BEST OF ISRAEL OVERLAND
This absolutely amazing 2-day adventure fully showcases the mesmerizing sights and heritage of this truly extraordinary country. The memories of your time spent immersing yourself in the cultural environment and sounds of this captivating land will no doubt remain with you long after you have left its borders.
Departing the port of Haifa, you will have a scenic drive into the Judean Hills en route to Jerusalem. The capital of Israel, Jerusalem is famous for its timeless beauty and was once considered the center of the world. Your tour will begin with a stop at the Mount of Olives. From this viewpoint high above the city, you will have the opportunity to view all of the city spread in front of you. This sight is breathtaking.
Next, you will start your walking tour of the Old City. Entering via the Jaffa Gate, your walk will take you past some of the most sacred sites in religious history. Your route will flank the colorful bazaar, and pass by the Christian Quarter, part of the Via Dolorosa and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, the third-holiest site in Islam. You will then view the famous Western, or Wailing Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish world. A visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is also included. Perched on Golgotha Hill, the church marks the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
Your morning finishes up with a visit to the Davidson Center, offering a rare opportunity to explore and study the most significant archaeological site in the country by means of exhibitions and illustrations describing Jerusalem's main episodes. The center serves as an extension of the Archaeological Park, highlighting its main features. Here, you'll be invited to embark on a 60-minute excursion through Second-Temple-period Jerusalem. During your visit you'll be able to interactively explore the Herodian Temple Mount reconstruction using a supercomputer.
Leaving the Old City, it is time for lunch in Jerusalem in one of the restaurants serving authentic food. After lunch, proceed through the Judean Hills to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, located on the desert rim. Upon arrival, you will visit the renowned Church of the Nativity, built over a grotto that is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.
Back on your coach you will drive to your hotel for some free time at your leisure. Dinner will be at a local restaurant. After dinner, depart for a sightseeing drive through the streets of Jerusalem. You will pass by some important landmarks, including the Hebrew University, the Israel Museum, the Shrine of the Book, the Knesset (Israel's Parliament), the State Supreme High Court and the illuminated Old City walls- an unforgettable site that is for sure.
Please note: The sights on this tour are not wheelchair accessible and therefore, it is not available to wheelchair guests. There is a substantial amount of activity, including strenuous walking and some steep steps to negotiate and it is not considered suitable for those guests with mobility concerns. Light-weight clothing, caps and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. When visiting the religious sites, your head must be covered and conservative attire is required. Shorts and sleeveless shirts are not permitted. Order of sites visited may vary.
Starting your day with a buffet breakfast at the hotel, depart for a fly by drive through Jerusalem city one more time before arriving to the Israel Museum grounds. Upon arrival, you will see the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. You will also stop by the extremely-detailed scale model of ancient Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple. The model was made using the same materials that were used during the times of the original construction, including marble, stone, wood, copper and iron. Completed in 1969, the model is continuously updated based on the latest archaeological findings.
It is now time to leave Jerusalem and drive towards Tel- Aviv. Your adventure begins with a panoramic drive through Tel Aviv. It's a beachside metropolis of modern tower blocks and skyscrapers that's grown out of Old Jaffa. You'll pass the Tel Aviv Art Museum and the Habimah National Theatre, the Yitzhak Rabin's memorial, erected on the site of his assassination, before driving down Rothschild Boulevard - the new city's centrepiece - to admire the Bauhaus buildings that boosted Tel Aviv into the UNESCO heritage hall of fame. Next, you will pass by the Tel Aviv art museum, the Golda Meir Museum, and the Tel Aviv court Premises. You will have some free time in the Neve Tzedek renovated train station as well as the colourful market nearby. Your guide will wait in the meeting place next to bus. Lunch will be at a local oriental restaurant.
Following lunch you will start your tour of Old Jaffa, one of the oldest cities in the world. You'll drive through the pretty harbour where Jaffa oranges were once loaded onto boats to be shipped all over the world and check out the ancient walled quarter. Then, have your camera ready for a photo stop at Jaffa's observation point, overlooking the 'white city' of Tel Aviv.
Before heading back to the ship in Ashdod port, you will have some free time to explore a little of Jaffa art galleries, the Old port place and maybe to sit and relax in one of the café places you find there.
6.00am Ship overnight alongside at Haifa Port, Israel.
7.00am Drive to Jerusalem
**Approximately 2- 2.5 hour drive. Restrooms not available on the buses. No comfort stop is scheduled.
9.00am Drive to the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view over the Old City.
9:30am Drive to the Old City
10.00am Walking tour of the Old City - approximately 2 hours
There is a considerable amount of walking during this portion of the tour on sometimes uneven ground. While passing through the old town it is imperative to always follow your guide as this is also a bazaar and can be busy. Note that there are steps to negotiate at the Church in order to visit. No bare shoulders are permitted and knees must be covered.
12.00pm Visit the Davidson Center.
1.00pm Drive for lunch
2.15pm Drive to Bethlehem
2:45pm Visit the church + Shopping stop (30 min)
4:45pm Drive to the hotel in Jerusalem
5.15pm Check in and free time
7.30pm Drive for Dinner + Dinner
9.00pm Panoramic Drive of Jerusalem by night.
Overnight at the hotel in Jerusalem.
Breakfast at the hotel.
8.00am Panoramic drive through Jerusalem towards the Israel Museum. Visit the Shrine of the Book and the Model of Jerusalem at the Israel Museum.
9.30am Drive to Tel- Aviv
10.30am Panoramic drive in the White city - a chance to see all landmarks
11.30pm Free time in Tel- Aviv
12.30pm Drive to Jaffa for Lunch
12.45pm Lunch in Old Jaffa- Oriental restaurant
1.45pm A guided tour in Jaffa as well as 40 Min free time
3.15pm Drive back to the port in Ashdod
4:45pm Approximate arrival back at the ship
Please Note: Times are subject to change and your guide will update you as you go. This tour includes extensive walking, and is only recommended for guests in good physical condition. This tour is NOT wheelchair accessible. Please be reminded in religious locations to have shoulders and knees covered. Order of the visits may vary.
Expected Weather: the average temperature in May: high 78Fº and low 60Fº. Please take sun-screen, light jacket in case it rains.
What to Bring: comfortable, non-slip walking shoes and change of clothing.
Currency: The current official currency of Israel is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS) US$ 1 = approx. NIS 3.93
Electricity: The Israeli power supply is single phase 220 volts at 50 Hertz. Most power sockets in Israel have three pin holes, but many of them will work with double-pin European plugs. Visitors who want to use shavers, traveling irons and other small appliances may need both transformers and adaptor plugs.
Luggage: Overnight bag
Documents and Visa Requirements: All visitors to Israel must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date they enter the country and check visa regulations with the Israeli Consulate in their country of residence.
Accommodation: One-night stay at a 5* hotel in Jerusalem.
Program Includes for guests:
One-night stay at the 5* Hotel in Jerusalem - David Citadel in Jerusalem or similar
One breakfast, two lunches and one dinner - includes bottled water and juice.
All transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees as per program.
Program Excludes for guests:
Any item not mentioned above.
All meals and drinks not specified above, tips to drivers and tour guide, gratuities, laundry, telephone calls, cancellation insurance, and other personal items.