Dive deep into Israel's history and religion on this packed 9-day itinerary. Walk through the Old City of Jerusalem and see the City of David, visit the lowest place on earth and float on the Dead Sea, explore the Judean desert, and tour ancient religious sites like the Mount of Beatitudes and Megiddo. Round off the tour with stops at Safed to learn about Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism) and a free day in the beach city of Tel Aviv.

Highlights

  • Wal through & explore the Old City of Jerusalem
  • Visit the Mea Shearim ultra-orthodox community
  • See the Judean Desert & ancient fortress of Masada 
  • Enjoy wine tasting at the famous Golan Winery
  • Relax in the healing waters of the Dead Sea 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Israel! Tel Aviv
Day 2 Discover Jerusalem Jerusalem
Day 3 Jerusalem Memorials Jerusalem
Day 4 Dead Sea / Masada Eilat
Day 5 Tel-Aviv Free Day Tel Aviv
Day 6 Northern Israel Lavi
Day 7 Kabbalah City: Safed Lavi
Day 8 Around the Sea of Galilee Jerusalem
Day 9 Safe Travel Home!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Israel!

Tel Aviv Beach
Tel Aviv Beach

Welcome to Tel Aviv! You'll arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, then transfer to the hotel. The evening is free to settle in and relax, or head out to start exploring! The beachside promenade is particularly lovely in the evening, as the sun begins to set.  

If there's enough time, explore the ancient port city of Jaffa and browse the flea market, or discover the complexity and beauty of Hebrew graffiti art in the bohemian neighborhood of Florentine

Day 2: Discover Jerusalem

 Temple Mount in old city of Jerusalem
 Temple Mount in the old city of Jerusalem

Start at the Mount of Olives and take in the spectacular view of the old city from this mountain top, then continue to Mount Zion and King David's Tomb to see the room of the Last Supper. Visit the building believed to be the king's final resting place, then continue from here to meander through the Old City

From here make your way to the Jewish Quarter to explore thousands of years of history. Walk along the Cardo, the ancient Roman road, and see the four synagogues restored in 1967. Tour the Hurva Synagogue, the Old City's largest temple.  

Stop at the Western Wall to visit the holiest site for Jewish People. Visitors come from around the world to pray at the wall and place notes into the stones. 

Continue along the Via Dolorosa in the footsteps of Jesus, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where the Crucifixion occurred. 

Afterward, head to Bethlehem to see several other holy sites. Visit Rachel's tomb and visit the birthplace of Jesus inside the Church of the Nativity. Walk around Manger Square, a religious site and gathering place for thousands of worshippers at Christmas. 

Please Note: Part of the day will be spent touring holy sites, so modest dress will be required. Women should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees, men should have their shoulders and heads covered. 

Day 3: Jerusalem Memorials

Hall of Names in Yad Vashem
Hall of Names in Yad Vashem

In the morning head to the Museum Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Center), Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The museum aims to honor the dead and research the phenomenon of genocides with the aim of avoiding such events in the future. 

Continue to Mount Herzl National Cemetery, Israel's national military cemetery. It's named after Theodor Herzl, the father of political Zionism, who is also buried here. The cemetery is home to the graves of soldiers who have fallen in the line of duty, as well as Israeli leaders, including Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. 

In the evening visit the Tower of David to see a spectacular sound and light show in the Old City. 

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Day 4: Dead Sea / Masada

Floating in the Dead Sea
Floating in the Dead Sea

Depart Jerusalem in the morning and drive through the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea, which at almost 1,300 ft (400 m) below sea level is the world's lowest point. Your first stop is the Ein Gedi Nature Park to go for a short hike and see a stunning waterfall. 

From here the tour continues along the shores of the Dead Sea to the ancient hilltop fortress of Masada. Ascend to the top by cable car and tour the archaeological site where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans before committing mass suicide in 73 CE. You'll see different buildings, including the bathhouse and synagogue, as well as restored buildings and modern displays. Return back to the ground by cable car, then continue to the Dead Sea. 

Cover yourself in mineral-rich muds and float in the Dead Sea to experience its therapeutic properties, then drive to Eilat for the night. 

Day 5: Tel-Aviv Free Day

Florentin district in Tel Aviv
Florentin district in Tel Aviv

The city that never sleeps only sleeps in one day a week: Saturday. Enjoy a leisurely morning and relax in the quiet of Tel Aviv on a Shabbat morning. Spend the day soaking in the sunshine on the beaches, picnicking in the park, or people watching at a street-side cafe. 

