The Itinerary for the 14 Day Extensive Biblical Israel Tour (including a day in Sinai, Egypt)
May 4-17, 2019
All Inclusive Price: $4,792 from JFK, NY. $3,849 for “land only” travelers.
* New Instant Registration:
(This link will take you directly to the web site of our Holyland travel agent, imagine Tours & Travel. This is a safe & secure way to place your $500 deposit instantly with your credit card and reserve your spot on this tour. Please enter the tour code – DeLancey519 – to register for this trip).)
Price of this Holyland Tour includes: Airfare & US & Int’l Departure-fuel taxes ($595), gratuities ($190), Egypt border taxes & visa fees ($77), hotels, 2 meals daily on land, and all entry fees. $4,792 from JFK, NY (additional departure cites available upon request). The land only price includes all the above except the airfare. Sign-up deadline: March 4, 2019.
Early Bird Discounts: With your deposit of $500 to reserve your spot on this Greece tour, you will earn the following discounts off the overall price: $150 for deposits made before 4/4/18; $100 before 5/4/18; $90 before 6/4/18, $80 before 7/4/18, $70 before 8/4/18, $60 before 9/4/18, and $50 before 10/4/18.
This extensive Israel tour features over 50 sites! We first drive south through regions of the Bible most groups don’t see (the Shephelah and Negev). At the Red Sea we cross into the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt). We stay at a wonderful hotel right on the Red Sea. The swimming is incredible. We even provide the unique opportunity to climb Mt. Sinai, a 7,300 foot mountain in the heart of the southern Peninsula. We then cross back into Israel and drive north along the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee. This is the home ministry base of Jesus. We spend three nights in Tiberias before ending the trip in Jerusalem. We see lots of sites here, including many sites related to both OT and NT Jerusalem.
DAY 1 – SATURDAY, MAY 4: DEPART FOR TEL AVIV
Tour members meet for our flight to Israel. After dinner is served, sit back and relax, enjoying the on-board entertainment as you prepare for this exciting adventure of a lifetime!
DAY 2 – SUNDAY, MAY 5: ARRIVE IN ISRAEL, JAFFA, TEL AVIV
We arrive at the Ben Gurion Airport and are met by our Israeli guide and driver. We leave the airport and drive to the town of Jaffa. This is where the Jonah story begins, as well as the story of Peter (Acts 10). We arrive at our hotel near the Mediterranean Sea in the Tel Aviv area. Following dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk on the beautiful beach front.
DAY 3 – MONDAY, MAY 6: GEZER, BEIT SHEMESH, ELAH VALLEY, BEIT GURVIN, LACHISH, BE’ER SHEVA
We begin our day by driving to Gezer. We see ruins from Solomon’s day and beyond. The famous “Gezer calendar” was found here. From here, we stop briefly at Beit Shemesh, where the Ark of the Covenant was returned (1 Sam. 6). Next, we travel to the Valley of Elah, where David fought Goliath, and reenact the scene in our imagination as we listen to 1 Samuel 17. From Tel Qeiyafa, we see before our very eyes how this famous battle took place! Following lunch, we visit Beit Gurvin to see the Maresha Caves with hundreds of bell-shaped caves caused by ancient Roman quarrying. Continuing through the “Shephelah” (lowlands) of Judah, it’s on to the city of Lachish which was conquered by the Assyrians. Here, we see where the famous “Lachish Letters” were discovered. Traveling south, we drive to our hotel in Be’er Sheva in the heart of the Biblical Negev. We enjoy an optional walk after dinner.
DAY 4 – TUESDAY, MAY 7: BE’ER SHEVA, SDE BOKER, MACHTESH RAMON, TIMNAH, ELAT, TABA CROSSING INTO SINAI, TABA HEIGHTS
After breakfast, we visit Be’er Sheva with the well and gate structure, the rounded streets, and a typical 4-room Israelite house. From here, we drive through this southern desert to Ben Gurion’s tomb located at Sde Boker in the region of the Wilderness of Zin (Numbers 13). We drive further south through this desert to Machtesh Ramon, Israel’s Grand Canyon. We overview the canyon from the northern rim appreciating the vastness of this desolate place. As we continue driving, we visit Timnah. You will be impressed by the full-size model of the Tabernacle here. Finally we arrive in Elat where the beautiful Red Sea is located. We cross the Taba Border into Sinai, Egypt. After meeting our Egyptian bus and agent, we drive to Taba Heights for overnight. (For those wanting to hike Mt. Sinai, you will depart the hotel tonight at 11:00 p.m. for St. Catherine’s and the night-hike up to the top of Mt. Sinai.)
