy water. Return to Jerusalem.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL–ALLENBY BRIDGE–JERASH, JORDAN–AMMAN. A comfortable drive across the Allenby Bridge, brings you to Jordan. Drive north to JERASH, which was inhabited as early as 3200 BC. Although the city was impacted by the earthquake of 749 AD, it is the site of the best preserved Greco-Roman ruins in the Middle East. Next, arrive in Jordan’s capital, Amman.
AMMAN–WADI RUM–PETRA. An exciting visit to Wadi Rum is on the program today. Wadi Rum is the largest wadi (ravine) in Jordan and made famous through the movie Lawrence of Arabia. Enjoy a spectacular [LF] FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE through the sand dunes and receive a keffiyeh, a local headscarf. Continue to the “Rose-Red City” of Petra, where you can relax at your hotel this evening or explore the ancient city.
PETRA. Full day of guided sightseeing in Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New7Wonders of the World®. Lost to the world for centuries, it is located in the biblical land of Moab. [LF] Enjoy an unforgettable experience as you walk down the SIQ, the narrow gorge made famous in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Stand in awe in front of the iconic and famed TREASURY. See spectacular temples and tombs created out of the rose-colored sandstone, and sip tea in a real BEDOUIN TENT.
PETRA–KERAK–WADI MUJIB–DEAD SEA. This morning features Kerak, with a visit to the CRUSADER CASTLE and Wadi Mujib, the “Jordanian Grand Canyon.” Continue to your hotel at the Dead Sea for your 2-night stay.
DEAD SEA. EXCURSION TO MADABA, MOUNT NEBO & BETHANY BEYOND THE JORDAN. A fascinating day awaits! Stop in Madaba to visit ST. GEORGE’S CHURCH, which houses a precious 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land. Also explore the MADABA ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. Today’s major highlight is a visit to MOUNT NEBO, where Moses saw the Promised Land. Next is Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where Christians believe that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Return to the Dead Sea to enjoy a farewell dinner with your traveling companions to commemorate an unforgettable journey.
DEAD SEA. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning (the nearest airport is Amman).