Day 1 Arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Welcome to Israel! Check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. This evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day 2 Tel Aviv–Jaffa–Caesarea–Megiddo–Muhraqa–Haifa.
Enjoy a full day exploring some of the ancient biblical and modern sights of this fascinating land. Leave Tel Aviv and drive to the old port of Jaffa, believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Set around a picturesque natural harbor, this atmospheric town is mentioned in the Bible as the place from which Jonah set sail before he was swallowed by a whale. Sightseeing continues at Caesarea, an ancient port turned stunning archaeological zone. Built by Herod the Great in the 1st century BC, the city was one of the most splendid in ancient Palestine and its capital for over 600 years. Admire what remains of Herod’s grandiose building works, including the restored 3,500-seat Roman theater, the aqueduct, harbor, and the crumbled moat and towers from the 12th-century Crusader fortress. From here, travel to the archaeological site of Megiddo—an age-old fortified town—and admire the ruins. Next, visit Muhraqa on Mount Carmel. Here, a 17th-century monastery marks where, according to the Bible, the prophet Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. Overnight in Haifa, a city with a long history that dates back to biblical times. (B,D)
Day 3 Haifa–Mount of Beatitudes–Capernaum–Sea Of Galilee–Tabgha–Nazareth.
Today, travel to the Sea of Galilee, stopping en route to visit the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered his sermon on the mount, and attend Mass. Next, Capernaum, home to the apostles Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Matthew. While here, see its ancient synagogue and the House of St. Peter, then head for Tabgha, where Jesus is said to have fed the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves. View the church commemorating the miracle and stop at the baptismal site on the Jordan River. Overnight in Nazareth. (B,D)
Day 4 Nazareth. Excursion to Cana of Galilee & Bet She'an.
This morning, visit the Church of the Annunciation, where the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would conceive and give birth to Jesus, the Son of God. Attend Mass at either St. Joseph's Church or the Church of the Annunciation. Then, head for Cana of Galilee, the reputed site of Jesus’ first miracle, where he turned water into wine at a wedding feast. In the afternoon, stop at Gideon’s Spring, where Gideon tested his army so he could decide who would join him in battle against the Midianites. Then, visit Bet She’an, one of the world’s best-preserved Roman cities. Ongoing excavations at this UNESCO World Heritage Site have revealed time-worn colonnaded streets, bathhouses, and theaters. (B)
Day 5 Nazareth–Jericho–Bethlehem–Jerusalem.
Drive through the Jordan Valley and visit Jericho, one of the most ancient cities in the world. Then, continue to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and King David. Visit one of Christianity’s holiest places, the Church of the Nativity, built over the cave traditionally regarded as the spot where Jesus was born. Here, attend Mass. Reach Jerusalem in the late afternoon. (B,D)
Day 6 Jerusalem.
A fascinating day awaits as you set off on a walking tour of Jerusalem’s Old Town. From the Mount of Olives, take in memorable views over the city’s domes, walls, and rooftops before strolling in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed on the night before his arrest. Your guide will then lead you into the Jewish quarter, pointing out the Wailing Wall with its prayer notes tucked between the stones, and the Dome of the Rock, the gold-topped mosque on Temple Mount. Next, walk the famous Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross), following in Jesus’ footsteps as he bore the cross to Calvary for his crucifixion, where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands. Later, visit the Garden Tomb before attending Mass. (B)
Day 7 Jerusalem. Optional Excursion to Masada & The Dead Sea.
Today is free to relax, explore Jerusalem at leisure, or join an exciting optional excursion to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. Travel through the mountainous Judean Desert; pass the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered; and then ride the cable car up to the magnificent Masada rock fortress. The fortification, perched high on a cliff-top plateau above the Dead Sea, was built by Herod the Great and was the site where 960 Jewish zealots committed mass suicide to evade capture by the Romans in 73 AD. Later, head for the shores of the Dead Sea, where you’ll have plenty of time to float in the famously buoyant waters that are almost nine times saltier than the ocean—an unforgettable experience. Toward the end of the afternoon, return to Jerusalem. (B,D)
Day 8 Jerusalem–Tel Aviv.
This morning (check out at 11 am), enjoy more free time to take in everything that makes Jerusalem such a captivating place. Late this afternoon, head back to Tel Aviv for a final overnight. (B,D)
Day 9 Tel Aviv.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)