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Classic Israel & the Palestinian Territories


Entrenched in the ancient but emphatically modern in outlook, the complexities of Israel and the Palestinian Territories keep even the most seasoned history buff intrigued. Soak up the atmosphere at the peaceful Bahai Gardens in Haifa, discovery the significance of the Western Wall, and head out graffiti-spotting and join a refugee camp cooking class in Bethlehem. You will also take a dip in the salty Dead Sea and journey into the Negev Desert to spend a night under the stars. Israel and the Palestinian Territories have more than a bit of history, they are brimming with life.

8 days, from

$3,405

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ENKI
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer
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Details

Countries Visited:  Israel
Accommodation: Hotel (7 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 1 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Explore the Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert in a 4WD, spotting constellations unimpeded by light pollution on a tour with an expert local guide.

  • Wash off the dust of the desert with a float in the salty waters of the Dead Sea and spend time exploring Bethlehem and Jerusalem’s historic sites with your local leader.

  • Sample local wines like the region’s famous Syrah and join a cooking class in at a refugee camp in Bethlehem.

  • Join Bedouin women for special lunch at Lakiya Negev Bedouin Weaving, an initiative that empowers women to apply their traditional weaving skills to the manufacture and sale of their products, and earn an income.

  • Discover a different side of Bethlehem on a graffiti tour at the Separation Barrier where you will see murals created by notable street artists and learn how street art has transformed this area.

Itinerary

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Day 1: Tel Aviv

Welcome to Tel Aviv! You'll be met on arrival at the airport and transferred to your hotel, and your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm this evening. With its lively cafe culture, relaxed Mediterranean beach scene, and renowned diverse nightlife, Tel Aviv is a great place to start your exploration. After the welcome meeting, join your leader and fellow travellers for dinner at a local restaurant where you will feast on traditional local dishes like grilled meats, salads, and falafel.

Day 2: Nazareth

Today, make like a wise man for Nazareth, stopping at a few significant ports along the way. First up is Jaffa, now a vision of modernity but reputed to be one of the oldest ports in the world. You’ll continue on to Lewinsky Market – a very popular spot for locals and full of personality and colour. Take a stroll through its aisles and perhaps stop to sample some burekas (traditional pastries) as you walk around. You’ll then head up the coast to Haifa and enjoy the view of the renowned Bahai Gardens, a series of 19 terraced gardens overlooking the city. Afterwards, drive to Nazareth, arriving in the afternoon. An orientation walk will help you get your bearings so that you can make the most of your free evening.

Day 3: Nazareth

Start the morning with a visit to the Church of the Annunciation. This is the site where Mary is said to have received the news of the Immaculate Conception, and of the well where she drew water every day. Get on the road again and head north to the port city of Acre, known for its well-preserved old city and the crumbling remains of its fortress. Explore the excavated hall, dungeon, dining room and crypt of an ancient Gothic church, once occupied by the Knights of St John. Before heading back to your hotel, stop by a local winery for a glass (or two) of their delicious drop. Spend the evening in Nazareth.

Day 4: Mitzpe Ramon

Head out of Nazareth this morning, on your way to the Negev Desert region. Today join a special lunch at Lakiya Negev Bedouin Weaving. This initiative, founded in 1991, is all about empowering Bedouin women in this region to apply their traditional weaving skills to the manufacture and sale of their products, and earn an income. Spend some time with the women, joining them for a cup of tea and a local lunch. Stop en route to Ramon Crater at Be’er Sheva – the only city built by Ottoman Turks during their rule over this land – and visit the Anzac Memorial there. In the afternoon, arrive at Mitzpe Ramon, perched on the edge of the crater. Check in to your hotel and grab some free time before sunset when we hop in the back of a 4WD vehicle and head on a desert safari. Ramon Crater has been recognised as an International Dark Sky Park – the first in the Middle East – to promote the ecological, astronomical and cultural benefits of having a clear night sky, unimpeded by light pollution.

Day 5: Jerusalem / Dead Sea

Take in a special sunrise then visit Masada, a spectacular cliff-top fortress built by King Herod around 35 BC that can now be reached by cable car. The fortress is seen as a symbol of the bravery and self-sacrifice of the Jewish people. Travel on to Ein Gedi, where you’ll have time to wash off during a swim like no other. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, sits at 420 metres below sea level and is so salty that you'll easily float on the surface. The nutrient-rich mud is great as a body scrub too. Later on, as the sun cools, you will visit the Mount of Olives for your first view of Jerusalem. Visit the Garden of Gethsemane, known as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion.

Day 6: Jerusalem

Explore Jerusalem’s Old City this morning on foot. Start with the Courtyard of the Dome and the Western Wall – the remains of the Temple Mount, which acts as an outdoor synagogue, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. Then continue along the Via Dolorosa starting at St Stephen’s Gate, passing the crusader church of St Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Now located in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, this pool was mentioned in the Gospel of John and associated with healing. Continue along the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) – the Way of Sorrows which follows Jesus’ path to crucifixion – and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, died, buried, and rose again. The afternoon is free for you to continue exploring, so perhaps have more of a wander around the Old City or check out the Israeli Museum.

Day 7: Jerusalem / Bethlehem

This morning, cross into Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity as well as Manger Square, where Jesus is said to have been born. Afterwards, discover a different side to Bethlehem on a graffiti tour at the Separation Barrier where famous artists like Banksy have contributed to the artworks. Continue to Shepherds Field Chapel, a Roman Catholic religious building. The chapel marks the place where, according to Catholic lore, angels first announced the birth of Christ. Later on, this afternoon, visit the Aida Refugee Camp and join some passionate home cooks for a cooking class. Learn about everyday life for those who live in the camp as you whip up authentic Palestinian dishes with the families of those who were forced to leave their villages during the 1949 Israeli-Arab war. At the end of the class, enjoy your culinary creations during a shared lunch. Tonight, get a couple of your travel crew together and sit back with a cold beer at one of the many laneway bars near Machane Yedhua Market. There are some great eating spots around there too.

Day 8: Jerusalem

Your journey comes to an end after breakfast today and there are no activities planned, so you are free to check out at any time.

8 days, from $3,405

to book call 1-844-205-6226


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