Best of Israel
Few places on earth stir up passion the way that Israel does: the breathtaking beauty of its hills and valleys, the eerie stillness of the Dead Sea, the multi-coloured canyon of Makhtesh Ramon, and the ancient walls and pathways of Nazareth and Jerusalem. The call of the muezzin and the quiet prayers of Orthodox Jews at the Western Wall reflect how the religious devotion of the Muslims, Christians and Jews who live here runs through every facet of life.
As, of course, does the political – and visitors will rarely leave without encountering the country’s complex politics. But there are also plenty of ways to relax: the bars and beaches of Tel Aviv and Haifa, the wineries of the Galilee and tables loaded with mezze. For the curious visitor, Israel never fails to challenge and confound, excite and surprise, leaving an imprint that lingers long after the return flight home.
- Day 1
Arrive Tel Aviv / Transfer to Jerusalem
Upon arrival to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, please proceed to the arrival Hall where our driver will be waiting for you next to the Stymatski store on your right hand side when you come out from customs
Transfer to Jerusalem ... 70 kms. / 1 hr. drive
Destroyed and rebuilt over thousands of years, Jerusalem's spiritual magnetism endures. With interlacing histories, clashing cultures and constant reinvention, the city is an intense, multisensory experience.
The Old City
Jerusalem's Old City is a spiritual lightning rod, sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. Wide-eyed with awe, pilgrims flood into the walled city to worship at locations linked to the very foundation of their faith. Church bells, Islamic calls to prayer and the shofar (Jewish ram's horn) electrify the air with a beguiling, if not harmonious, melody, and fragrances of incense, coffee and candle smoke drift through the thrumming souqs (markets). Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Armenian quarters each add their own spice, but this diversity grew from millennia of bloody sieges and transfers of power, leaving still visible deep wounds.
Diversity & Divisions
Thousands of years of political, territorial, ethnic and religious conflict have scarred Jerusalem. One result of this historic, and ongoing, turbulence is Jerusalem's demographic smorgasbord of immigrants from around the world. Dozens of nationalities are represented, each adding their own spirituality, culture and cuisine to Jerusalem's rich mix, while secular and religious battle lines continue to be drawn and redrawn. The uncertain status of East Jerusalem creates the most painful divisions. Though clashes (sometimes violent) continue, many Palestinians still hope for a future in which East Jerusalem is the capital of a Palestinian state.
Even as Jerusalem hurtles towards the future, the past informs its present. Downtown's modern buildings are encased in rosy Jerusalem stone, the same colour palette as the Old City. Experimental performing arts centres are housed in 19th-century buildings. Ever-growing ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods can be found moments away from million-dollar condominiums, while old-school fruit and vegetable sellers sit next to craft beer and coffee stalls in Mahane Yehuda Market. Meanwhile in East Jerusalem, the future is debated in bookshops, cafes and confronting art galleries.
Layers of history continue to be unearthed in Jerusalem, a city where ancient worlds are tantalisingly close. Guides lead groups beneath the Western Wall, and candlelit church crypts hold treasured shrines. At the City of David, visitors are ushered through watery passageways and past active dig sites. Hardly a month goes by without a significant discovery being made in and around the Old City. Unsurprisingly, the city's archaeological sites are highly contentious, in particular the bitterly controversial expansion of the City of David site into Palestinian communities. In Jerusalem, history isn't a closed chapter.
Check in at hotel
Rest of the day at leisure to relax or visit the local market on your own
Jerusalem, the city that fuses old and new, offers not only ancient ruins and holy sites, but also provides unique shopping experiences in its many markets. From spices and ancient artifacts, to handmade goods and some of the freshest produce, the markets in Jerusalem are certain not to disappoint. If you are taking a break from all the sightseeing or looking to purchase the perfect gift or souvenir from your travels, take a look at our list of the best markets in Jerusalem.
Machane Yehuda, known as the largest market in Jerusalem, also called Shuk, is an extensive marketplace and most certainly worth visiting on your own or on a tour. Here you will find fresh, local produce that is always in season. In fact, you can always tell which fruit or vegetable is in season based on the bright colors dotting the vendor’s stalls throughout the alleyways. You can also find every spice, fresh or dried, along with fresh cheese, honey, meat, halva, and baked goods. Follow your nose and eyes and be sure to sample these many delicious bites. With over 250 vendors, you will not leave hungry or empty handed!
