Day 1: Arrival – Israel: Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport. Exit the terminal at the sign marked ‘groups’ and meet your guide. Transfer to your hotel in Nazareth. Rest, dinner and lodging at your hotel.
Day 2: North of Israel – Culture and Religions: After breakfast, drive and visit Akko city (also known as Acre), known to have served as the main port to the Holy Land during the middle ages, and situated in the Western Galilee on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. As one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world, Akko today remains to be an important location, linking the waterways and commercial activity with the Levant (the Eastern Mediterranean between Anatolia also known as Asia Minor and Egypt). Then on to Haifa to visit the famous Baha’i Gardens which give the city an iconic sense of beauty and majesty. The Terraces of the Bahá’í Faith, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, are garden terraces around the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Haifa. Later; on move to the Stella Maris Monastery which is located on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Haifa and famous for being a centre for Carmelite spirituality throughout the world. Lunch in Haifa. After the good meal and refreshing drinks, head to Nazareth, known internationally for the Basilica of Annunciation. Explore the massive church of two big floors, and the area around it featuring art works of the Virgin Mary from all around the world. Dinner and overnight in Nazareth. *Special Breakfast: The local Manakeesh.
Day 3: Sea of Galilee – North East of Israel – Nature, Religions and Culture: After breakfast, drive to Mt. Beatitude where Jesus is believed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Then on to Tabgha, visiting the churches of the Multiplication and St. Peter’s Primacy. After that. Move to Capernaum on the northern bank of the Sea of Galilee. This ancient city now controlled by the Franciscan Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, was once a town where Jesus Christ lived and where some of his apostles did as well. In what remains of that town are the ruins of two synagogues built one over the other and both from the 1st Century, and also a Greek Orthodox structure that stands over what is believed to be the house of Peter the Apostle. After that, take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. This is a great experience that allows one to fully see the landscapes that surround the lake and helps one relax. For Christians and Jews this is also a religious experience as this is where Jesus walked on water and where Miriam the Prophetess caused a spring to appear. Disembark at Ein Gev Kibbutz for a relaxing lunch at the very opposite shore to the shore of Tiberias. This remarkable place lives off the land and resort that they own, and everything they offer in nutriment is fresh and is product of the collective farm itself. Head back to Tiberias and visit the Caprice Showroom for a viewing of the best diamonds in the area. The show room is divided in three sectors a museum for diamonds, a diamond shop and private show rooms for expert gemologists. Finally, a short walk on the shores of the lake would be an optional activity for the evening. Dinner and Overnight in Nazareth. *Special Lunch: St. Peter Fish. *Highlight of the Day: The Caprice showroom in Tiberias.
Day 4: – Enter North of Palestine – Culture, Religions, Heritage and Fact Finding: Breakfast, visit Jenin to visit the Freedom Theatre where locals use the arts as a model for social change, in developing the only professional venue for theatre and arts in the north of Palestinian Territories. Burqin where the third oldest church in the world; the healing of the 10 lepers by Jesus. Then, onto Tel Balata where excavations have uncovered an extensive collection of archeological remains indicating that it was first settled during the 5th century BC. Jacobs Well; The 35 meter deep well stands in the land that Jacob bought from Hanor for a “hundred pieces of silver” (Genesis 33:19). It is also here that Jesus asked a Samaritan woman to draw water for him to drink. The well has been an object of pilgrimages since then. The first church built on this site dates back to the end of the 4th century. The well inside the church, forms the centerpiece of the crypt beneath the high altar. Then back in the 12th century, the Crusaders constructed a new church on the Byzantine foundations. Today, the existing church which lies some six meters below the present ground level is owned by the Orthodox Church. Mount Gerizim where lies a special sanctity for the last Samaritan community, custodian of the most ancient religious tradition in Palestine and indeed the entire Middle East. The Samaritans consider it the first piece of land created by God .They also believe that Adam was created from the earth of this mountain and that this was also the sole site spared in the Flood. The Kazbah old marketplace in the old city. The Nablus soap factory. And Sebastia, the site of the ancient city of Samaria. On top of the hill the remains of an Iron Age City were found. Inside the village lies a Crusader’s Church (12 century), which was converted into a mosque with two tomb chambers. The head of John the Baptist is believed to be buried here. On the way back to Ramallah observe the Israeli settlements of Shilo and Eli. Dinner and overnight in Ramallah. *Special Desserts and Sweets: Knafeh.
