Discover some of Israel’s best-known religious, historical and natural splendors on this 2-day tour. Leave the bustle of Tel Aviv behind and take in some of the holiest sites of Old Jerusalem and Bethlehem with a guide before staying overnight in Jerusalem. The next day, drive through the Judean Desert and ride the cable car up to the ancient mountaintop ruins of Masada. Then, pass the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and enjoy free time to relax and float in the waters of the Dead Sea before your return to Tel Aviv.
Your tour includes round-trip transport by air-conditioned coach; guided tours in Old Jerusalem and Bethlehem; overnight accommodation in Jerusalem, and breakfast on Day 2.
Departing from Tel Aviv in your air-conditioned coach, stop at the Mount of Olives for scenic views of the Dome of the Rock at the Temple Mount Esplanade of Old Jerusalem.
Pass the Garden of Gethsemane before continuing into the Old City. See the famous Western Wall (Wailing Wall) which functions as an open-air synagogue, before walking the pilgrimage route of the Via Dolorosa. Look out for the 14 Stations of the Cross as you trace Jesus' steps to the site of his crucifixion at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
A short 6-mile coach journey takes you to Bethlehem, where you will see the Manger Square - flanked by the Church of the Nativity and also the Mosque of Oman. From here you will go on to explore the Milk Grotto (where Mary was said to feed the baby Jesus) before visiting the Shepherd Fields where the 'shepherds watched their flocks by night'. You will then be driven to your overnight accommodation at the following hotel (or one of a similiar tourist grade standard):
- Park Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem
After breakfast the next morning, you will set off through the Judean desert before arriving at the cable car which will take you to the mountaintop site of Masada. It was here that King Herod built two fortified palaces over 2,000 years ago.
Continue to the Dead Sea passing by bus to the Ein Gedi oasis to the ancient caves of Qumran.
Final stop is the Dead Sea, where you'll have approximately two hours to relax on a mineral beach and opportunity to float in the salt-rich water, 400m (1,312 ft) below sea level! Don't miss the chance to have a mud bath in the world's richest source of natural salts.
On the drive back to Tel Aviv, see the ancient city of Jericho, referred to in the Hebrew Bible as the 'City of Palm Trees' from the distance, before your multi-day tour concludes at approximately 5:00pm.