- Day 2
Jerusalem - Local Sightseeing
After breakfast, tour of Jerusalem
Drive to Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of the city. Stop at Mount Zion to visit King David's Tomb, Room of Last Supper and the Dormition Abbey
Later enter the Old City and walk through the Armenian and Jewish quarters to the recently excavated and restored Cardo, the Roman road. See the Jewish Wailing Wall, the Kotel, and continue to the Christian quarter. Walk along the Via Dolorosa and visit the Church of Holy Sepulchre.
Next proceed to the New City and visit Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Holocaust.
Evening at leisure
Overnight at Jerusalem
- Day 3
Jerusalem - Trip to Dead Sea
After breakfast, tour of the Dead Sea ... 70 kms. / 1 hr. drive
The lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea (431m below sea level) brings together breathtaking natural beauty, compelling ancient history and modern mineral spas that soothe and pamper every fibre of your body. The jagged bluffs of the Judean Desert, cleft by dry canyons that turn into raging tan-coloured torrents after a cloudburst, rise from the cobalt blue waters of the Dead Sea, heavy with salt and oily with minerals.
In oases such as Ein Gedi, year-round springs nourish vegetation so lush it’s often been compared to the Garden of Eden. Atop the bluffs lies the arid moonscape of the Judean Desert; in the valley, human beings have been hard at work for millennia, building Masada and Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found) in ancient times and, more recently creating kibbutzim (Jewish communal settlements often opened as guesthouses), luxury hotels, hiking trails and bike paths.
Depart Jerusalem via the Judean hills to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth; Roadside view of Qumeran caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were found; Visit a Dead Sea cosmetic products shop.
Drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to Massada and learn about the heroic story of the Jewish fighters. Ascend by cable car and tour the mountain fortress built by King Herod, where the Zealots of the first century made their last stand against the Romans. Visit the remains of the walls, palace, synagogue, water cisterns, mosaic floors, roman baths and other findings. Descend by cable car.
Continue to the Dead Sea; Enjoy the unique opportunity to float in the Dead Sea and cover yourself with the mineral rich mud that many believe has its therapeutic effects.
Return Jerusalem by evening
Overnight at Jerusalem
- Day 4
Jerusalem - Sightseeing trip to Bethlehem
After breakfast Half day tour to Bethlehem
Drive to the city of Bethlehem, birthplace of Jesus; Walk through Manger Square to visit the Church of Nativity, the oldest Church in the Holyland ; Admire the ancient limestone columns and remains of mosaic floors ; Descend to the Grotto of Nativity, where a Silver Star in the floor marks the spot where Christ is believed to have been born.
Proceed to the Church of Milk Grotto where the Virgin Mary nursed baby Jesus and according to tradition, a drop of her milk spilled and turned the stones white.
Next, visit Shepherds' field. Stop at a local souvenir store
Return to Jerusalem by early evening
Overnight at Jerusalem
- Day 5
Jerusalem to Tel Aviv / Enroute sightseeing of Galilee
After breakfast full day tour to the Galilee and end the tour in Tel Aviv
Depart for Tel Aviv via the coastal road and the landscape of the lower Galilee to Nazareth, the town where Jesus spent his childhood ... 150 kms. from Jerusalem / 2 hrs. drive
Visit the Basilica of Annunciation and the Church of St. Joseph. Continue, via Kana, to Tiberias, the lively resort town on the Sea of Galilee.
Drive along the Kineret Lake to Capernaum and view the ruins of the ancient synagogue where Jesus taught.
Continue to Tabgha and visit the Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes with the beautiful mosaic floor.
Proceed to Yardenit, the famous baptismal site located where the Jordan River flows out from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea; Enjoy the peaceful and natural surrounding on site.
Later continue drive to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv (meaning 'Hill of Spring' in Hebrew) has an air of perpetual renewal: flowers bloom, new restaurants open and there's always a party somewhere.
When it comes to the world's best beach destinations, Tel Aviv remains largely unsung – but its strip of shimmering seashore, stretching 14km along the Mediterranean coast, is this city's crowning glory. From the celeb-laden sands of Metzitzim Beach in the north, down to the no-frills chill of Alma Beach bordering Jaffa in the south, a diverse set of Tel Avivian sun-chasers congregate daily for luminous sunsets that teeter close to holy. And for this primarily secular subset of the country's residents, witnessing such a sight may just be the closest thing known to worship.
