Ancient Wonders in Israel
This eight-day itinerary immerses you in Israel's raw and ancient beauty. From Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, you'll see some of the country's most sublime spots from Masada's mountain top ruins and Tel Aviv's fragrant markets to the vast salty expanse of the Dead Sea.
At a Glance:
- Enjoy a guided tour of Jerusalem's Old City.
- Marvel at Masada's magnificent mountain top ruins.
- Float on the Dead Sea.
- Delve into the dreamscape of the Ein Gedi Oasis.
- Take a guided tour of Jaffa and Tel Aviv
- Eat incredibly well throughout the trip
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Day 1: Arrive in Tel Aviv
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, you will be privately transferred to Jerusalem, which takes approximately one hour. Take the rest of the afternoon to rest and settle into your hotel where you will be staying for the next four nights, ready for your first day of exploring tomorrow.
Day 2: Old City Jerusalem Tour
After filling up on a hearty breakfast in the hotel, it's time to explore Jerusalem on a fascinating full-day guided tour of the Old City.
A place where holy sites sit - often quite literally - on top of each other, the Old City is a place of great sanctity. Your expert guide will peel back the layers of history and provide an overview of what Jerusalem means to the three main monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
Among other sites, you will visit the places most holy to these three faiths: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Kotel (Western Wall of the Second Temple), and the Dome of the Rock.
Return to your hotel at the end of the day pleasantly exhausted and with a far firmer understanding of the sheer significance of Jerusalem as a true world city. Get an early night ready for the next step of your Israel's ancient wonders trip.
Day 3: Masada, the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi
For the third day of your Israel's ancient wonders trip, you'll be visiting some of the country's most iconic sites.
First stop, Masada's mountain top ruins, a wonderfully dramatic UNESCO World Heritage Site that is set against the extraordinary backdrop of the Judean desert and overlooking the Dead Sea. Here, with your expert guide as storyteller, you will hear about the lives of the final Jewish resistance to Roman rule, and relive their struggle against the mighty Roman army and heroic end.
Next, you'll head on to the Dead Sea to experience the surreal experience of floating on its saline surface. Full of minerals, it's bound to leave you feeling energised (but be warned, the water can be damaging to clothing so leave your best swimsuit behind). During your visit here, we've arranged for you to use one of the luxury hotels where you can enjoy a delicious buffet lunch before continuing the sight-seeing.
Day 4: Day at Leisure
Today is yours to spend as you wish. You may choose to visit some of Jerusalem's fascinating, and often moving museums, such as the Holocaust Museum (Yad Vashem) or Israel Museum (which houses the Dead Sea scrolls). You may also wish to explore the colourful Mahane Yehuda market which has a huge array of fresh produce and delicious dishes to try.
Another option we would highly recommend is to head into the West Bank for the day. Here you can take a trip to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity - the birthplace of Jesus - and the Banksy inspired hotel/museum/gallery The Walled Off Hotel. The hotel was opened, appropriately enough, next to the Israeli West Bank Barrier, which runs through the middle of Bethlehem, and which has since become a magnet for some of the world's finest street artists alongside local Palestinian graffiti artists. Your guide should be able to show you a couple of hidden Banskys as well.
Day 5: Private transfer from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv
For the next part of your Israel's ancient wonders trip, you'll be travelling to Tel Aviv where you will be staying for the next three nights.
The journey takes approximately one hour by car so you'll have the rest of the day to settle into your hotel or head out to explore the city with a guide.
Day 6: Guided Tour of Jaffa and Tel Aviv
Continue your Israel's ancient wonders trip with a tour of Tel Aviv. Beginning in Jaffa, one of the most ancient ports in the world, you'll be immersed in ancient historical eras from Biblical and ancient Egyptian, to Roman and Napoleonic.
Next, visit nearby Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv's prettiest and oldest
neighbourhood, which is only around a century old, in comparison to
Jaffa next door. Here you will hear the story of Tel Aviv's
beginnings - how the first modern Hebrew city was created from the
barren sand dunes in an out-pouring of ideological vision and
determination. Next, make your way through the joyously hectic
Carmel Market which is full to bursting with the freshest local
produce imaginable. In a foodie city like Tel Aviv, only the best
will do for the discerning locals.
Continuing into more central Tel Aviv, you will pass Rothschild Boulevard and Independence Hall, where David Ben Gurion famously declared the independence of the modern State of Israel. Admire the eclectic architecture and learn about the waves of immigrants who designed and created these remarkable buildings. The Bauhaus buildings in particular, are internationally significant and Tel Aviv's UNESCO World Heritage status is thanks to them.
Day 7: Day at Leisure
After your busy day yesterday, today is yours to spend as you choose.
Perhaps you'd like a relaxing day at the city's beach, where you can frolic in the warm waters and enjoy an afternoon siesta on the powdery white sand - the perfect spot for some R&R on your Israel adventure.
Alternatively, use the day to continue exploring the city. Visit more foodie markets - such as the Levinksy - and, depending on the day of the week, mooch past colourful arts, crafts and antiques stalls. Alternatively, explore the city's artistic side with a visit to local galleries, or the magnificent modern edifice of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, home to a superb permanent collection of 20th century works, including many donated by Peggy Guggenheim.
Day 8: Flight Home
Today is the final day of your Israel's ancient wonders trip and it's time to head home. You'll be privately transferred to the airport, a journey that takes approximately 30 minutes.
After the excitement of the trip, you'll probably be out like a light. If not, you can use the time to peruse your photos and reminisce about all the adventures of the past week.
Lucy and Matt are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.