Arrive at the Ben-Gurion (TLV) Airport nearby Tel Aviv, where your Guide will greet you. After check-in at the hotel and time to fresh-up, we drive to the Old City of Jaffa, one of the ancient gateways to the Holy Land: Through its port the Cedar trees for Salomon’s Temple were brought, the prophet Jonas tried to flee God, but most important: It was in Jaffa where Christianity began to be spread among the nations. Here St. Peter stopped at the house of Simon the Tanner and had the “Vision of the Flesh”, and here he made his first miracle by healing the little girl. Today Jaffa’s renovated alley-ways attract many artists, who have their galleries there. In Jaffa your guide will have the opportunity to introduce himself and Israel in a leisurely way. Welcome dinner in one of the local restaurants in the vicinity.
Overnight in or nearby Tel-Aviv.
Drive to Caesarea Maritima (Caesarea National Park), the magnificent port-city built by King Theater an inscription of the procurator Pontius Pilate was found. We continue Herod the Great. From here St. Peter went to Rome. In Caesarea’s well-preserved our drive along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea to the modern port-city Haifa, situated on the slopes of the evergreen Mt. Carmel. The view from this mountain is famous for its beauty, and time permitting, we can also visit the Carmelite monastery Stella Marris, where “Elijah’s Cave” can be seen. Drive to the oriental city of Akko (Old Acre), where the Crusaders built their most important port. We can still visit the very well-preserved “Knights Halls” under the living oriental Bazaar with its colors and odors of the East, and listen to the legends told by The Last Bath Attendant in the Turkish Bath – The Hammam. In the late afternoon we drive through the hills of Galilee to Tiberias, where we will spend the night.
Overnight in Tiberias / Nazareth.
Today we visit the places where Jesus acted around the Sea of Galilee: Capernaum, with Peter’s House and the famous Synagogue, the view from Mt. of the Beatitudes, where the “Sermon on the Mount” was given, and the reconstructed church at Tabgha, where tradition puts the miracle of the Bread and the Fish. We will also sail on the sea in a boat similar to the boat used by Jesus and his disciples and see the Boat of the times of Jesus exhibited in the museum by Kibbutz Ginosar. In the afternoon we end the day at Yardenit, the Baptismal Site at the Holy River Jordan.
Overnight in Tiberias / Nazareth.
We start the day in Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water to wine at a wedding, and continue to Nazareth, where we visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Greek-Orthodox St. Gabriel Church, near Mary’s Well. We Continue to Mt. Tabor with its scenic Church of the Transfiguration. After descending the mountain, we drive to Kibbutz Shaar Hagolan to have a Kibbutz-Tour with a Kibbutz member who will tell us from first-hand about living in a Kibbutz, a unique Jewish way-of-life, similar to that of Jesus and his disciples. Dinner and overnight in our hotel in Tiberias.
Following Jesus’ Footsteps, we drive along the Jordan Valley to Jericho, where we shall see the Sycamore Tree, on which tradition says that Zacchaeus the Tax-collector climbed in order to see The Lord, and Elisha’s spring. A modern cable-car will take us up to the Mount of Temptation, where the monks built their monastery hanging from a cliff, on the spot where Jesus was tempted by the Devil. We continue our travel in Jesus’ footsteps and enter Jerusalem triumphantly via the Mount of Olives. On Mount Scopus, at a point viewing the Holy City, we will step out of the bus for a Welcome Ceremony to Jerusalem. A short drive brings us to the Church of Ascention, from where we walk to the Pater Noster Church, one of the first 4 churches built by St. Helen. Now, just like Our Lord in the past, we can enjoy a panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem! A steep road takes us down to the Dominus Flevit Church, where the Lord wept over the destruction of the Temple. We will end this day at the Garden of Gethsemane, humbly meditating under the ancient Olive Trees, remembering Our Lord’s wailing in the Church of All Nations.
Overnight in Jerusalem or Bethlehem.
Today, Friday, we will re-experience that dramatic Friday, when Jesus was crucified. Entering the Old City through the St. Steven’s Gate, we start at the Bethesda Pools, where Jesus healed the crippled man who couldn’t walk for decades, and the St. Anna Church, famous for its long-lasting echo. Following Our Lord on the Way of the Cross – the “Via Dolorosa”, we stop by the Ecce Homo Arch, before entering the Sisters of Zion Monastery to see the Pretorium where Jesus was sentenced to Death, with the famous Lithostrotus, where you can still see some Roman engravings on the ancient pavement. The stations of the Via Dolorosa lead us through the colorful “Suq” (Bazaar) of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where we will see the Hill of Calvary (Golgotha) and the empty Tomb of Jesus. Walking through the Jewish Quarter we will see the well-preserved Roman Cardo. We exit the Old City through the Zion Gate to visit the “Upper Room” (also known as the Cenacle or Caenaculum) where Jesus and his disciples had the Last Supper together, King David’s Tomb and the St. Peter in Gallicantu Church, where Jesus was imprisoned in the House of Caiaphas, the High Priest. We end the day at the famous “Wailing (Western) Wall” – the last remnant of the Temple of the Lord. Friday afternoon is the time when the Jews welcome the Sabbath singing and dancing...
Overnight in Jerusalem or Bethlehem
After breakfast we drive to Ein Karem, the picturesque village where tradition says that John the Baptist was born. Drive to Bethlehem and visit the ancient Church of Nativity, the very place where Jesus was born, with the Catholic St. Catherine Church with the tombs of the Forty Innocent Children, as well as the Milk Grotto. Drive to Beit Sahur to visit the Church of the Shepherds Fields. Continue deeper into the Judean Desert, to the newly re-opened Inn of the Good Samaritan, where beside the ancient Byzantine Church we can visit a rare archaeological exhibition of Jewish, Christian and Samaritan findings, which can spread a lot of light on the story of the Good Samaritan. We will also make a short visit at Qumran National Park, where the famous “Dead Sea Scrolls” were found. At the end of the day we will not miss the opportunity to float (you can’t swim…!) on the salty water of the Dead Sea, known for its healing qualities.
Farewell Dinner and Overnight in Jerusalem or Bethlehem.
Depending on your flight-schedule, you will have some free time in Jerusalem, before your Transfer to the Ben-Gurion Airport for your flight back home.