Harbouring sacred sites central to three of the world’s major religions, Israel holds a unique place in the Middle East. Immerse yourself in the historical and cultural wonders of this complex, ancient land. Look out over the domes and spires of timeless Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, and pay your respects to the victims of the Holocaust at Israel’s official Holocaust memorial. Stroll the ancient port city of Caesarea Maritima and the ruins of Capernaum, where Jesus is believed to have lived and preached; and learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a variety of perspectives.
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.
Begin the day with a walking tour of Jerusalem’s Old City, home to sites that are sacred to the three of the world’s great faiths. At the Temple Mount, visit the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Continue to the Western Wall, then make your way through the winding lanes of the Jewish Quarter to the historic Hurva Synagogue. Walk along the Way of the Cross, the route that Jesus is believed to have taken on his way to crucifixion, and end at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre—according to tradition and to recent findings, Jesus’s tomb is located here. This afternoon, ascend to the top of the Mount of Olives for panoramic views of the city. Later, we’ll enjoy a talk with a local scholar about the struggles of daily life in Jerusalem, discussing interfaith issues, political conflict, and hopes for a peaceful future.
This morning, pay a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s moving memorial to the Holocaust. Continue to the Israel Museum to view the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the most important archaeological finds of the past century, and opt to walk through the museum’s state-of-the-art exhibition on your own. This evening, join an Israeli chef on a walking tour of the lively Mahane Yehuda Market. We’ll learn about the key ingredients of Israeli cuisine, and enjoy a hands-on lesson in kosher cooking.
Spend the day in the ancient town of Bethlehem, located in the hills of the West Bank. Begin with a visit to Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity, where Jesus is believed to have been born. Walk through a nearby Palestinian refugee camp on your way to a local women's collective, created by and for refugee women. Learn how to prepare traditional Palestinian dishes in the camp’s shared kitchen, and sit down to a delicious meal with the women while gaining insights into their lives as refugees.
Start the day with a guided visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Masada, King Herod’s 2,000-year-old mountaintop fortress. Explore the remains of elaborate palaces and bathhouses, then travel to the shores of the Dead Sea for a chance to float in its fabled waters. Continue north to the Sea of Galilee and enjoy a visit to a kibbutz—an Israeli communal settlement—while learning about the origins of the kibbutz movement.
Venture to the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus is believed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Visit the church that commemorates the event, and take in breathtaking views of the Sea of Galilee and the surrounding countryside. Continue to the ruins of Capernaum, often called “the town of Jesus.” Learn about the lives and perspectives of Israeli Arabs en route to Nazareth, where we stop at the Basilica of the Annunciation, one of the largest churches in the Middle East. Later, visit a local winery for a tour and private tasting.
Head to the sparkling shores of the Mediterranean, stopping at the coastal city of Haifa. Then travel south to Caesarea Maritima to explore the ruins of Herod’s great harbour city. Afterward, continue to bustling Tel Aviv for our last evening in Israel.
Depart at any time.