TOGETHER WITH IGT, OUR TRAVEL PARTNER…WE’RE TAKING PEOPLE MORE PLACES IN ISRAEL THAN ANY OTHER TOUR COMPANY
SAMPLE 11-DAY HOLY LAND ITINERARY
Day 1 – New York / Newark / Boston / Miami / Los Angeles / San Francisco / Toronto (These cities serve Israel with non-stop flights) Tour members meet at one of these international gateway cities for check-in. Dinner & breakfast are served during our flight to Israel and we have time to rest.
Day 2 – Tel Aviv We arrive in Israel at Ben Gurion Airport. After brief airport formalities & baggage claim, we meet our guide and are escorted to our waiting motorcoach. We proceed to our hotel in Tel Aviv for check-in, dinner, and overnight. If time permits, we will visit the ancient port of Joppa (Jaffa), and the House of Simon the Tanner on the way to the hotel. (Early morning arrivals may go directly to Tiberias with part of Day 3 sightseeing en route.)
Day 3 – Caesarea / Mount Carmel / Megiddo / Nazareth / Cana / Tiberias We begin the first full day of our spiritual journey in the Holy Land by traveling north along the Mediterranean Sea to visit Caesarea, the ancient seaport built by Herod the Great. Paul was imprisoned here and this was the site of Peter’s first Gentile convert. Then we ascend Mount Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. Here we have an astounding view of the Jezreel Valley, also know as the Valley of Armageddon. We then visit Megiddo with 24 layers of civilization. This was Ahab’s chariot city and one of the most strategic crossroads of the world in Old Testament times. We proceed to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus and tour Nazareth Village, an authentic re-creation of Nazareth when Jesus lived there. We drive a short distance to Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed His first miracle, then on to Tiberias where we enjoy our first view of the beautiful Sea of Galilee. Dinner and overnight at our hotel on the sea shore.
Day 4 – Galilee Boat Ride / Jesus Boat / Mt of Beatitudes / Tabgha / Capernaum / Jordan River View sunrise over the Sea of Galilee, then after breakfast we take a boat ride across the Sea, stopping for a service on the water. We visit the recently discovered ancient boat from the time of Jesus, then drive up the Mount of Beatitudes, site of the Sermon on the Mount. There we can have a service overlooking the Sea of Galilee. We visit Tabgha, site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes, then a short drive brings us to Capernaum, the center of Jesus’ ministry. We will view the House of St. Peter and visit the ruins of a 2nd Century synagogue. A delicious St. Peter’s fish lunch awaits us at a famous Kibbutz beside the sea, then we drive up the Golan Heights to an overlook with spectacular vistas of the entire Galilee region. Our day ends at the Jordan River with an opportunity for baptism. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 5 – Golan Heights / Caesarea Philippi / Mount Ben-Tal / Old Syrian Bunkers This will be a day of adventure. We drive up the Golan Heights, a strategic and beautiful plateau, and ascend Mt. Ben-Tal to tour old Syrian bunkers and enjoy a remarkable view into Syria. We view Nimrod’s Castle, a crusader fortress, as we travel to Caesarea Philippi/Banias. This was the site of Peter’s confession: “Thou art the Christ.” We will stand at the headwaters of the Jordan River, visit the ruins of ancient temples and have time for a walk by the stream and waterfall. We return to Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – Bet Shean / Jericho / Qumran / Masada / Dead Sea We travel today down the Jordan Valley to Bet Shean, one the cities of the Decapolis, dating from the 5th Century B.C. It is the site of the largest archaeological excavations in Israel. We drive near Jericho, viewing the Mount of Temptation, and Mount Nebo in Jordan, where Moses viewed the Promised Land. We visit Qumran, the discovery site of the Dead Sea Scrolls and after lunch, we travel along the Dead Sea to Masada. We ascend by cable car to visit the mountain top palace of Herod the Great, and the famous fortress,where from A.D. 70-73, the Jewish defenders made their last stand against Rome. We view the fascinating remains of Herod’s palace, storehouses, cisterns, and an ancient synagogue. We visit the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, where we can float and enjoy its therapeutic properties without sinking. Then we begin an ascent of nearly 4000 feet to Jerusalem. Our first view of the Holy City will be from Mt. Scopus. Dinner and overnight at our beautiful hotel.
Day 7 – Jerusalem / Bethlehem We begin our first day in Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives, with an outstanding view of the Old City walls and the Eastern (Golden) Gate. From there we descend by foot on the “Palm Sunday Road” to the Garden of Gethsemane for a service in the Garden with time to reflect in this lovely setting. There, olive trees, some perhaps 2000 years old, still stand today. We travel around the Old City walls, viewing the tombs of Absalom and Zachariah and continue to the House of Caiphas, where Jesus was held the night before his crucifixion. There we will view the actual stone steps Jesus walked up Mount Zion. We then go to visit the Upper Room/Last Supper Room and the Tomb of King David. After lunch, we travel the short distance to Bethlehem. There we will view the Shepherd’s Fields, and tour the Shepherd’s Caves and the 1600 year-old Church of the Nativity. After arriving back in Jerusalem, we have dinner, free time and overnight.
Day 8 – Jerusalem We motor through modern Jerusalem, viewing the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), then go to the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. There we also visit an amazing model of Jerusalem at the time of Christ. We proceed to Yad Vashem, the memorial to the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. After lunch, we walk through the Cardo, the bustling heart of ancient Jerusalem, then visit the Western (Wailing) Wall where we may write prayers on paper and place them in the wall. We then begin our visit to the Western Wall (Rabbi’s) Tunnels and arrive at a place nearest the site of the Holy of Holies. We walk to the Pool of Bethesda and the Church of St. Anne, where we can sing in a church with a 10-second delay! We leave the Old City through the famed Lion’s Gate. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 9 – Jerusalem Today we start with an amazing tour of the City of David. Then we again enter the Old City to visit the Davidson Museum and walk some of the original stones of the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount. We go to the Lithostratos and view the actual streets Jesus walked, the remains of Pilate’s Judgment Hall, and the Ecce Homo Arch. We then walk the Via Dolorosa, passing intriguing markets and bazaars and arrive at the Churchof the Holy Sepulchre, believed by many to be the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. This afternoon we visit the Garden Tomb, a highlight of our tour! There we may worship and celebrate communion beside the empty tomb. “He is risen; He is not here!” What a wonderful and meaningful conclusion to this truly memorable day! Dinner and overnight.
Day 10 – Jerusalem at Leisure Enjoy a day at leisure to revisit a special site, pick up some last-minute bargains or just relax. We depart our hotel in the late afternoon for a special farewell dinner before our late evening flight back to the U.S.
Day 11 – Tel Aviv / U.S. We arrive back in the U.S. with fond memories of our journey, and perhaps already making plans to return next year!
This sample itinerary illustrates many of the Christian and historical sites most groups will wish to visit. We work with pastors/tour hosts before their tour to customize their itinerary according to their preferences. At times, certain changes may be made during the tour as coordinated with the guide, but some changes may incur extra costs. Every effort is always made to include every site on an itinerary, however the sightseeing sequence is always subject to change due to flight arrival times, travel logistics, opening and closing times of sites, and local conditions.