Day 6: Northern Israel

Bahai gardens and temple on the slopes of Mount Carmel
Bahai gardens and temple on the slopes of Mount Carmel

Start your morning with a typical Israeli breakfast at the hotel, then meet your tour guide in the lobby of your hotel. Your first stop today is the ancient historic site of Caesarea. Wander through the ancient buildings (some of which date back to the 3rd century BCE) and learn about the site's history. See the incredible archaeological ruins, including Roman aqueducts and an amphitheater. 

From here continue to Megiddo, an ancient settlement that has been occupied by many cultures and peoples over the millennia. The site is most well known under its Greek name Armageddon, which has Biblical significance as the scene of the battle of the End of Days, according to the Book of Revelation. The site's archaeological excavations include an extremely well-preserved city water system, which dates back to the Bronze Age (1500-1200 BCE). 

Your next stop is Daliat el Carmel, a Druze village on the slopes of Mount Carmel. The Druze are an ethnic minority who follow a secret religion, and the majority of their knowledge is held by the elders of the community. The Druze are renowned for their long-standing traditions and their hospitality. You'll pause here to enjoy a typical lunch at a local restaurant, then continue the tour in Haifa. 

Your last stop of the day is the city of Haifa, Israel's third-largest city. Tour the world-famous Baha'i Gardens, renowned for their meticulous landscaping and precise symmetry. See the Shrine of the Báb, then continue to the National Maritime Museum to learn about illegal immigration under the British Mandate and explore Israeli naval history. 

Day 7: Kabbalah City: Safed

Abuhav Synagogue in the Jewish quarter in Safed
The Abuhav Synagogue in the Jewish quarter in Safed 

Start your day with a typical Israeli breakfast served at your hotel, then meet your guide in the lobby to start the day's tour. 

Your first destination today is Safed (Tzfat), the center of Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism) in Israel. Walk through the old city and along cobblestone paths, and stop to visit the city's most important synagogues: the Joseph Caro and the Ha'Ari Synagogues

Continue to see the Golan Heights and visit a former army base used by the Syrian forces during the Six-Day War. Enjoy the breathtaking views and learn about the history of the hills, then continue to see the Kuneitra Lookout, which overlooks the no man's land between Israel and Syria. 

Take a break from the day's activities to enjoy a tour and wine tasting at the beautiful Golan Winery in the town of Katzrin, then wrap the day up with a multimedia presentation on Northern Israel's history at Kessem HaGolan and dinner at the Kibbutz Lavi. 

Please Note: Part of the day will be spent touring holy sites, so modest dress will be required. Women should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees, men should have their shoulders and heads covered. 

Day 8: Around the Sea of Galilee

 Catholic monastery and a small church on Mount Beatitudes
 Catholic monastery and a small church on Mount Beatitudes

Start your morning with a visit to the city of Nazareth to the Church of Annunciation, which is built on top of an underground spring. According to the Eastern Orthodox tradition, this is the location where the Virgin Mary was drawing water during the moment of the Annunciation when the Archangel Gabriel visited her to deliver the news that she would conceive and become Mother of Jesus.  

From here visit Capernaum, a Hasmonean fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. This was the site were archaeologists discovered two ancient synagogues built on top of each other. The site is also the location of the octagonal Church of Saint Peter

Your next stop is the Mount of Beatitudes, believed to be the mountain where Jesus delivered his famous Sermon on the Mount. Continue from here to visit the ancient city of Beit Shean, Israel's largest archaeological park. Explore the remains of what was once a Hellenistic, and later a Byzantine city. Walk through ancient streets and see shrines and an amphitheater. 

Your last stop of the day is Beit Alpha, a Byzantine-era synagogue famous for its beautiful and unique mosaics that depict Jerusalem's Temple, the Binding of Isaac, and the Zodiac. 

From here head to Jerusalem for your overnight stay. 

Please Note: Part of the day will be spent touring holy sites, so modest dress will be required. Women should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees, men should have their shoulders and heads covered. 

Day 9: Safe Travel Home!

Souvenir market in the Old City of Jerusalem
Souvenir market in the Old City of Jerusalem

Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for your flight home. 

Map

Map of History & Religion in Israel - 9 Days
Map of History & Religion in Israel - 9 Days