Jerusalem, Galilee, Shilo, Haifa, Masada, Tel-Aviv, Jaffa, Safed, the Dead Sea, Yad Vashem, Baha’i Gardens, Caesarea, Druze Villages, Rosh Pina Village
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Israel balances thousands of years of history with the world’s three largest monotheistic religions; your custom tailored tour immerses you in vibrant culture while exploring the captivating churches, antique neighborhoods, and enchanting landscapes of the region. Ancient foundations support contemporary basilicas. Cobblestone streets whisper the stories of Roman legions and Christ. Israeli and Arab youth interact warmly in a city promoting harmonious lifestyles. Enjoy first-hand the experiences...
Jerusalem – Welcoming True Israel
Jerusalem is a city of the ancient world and spiritual connection, religious quarters and majestic ambiance. Cobblestone lanes lead to antique boulevards. Chic cafes fill the spaces of vintage buildings. Date palms add to the skyline and lavish religious structures spread across the hillsides glinting in the passing sun. Your private transfer meets you upon your arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, escorting you south to a luxurious hotel hosting a façade decorated with Jerusalem stone and overlooking the Liberty Bell Garden.
After settling into the contemporary comforts of the accommodation, you meet your private guide in the lobby. Your introduction to the city begins along the mile-long Sherover Promenade. The walkway offers a panorama of the Old City beginning at the southern stairway. The tan limestone and wrought iron lamp posts allow the contemporarily erected walkway to blend into the classic style of the city. Three large pergolas embellish the promenade, offering stunning views of the Mount of Olives in the distance framed by stone pillars.
You have a clear view of olive groves and wheat fields in the north, along with rows of santolina, a chamomile flower, waving in the breeze. You make your way to a charming restaurant in the old neighborhood of Yemin-Moshe, which was erected at the end of the 19th century. Bougainvilleas drape over the stone stairways and walls. The windmill of the neighborhood has become an icon, visible from around the city. You settle into a charming restaurant providing panoramas of Old Jerusalem and bask in the aroma of exotic spices emanating from the kitchen.
Jerusalem – Spiritual Jerusalem
At breakfast, you find the refreshing aroma of strong Arabica coffee accompanied by the vibrant colors of a ruby-red pomegranate. Your guide meets you in the lobby after the meal, eager to escort you on an unforgettable tour of the City on the Hill, beginning at the slopes of the Mount of Olives and Dominus Flevit Church. The panorama of the city is more dramatic in the morning when the sunlight casts a golden glow over the streets, cream-colored stones, and gilded domes for which the skyline is famous. Christian belief places the Mount of Olives as the place Jesus ascended to heaven. Your guide leads you to the gates of the church erected over the site where Jesus wept for Jerusalem.
The structure was erected in the 1950s in the shape of a teardrop over the ruins of a 7th-century church. Mosaics from the original church adorn the contemporary house of worship. The windows to the west overlook the Temple Mount, accentuating the spiced scent of myrrh. In the afternoon, you continue along Via Dolorosa, also referred to as the “Way of Sorrows,” the path which Jesus took as he walked towards his crucifixion. Today the path ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Vendors line the streets amongst the old stone buildings. Trees offer shade amongst the country lanes and stone steps ascend into the hills. You stop along the fourteen stations to follow the footsteps of the path, arriving first at the Praetorium, where Pilate condemned Jesus.
Jerusalem – Beginnings of the Ancient City
In the morning, the sunlight washes over the Museum on the Seam, a modern art museum straddling the border between East and West Jerusalem. The socio-political art space symbolizes a contemporary bridge between two worlds hoping for peace. You step deep into the past today after breakfast, finding the roots of the ancient City of David. Excavations began in the mid 19th century, revealing the oldest parts of Jerusalem dating back to the Canaanites. David captured the city by bringing the Ark of the Covenant more than three millennia ago. You submerge yourself into Hezekiah’s Tunnel, finding the heat of the city fading beneath the cool subterranean draft passing through the 1,600-foot long passageway.
An ancient stone carving discovered near the entrance describes the process of the operation used to erect the passage. You continue to the Royal Quarter, which dates back to the 10th century BCE. The palace stood on the ridge overlooking the valley floor during the time of the First Temple. Archaeologists have discovered Judean and Babylonian arrowheads in the area, a reminder of the battles that once took place over the land. You continue into the Christian Quarter and beyond, arriving at the Israel Museum to view the exhibits on the Dead Sea Scrolls, located in the Shrine of the Books.
Haifa – Following Tradition
In the morning, the aisles of the Mahane Yehuda Market fill with the aromas of exotic spices and freshly baked bread. Cafes brew fresh Arabica coffee and produce vendors offer vibrant colors of fresh fruits and vegetables, from pomegranate to artichoke, cucumber to zesty orange. Before leaving Jerusalem, you visit the Church of the Nativity, which was originally constructed in the 4th century CE under the commission of Constantine the Great. The church was erected over the spot where Jesus was born. Monks and priests wander through the interior halls. The scent of frankincense and myrrh drifts away from the dais.
