Full buffet breakfast daily; 11 three-course dinners, including a welcome dinner in Tel Aviv
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. EXCURSION TO VALLEY OF ELAH–LATRUN–JAFFA. Drive into the ancient land of the Philistines and in the Valley of Elah. Stop at the site of David’s victory over the Philistine champion, Goliath, and hear about this biblical event. Later, refresh your memory with the tale of Samson and Delilah as you proceed through the land of the Dan tribe to the wide Valley of Ayalon. At strategic Latrun, visit the MONASTERY OF THE TRAPPIST MONKS. Continue along the Mediterranean shore and stop in Jaffa for a walk through the beautifully restored ancient port, where medieval pilgrims started their strenuous 2-day trek to Jerusalem. Return to Tel Aviv.
TEL AVIV–CAESAREA–ACRE–HAIFA. Start your tour of the Holy Land with 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. Visit Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at the northern end of the lovely Bay of Haifa. Acre became the capital of the Crusader kingdom after its conquest by Richard the Lionheart. Marvel at the forbidding Ottoman fortress and tour the excavated part of the immense underground CRUSADER CITY with its secret passageways and the vaulted crypt of the Knights of St. John. Continue to Haifa, a city with a long history dating back to biblical times, and enjoy a visit to the golden-domed BAHA’I SHRINE, the world center of Baha’i faith.
HAIFA–NAZARETH–CANA–SEA OF GALILEE–KIBBUTZ Drive to Nazareth in Galilee to visit the contemporary CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION. Next, travel on to Cana, where Jesus changed water into wine at a wedding. To this day, many couples renew their wedding vows at this sacred place. After a panoramic view over Lake Tiberias, [LF] enjoy a relaxing CRUISE on the Sea of Galilee, and see an ancient fisherman’s boat said to be from the time of Christ. Time to relax before dinner, and this evening, you are invited for a [LF] LECTURE ON KIBBUTZ LIFE.
KIBBUTZ–MOUNT OF BEATITUDES–CAPERNAUM–BET SHE’AN–JERUSALEM Heading towards the Sea of Galilee, visit the MOUNT OF BEATITUDES, where Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount. On to CAPERNAUM, where Jesus recruited his first followers among the fishermen. Via the ruins of Kursi, which memorialize two of Jesus’ miracles, arrive at the Jordan River and visit a BAPTISMAL SITE. Then, visit the ancient city of Bet She’an with its fine ROMAN and BYZANTINE RELICS. The city is located at the foot of Mount Gilboa, where King Saul and his son died by their own hands in battle with the Philistines. On the way to Jerusalem, stop for a breathtaking panoramic view of the Holy City, considered one of the oldest places in the world, with a history dating back as far as 4000 BC.
JERUSALEM. EXCURSION TO MASADA & 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 rebels made their last stand against Roman forces. Around lunchtime, reach one of the comfortable Dead Sea resorts for free time to [LF] experience the incredible buoyancy in the heavy saltwater and receive a SALT SCRUB GIFT. Then, back to Jerusalem.
JERUSALEM. EXCURSION TO YAD VASHEM–THE ISRAEL MUSEUM–BETHLEHEM. Visit YAD VASHEM, the “World Holocaust Remembrance Center,” then continue to the ISRAEL MUSEUM to see the Shrine of the Book and the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as a scale model of Jerusalem at the time of Christ. Proceed to Bethlehem and see Shepherd’s Field, where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. Also visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, which stands on the site where Jesus was born.
JERUSALEM. EXCURSION TO THE OLD CITY. Visit the GARDEN TOMB, and after a stunning view of the city from the revered MOUNT OF OLIVES, start your guided walking tour. See the Chapel of Dominus Flevit, designed in the shape of a teardrop to symbolize the tears of Christ, and arrive at the GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, where Jesus prayed the night before his arrest. Nearby are the Cave of the Assumption of Mary, believed to be the Virgin Mary’s tomb; and the Cave of Betrayal, where Judas betrayed Jesus. Follow the VIA DOLOROSA with its Stations of the Cross, marking the path Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. In Golgotha, visit the CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE, erected on the site of the crucifixion and which houses the remaining five Stations of the Cross. On to the WESTERN WALL, the only remnant of the Second Temple. See the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, which are sacred to both the Jewish and Muslim people. Then, stroll through the restored Jewish Quarter to MOUNT ZION and visit the UPPER ROOM, where Jesus and his disciples had the last supper; the TOMB OF KING DAVID; and the HOUSE OF CAIAPHAS, where Jesus was kept the night after his arrest and where Peter denied knowing him three times. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with your traveling companions of an unforgettable journey through the Holy Land.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL–ALLENBY BRIDGE–JERASH, JORDAN–UMM QAIS–AMMAN. A comfortable drive across the Allenby Bridge, brings you to Jordan. Then 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, stop in Umm Qais, site of the Gadarene swine miracle, before arriving 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 eternally 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. A full day of sightseeing with a Local Guide is dedicated to Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders 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. You’ll 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, visit the CRUSADER CASTLE in Kerak, 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 visit ST. GEORGE’S CHURCH in Madaba, 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.
DEAD SEA. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. The nearest airport is Amman.