Israel: Land of Cultural Treasures

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DETAILS

Take a cultural journey through Israel, exploring the country’s diverse religious heritage, architecture, dramatic landscapes and culinary traditions. Begin in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. Visit a colorful market and artist’s studio in Jaffa and cruise the Sea of Galilee. Explore Akko’s Crusader fort, an ancient fishing village and the scenic Mount of Beatitudes. Savor local olive oils and wine and dine on a traditional Druze lunch in a private home. See Old Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, the Western Wall and the Davidson Center. Spend time at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial, and speak with a survivor. Gaze upon the Dead Sea and witness six UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Western Galilee. Our small-group adventure features expert-led discussions and first-class accommodations.

Pricing from
$4,195

 

 

Trip Type
Individual Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
Departure Dates
Jan 26, 2020 - Feb 4, 2020

HOTELS

Carlton Tel Aviv
This modern beachfront hotel is one of the most favored in Tel Aviv and is located near many of the city’s landmarks including Independence Park, Gordon Beach and the Old Port. Guests can relax in the Rooftop Bar, dine at The Blue Sky Restaurant featuring local seafood and breathtaking views or enjoy casual dining with a view at Carlton on the Beach. The property features a full-service spa and a pool set on the 15th floor overlooking the Mediterranean. Guest rooms have modern appointments with wood accents and fine fabrics, and complimentary Wi-Fi is available.

David Citadel Hotel – Jerusalem
This luxury hotel is situated in the center of Jerusalem, a short walk to the venerable Old City. Guests will enjoy relaxing in the Lobby Lounge, an ideal place for recounting the day’s adventures with a cocktail in hand. The on-site Seasons Restaurant offers all-day dining and an extensive menu of local specialties. The property offers a gym with up-to-date equipment and a luxurious L’Occitane spa. Guest rooms are beautifully appointed in a modern style with rich touches of wood and fine fabrics. Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the hotel.

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TOUR MAP

ISRAEL20_Map

ITINERARY

  • day 1

    Depart gateway city

  • day 2

    Tel Aviv, Israel

    Arrive at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

    Transfer to Carlton Tel Aviv. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

    Tonight, meet your fellow travelers at an exclusive Welcome Reception at the hotel.

  • day 3

    Tel Aviv, Israel

    Discovery: The Ancient Port of Jaffa. 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    Located just a few miles up the coast from Tel Aviv, Jaffa is one of the most enchanting, old-world places in Israel. Founded in 1909, on the dunes north of the old Arab city of Yafo (Jaffa), the newly built, middle-class suburb of Tel Aviv experienced rapid growth and an influx of wealth as Jews moved out of the overcrowded city. Experience this captivating Old Town atmosphere as you stroll the cobbled alleyways, browse the flea market and visit with local artists.

    Discovery: Neve Tzedek. 
    Activity level: Mild 

    Enjoy a walking tour of the artsy Neve Tzedek neighborhood, known for its avant-garde design stores, fashion boutiques and handicraft shops, as well as a restored railway station. Trendy European restaurants sit alongside stylish bistros and al fresco cafes. The area, considered to be one of Tel Aviv’s prettiest districts, attracts legions of walking visitors thanks to its amazing architecture, cultural legacy and village-like atmosphere.

    Free Time: Spend time at leisure, and sample fare at a local restaurant for lunch or browse the stalls of local merchants.

    Discovery: Museum of the Jewish Diaspora.
    Activity level: Moderate 

    Beit Hatfutsot, or the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, gives visitors a compelling historical account of the Jewish people. Learn about 2,500 years of history, from when the Jewish tribes were exiled from the land of Israel land until current times.

    Free Time: The balance of the evening is at your leisure.

  • day 4

    Tel Aviv | Caesarea | Akko | Tiberias

    Discovery: White City of Tel Aviv. 
    Activity level: Mild 

    Tel Aviv boasts the world’s largest collection of Bauhaus-style buildings with over 1,500 examples located throughout the city. In 2003, this Bauhaus District was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site under the name, “The White City.” Admire the district’s beautiful architecture during a panoramic tour.

    Discovery: The Mediterranean Coast. 
    Activity level: Mild

    Depart Tel Aviv and travel to Tiberias. En route, visit Caesarea, an archeological park that was first settled in the fourth century B.C. See many of the city’s highlights, such as Herod’s massive Roman theater, and the magnificent hippodrome, which once hosted gladiator games and horse and chariot racing. Marvel at Herod’s spectacular aqueduct that carried spring water from the foothills of Mount Carmel and view the Crusader Wall and fortifications. Then watch a multimedia presentation about the history of the city.

    Delight in local flavors during lunch with your group. Whether you’re dipping fresh pita into hummus or eating shwarma, a sliced grilled lamb often served with bread, your senses will succumb to the flavors of Israel. Finish your meal with sweet baklava or knafeh, a shredded pastry with cheese and sweet syrup.

    Discovery: Ancient Akko. 
    Activity level: Mild 

    Visit the walled city of Akko (historic Acre), the most complete and well-preserved town in the Holy Land, outside of Jerusalem. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001, this old Arab port sits on a spit of land jutting into the Mediterranean Sea. The city’s picturesque waterfront has magnificent stone buildings, beautiful archways, and a labyrinth of alleyways, churches and green-roofed mosques. The Old City is characterized by thick fortifications, imposing towers and splendid 18th-century ramparts. Situated underneath the city’s magnificent Turkish architecture is one of its finest attractions, the subterranean Crusader City (1104-1291).

