From Mediterranean beaches to the shores of the Dead Sea, this compact 8-day itinerary is the perfect introduction to Israel. Splitting your time between modern Tel Aviv and ancient Jerusalem, you'll tour the cities' cultural landmarks and historic highlights before embarking on a series of fascinating day trips into the surrounding landscapes. Take a cable car to the breathtaking hilltop fortress of Masada, wander the colorful markets of Acre, and look out over the Bay of Haifa from the fabled Hanging Gardens of Mount Carmel.

Highlights

  • Discover the Mediterranean beaches & characterful neighborhoods of Tel Aviv
  • Explore the history & holy sites of Jerusalem's Old City
  • Take a day trip to the Dead Sea & the ancient fortress of Masada
  • Stroll through the magnificent Persian Hanging Gardens above Haifa

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv
Day 2 Tour Tel Aviv & Jaffa, Transfer to Jerusalem Jerusalem
Day 3 Tour Jerusalem's Old City Jerusalem
Day 4 Visit Yad Vashem, Ein Karem & the Israel Museum Jerusalem
Day 5 Day Trip to Masada, Qumran & the Dead Sea Jerusalem
Day 6 Transfer to Tel Aviv via Caesarea, Haifa, Acre & Rosh HaNikra Tel Aviv
Day 7 Free Day in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv
Day 8 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: Tour Tel Aviv & Jaffa, Transfer to Jerusalem

The colorful port of Jaffa
Today's half-day tour introduces you to the highlights of Tel Aviv, 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 three nights.

Day 3: Tour Jerusalem's Old City

See the golden-domed Temple Mount in Jerusalem

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

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

Day 4: Visit Yad Vashem, Ein Karem & the Israel Museum

The Hall of Names in Yad Vashem
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. 
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Afterward, your driver will take you on a scenic drive southwest to the outskirts of the city 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 5: Day Trip to Masada, Qumran & the Dead Sea

MASADA & QUMRAN
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 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 6: Transfer to Tel Aviv via Caesarea, Haifa, Acre & Rosh HaNikra

The UNESCO-protected Persian Hanging Gardens overlooking Haifa

Explore the beauty and diversity of Israel's northern coastline today, starting at 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 Crusader fortress.

Continuing up the coast, you'll reach the sun-soaked port of Haifa, a city with a long history dating back to biblical times. Take in breathtaking views of Haifa Bay from Mount Carmel, then pay a visit to the Persian Hanging Gardens of Baháʼí, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

After a stop at the bustling, UNESCO-listed markets of Acre (Akka), proceed to Rosh HaNikra to explore its interesting chalk cliff rock formations and grottoes on the shared border with Lebanon. Then continue to Tel Aviv, where you'll check into your hotel and spend the rest of your evening at your leisure.

Day 7: Free Day in Tel Aviv

Visit bustling 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 Levontine, 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 inside the world's largest diamond trading complex. 

Day 8: 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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