Over the years, I've had the pleasure of leading many pilgrims in Israel, taking them to the places they revere most. I made sure they got to see all of the holy sites they were interested in, as well as other important sites that made their Israel experience complete.
When working with groups led by a minister or a priest, I make sure all goes well logistically so that the group can have the leader’s full attention. If needed, I provide the group with the relevant background information
Following is a sample six-day pilgrimage itinerary:
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.
We’ll drive along the coast to Caesarea- a city built by King Herod 2000 years ago. We’ll witness the engineering marble that is the Roman Aqueduct (5) and go into the National Park to learn about this ancient city. In Caesarea the Roman Centurion Cornelius was baptized and St. Paul was imprisoned. On our way north, we’ll stop at Mount Carmel, where Elijah confronted the false prophets of the Ba’al. We will reach the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) (10) and walk through the sites of the best-known bible stories: Tabgha (the miracle of the fish and the bread), the Church of Beatitude (the Sermon on the Mount), Kfar Nachum (Capernaum- the house of Peter and an ancient synagogue). The last site for the day will be the Jordan River’s Yardenit baptismal site.
We'll begin at Mount Tavor, where Jesus’ transfiguration took place. Nowadays, the beautiful Transfiguration Church (22) marks the site. We will go on to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus and home to the Church of Annunciation (9). On our way south, we’ll visit Beit Shean National Park (23)- the second most extensive archeological site in Israel (after Jerusalem) and one of the oldest cities within its borders. We’ll end the day in a visit to Bethlehem (31), for a visit of the Nativity Church (the birthplace of Jesus).
We'll start at the Mount Scopus lookout over the old city. Then, after visiting the biblical Mount of Olives (29), we’ll descend to the Gat Shemanim Church (Gethsemane- where Jesus had his last prayer before being captured by the Romans). Then, we will visit the Room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion before going into the old city through St. Stephen’s gate. In the old city we will walk in Jesus’ footsteps on the Via Dolorosa (the path he walked while carrying the cross), stopping at some of its fourteen stations. We will end up in the awe-inspiring Church of the Holy Sepulchre (20), where he was crucified and buried. We’ll end our tour at the Garden Tomb, believed by many to be Jesus’ resurrection site.
We might consider dedicating half a day or so to visiting these museums: Yad vashem (the Holocaust museum) (24), the Israel Museum (25) (which holds a model of the second temple) or the City of David (26) (where we can learn a fascinating history lesson, walk through the same underground tunnels and atop the same walls people did 3,000 years ago). Then, we will be walking again. This time we’ll walk through the Jewish quarter to the Western Wall (17) and the Dome of the Rock (18) above it. A visit to the Rabbinical Tunnels (which run parallel to the Western Wall) and the archeological digs under the Temple Mount are two fascinating sites to visit while there.
Depending on your schedule, we could spend the morning walking through the different quarters of the old city (19) The Christian, Muslim, Armenian and Jewish), passing through the Roman Cardo and the numerous shops and bazaars on our way. On the way to the airport we’ll stop by Latrun (21), the Commemoration and Remembrance Site of the Israeli Armored Corps. At the end of the day I’ll drive you back to the airport, where I will sadly bid you farewell.