DAY 5 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 8: LEISURELY MORNING OR DRIVE TO ST. CATHERINE’S, HIKE UP MT. SINAI FOR SUNRISE, RETURN TO TABA HEIGHTS, CROSS INTO ISRAEL, DEAD SEA
Today you will be given one of two options. The first option is to enjoy a leisurely morning by the Red Sea. The second is to leave around 11 p.m. (the evening of Day 4) for the two hour drive to St. Catherine’s. Upon arriving, the night hike to the top of this 7,300 foot mountain will begin. You can either hike the entire way or take a camel ride two-thirds to the top (for an additional $25). The goal is to get to the top for sunrise over Saudi Arabia! It is a spectacular experience! The hikers will then descend down the mountain and see the outside of St. Catherine’s, a Greek Orthodox monastery dating to the 4th century AD. We will then drive back to the Taba Heights hotel, arriving by mid-late morning. You will have time to enjoy the Red Sea for a short time before loading the bus for the drive back to the Israel border in the early afternoon. After crossing the border, we will drive north through the Rift Valley to the Dead Sea. In Ein Bokek, we will check into our hotel for the evening. Prior to dinner, you will have the chance to float in the Dead Sea.
DAY 6 – THURSDAY, MAY 9: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, JERICHO
We begin our day at Masada. We ascend high upon the wilderness mountain by way of cable car to the fortress built by King Herod to survey the ruins of the for ca ons, waterworks, the synagogue, temples and palaces. An optional walk down the Snake Path will be offered. Our next stop is Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul, and we enjoy a walk back to some of the waterfalls. Continuing north, we visit Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. During our late lunch, an option will be given to explore the famous “Cave 1” where the Isaiah scrolls were found in 1947. Following lunch, we visit the ruins of Qumran. Our last stop of the day will be Jericho. Here we will see portions of the wall of this city that was destroyed by Joshua. Right outside of Jericho (Kibbutz Al Mog) is our hotel where we check in, enjoy dinner together, and have an optional group gathering to end the day.
DAY 7 – FRIDAY, MAY 10: JUDEAN DESERT (WADI QELT), HILL COUNTRY OF SAMARIA, SHILOH, BETH SHEAN, GALILEE
Today we begin with a wonderful overview of the Judean Desert. At the Wadi Qelt we will listen to the words of Isaiah 40 and Psalm 23, set within the context of the desert. We then drive through the Desert of Pareth (Jeremiah 13) on our way past Michmash (1 Samuel 13-14) and Bethel (Genesis 12, 28) to Shiloh. This is where the Tabernacle stood for 369 years. It was also the place where God called Samuel (1 Samuel 3). We will see some of the ruins of Shiloh and the suggested place where the Tabernacle once stood. We end the day at Beth Shean, one of Israel’s largest archaeological sites. It is here where the body of King Saul was hung on the walls of the city (1 Samuel 31). This was also a massive Roman city located along the edge of the Jordan Valley. We will see the Roman street, bathhouse, and theater among many other things. We then drive north to the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee to our hotel for the next three nights. After checking in and dinner, we will enjoy a devotional gathering down by the water’s edge.
DAY 8 – SATURDAY, MAY 11: ARBEL, MAGDALA, CHORAZIM, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, YARDENIT, MT. OF BEATITUDES
We begin the day by visiting Arbel, a mountain on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. We have the option to hike to the top of this 800-foot cli (the bus will take others to the top from the other side). The view from here is the best there is of the whole Sea of Galilee below! From here we drive to Magdala. We see a first century synagogue where Jesus no doubt taught. Next is another New Testament city, Chorazim. This was one of the three cities condemned by Jesus (Matthew 11). We visit the third century synagogue here, built out of basaltic rock. Then we continue to Capernaum, the home center of ministry for Jesus here in Galilee. We read from Mark 1 and 2 in the 4th-5th century synagogue. Next, we enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, with a quiet and peaceful worship service. Upon landing, we also see the “Jesus boat” from the first century, a vessel found here along the shores of Galilee in 1986. Next, we travel to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and enjoy optional baptism in the Jordan River at Yardenit. We end the day by reading from Matthew 5 on the Mount of Beatitudes. We walk down the pathway, recollecting the transforming words of Jesus shared in this place. We return to our hotel for dinner and an optional gathering once again by the water.
