Tel Aviv and the ancient Jaffa seaport, Galilee, the Golan Heights, Masada, ancient and modern Jerusalem, opportunity to visit Bethlehem; Optional extension: Eilat & Petra
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|Value VacationTravel in larger groups than our Small Group tours, but at fantastic value prices. These group tour packages are operated by our carefully selected partners and may be shared with other English speaking passengers ensuring guaranteed departures. More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|24 travelers max
|History & Culture, Bucket List
|What to Expect
|This fast-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking and requires an average level of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops. Travel safely and confidently with our new health & safety protocols.
|Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.
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Shalom, and welcome to Israel, a country that deeply draws the inquisitive traveler like few other destinations on earth. From the soft chanting of Hebrew prayers at the Western Wall, the Muslim call to prayer and the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, to the ancient olive groves of Galilee and the stunning gardens of the Baha'i in Haifa, it’s impossible to miss the presence of religion in this holiest of lands. But as you’ll discover, a visit to Israel takes you well beyond faith, creed and politics.
Israel is both the setting of ancient history and modern future. The tech start-up culture in Tel Aviv echoes millennium-old Roman innovation evident in the ruins of Caesarea. Posh wine tasting or the country’s dynamic food scene (including unparalleled vegan options) trace their roots to the foods of the Jewish Sabbath and holiday festivals, copious and spicy Arab meze, pita and lamb kebabs and even Kibbutz dining hall concoctions from the early days of rationed food in the young Jewish state. The Dead Sea scrolls and Akko’s Arab bazaar coexist alongside more recent history, like the world’s preeminent Holocaust museum and Tel Aviv’s collection of international and Bauhaus architecture. Even the geographic locations which hold religious significance are stunning natural sites in their own right: consider the Dead Sea, the Judean Desert, the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights to name just a few.
And of course, you’ll experience all of this and more in true Friendly Planet Travel style: high-quality and centrally located hotels throughout your trip; licensed, local, English-speaking guides who will share a wealth of knowledge, and comfortable and convenient coaches to whisk you away to your next destination! Our Discover Israel small group tour will challenge and intrigue you with an up-close-and-personal look at this surprising country and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
- Round-trip airfare from JFK or Newark (EWR) to Tel Aviv, including taxes & fees
- All ground transportation and transfers
- 8 nights’ accommodations in superior class hotels
- 14 Meals: 8 breakfasts plus 1 lunch and 5 dinners
- Comprehensive touring program including entrance fees
- Professional English-speaking guide on all tours
- Optional Eilat & Petra extension
Why you'll love it
- Taste the eclectic flavors of Israeli cuisine during a Carmel Market tasting tour or Vegan culinary tour.
- Experience a traditional Shabbat dinner with an Israeli family.
- Ride a cable car to the desert fortress of Masada, the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots in their struggle against the Romans in 73 CE.
- Enjoy a tour and wine tasting at a family-owned boutique winery in Galilee.
- Float in the extraordinarily buoyant waters of the Dead Sea, Earth's lowest elevation on land at 1,388 feet below sea level.
- Explore ancient and modern Jerusalem, including the City of David, the Western Wall, the Muslim Quarter, and the Church of Holy Sepulchre.
- Gain a true understanding of the Holocaust's impact at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1 Depart USA/Overnight flight
- Depart the USA on your overnight flight to Tel Aviv, Israel
Day 2 Arrive Tel Aviv
- Arrive in Tel Aviv, following customs and immigration formalities, meet our representative and transfer to your hotel
Tal by the Beach or similar DinnerFull Day Itinerary
Day 3 Tel Aviv
- Walk in Jaffa, the world’s oldest seaport
- Admire the Bauhaus architecture on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard
- Enjoy a culinary tasting tour
- Witness Tel Aviv's Street Art and Graffiti Scene
Tal by the Beach or similar BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
After breakfast, meet your guide and set off to discover Tel Aviv. Visit Jaffa for a short walk in the Old Port, the oldest seaport in the world and home to a vibrant multi-ethnic community of Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Next, stroll along Rothschild Boulevard in the heart of Tel Aviv. Here you will see some of Tel Aviv’s most prominent collection of Bauhaus (International Style) buildings, built during the 1930s and 1940s. The distinctive and functional architecture has created an unparalleled urban landscape.Then, take part in a culinary tasting tour of your choice:Carmel Market tasting tour: Enjoy a fascinating variety of culinary riches, where colorful spices, flavors, and scents of the market combine with the bustling atmosphere of the city's central market and exciting new restaurants and food counters run by chefs reinventing Israeli cuisine.Vegan culinary tour: Discover why Tel Aviv is the #1 vegan destination in the world and a place where traditional vegan and vegetarian cuisine combine with innovative young chefs to create a one-of-a-kind savory adventure.Later, witness Tel Aviv's international street art and graffiti scene. Take a magical tour that will take you through the side streets and alleyways of this colorful urban underground scene. Explore the best works of street art and graffiti that cover the walls of Tel Aviv public space. Enjoy an evening at leisure in Tel Aviv.