A small Ottoman-era door frames the façade. You duck beneath the archway before entering. Crusaders reduced the size of the doorway to keep invaders from riding into the gallery. After visiting the Holocaust Memorial of Yad Vashem and the Mormon Jerusalem Center of Brigham-Young University, you continue out of Jerusalem and into Haifa, stopping first in the West Bank to visit the town of Shilo, which was first established more than 4,000 years ago in the Middle Bronze era. The town once held the Tabernacle in which stood the Ark of the Covenant. Samuel took the Ark from Shilo, temporarily losing it to the Philistines. The dramatic ambiance remains in the district, harkening back to biblical traditions and stories.
Haifa – Times of Peace and Prosperousness
In the morning, the sunlight washes over the unique grounds of the Baha’i Gardens. The tranquil and impressive landscape was established in the mid 19th century and is topped with a domed shrine standing more than 130 feet tall. The sunlight glints off the Italian marble walls, granite pillars, and 14,000 gold-coated bricks. After breakfast, your guide introduces you to the beauty of Haifa by escorting you through the lush gardens. Flowers blossom amongst manicured lawns and citrus groves. The serene gardens blend with the natural flora growing along the mountainside, accompanied by the 19 terraces. The surrounding city creates a picturesque view of verdant grass, antique buildings of the Ottoman and Mandate periods, and the marvelous peak of Mount Carmel, which reaches a height of nearly 1,800 feet above sea level.
You continue to the Beit Hagefen Center, an embodiment of Haifa’s coexistence between Israeli Jews and Arabs. The institution is located in a seasoned structure sponsoring cross-cultural social and cultural activities. The upper gallery provides exhibitions related to shared values through various historical pieces and art. Continue to the former Herodian and Roman city of Caesarea located on the coastal plain. Phoenicians built the harbor in the 4th century BCE, which the Greeks and Romans subsequently utilized. The city blossomed with temples, theaters, and a hippodrome. The Roman amphitheater could hold up to 10,000 spectators eager to watch gladiators battle. Remnants of the former aqueduct line the beach, representative of the ingenuity of the Herodian period.
Safed – Northern Immersion
Outside of Haifa, the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean lap at the shores of Dor. The sunlight spreads across the golden sand and soft waves. Archaeologists excavate the old harbor and a Crusader castle to the north, both framing the base of a 6th-century Byzantine church. After breakfast, you depart from Haifa and venture to the Golan Heights in the north of Galilee. The scenic drive encompasses verdant grasslands and tan cliffs. Wildflowers in the chamomile family blossom, shimmering with bright yellow petals. The sweeping vines of wineries fade behind the rolling desert landscape near the mountain ridges.
The Golan Heights stretch nearly 40 miles from north to south and 12 miles from east to west. The lunar landscape features subterranean oases and hidden waterfalls. The rocky plateau around Mount Bental provides stunning views over the flat plains leading to Syria. The peak holds the story of one of Israel’s battles during the war for the Golan. A bunker crowns the hilltop overlooking the border. The aroma of fresh-brewed coffee emanates from the café. Batteries texture the landscape, displaying the signs of contemporary battle. Grain and produce cover the battlefield below, spreading to the Syrian frontier. A metal sculpture garden helps tell the tale of the Yom Kippur War, with statues facing down into the valley.
Tel Aviv – Miracles of Galilee
At breakfast, you recall the subtle charms of the village of Rosh Pina, which you visited the previous evening. The 18th-century town neighboring Safed contains boutique shops, and quiet promenades adorned with sculptures depicting its 19th-century beginnings. At breakfast, the scent of dates and bananas swirls around the refreshing coffee. Your guide meets you at the hotel and leads you to the mountains of Galilee to trace the miracles Jesus performed, beginning at Domus Galilee. The Mount of Beatitudes stands at 190 feet below sea level but rises nearly 510 feet above the edges of the freshwater lake of the Sea of Galilee. A church has stood on the grounds since the 4th century, following the belief that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount while atop the hillside.
A Roman Catholic church erected in the 1930s continues the tradition of religious structures adorning the summit. The octagonal edifice contains remarkable stained glass windows situated below the dome, flickering with colorful sunlight. Personifications of the seven virtues surround the altar, and the balcony offers a fabulous view of the lakeshores. You make your way to Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel, to find the markets bustling with colorful saris and seductive music carrying over the cobblestone lanes. Boutiques line the roadways as you arrive at the entrance to the Basilica of the Annunciation, where Archangel Gabriel announced Jesus’ coming.
