The balance of your day is at leisure to relax and acclimate. The hotel is ideally located in the heart of Old Jaffa, between the bustling flea market and famous clock tower. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner with your group.
The Shalom Hotel, located just off the Schlomo Lahat Promenade, is influenced by the tranquility of the sea. The European-esque ambiance emits an air of elegance throughout. The hotel’s 51 stylish rooms capture the ambiance of a resort for a blissful escape from the bustling city. Amenities include Wi-Fi internet access and free use of bicycles to explore. Overnight at the SHALOM HOTEL TEL AVIV. https://www.atlas.co.il/shalom-hotel-tel-aviv
Visit Jaffa’s much-loved pishpeshuk or shuk ha-pishpeshim (flea market), spread over a grid of streets south of the clock tower. It is full of boutiques, laid-back cafes, pop-up bars and colorful street stalls selling vintage clothes, objects and furniture.
Drive through the White City of Tel Aviv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will see a collection of over 4,000 Bauhaus or International style buildings built in Tel Aviv from the 1930’s by German Jewish architects who immigrated here after the rise of the Nazis. Visit the “White Square” environmental monument by well-known Israel sculptor Danni Karavan. Proceed to Independence Hall, where David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948.
Visit the Innovation Center at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The exciting and cutting-edge Innovation Center allows you to learn about the new advancements Israeli Start-Ups are making in different fields, such as science, medicine, security, space and more.
Finally, explore the Carmel Market, squeezed between the disheveled streets of the Yemenite Quarter and the pedestrianized section of Nahalat Binyamin St. This crowded and noisy place is where you’ll find vendors hawking everything from cut-price beachwear to knock-off designer accessories, and locals buying olives, pickles, nuts, fruit, vegetables, cheese and freshly baked bread. Overnight at the SHALOM HOTEL TEL AVIV.
Drive north to Caesarea, an ancient city, and now archaeological park, located on the Mediterranean Sea. Constructed by Herod the Great between 22 and 10 BC and named for Caesar Augustus, Caesarea was one of the most splendid cities in the province of Palestine and was its capital for almost 600 years. See ruins from the Roman, Byzantine and Crusader eras and a virtual model of ancient Caesarea and the enormous artificial port that even today would be considered an important feat of engineering.
Continue to the World Heritage Site of Acre, an exceptional historic walled port-city with continuous settlement from the Phoenician period. Acre became the capital of the Crusaders after they lost Jerusalem. Walk through the restored underground Crusaders City. The present city is characteristic of a fortified walled town dating from the 18-19th centuries, with well-preserved components such as a citadel, mosques, khans, and baths.
You’ll find your home for the next two nights near the Sea of Galilee. Ginosar Village Resort is comprised of 75 guest houses equipped with air conditioning, cable TV, and en suite bathrooms. All the rooms are on ground level with garden terrace furniture leading to the beautiful gardens surrounding the Village. Overnight at GINOSAR VILLAGE RESORT. https://english.ginosar.co.il/ginosar-village-resort
Ascend the Golan Heights to visit one of the most famous wineries in Israel, Peter Winery, established in 2001, for a tasting.
Part of a nature reserve, the summit the volcanic ash cone that is Mt. Bental affords fantastic panoramas. From old Israeli trenches and bunkers, you can see the Hula Valley, Lebanon, Mt. Hermon, the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan and Mt. Bental’s volcanic twin, Mt. Avital. Here you will discuss the geopolitical situation of the region.
Finally, head to Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, and visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, a modern Catholic Church built over the remains of Byzantine and Crusader churches. It incorporates the cave in which the Virgin Mary received the news from Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus. The site has been a pilgrimage destination since earliest Christian times; it remains an important stop for Holy Land pilgrims today.
This evening, return to your hotel for dinner. Overnight at GINOSAR VILLAGE RESORT.
Drive to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth at 1300 feet below sea level. Here you will have the opportunity to bob happily in the water that is made up of almost 35% salt! Don’t forget to cover yourself in the therapeutic mud of the Dead Sea. Take in the view from St. George’s Monastery, located on the cliffs at Wadi Kelt, time permitting, en route to Jerusalem.
