Day 1, The coast line of Israel
Starting our first day together we’ll be leaving Jerusalem driving up along the coastline of Israel visiting Caesarea, Acre, Haifa and eventually coming all the way to Rosh Hanikra, next to Israel’s northern border and where sea, mountain and limestone underwater caves all meet up.
We will be starting the day with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the city of Akko (Acre)/,. The recently discovered Crusaders Halls await us here, dating back to the second Crusaders Kingdom in the Holy Land. We’ll inspect the tunnels, the halls, the headquarters, the ports and much more.
The Ottoman period in the city took place during the 18th and 19th centuries.
We will get to know it through the prism of the Turkish Hamam and Napoleon’s journey of conquering the land. Following a walk through the underground, 12th century Templers Tunnels, we’ll be strolling along the alleys of Akko’s Old City, passing by the Oriental Market and the Arab mosque on our way to the old port. If time permits, we will also stop at the incredible and singular Tunisian Synagogue. we will have our breath taken away as we’ll be leaving Akko on our way to Rosh Hanikra’s incredible limestone grottos, found on the border with Lebanon and at the most northern point in Israel, on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, where we’ll enjoy the blue waves, the steep mountains and the fascinating underwater world that is created when they collide.
Our next stop for the day is the third largest city in Israel, Haifa. We will get a stunning panoramic view of the city from the Baha’i shrine and gardens. This site is the second most sacred place in the world for this young religion, trailing only behind their shrine in the vicinity of Akko, where the religion’s founder and prophet is buried) and groomed accordingly it is then no surprise that there are many who would swear the gardens here to be even more beautiful than the Versailles Gardens. To complete this experience of beauty composed of both nature and man-made structures, we will head in the direction of the Louis Promenade, where we will get a dazzling bird’s view of the city of Haifa and the bay upon which it was built.
The next and last stop for the day is the beautiful, 2000 years old city of Caesarea. It was built by none other than the Great Herod himself and soon after it became the ancient Roman capital in the governor’s time. Here, we will enjoy the old Roman Theather and the hippodrome, the beautiful palaces, the Roman streets, the Crusaders city with the moat and of course, the aquaduct, providing us with an eyeful of these and many other archeological ruins and findings. The day will be made complete with some of the best ice cream in Israel at the Crusaders port.
Day 2: Golan Heights.
Our day will start at Tel Dan, and archeological site preserving the town Laish, which existed here since the biblical days of Abraham and which was later conquered by the tribe of Dan after a long and arduous fight against the Philistines.
It later becomes the city that King Jeroboam decided to turn into the capital of his northern Kingdom of Israel, building there a temple for the Israelites to worship at.
The most important archeological inscribing in Israel was found here and this is also the site of the second most ancient Canaanites gate in the world.
The nature reserve here protects the Dan stream, which is also the main source of water to the Sea of Galilee, providing about 90% of the waters of the upper Jordan River and allowing us to more fully enjoy nature – God’s greatest gift. This gives the opportunity to follow many, different hike routes involving water and it’s even possible to take a dip in a nice, small pond.
From Tel Dan we will continue to the stream known as Caesarea Philippi (or the Banias), where Saint Peter was given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Before that, the place was dedicated to Pan, the Greek Lord of shepherds, through a temple that was standing here. It is also where Agrippa the Second chose to build his palace.
Yet all this amazing history will feel like just an added bonus when you find yourself in the lush and fantastic nature park reserve that we have here. Though not the biggest of stream, it nurtures the unbelievably green zone around it and there we’ll see its spectacular falls and the hanging bridge which was built across it.
After having lunch at the outstanding restaurant of Dag Al Hadan we will pass through several Druze villages built on the Golan Heights and visit one, learning more about their intriguing culture and way of life as we also get to enjoy the sight of Mount Hermon and the Nimrod Castle.
Arriving at mount Bental will provide us with a panoramic view of the Valley of Tears and Syria. From this viewpoint, we will observe the 1967 ceasefire line and try to comprehend the wars Israel has had to wage, including the most difficult one of all, the Yom Kippur War, delve into the reasons for our being here and finally, touch upon the importance of the Golan Heights being Israeli.
If time allows it, we will have a terrific opportunity in Kazrin, the only city in the Golan and therefore its official ‘capital’, to visit the Golan Heights Winery, the finest in Israel, where we will discover this unusual branch of agriculture which was actually one of the very first to be developed by Jewish settlers in this land.
By leaving the border with Syria, we’ll start heading back to our hotel.
p.s we have an option to visit in a chocolate factory with special activities for the children
Day 3: Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.
The Galilee is at the very heart of Jesus’ life. Here, we’ll retrace his steps and, through the land, focus our attention on the landmarks that have shaped his path and have laid the foundations for the essence of the Christian faith. After all, it is not for nothing that the Galilee has often been referred to as ‘Jesus Land’.
We’ll begin our journey by driving up north through beautiful, green landscapes. While on our way, we’ll have the opportunity to see the distinguished Valley of Isra-El, more widely known as the ‘Valley of Armageddon’. This is believed to be the future site for the final battle at the End of Times.
Such a spiritual journey can only have one place as its first stop: the city of Nazareth. The childhood village of Jesus, where he spent most of his short life, is full of meaning for millions of Christian followers worldwide. A good place for us to start exploring this is the remarkable Church of Annunciation, built at the very spot where, according to tradition, the arch-angel Gabriel had announced the upcoming birth of Jesus to his mother, Mary, while informing her of the role he will be fulfilling for all humankind.
Right next door to it, we’ll find the Church of St. Joseph. Here, according to tradition, stood both Joseph’s house and his carpentry workshop. Beholding this humble beginning will allow us a glimpse into how Jesus’ childhood environment was shaped.
We’ll then head onwards from this mountainous city to the Sea of Galilee. On the way, we’ll briefly pass through Cana, where Jesus performed the first of many miracles, known as the Wedding (or the Wine) Miracle.
A very significant stage in Jesus’ life awaits us right ahead, on the Mount of Beatitudes. This is where the famous and quintessential Sermon on the Mount was delivered. We’ll visit the beautiful church that the architect Antonio Barluzzi had built eighty years ago and we’ll try to understand together why this place, more than any other, is so important to all of the different Christian denominations.
As the blue waters of the Sea of Galilee shimmer in the sun, beckoning us, we’ll make our way to Tabgha which lies on the sea’s shore. This is the wonderful backdrop to our visit at the Church of the Multiplication, where Jesus performed the notable miracle of the Loaves and Fishes.
Our main stop for the day, however, is Capernaum. Not only is this the village where Jesus spent three years of his life, residing in the house of St. Peter’s mother-in-law, but it’s also where he took a step that most people will describe as cardinal, the setting up of his own ministry.
Our day will be concluded with an enjoyable stay at the unique Jordan River baptismal site known as Yardenit. This spot, where the Jordan River departs the Sea of Galilee on its way to the Dead Sea, will allow us to get an idea of what it was like for Jesus, as well as many others who came to the river, to be baptized by John the Baptist.
Should we have the time, we’ll make a quick stop in the vicinity of Kibbutz Degania. In this place, immortalized in Israeli poetry, we’ll recount the story of the kibbutzim movement, which has no parallel outside of Israel.
At this point we will start heading to our hotel at the sea of Galilee