Arrive Tel Aviv, Israel
Arrive in Tel Aviv, where you are met and transferred to your hotel overlooking the Mediterranean.
Caesarea & Acre | Capitals & Seaports
Take a scenic coastal drive to the ancient Roman capital, Caesarea, where Herod laid out a classical city and constructed a revolutionary, artificial harbor. Near its amphitheater, view a partial inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate — the only secular reference to his existence. Then, visit the seaport cities of Haifa and Acre, the latter a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to Phoenician and Crusader times. While at Acre, tour the Knights’ Halls, view the El Jazaar Mosque and explore the elaborate covered markets. Later, gather for a welcome dinner.
Sea of Galilee | Footsteps of Jesus
Cruise the Sea of Galilee by private boat and stop at Capernaum, site of the synagogue where Jesus taught. See St. Peter’s House, now a converted church; Tabgha, where the miracle of the loaves and fishes is said to have occurred; and the commemorative fifth-century mosaic in the Church of Multiplication. In the afternoon visit the Golan Heights, a rocky plateau overlooking the Sea of Galilee and bordering Syria and Lebanon, and proceed to the Mount of Beatitudes, site of the Sermon on the Mount.
Nazareth | Sites of the New Testament
Visit Nazareth, where Jesus spent much of his life. See the Basilica of the Annunciation, built on the traditional site of Mary and Joseph’s home; the Church of St. Gabriel; Mary’s Well, where an angel is said to have visited; and the basement of the Church of St. Joseph, where a cavern is said to have been the carpentry workshop of Joseph. Continue overland through the Jordan Valley to the Decapolis city of Beit Shean. Arrive in Jerusalem this afternoon.
Jerusalem | Spiritual Epicenter
Today, explore the fascinating, history-rich Old City of Jerusalem, built by King David in 1004 BC. Start by driving to the Mount of Olives for a view of the city overlooking Temple Mount (or Al Haram el-Sharif). Visit the Garden of Gethsemane where, according to the Bible, Jesus prayed with his disciples before his crucifixion. Stop first at the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s most sacred sites. View the Temple Mount area (Al Haram el-Sharif) with its Dome of the Rock, El Aksa Mosque and the Davidson Center, where artwork and archaeological finds take you back through the ages. In the Christian Quarter, stroll the Via Dolorosa, where Jesus carried the cross, and stop at the Convent of Zion Sisters (Antonia Fortress), where Pontius Pilate tried Jesus. Passing the Stations of the Cross through bazaars of the Old City, arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, reputed site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
Jerusalem | Yad Vashem
Pass the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) en route to the Israel Museum, which houses a selection of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Then visit Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial and institution for Shoah research. Drive to Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus.
Masada | Zealot Stronghold
Drive along the Dead Sea to Masada, and take a cable car to the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots; here, Israelite fighters held out for three years against the invading Roman army before taking their own lives rather than allowing themselves to be enslaved. Tonight, gather for a special farewell dinner.
Depart Tel Aviv
Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for your flight home.