Day 4 Mediterranean Coast & Western Galilee
- Explore the ancient city of Caesarea, capital of the Roman province of Judea
- Learn about the kibbutz way of life
- See where drip irrigation was pioneered
- Take a stroll in the picturesque town of Zichron Yaacov
Colony Hotel Haifa or similar Breakfast & dinnerFull Day ItineraryLeave Tel Aviv and head north along the Mediterranean Coast. Visit the ancient city of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great. The city became the administrative center of the Roman Empire for the Province of Judea and later was a critical Crusader stronghold. See the ancient port, the Roman hippodrome, and the amphitheater, which is still a concert venue today.Continue to Ein Shemer kibbutz museum, and learn about this unique way of life in the past and present. Then stop at Kibbutz Magal to visit the Netafim Greenhouse Innovation Center, where drip irrigation technology was pioneered.Continue to the southern end of Mount Carmel, between Zikhron Ya'akov and Binyamina, lies Ramat Hanadiv Gardens, a natural gem dedicated to the memory of Baron Edmond de Rothschild. The Memorial Gardens beckon guests into a place of rare tranquility. The Gardens reflect Baron de Rothschild's legacy of dignity and modesty and a gracious combination of European formality and Mediterranean-style vegetation.Take a stroll in the picturesque town of Zichron Yaacov en route to the Colony Hotel in Haifa. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Haifa.
Day 5 Galilee and Golan Heights
- Visit Safed, the city where Kabbalah flourished
- Enjoy a wine tasting in the Galilee
- Take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee
Colony Hotel Haifa or similar Breakfast & dinnerFull Day Itinerary
This morning, head to Katzrin, the “capital of the Golan Heights.” Walk through a reconstructed Talmudic village and get a sense of life in ancient times.
Continue to the mystical city of Safed, the center of the Jewish mystical Kabbalah school of thought. As you stroll through the narrow, winding alleys, take the opportunity to peek inside some beautiful synagogues, workshops, and galleries in the flourishing artists’ quarter. Later enjoy a tour and wine tasting at a family-owned boutique winery in Galilee.
End the day at the Sea of Galilee with a boat ride on the calm waters. Return to Haifa. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Haifa.
Day 6 Western Galilee and Jerusalem
- Admire the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa
- Discover the Crusader port of Akko, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Explore the Druze village of Isfiya on Mount Carmel
- Join an Israeli family for a traditional Shabbat dinner
Leonardo Boutique Hotel Jerusalem or similar Breakfast & dinnerFull Day Itinerary
This morning, visit the fantastic Baha'i Gardens in Haifa, the holiest place in the Baha'i faith and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Then, explore the Crusader port city of Akko, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its new excavations revealing what life was like 1000 years ago. Visit the Crusader Halls and follow the underground tunnels, see the port and fortifications that helped the inhabitants resist the invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, and spend some time walking through the active Arab Bazaar.
Time permitting, continue to the Druze village of Isfiya on Mount Carmel. The Druze are Arabic-speaking citizens of Israel and are renowned for their hospitality. Enjoy a guided tour of the alleys and quarters of the village.
Leave Galilee behind as you drive to Jerusalem and head to your hotel in the city's heart for check-in.
Tonight, experience a special Shabbat of a Lifetime with a traditional dinner at the home of a local Israeli Jewish family as you learn and observe the customs of the Jewish Sabbath.
Day 7 Masada and the Dead Sea
- Tour the stronghold of Masada built by Herod
- Float on the Dead Sea
- Enjoy the Sound and Light Show at the Tower of David, Jerusalem
Leonardo Boutique Hotel Jerusalem or similar Breakfast & lunchFull Day Itinerary
This morning, setting off east from Jerusalem, descend through the Judean Desert towards the Dead Sea. Continue to the legendary mountaintop plateau of Masada overlooking the Dead Sea, the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots in their struggle against the Romans in 73 CE. Ascending via cable car, explore the site, with its synagogue, bathhouse, and winter palace built by Herod the Great.
Then enjoy lunch and a leisurely afternoon at the Dead Sea, the lowest point at 1,388 feet below sea level. Cover yourself in mineral-rich mud and float in the buoyant water. Return to Jerusalem. En route, stop at a lookout point for a view of Wadi Qelt and the cliff-hanging Monastery of St. George, which was founded in the 5th century and is still active and inhabited by Greek Orthodox monks.
In the evening, attend the Sound and Light Show at the Tower of David, a creative depiction of the history of the city of Jerusalem projected onto the ancient stones.
Day 8 Jerusalem's Old City
- Discover the various quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem
- Explore the tunnels and excavations that reveal the ancient city
- See the Western Wall
- Visit the Church of Holy Sepulchre
Leonardo Boutique Hotel Jerusalem or similar BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
Start the day by taking in the view of Jerusalem's Old City from the Mt. of Olives. Then, begin your exploration of the Old City, starting at the City of David. See the exciting tunnels and excavations revealing Jerusalem during the First Temple Period. Then walk through the Old City, beginning with the Western Wall (also known as the Kotel and the Wailing Wall) and the Cardo, a commercial street during Roman times where you can still shop today.
