Check off Israel's most important cultural and historic sites in one trip with this comprehensive 12-day itinerary. Traveling from the Mediterranean beaches of Tel Aviv to the ancient streets of Old Jerusalem to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, you'll explore a bevy of highlights and hidden wonders in between. Look out over the Dead Sea from the clifftop ruins of Masada, take a journey through history on an off-road tour of the Golan Heights, and stroll through colorful market stalls in the UNESCO-listed port of Acre.


  • Stroll the modernist squares and sun-soaked beaches of Tel Aviv
  • Take in sweeping views over Old Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives 
  • Ride a cable car to the dramatic clifftop fortress of Masada
  • Explore the rich historic and biblical sites around Tiberias
  • Take a Jeep tour of the windswept Golan Heights

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv
Day 2 Tel Aviv City Tour, Transfer to Jerusalem Jerusalem
Day 3 Tour Jerusalem's Old CIty Jerusalem
Day 4 Discover Jerusalem's Mount of Olives Jerusalem
Day 5 Visit Yad Vashem, Ein Karem & the Israel Museum Jerusalem
Day 6 Day Trip to Masada, Qumran & the Dead Sea Jerusalem
Day 7 Transfer to Tiberias via Cana & Nazareth Tiberias
Day 8 Biblical Sites of Tiberias, Capernaum & Taghba Tiberias
Day 9 Explore Safed, Golan Heights Jeep Tour Tiberias
Day 10 Transfer to Tel Aviv via Haifa, Caesarea & Acre Tel Aviv
Day 11 Free Day in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv
Day 12 Depart Tel Aviv  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tel Aviv

Bustling beaches in Israel's second-largest city of Tel Aviv

Welcome to Tel Aviv! Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax after your flight or head out to start exploring the city on your own.

Day 2: Tel Aviv City Tour, Transfer to Jerusalem

The colorful old port city of Jaffa
Discover the highlights of Tel Aviv today with a half-day city tour that takes you from the Bauhaus and Art Deco buildings of Rabin Square to the historic neighborhood of Neve Tzedek. Take some time at the Diaspora Museum to journey through the history of the Jewish people, then head to the ancient port of Jaffa and its eclectic artists' colonies. After a stroll along Sheinkin, a lively and colorful street specially known for its independent shops and cafés, your driver will take you an hour southeast to the holy city of Jerusalem and your base for the next five nights.

Day 3: Tour Jerusalem's Old City

Tour Jerusalem's Old City

Immerse yourself in the ancient Old City of Jerusalem today, starting with a walk along the Via Dolorosa—a winding route thought to be the path Jesus walked on his way to his crucifixion. Along the way, you'll stop to explore the Christian and Muslim Quarters with a visit to the Pool of Bethesda, the Monastery of the Flagellation, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Continue to the Jewish Quarter to explore the Cardo, an ancient colonnaded street dating back to the Roman Empire, then make your way to the Wailing Wall to see the golden domes of Temple Mount—venerated as a holy site in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity alike. 

Continuing to Mount Zion, you'll explore the ancient building of King David's Tomb and visit the Cenacle (an upper room said to host the Last Supper), then pay a visit to the striking church of Saint Peter at Galicantu.

Day 4: Discover Jerusalem's Mount of Olives

Views over Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

This morning's tour starts with breathtaking views across Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a high ridge east of the city. Here you can visit the Church of Ascension and pass Pater Noster Church before proceeding down to the Garden of Gethsemane, home to 2,000-year-old olive trees that date back to the time of Christ. It's also the site of the Basilica of the Agony and Tomb of Saint Mary, a dimly-lit, below-ground church where a Christian tradition says the mother of Jesus was buried.

The remainder of the afternoon is free to relax at your hotel or explore on your own. 

Day 5: Visit Yad Vashem, Ein Karem & the Israel Museum

The Hall of Names in Yad Vashem
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Start today with a sobering visit 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.

Afterward, your driver will take you on a scenic drive southwest to the city's outskirts to reach Ein Karem, a picturesque village said to be the birthplace of John the Baptist. Then it's on to the Israel Museum, where you can marvel at the detailed model of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple and enter the dramatic Shrine of the Book to see the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Day 6:  Day Trip to Masada, Qumran & the Dead Sea

The ancient fortress of Masada overlooking the Dead Sea

Today you'll pack your swimsuit and set out on a day trip into the remarkable landscapes around the Dead Sea. On an isolated cliff in the Judean Desert, you'll find the ancient hilltop fortress of Masada, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. Ascend to the top by cable car and tour the archaeological site where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans in 73 CE. You'll see different buildings, including the bathhouse and synagogue, and take in breathtaking views of the Dead Sea and the remains of the Roman camps below.   

