Most fitting for first-time-visitors, the tour takes you to the best and most important sites in Israel. We can follow it as-is or use it as a basis to plan your trip.
I’ll pick you up from the airport and we’ll head to Tel Aviv for a short rest. Then, a sunset walk in Ancient Jaffa (1) for dinner and visit its artists’ quarter. We could walk back to the hotel along the Tel Aviv-Jaffa boardwalk (2), taking in the sea smell at night. If you arrive early in the day, we can tour another site or two on the same day.
A short walk would take us to see the Bauhaus-style buildings that have made the city a UNESCO world heritage site. Walking the wide and shaded boulevards (3) of the city will take us through its bustling center and would give us a chance to enjoy a late morning coffee in one of the chic cafes along the way. Possible sites to visit would be Dizengoff Square and the nearby Dizengoff shopping center, The Palmach and the Diaspora museums, the Carmel market, Rabin square (4) (the assassination site of former Prime Minister Itzchak Rabin), Nachlat Binyamin pedestrian mall, The Yarkon Estuary and the port. Enjoy some free time in the evening to check out the local culinary scene and get the feel for the city by yourself.
We’ll drive along the coast to Caesarea- a city built by King Herod 2000 years ago. We’ll witness the engineering marvel that is the ancient Aqueduct (5) and go into the National Park to see the Amphitheater and the Hippodrome. Going further north, we’ll pass Zichron Ya’akov, one of the loveliest towns in Israel and the home to some of Israel’s finest wineries. We’ll reach Haifa and tour the world-renowned hanging Baha’i Gardens (6). In the evening, have a taste of some real Druze hospitality in one of the nearby villages.
We’ll start our day in the Tzipori National Park, the site of some of the most impressive archeological findings is Israel, including the breathtaking mosaic of the Galilean Mona Lisa. Then we’ll head straight to the city of Akko (7). Also a UNESCO world heritage site, it offers its visitors a peek into hundreds of years of history. The underground city and the Knights’ Hall would take us to the time of the Crusaders, the Turkish prison- to the Ottoman Empire; and the various museums would tell us many other stories of this unique Jewish-Muslim city. Before leaving, we’ll have to stand in line to what is considered to be the best Humus dish in Northern Israel. We’ll end our day in the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes (8), right by the Lebanese border.
We’ll start the day in the ancient city of Tzfat (Zafed) (30), the city of Kabbala, where Jews have lived continuously for thousands of years. Nowadays, we can visit the city’s major synagogues- the Sephardic and the Ashkenazi. We’ll go on to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus and the home of the Church of Annunciation (9). A short drive would bring us to the West shores of the Kinneret (The Sea of Galilee) (10), to dip our feet in the water and visit the ruins of the ancient synagogue in Kfar Nachum (Capernaum) and the octagonal Church of St. Peter. We will watch the sunset from Tiberias, overlooking the tranquil Kinneret.
A bit of a drive would get us up to the beautiful Golan Heights. We’ll be able to wave Syria hello from the beautiful observation point on Mount Bental (11), where you’ll learn about the harsh combats that the Golan has seen over the years. From there we’ll go on to the Tel Dan Nature reserve (12), where the Dan creek flows on its way to the Jordan River, creating a lush green ecosystem. Hiking trails and short walks for all levels are abound and well marked. Heading back south, we’ll pass through Mitzpe Lashalom (The peace outlook)(13), where we’ll see all of the Kinneret from above- a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime view.
Beit Shean National Park (23) would be a good starting point for this day. This is the second most extensive archeological site in Israel (after Jerusalem) and one of the oldest cities within its borders, dating as far back as 4500 BCE. After crossing the Jordan valley, we’ll end up in Qumran National Park (28), where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. The fascinating museum and the audiovisual show explain the place’s history and significance very well. Afterwards, in Masada (14), we would get acquainted with another one of King Herod’s engineering feats and the epic tragedy that took place in this former palace. If time permits, a short hike to the Ein Gedi waterfalls (15) or a dip in the Dead Sea (16) would be a wonderful and refreshing end to this day.
We will start the day by overlooking the old city from Mount Scopus and from the biblical Mount of Olives (29). We will go on to the heart of the old city, starting with the Western Wall (17), which is the world’s most sacred Jewish site. It is located right underneath the Dome of the Rock (18)- the third most sacred Muslim site. Then, we will go to explore the city’s quarters (19) (the Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian)- learning about the uniqueness of each of them. This tour will take us through the Roman Cardo and the Via Dolorosa (the path that Jesus walked while holding his cross), which ends at the awe-inspiring Church of the Holy Sepulchre (20).
We could start with one of these museums: Yad vashem (the Holocaust museum) (24) or The Israel museum (25)(which holds a model of the second temple). Then, we’ll pay a visit to the City of David (26), where we can learn a fascinating history lesson and walk through the same underground tunnels and atop the same walls that people did 3,000 years ago. We would also be able to return to the Western Wall, for a visit to the Rabbinical Tunnels, which offer another interesting perspective of the wall itself.
On our way to leave Jerusalem, we will stop in Latrun (21), to which I’ve dedicated an entire section on this website. Another possible site to tour on this last day is Me’arat Hanetifim (The Stalactite Cave)(27), where nature’s creativity can be seen at its best in the form of the amazing stalactites and stalagmites. At the end of the day I’ll drive you back to the airport, where I will sadly bid you farewell.