Day 5: Palestine – Heritage, Unique Landscape and Sea, Religions and Therapeutic: Breakfast, travel on the main road to Jericho to the Good Samaritan Inn. Visit the Greek Orthodox St. George Monastery, located in the Biblical Judean Desert. Visit Jericho: City of Palms, Tel Es Sultan where lies the lowest and oldest town in the world, Mount of Temptation, and the ruins at Hisham Palace. Take a dip in the Dead Sea experiencing the unique mineral salted waters and the black mud. The characteristics of the chemistry behind it, has made the Dead Sea a destination for health and fitness seekers. The waters themselves provide healing solutions for injuries and the mineral composite of the mud is being used to treat skin diseases like psoriasis and some other diseases such as osteoarthritis. You will find a wide range of cosmetic products that include the therapeutic effects of the mud; also available are spas for massages and relaxation. From here proceed to Qumran where the famous Dead Sea scrolls were found. Dinner and Overnight in Ramallah. *Special Lunch: Local Barbeque. *Highlight of the Day: the Dead Sea swim and health orientation.
Day 6: Palestine – Culture, History, Beer, Heritage, Art and Religions: Breakfast, visit Ramallah; the Mahmoud Darwish Museum is a three-acre space on top of the hill that houses the grave of the late poet. The place includes the poet’s monument, a museum, a multipurpose hall, an outdoor theater, and a garden. Tomb of Arafat, following the death of Yasser Arafat at age 75 in November 2004, he was buried on the grounds of the Mukataa, the compound that served as his headquarters in Ramallah. Three years later, an elaborate mausoleum opened on the site. An honor guard stands watch at the memorial, which is open to visitors. The Mukataa (or Presidential Compound) continues to serve as a headquarters for the Palestinian Authority and contains local governmental offices. The Ziryab Gallery, a city-centre café-gallery hosting a regular program of contemporary Palestinian and overseas art as well as music performances on its small stage. Then drive to Taybeh for a glass of the well-known “Taybeh” Palestinian beer and a visit to the brewery. Proceed to Hebron and visit the Ibrahimi Mosque, a massive mosque with a 20 meter high wall and them the old market. After that depart to Beit Sahour, Shepherds Fields, the field that commemorates the story of the shepherds sat when they saw the star shining in the sky indicating the birth place of Jesus. The Church of the Nativity where Jesus was born. The Milk Grotto, located a few minutes walk from the Church of the Nativity, lies the Milk Grotto Church so called because of the white colored rock on the floor that tradition hold turned that color when a drop of Mary’s milk fell on it while she nursing Jesus as she hid before her escape to Egypt. Manger Square in Bethlehem, the old city and Solomon’s pools. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. *Special Dinner: Maaloobah. *Highlight of the Day: Taybeh beer of Palestine.
Day 7: East Jerusalem & Israel – History, Religions, Architecture and Local Food: After a rich breakfast our guide will meet with you at the hotel lobby and pick you up, ride up to the Mount of Olives where one can see an outstanding view of the Old City of Jerusalem; following a historical orientation about the sites and landscape. Proceed with your guide into the old city for the tour inside. Our well-informed guide will give you a detailed on site history of Jerusalem featuring the presence of the three monotheist religions and their standings. Lunch at a Middle Eastern Jerusalemite Restaurant featuring unique local cuisine in the Old City. While in the old city you will explore the different sites that make Jerusalem into the icon it is: the Wailing Wall in the Jewish Quarter, the Holy Sepulcher in the Christian Quarter, and the Dome of the Rock in the Moslem quarter. Our guide will also explain the history behind the architecture as you experience its aesthetic beauty as many parts of the city still supports designs of old. The wall surrounding the city will also let you understand the dynamics of the city and how it has evolved into what it is today passing and witnessing the different aspects of it all. Dinner will be provided by the Hotel. Overnight in Jerusalem. *Special Lunch: choice between Falafel and Shawerma sandwiches.
Day 8: Israel – History, Art and Culture: After breakfast, visit the Israel Museum for a guided tour of the Archeology wing where you will find artifacts and evidences of the different civilizations that existed in the area, distinctively covering a colorful chronology that goes back from the earliest life in the area up until the middle Ages and a bit further. This is a very interesting part of the tour because it makes everything clearer about the History of the region. This visit also involves the fine arts wing of the museum where exhibited are the different works of international and local sculptors and artists. After the enlightening tour of the museum, proceed for a nice lunch and a small pause before heading to Mini Israel. This is an exhibition park of the places in Holy Land in very miniature sculptures and models. Your guide will highlight and outline the trail in a more detailed and comprehensible way as you witness the sites where you have already visited and those where you will visit in their miniature replicas. Thereafter, you will make your way to Ein Karem In the afternoon we drive to the nearby village of Ein Karem to visit the birth-place of St. John the Baptist and the Church of the Visitation. Dinner and Overnight in Jerusalem. *Highlight of the Day: Mini Israel.
Day 9: Israel – History and Ancient Architecture: Breakfast. Make for Old Jaffa; explore the town, the old port and the sea side. Then drive to Caesarea and discover the ancient roman archeology and their influence on the area. Today is a much lighter tour considering a bit of rest is needed before departures the next day. Back to Jerusalem for a nice farewell dinner and overnight. *Special Lunch: Mediterranean fish and seafood. *Farewell Dinner
Day 10: Israel – Departure: Transfer to airport. Departure.