DAY 9 – SUNDAY, MAY 12: GAMLA, QATZRIN, SYRIAN BORDER, MT. HERMON, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN
We begin the day by driving into the Golan Heights. Stopping on the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee, we are able to see Bethsaida and the area of the Feeding of the 5,000 (John 6). Then our next site is Gamla, a Jewish city that was taken by the Romans during the Revolt in the 60’s A.D. Here we see a first century synagogue (one of seven that date to the first century), as well as the ruins of the city, called the “Masada of the north.” Close by is the site of Qatzrin, a partially reconstructed Talmudic village. We see what a typical village looked like during the days of Jesus. Sitting in a reconstructed stone house, we’ll read from Mark 2 about the lame man being lowered down to Jesus through the roof. Driving along the northern border, we will look across the border with Syria to learn about the modern wars of Israel, primarily the 1967 and 1973 wars. In the afternoon, we will enjoy riding the ski lift to the top of Mt. Hermon (7,200 feet). An option will be given to hike down the path back to the ski lodge. Next, we descend the Golan Heights and visit Caesarea Philippi. It was here where Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Ma . 16). Nearby is the amazing nature preserve and archaeological site of Dan. This is one of the sources of the Jordan River. We walk through this quiet national park and impressive Old Testament city and hear the stories of disobedience that took place here (Judges 18, 1 Kings 12). We drive back through the Huleh Valley to our hotel in Tiberias. After dinner, we meet again to review the day on the water’s edge.
DAY 10 – MONDAY MAY 13: NAZARETH, MEGIDDO, MT. CARMEL, CAESAREA, JERUSALEM
This morning we head toward Nazareth where we view the city from the “precipice” from which Jesus was almost thrown. We continue into the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo (har Megiddo in Hebrew), which gave its name to Armageddon (Rev. 16). Our day continues as we ascend Mt. Carmel, site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. Descending the mountain, we drive toward Caesarea on the coast. We enter Caesarea Maritima to explore this Roman bridgehead to the east, which became the Christian springboard to the west. We end the day by driving to Jerusalem. We arrive at our hotel in Jerusalem and enjoy dinner and an optional “orientation walk” of the Old City.
DAY 11 – TUESDAY, MAY 14: JERUSALEM, MT. OF OLIVES, OLD CITY, VIA DOLOROSA, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM
We start the day with an orientation to Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. We then follow the traditional Palm Sunday route to the church known as the Dominus Flevit (“the Lord weeps”). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospels. From here we enter the Old City, where we will visit the Pool of Bethesda and St. Anne’s Church, perfectly preserved from the Crusader period with remarkable acoustics. We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) to the Holy Sepulcher, stopping along the way to consider all Christ endured on his way to His crucifixion. In the afternoon, we visit Herodium. Located on the edge of the Judean Desert, this is where Herod the Great was buried. We end the day by driving into Bethlehem. We visit the Shepherds’ Field. The day ends with shopping at an olive wood store. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem, with another optional walk.
DAY 12 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 15: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL/ TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, BURNT HOUSE, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
We begin the day by entering the Old City and visit the famous Western (Wailing) Wall, the most holy place in Judaism. After some time for personal prayer and reflection, we walk 400 yards (called the Western Wall Tunnel) along the retaining wall of the Temple Mount itself. Upon completing this unique walk, we return to the Jewish Quarter for a visit to see the Burnt House. This was a 1st century house that was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. Following this, we will visit Moshe, an Orthodox Jew to listen to him talk about his Jewish faith. In the afternoon, we see the fascinating Israel Museum and the model of Jerusalem (1:50 scale model of Herodian Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time). Here, we explore some of the artifacts in the archaeological museum. We end the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. We see the Children’s Memorial as well as walk through the museum on our own. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. A free night is planned to allow you to explore or relax.
DAY 13 – THURSDAY, MAY 16: GARDEN TOMB, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, A FEW HOURS FREE TIME
We begin the day by visiting the Garden Tomb. We also enjoy a quiet Communion Service together. From here, we spend the rest of the morning visiting the amazing ruins from Biblical days! First, we visit the City of David and the new excavations of David’s palace. Those who want to can take an optional adventurous walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long). Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes if you want to walk through the tunnel. We then sit on the steps of the Siloam Pool and listen to the story of John 9. From here, we are given the option to walk up through a Herodian drainage channel that takes us to “Robinson’s Arch” and the southern wall excavations. We walk on a Roman street and ascend the Temple steps. We ascend to the Jewish Quarter where we enjoy free time on our own. It will be a time to grab a bite to eat, explore the Old City, or shop. We enjoy a Farewell Dinner followed by a transfer to the airport for our return flight home.
DAY 14 – FRIDAY, MAY 17: ARRIVE IN U.S.A.
Today we arrive back in the U.S.A. and after proceeding through customs, we make our connecting flights back home.
*While we do our very best at making sure all items listed in your itinerary are included, there are mes when conditions beyond our control affect your program/itinerary, including but not limited to air carrier changes, delays, weather, political climate, time constraints, etc…