After a stop at the remarkable Qumran Caves to see where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, you'll reach the shores of the Dead Sea and the lowest point on earth. Spend the rest of the afternoon floating in the salty, mineral-rich waters before returning to Jerusalem for the evening.

Day 7: Transfer to Tiberias via Cana & Nazareth

Views across the Sea of Galilee
Bid Jerusalem farewell today as you meet your driver for today's journey north. Along the way, you'll stop at the idyllic village of Cana, where you'll visit the Church of the Wedding Miracle, where Jesus was said to turn water into wine. Proceed to the biblical city of Nazareth to see the towering Basilica of Annunciation, then take a short walk to the sites of Joseph's carpentry workshop and the well of Mary. Continue to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and the historic city of Tiberias, where you'll get settled into your hotel for the night.

Day 8: Biblical Sites of Tiberias, Capernaum & Taghba

 The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostles in Capernaum

After breakfast, join your guide to delve deeper into the many important Biblical sites surrounding Tiberias. Start with an early visit to Jesus' Ministry, enjoy a scenic boat ride along the Sea of Galilee, and take in sweeping views from the Mount of Beatitudes, believed to be the setting of the Sermon on the Mount. Carry on to the small fishing village of Capernaum on the northern shores of the sea, and discover the ancient synagogues (one built on top of the other) as well as the supposed home of Saint Peter, one of Jesus' Twelve Apostles.

Other highlights include a stop in Tabgha to tour the Church of the Multiplication—believed to be the site where Christ fed five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish—and the Church of the Primacy, the location that marks the supposed spot where Jesus reinstated Peter as his chief Apostle.

After a full day of sightseeing, you'll return to your hotel in Tiberias for dinner and some rest. 

Day 9:  Explore Safed, Golan Heights Jeep Tour

Panoramic views from Golan Heights

Today's day trip starts with a visit to Safed (Tzfat), the center of Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism) in Israel. Take a walk along the old city's cobblestone paths, and stop to visit its most important synagogues of Joseph Caro and Ha'Ari. After a stroll through the charming artist's corner, you'll switch gears and hop in a Jeep for a tour of Golan Heights, where you'll enjoy breathtaking views and learn about the history of the hills.

Continue to the Kuneitra Lookout, which overlooks the no man's land between Israel and Syria, and stop at Tel Facher, a former Syrian army camp, to visit the beautiful Banias Springs. After a visit to Tel-Hai to see the Roaring Lion monument and learn about the heroic battle of Josef Trumpeldor and his comrades in 1920, you'll return to Tiberius for the evening. 

Day 10: Transfer to Tel Aviv via Haifa, Caesarea & Acre

The UNESCO-protected Persian Hanging Gardens overlooking Haifa

Explore the beauty and diversity of Israel's northern coastline today, starting in the sun-soaked port of Haifa. Take in breathtaking views of Haifa Bay from Mount Carmel, then pay a visit to Stella Marris Monastery to see the fabled Cave of Elijah. Marvel at the Persian Hanging Gardens of Baháʼí (considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World), then continue fifteen minutes south to see Muharakha, the site of the battle between Elijah and the prophets of Baal and the perfect spot for panoramic views across the whole of the Israel Valley.

Continuing along the coast, you'll reach the ancient seaside city of Caesarea—the perfect place to learn about the former Roman and Crusader presence in the country. Marvel at the massive Roman amphitheater that overlooks the Mediterranean and spend some time discovering the city's medieval fortress.

After a stop at the bustling, UNESCO-listed markets of Acre (Akka), you'll continue to Tel Aviv, where the remainder of the day is at your leisure.

Day 11: Free Day in Tel Aviv

Visit neighborhood markets on a free day in Tel Aviv

Today is free for you to explore more of Tel Aviv at your own pace. Spend some time strolling through some of the city's coolest neighborhoods, such as charming Levontin, with its low-key bars, restaurants, and thriving music scene, and historic Neve Tzedek, with its cute coffee shops and boutiques. You could also spend some time at one of the city's many world-class museums, such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Beit Hatfutsot (the Museum of the Jewish People), the Eretz Israel Museum, and Bialik House.

In the afternoon, you could join an optional tour of the Tel Aviv Diamond Exchange, which takes you on a fascinating journey inside the world's largest diamond trading complex.  

Day 12: Depart Tel Aviv

Sunset over Tel Aviv

Enjoy a leisurely final breakfast in Tel Aviv. When the time comes, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!  

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Map of Essential Israel: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem & Tiberias - 12 Days
Map of Essential Israel: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem & Tiberias - 12 Days