Hedonism is the main religion in this hip, bustling Mediterranean 'Manhattan' – there's no shortage of options for finding a party fit to your tastes. Usher in the night at a beachfront watering hole, sip wine with sophisticated city slickers at swanky lounges, or chill with a hand-crafted creation at a themed cocktail bar – and that's all before dinner. This city runs on little sleep, with an after-dark culture centred on jovial rooftop rounds, live music at neighbourhood dives and international DJs spinning bumping beats at underground clubs. A few days here is fun, but a week can be a revelation.
Modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan, Tel Aviv is characterised by an enterprising creative landscape. From the world-class Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which houses works by international greats, to the secluded street art alleys and avant-garde galleries scattered around bohemian Florentin, inspiration comes in myriad mediums. And it doesn't end with the visual arts – there's plenty of performance, too. Enjoy the rich theatre scene, live music ranging from beachside buskers to big name international acts, and plenty of classical music, opera and ballet for high culture cats.
Tel Aviv's 'White City' – the central area of town that saw rapid development by German-Jewish architects who fled Nazi persecution in the 1930s – is home to more buildings in the Bauhaus architecture style than any city in the world. Preservation of more than 1000 of the original 4000 structures earned the area an Unesco World Heritage Site designation in 2003. Despite many of the beloved buildings falling into a state of disrepair throughout the years, their style has become emblematic of Tel Aviv and efforts to restore them to their former glory carry on today.
Check in at hotel on arrival
Evening at leisure
Overnight at Tel Aviv
- Day 6
Tel Aviv - Local Sightseeing
After breakfast, tour of Tel Aviv
Visit the Diaspora museum; Drive around the main streets of Tel-Aviv, center of business and entertainment of Israel; Also known as the "White City", Tel-Aviv was declared by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site for its Bauhaus style buildings.
Stop at Rabin Square, place of assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Continue to Old Jaffa, one of the oldest port cities in the world; Visit the ancient ruins and walk along the Artist's Quarter.
Visit Neve Tzedek, the first neighborhood of Tel Aviv, built in 1887 and Nahalat Benyamin, the pedestrian mall of the city where you can enjoy live street music, arts, crafts and handmade jewelry.
Next, stop at Sheinkin, the lively and colorful street specially known with the unique shops, café life and youthful ambiance.
Overnight at Tel Aviv
- Day 7
Tel Aviv - West Coast Sightseeing
After breakfast, tour of the West Coast
Drive along the coastal road to Caesarea, the ancient Roman capital and port; Enjoy a walking tour of the theatre and the archaeological ruins and excavations.
Continue to Megiddo national park, also known as Armageddon; Learn the impressive history of the site that served as a battle field from Egyptian through Assyrian and Israeli times; Admire the fascinating view of Jezreel Valley.
Continue tour to Haifa for a scenic view of the City, the Port and the magnificent Bahai Gardens and Shrine.
Drive to Acre, the Old City recognized by UNESCO as world heritage site; Walk through the market, the mosque and the old port; Visit the remarkable underground Crusader City and crypt and learn about their fascinating history and culture.
Overnight at Tel Aviv
- Day 8
Departure from Tel Aviv
After breakfast, morning at leisure
Later transfer to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv for onward flight
Round the Year Destination ... Extension recommended to Jodran & Dubai
Tour Inclusions [Best of Israel]
Transfer from Tel Aviv airport to Jerusalem upon arrival
Daily tours as mentioned in the itinerary by private vehicle or by coach
Transfer from Tel Aviv hotel to Airport upon departure
4 night accommodation at Jerusalem
3 nights accommodation at Tel Aviv
Daily breakfast at the hote
Notes on itinerary
All our itineraries are "Just for Ideas" ... We will get to know you and customise an itinerary just for you that matches your requirements ... dates of travel, category of hotels, preferred airline, flexibility in choosing sightseeing, mode of travel between cities, etc.
Many of our clients have us design more relaxing, slower paced holidays with more in-depth experiences whereas some simply want to visit various destinations and cover only the highlights.
Together, we will determine the ideal route, pace of travel, accommodations, levels of pampering, style of touring, sightseeing to be included, dining preferences, adventure levels, options to meet locals, dates of travel & much more ! and based on this arrive at a price.
Do feel free to get in touch with us by a quick call on +91 79 29602961 or a short mail on firstname.lastname@example.org ... Looking forward