Next is a rooftop tour of the Old City neighborhoods for a behind-the-scenes look at the various communities in the walled city. Stroll through the Muslim Quarter's bazaars before walking along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of Holy Sepulchre. According to 4th-century traditions, the two holiest sites in Christianity are located here: the site of the Crucifixion of Jesus, known as Calvary or Golgotha, and Jesus's empty tomb where he was buried and resurrected. Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Day 9 Jerusalem New City
- Visit Yad Vashem - The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
- See the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum
- Opportunity to visit Bethlehem
- Farewell dinner
Leonardo Boutique Hotel Jerusalem Breakfast & dinnerFull Day Itinerary
This morning, visit Yad Vashem, the world’s primary Holocaust memorial and museum. Tour the new Holocaust History Museum, which occupies over 4,200 square meters, much of it underground. Next, visit the moving exhibit at the Children’s Pavilion, commemorating the death of over 1.5 million Jewish children in the Holocaust. From here, a short drive brings you to the Israel Museum, where you will see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition and the Model of Jerusalem depicting the city as it was during the Second Temple Period.
Later, join an excursion to Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity, or be dropped off at a convenient location in the center of Jerusalem for free time and make your way independently to the hotel.
Tonight, there will be a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 10 Jerusalem and Tel Aviv/USA
- Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA
- Some flights are overnight and arrive in the USA the following day (Day 11)
BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
Bid farewell and Le’hitra’ot to Israel as you transfer to Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv for your return journey to the USA, arriving later today. (Note that some flights depart at midnight and arrive in the USA the following morning).
Or, take advantage of your already included international airfare, and extend your journey to Eilat and Petra, Jordan.
Eilat & Petra Post-Tour Optional Extension
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to visit Eilat and the lost city of Petra, Jordan. You'll return to the U.S. 3 days after the return dates listed.
Day 10 Jerusalem/Eilat
- Flight to Eilat in the south of Israel
- Enjoy your beach-side hotel on the Red Sea
Agamim By Isrotel Collection BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
Day 11 Eilat & Petra, Jordan
- Explore the incredible ancient city of Petra, carved out of the rose-colored rock
Agamim By Isrotel Collection Breakfast & lunchFull Day Itinerary
This morning, transfer to the Arava border crossing to Jordan. After exit formalities, walk the short distance to the Jordanian entry terminal for entry formalities and meet your guide. Drive to Petra, the ancient Nabateans' lost "Rose City." After a short ride on horseback, followed by a walk through the Siq, a narrow gorge flanked by cliffs, the breathtaking Treasury with its elaborate carved façade comes into view. Explore the various tombs and structures at the site. After lunch in Wadi Mousa, the village next to Petra, return to the border crossings and transfer to your hotel in Eilat.
Day 12 Eilat/USA
- Transfer to the airport for your flight to Tel Aviv and overnight flight back to the USA
BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
After enjoying time at leisure, transfer to the Eilat airport for your return flight to Tel Aviv and overnight flight back to the USA.
Just a minute's walk from Tel Aviv's Metzizim Beach, the exquisitely renovated Tal by the Beach is the ultimate location for those seeking the most fun from this beautiful city. The hotel resides at the epicenter of all things Tel Aviv, including trendy restaurants, bars, nightclubs, the port, the designer boutiques of Dizengoff Street and the sprawling beaches.
The Colony Hotel Haifa is a boutique hotel conveniently located in the German Colony area of Haifa, within walking distance to the world famous Baha'i Gardens, restaurants, cafes, and is a short walk to the sea shore.
Located in the heart of Jerusalem, Leonardo Boutique Hotel is within walking distance from many of the attractions including the Old City. Like Jerusalem, this hotel’s interior design combines the old and the new, with modern and colorful furniture as well as Oriental ornaments.
Hotel Agamim by Isrotel provides a sense of a tropical oasis in Eilat. The hotel is just minutes from Eilat's top attractions and a short walk from Eilat's beaches. The lagoon-style swimming pool and the international vibe make this hotel an ideal spot for all.
In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.
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- What should I know before I go? We've compiled a comprehensive checklist, including information on how to pay your balance due, flights & transfers, packing & luggage, and more.
- Do I need a visa or other documents? Are there any entry requirements? Travel visas are required for this package. Please review the visa & entry requirements.
- Can I make changes to my trip? Want to upgrade your seats? Depart from another city? Stay a few extra days? Something else? Just ask!
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 8 or older at time of travel.
- Should I purchase travel insurance? Yes! We recommend you purchase travel insurance to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. For your convenience, we offer a plan provided by Travelex Insurance Services.
- What's the fine print? Review the terms & conditions for this package.
- What should I know about Israel? Check out our guide for practical travel tips, the best time to go, videos, and more.
- What should I know about Jordan? Check out our guide for practical travel tips, the best time to go, videos, and more.
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