    Continue to Tiberias and check in to the U Boutique Kinneret Hotel by the Sea of Galilee.

  • day 5

    Tiberias | Tabgha | Capernaum | Golan Heights

    Discovery: Upper Galilee and Capernaum. 
    Activity level: Mild Moderate Active

    Embark on a scenic cruise on the Sea of Galilee (weather permitting). Visit the ancient fishing village of Tabgha. Christian tradition holds that Tabgha was the setting where Jesus of Nazareth urged his first disciples to leave their fishing boats and follow him in his ministry. Continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, believed by many to be the site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In nearby Capernaum, visit an impressive ancient synagogue, which boasts an exterior with Jewish motifs, and the House of Peter, a home where Jesus is believed to have lodged. (Mild)

    Discovery: Olive Oil Flavors. 
    Activity level: Mild

    This region is well known for growing high-quality olives. Savor the buttery flavors of freshly pressed olive oil during a tasting and tour at a local factory. Learn how the oils are made and taste local wines.

    Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant with your fellow adventurers.

    Discovery: Golan Heights Winery. 
    Activity level: Mild

    This area of Israel is recognized as one of the country’s most favorable grape-growing regions. From Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, let your taste buds explore the flavors of the local vintages during a wine tasting.

    Dinner is served at the hotel this evening.

  • day 6

    Tiberias | Megiddo | Haifa | Jerusalem

    Discovery: Tel Megiddo — A Focus on Archaeology. 
    Activity level: Mild 

    Explore the archaeological mound of Megiddo, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back approximately 8,000 years. These impressive ruins have more than 25 layers of settlements! See the fortified cities and walk through an underground tunnel from the Iron Age, which once served as a water system.

    Enrichment: Meet the People and Local Flavors. Enjoy an authentic Druze lunch in at family home. The Druze cuisine is often characterized by special blends of spices such as turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and paprika.

    Discovery: On the Slopes of Mount Carmel. 
    Activity level: Mild

    Haifa, Israel’s third largest city and a renowned high-technology industrial center, rests at the foot of Mount Carmel. Israel’s only natural harbor, the Bay of Haifa, has provided safe anchorage for ships since the second century, when the town was just a small trading port along one of the Mediterranean’s oldest sea lanes. One of Haifa’s most striking landmarks is the Bahá’í World Centre. The complex features the gold-domed Shrine of the Báb and magnificent terraced gardens with black iron gates, stone balustrades, fountains and manicured lawns.

    Continue your journey to Jerusalem and check in to the David Citadel.

    Enrichment: Is it Finally Time for a Peace Deal? Listen as an expert presents an assessment of Israeli-Palestinian relations during a fascinating lecture and discussion at the hotel.

  • day 7

    Jerusalem

    Discovery: In-depth Jerusalem. 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    Situated in the Judean hills, to the west of the Dead Sea, the ancient walled city of Jerusalem is the spiritual heart of three world faiths — Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Discover the many religious shrines, temples, churches and mosques housed in the Old City of Jerusalem. See Temple Mount, believed to be the site of the Temple of Jerusalem, the holiest place in Judaism. Pause for a moment of reflection at the Western Wall. Walk along a portion of the Via Dolorosa, believed to be the route Jesus took between his sentencing by Pilate and his crucifixion, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed to be the burial site of Jesus. During your tour, enjoy stunning panoramic views from the Mount of Olives, and see artifacts from excavations and informative multimedia presentations at the interpretive Davidson Center.

    Lunch on falafel at a popular restaurant in the lively Arab Quarter, a neighborhood famous for its colorful souks (markets) overflowing with spices, mint tea, aromatic coffees, leather goods and many other interesting goods.

    Free Time: Spend time at leisure to explore the many wonders of Jerusalem and enjoy dinner on your own this evening.

  • day 8

    Masada | Ein Bokek | Jerusalem

    Discovery: Judean Desert Drama and a Sea of Salt. 
    Activity level: Mild

    Spend a poignant morning at the site of Masada, an isolated flattop rock overlooking the Dead Sea. King Herod chose this site to build a fortress for himself and his family. It is also the site of a significant time in history when brave Jewish rebels rose up against Rome in a fight for freedom.

    Activity level: Mild
    After your tour, explore more of the fortress/museum during free time. Then descend 1,378 feet below sea level to Ein Bokek on the shoreline of the Dead Sea, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. Relax on the beach, or enjoy a swim in the salty Dead Sea.

    Dine on local fare for lunch near the Dead Sea. Later this evening, craft your own itinerary during free time and dinner at your leisure.

  • day 9

    Jerusalem

    Discovery: A Poignant Monument. 
    Activity level: Moderate

    Yad Vashem is Israel’s memorial and place of commemoration for the millions who perished in the Holocaust. Carved out of the hillside, the sprawling complex has 10 exhibition halls, each dedicated to a different chapter of the Holocaust. Tour the exhibition halls and galleries and see the Hall of Names, a touching memorial to the lives taken during the Holocaust.

    Enrichment: A Survivor Speaks. Partake in a question-and-answer session with a Yad Vashem guide and hear a personal account of his/her experiences during World War II.

    Free Time: Machane Yehuda Market. Journey to the bustling Machane Yehuda Market where you can shop with locals at open-air stalls. Sample tasty specialties, or shop for clothing and spices on your own.

    Gather this evening for a Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers and share your favorite experiences from your time in Israel.

  • day 10

    Depart for gateway city

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