Your pilgrimage through a land regarded by many as the holiest of the holy begins in the sacred city of Jerusalem, which you will have an opportunity to explore before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Drink to herald an epic journey into antiquity. L'chaim!
Tread in the footsteps of prophets, crusaders and kings, admiring the Old City of Jerusalem and its protective walls from the sacred vantage point of the Mount of Olives. Ascend to Mount Zion to visit the tomb of King David and see the room where Jesus and his disciples shared in the Last Supper near Zion Gate. We meander through the Jewish Quarter to the Wailing Wall - watching faithful Jews cede their prayers to the crevices of its ancient rocks. See the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount and follow the path taken by Christ past the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha, arriving at the 4th century Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christians gather to commemorate at the traditional site of His Resurrection.
Journeying across the rocky Judean Desert, we pass by the sight where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found accidentally by a Bedouin boy in 1947. A short drive and journey up the cableway brings us to the striking cliff-top fortress of Masada where Herod the Great built palaces and a Roman siege ended in the tragic mass suicide of over 900 Zealots whose sacrifice to this day remains as a symbol of Israel's pledge to remain free. Stroll through the excavations of Herod's palatial retreat before returning to the lowest point on earth to float in its salty waters (time permitting). This evening we share a traditional meal at our hotel in Jerusalem.
Enjoy a full day at your leisure to delve into the fascinating centuries-old history of Jerusalem. Discover the meeting place of three great religions and the ancient sites that remain as a testament to their vast heritage. From the Christian Quarter Road and market stalls of the Muslim Quarter, to Hurva Square, the social centre of the Jewish Quarter - the city's treasures and diverse community are yours to explore during your free time. Meander through the Old City and into the New City to celebrate its talented artists in Ein Kerem or enjoy a coffee stop at a friendly café in the German Colony.
We continue our compelling discovery of Jerusalem and visit Yad Vashem to commemorate the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust during World War II. We'll see the Dead Sea Scrolls at Israel Museum's Shrine of the Book, the Knesset and the Givat Ram Campus of the Hebrew University, before travelling through the farmlands of the Jordon Valley. Celebrate a strong sense of community at your overnight stop at a Kibbutz hotel, where you'll dine this evening.
Ascend to the hilltop 'chariot city' and battlegrounds of Megiddo to see the excavations of Solomon's Stables. Our next stop is the sacred Catholic shrine of the Church of the Annunciation at Nazareth and the ruins of the old synagogue at Capernaum, said to have been built on the home of St. Peter. Later, we continue to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. This evening, we dine at our hotel in Galilee.
Venture to one of Judaism's Four Holy Cities and the birthplace of the Kabbalah movement, exploring the labyrinthine cobbled lanes, ancient synagogue and artists' colony of Tzfat. We continue to the almost-intact 12th century underground City of Acre to admire its medieval Crusader buildings, before enjoying views of the Baha'i Shrine and the beautiful Persian Hanging Gardens of Haifa, created as a memorial to the founders of the Baha'i faith. Imagine seafaring traders plying their wares in the ancient port city of Caesarea and then travel to the vibrant city of Tel Aviv, our home for the next two nights.
Stroll through the ancient ruins of Old Jaffa this morning to explore biblical stories and ancient mythology before continuing to Newe Zedek, the first neighbourhood of Tel Aviv. Soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Rothchild Boulevard, then drive to Rabin Square where you'll learn about the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who has become a symbol of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Indulge all your senses on your final stop in Tel Aviv - the smells of roasted coffee and freshly baked bread provide a welcome backdrop for your leisurely meander past bustling market stalls before you return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Our epic journey through the sacred lands of Israel has come to an end. All that's left to say is a fond farewell to fellow pilgrims as you prepare for your journey home. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.
Transport: Smaller coaches without toilet facilities are used on this trip.
Shared Rooming: Room Share is not available on this trip.
Religious holidays: Due to the frequency of religious holidays in Israel, the hotels and order of the sightseeing program may be changed.
New Year's Eve Highlights: Christmas Day is not celebrated in Israel. Departure 27 December 2018 will celebrate New Year's Eve in Lower Galilee. This specially arranged festive meal celebration will replace one of the included meals featured in the itinerary.