Continue to Jerusalem and upon arrival, check into your hotel. Enjoy dinner this evening with your group.
Your home for the next three nights is Hotel Arthur. Named after Lord Balfour, the hotel’s colonial theme reflects the spectrum of cultural influence and diversity of the city throughout the ages. Find inspiration in vintage photographs adorning the walls and feel nostalgic in the antiquated authenticity of the public lounge. The 58 rooms are designed to capture the charm of this era. Overnight at HOTEL ARTHUR. https://www.atlas.co.il/arthurjerusalem
Walk the Via Dolorosa, which for many Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem is the most important and meaningful thing they will do while in the city and includes the route that Jesus took between his condemnation by Pilate and his crucifixion and burial. The route of the Via Dolorosa begins near the Lions’ Gate in the Muslim Quarter and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Christian Quarter, home to the holiest site in all of Christendom – the tomb where Christ was buried and was resurrected.
Next, step into the Jewish Quarter and discover tangible remains of a dramatic chapter in Jewish history, the period of its greatest grandeur: the time of the Second Temple. Following Babylonian captivity, Jews returned to Jerusalem. The area that is now the Jewish Quarter was inhabited by Jews once more and developed into an aristocratic and priestly residential neighborhood, with many luxurious mansions overlooking the Temple Mount. Enjoy a walk through the exotic Arab Markets of the old city.
From here you will go to the Western Wall of the Second Temple, destroyed in 70 A.D., and go to the area of the wall held sacred to Jews today. Tour the City of David, beginning with an observation position overlooking Biblical Jerusalem that will send you 3,800 years back in time to the days of Abraham, when the first foundations of the city were laid. View the Western Wall, the only remaining part of the holy temple and the holiest of Jewish sites.
Your final stop is the Israel Museum. The most popular part of the museum is the Shrine of the Book, with its distinctive onion-shaped top. The roof was designed to resemble the jar covers in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. Inside, a long, subtly lit passageway, designed to evoke the environment that the scrolls were found, has a permanent exhibition on life in Qumran when the scrolls were written. The main attraction of the Shrine of the Book is, of course, the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves. Directly beneath the dome is an imposing showcase containing a replica of the Great Isaiah Scroll (written c. 100 BC), comprised of 66 chapters on a 23-foot long, sewn-together piece of parchment. This find was extremely important, as it is 1,000 years older than the oldest biblical manuscript available before. Another important exhibit here is the scale model of Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple. Overnight at HOTEL ARTHUR.
Optional tour in Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, Mt Hertzel, the Israeli Supreme Court & Bethlehem ($185 per person, based on 4 people): Begin the day at Mount Herzl Israel’s National Cemetery named for Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism. Within the cemetery is Yad Vashem, Museum, Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The new Hall of Remembrance is a remarkable architectural and educational achievement. Here you will also find the Children’s Memorial and the path of trees creating the “avenue of the righteous among nations” honoring those who risked their lives to save Jews.
Continue to the Israeli Supreme Court for a tour of the striking compound. Its architects leaned heavily on the Bible and the precepts of Jewish thought in their design. The first thing you’ll notice at the entrance foyer is the narrow staircase leading into the sky. Jerusalem stone walls on one side, and a bare flat wall on the other, symbolize the aspiration from the land (laws) towards the heavens (justice.) This same theme is repeated in the visual leitmotif of straight lines (”Your laws are straight,” Psalms 119:113) and circles (”He leads me in the circles of Justice,” Psalms 23:3.) The courtrooms are simple and elegant, the judges and lawyers sit along two tables that form a circle. And the building is conveniently situated between the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) and the site of the future Prime Minister’s office and residence – thus the judicial branch serves as mediator between the executive and legislative branches.
After lunch, venture five miles south of Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the childhood home of the biblical King David. To get there you will pass thru a checkpoint in the fence separating Israel from the Palestinian Authority. It is also the birthplace of Jesus Christ and has been a major site of Christian pilgrimage since the construction of the Church of the Nativity in the 4th century AD. You will also visit the Shepherd’s Fields, identified since ancient times with the shepherds who saw the Star of Nativity. Overnight at HOTEL ARTHUR.