Venture into history on a journey to the Holy Land, exploring fascinating sites associated with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as you make your way from Jerusalem’s Old City to the tranquil Galilee to the vibrant heart of Tel Aviv.

Request a Tailor-Made Itinerary Request Itinerary or Ask Us A Question or Call 855-215-8690
 Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
 View of the Western Wall and Temple Mount, Jerusalem
 Skyline of vibrant Tel Aviv
 View of Masada

The Holy Land from Antiquity to Today: A Tailor-Made Journey to Israel

8 days from $7,995

Venture into history on a journey to the Holy Land, exploring fascinating sites associated with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as you make your way from Jerusalem’s Old City to the tranquil Galilee to the vibrant heart of Tel Aviv.

Request a Tailor-Made Itinerary

or call 855-215-8690

Overview

When you travel on a tailor-made journey, you will receive a Friends of the Smithsonian Archivist Circle membership. Benefits include:

  • Recognition in the Friends of the Smithsonian Honor Roll displayed electronically on the National Mall in the Membership Reception Center
  • Invitation to a special welcome tour for new members at a Smithsonian venue
  • A Smithsonian Institution annual engagement calendar with full color images of exceptional art and artifacts
  • A complimentary Smithsonian museum guidebook
  • Subscription to the award-winning magazine Smithsonian
  • 20% discount at Smithsonian Museum Stores, 10% discount at selected dining facilities, at SmithsonianStore.com, and Folkways Recordings
  • Special member rate for tickets to the Smithsonian's IMAX® theaters and Einstein Planetarium
  • Admission to Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City
  • Weekday access to the Friends of the Smithsonian Reception Center

If you are already a member of the Archivist Circle or above, you will receive The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 - Jerusalem

Arrive at Ben Gurion airport, where you’re met by a private driver for the journey to Jerusalem. Settle into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (B)

Day 2 - Jerusalem

Uncover layers of fascinating history as you explore Jerusalem’s Old City with a private guide. Make your way to sites both holy and historic, encountering believers of many faiths—from Catholic nuns and Egyptian Copts to Hasidic Jews and djellaba-clad imams. Visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is said to be buried, and walk the Via Dolorosa. See the Western Wall, the most sacred site in Judaism, and stroll the Roman Cardo in the Jewish Quarter. Take in views of the resplendent Dome of the Rock, and learn about the importance of the Temple Mount to the Muslim faith. Visit artisan workshops and local businesses to get a sense of contemporary life in this storied city. Tonight, venture back in time during the sound and light show at the Tower of David. (B)

Day 3 - Bethlehem and Jerusalem

Spend the morning in the bustling town of Bethlehem. With your private guide, visit Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity and venture into the souk. See the street art on the border wall—an intriguing glimpse into current events. Continue to the Arab village of Ein Rafa for a meal in a private home and gain insights into Arab culture and the Muslim faith. This afternoon, take a private tour of Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Then head to the Mahane Yehuda market to meander among the food stalls and taste local delicacies. (B)

Day 4 - Masada

Travel east to the Dead Sea with your private guide, and follow the shoreline to the legendary World Heritage site of Masada. Take a cable car to the top—or opt for an invigorating climb—and discover the evocative ruins of King Herod’s palaces and fortifications, where some 960 Jews held off a Roman siege following the capture of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Head back to the Dead Sea for lunch and enjoy a float in its buoyant mineral waters. Continue to Ein Gedi National Park for a walk through the dramatic canyons of this desert oasis and a swim in its natural springs. Return to Jerusalem late this afternoon. (B)

Day 5 - Galilee

Journey north to Galilee, stopping in Zippori National Park to see the fantastic archaeological ruins of a once-thriving Roman city and center of Jewish scholarship. St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, is said to have been born in Zippori; and the Mishnah was redacted here in A.D. 200. The site is also known for its spectacular mosaics, which include a Zodiac of exotic animals and the famed “Mona Lisa of Zippori.” Next, visit the Israeli-Arab town of Nazareth and tour the Basilica of the Annunciation, built over the grotto that is said to have been Mary’s home. Finally, ascend Mount Tabor, believed to be the site of the transfiguration of Jesus, and see its ruins of ancient churches and Crusader fortifications. Take in sweeping views of the Galilee from the mountaintop and then travel to your hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. (B)

Day 6 - Galilee and Tel Aviv

Scattered on the edges of the Sea of Galilee lie sites associated with Jesus’s early ministry, such as the Mount of the Beatitudes, Capernaum, and the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha. Explore these sites with your private guide this morning. Then spend time at a working agricultural kibbutz learning about daily life as well as the history of the kibbutz. Drive south to Tel Aviv this afternoon and check in to your hotel. (B)

Day 7 - Jaffa and Tel Aviv

Wander the ancient lanes of charming Jaffa, a port that dates back to the 15th century B.C. and now houses art studios and galleries. Visit Tel Aviv’s World Heritage-listed “White City,” where excellent examples of Modernist and Bauhaus architecture abound, and delve into this lively city’s back lanes on a street art tour. During free time on your final afternoon, consider taking a stroll along Gordon Beach to catch the sunset. (B)

Day 8 - Depart for home

Your private driver will escort you to the airport for your flight home today.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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