Tel Aviv – The Most of the Morning
Before dawn, you venture outside of Tel Aviv to reach the desert landscape of Masada. Lingering starlight fills the night sky. The cool air is a refreshing change from the desert heat. You follow your guide along the trail leading to the mountaintop fortress. The walls contain more than 2,000 years of history, echoing the stories of the nearly 1,000 men, women, and children who made their last stand against the Roman army. The path snakes along the protruding ridge. The sun rises over the horizon, offering a spectacular view of the Moab Mountains and the Dead Sea glistening in the layered colors of the sky.
Once inside the fortress, the sunlight returns the aroma of baked clay to the air. Members of the Israeli air force do yoga in the quiet atmosphere of sunrise, first by ascending the trail, and then calming their bodies and mind through movement. Engage with your guide about the unique legend behind Masada, along with the types of religious zealotry of those who once made their stand inside the walls. Afterward, descend the hill and make your way to Ben Gurion International Airport for your flight home.
- Explore the birthplace of Jesus while visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
- Traverse the winding path to the top of Masada for a unique view of the desert landscape in the spreading sunrise
- Discover the beauty of the Golan Heights by visiting a number of the bunkers remaining from the Yom Kippur War, which overlooks the Syrian border
- Visit the Beit-Hagefen Center to meet with activists engaging in Arab-Jewish relations initiatives
- Venture into the depths of the ancient Roman and Herodian city of Caesarea located on the coastal plains outside of Haifa
- Wander through the tranquil beauty of the Baha’i Gardens and Shrine, which encompasses 19 terraces along a mountain slope
- Tour the Christian and Jewish Quarters of Old Jerusalem to see the Wailing Wall and follow Via-Dolorosa, the path that Jesus walked to his crucifixion
- Enter Domus Galilee to explore the Mount of Beatitudes, upon which Jesus presented the Sermon on the Mount
- Visit the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth to view the site where the Archangel Gabriel spoke to Mary
Israel connects culture, history, and landscape to create an eye-opening experience focused on revealing the way its society has developed from its past. Your 8-day tour offers an immersive experience into the daily lives and lifestyle of Israelis, from Jerusalem to the Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee to Tel Aviv. You arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport, where your private transfer meets you upon arrival. You make the journey south to Jerusalem and enjoy an introductory stroll along the Sherover Promenade and the cobblestone streets of the Yemin Moshe neighborhood.
The next morning, your guide meets you after breakfast, excited to lead you on a majestic tour of the city, beginning at the Mount of Olives. Explore Dominus Flevit Church and see the Room of the Last Supper. Walk along the Via Dolorosa, which leads to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and enjoy the elegance of the 19th-century Nahalat Shiv’a neighborhood. Then, you venture deep into the roots of Ancient Jerusalem with a guided tour around the City of David. Visit the Western Walls as well as the Jewish and Christian Quarters. Enjoy the exhibits at the Israel Museum to view the Dead Sea Scrolls and listen to the prayers echoing off the Western Wall in the evening. You also have a chance to visit with a member of the IDF to hear personal stories from his or her time in the Israeli forces.
Next, you step back in time by visiting the Church of the Nativity, which was erected over the location where Jesus was born. Traverse the elegant and dramatic galleries of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, before touring the grounds of the Mormon Jerusalem Center of Brigham-Young University. Leave Jerusalem for the spiritual ambiance of the town of Shilo before settling into the comforts of a luxurious hotel in Haifa. Then, you have a full day tour of the exciting city of Haifa. Stroll along the Baha’i Gardens and meet with locals in the Beit-Hagefen Center of Jewish-Arab coexistence. Tour a local private school and visit Roman and Herodian ruins at the city of Caesarea alongside the Mediterranean Sea.
You meet a distinguished member of the Israeli Civic Service before making your way to the Golan Heights to see bunkers along the Syria-Israel border. Stop in a Druze village en route to the lovely town of Rosh Pina and your charming hotel in the Galilee region. Explore the mountains of Galilee, beginning at Mount of the Beatitudes, home to a church erected on the spot Jesus offered the Sermon on the Mount. Continue to Nazareth to see the Church of the Annunciation, along with the largest Arab city in Israel. You reach Tel Aviv in the evening and settle into your beachside hotel. Wake up before dawn to experience Masada at sunrise. Enjoy the trail and beautiful scenery while touring the unique hilltop fortress. In the afternoon, your private transfer leads you from the hotel to Ben Gurion International Airport for your flight home.
$3,195 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.81 stars based on 105 reviews
"The hotels were top-notch with wonderful breakfasts!"
Reviewed By Janet Z.
"Because of this agency our trip was beyond "a trip of a...
Reviewed By michael k.
"We particularly valued how well the logistics were executed...
Reviewed By James S.
"Very professional travel company."
Reviewed By Igor G.
"Our trip to Israel was perfect and we felt very privileged...
Reviewed By Barbara R.
"It was an educational and thought-provoking trip."
Reviewed By Georgette H.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era