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Israel & Palestine: Ancient Lands, Modern Challenges

Group Tour

11 Days From £3,495

Overview

Israel’s diminutive size (barely one-sixth the size of New York State) belies an historical, religious, strategic and political significance which few other countries even come close to matching. Often referred to as ‘The Holy Land’ it has been attracting pilgrims and tourists for centuries and on this diverse 11-day tour, we will delve deeper into the psyche of this fascinating and controversial country visiting not only some of the world’s most revered religious sites but also exploring some of ...
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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

10 x Breakfasts
8 x Lunches
5 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

Depending on group size we will use an air-conditioned van or minibus throughout.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

4 nights x Premium
6 nights x Superior

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in several comfortable hotels, two kibbutzim (traditional communes) and a guesthouse. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability..

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Israel & Palestine: Ancient Lands, Modern Challenges
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TEL AVIV

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TEL AVIV

The tour starts this afternoon in Jaffa, the oldest part of Tel Aviv. After checking in to our centrally located hotel, we will have an introductory briefing before moving on to happy hour drinks and snacks.

Shalom & Relax or similar

DAY 2: TEL AVIV - AKKO

DAY 2: TEL AVIV - AKKO

This morning we will drive north via Caesarea, the capital of Israel during the Roman and Byzantine eras, to view the impressive aqueducts. From here we continue north to Rosh Hanikra, where we will take the steep cable car journey (weather dependent) down to the beautiful caves, formed by thousands of years of sea erosion. We then travel to the ancient crusader port and capital of Akko for a delicious falafel lunch before exploring the vast crusader halls and the secret tunnel connecting them. The evening is free to explore this charming UNESCO town independently.

Acco Beach Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 3: AKKO - GOLAN HEIGHTS

DAY 3: AKKO - GOLAN HEIGHTS

We leave Akko and head east towards the Golan Heights, a green plateau overlooking the Sea of Galilee and Hula Valley. The area has a contentious history and has been much fought over between Israel and Syria in the previous century. Despite historical tensions continuing to today, the area is nevertheless a very scenic and (perhaps ironically) peaceful alcove of Israel where you'll find farms, vineyards and Druze communities. We will stop for a 2hr trail walk to the enchanting Banias Waterfall before then driving to Buqata village for a traditional lunch with a Druze family. Our next stop will be at the Mt Bental viewpoint, from where on a clear day we can see Syria, before arriving at a kibbutz in Merom Golan. Our day ends with a short walking tour of the kibbutz, guided by a resident, including the underground bomb shelter, houses and playground.

Kibbutz Merom Golan or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: GOLAN HEIGHTS - GALILEE – SAFED

DAY 4: GOLAN HEIGHTS - GALILEE – SAFED

We depart this morning for the famous Sea of Galilee, a large freshwater lake best known for being the location where Jesus supposedly lived. We will explore the significant religious sites of the area; the Mountain of Beatitudes, where Jesus is believed to have taught his Sermon on the Mount, Tabgha, home to the Church of the Miracle of the Fish and Loaves, and Capernaum where we’ll find the House of St. Peter. We then continue to the picturesque predominantly Jewish hilltop village of Safed, one of Judaism’s holiest, to check into our boutique hotel, hidden away in the Artists’ Quarter.

The Way Inn or similar
Breakfast

DAY 5: SAFED – NAZARETH

DAY 5: SAFED – NAZARETH

This morning we will discover some of Israel’s natural charms by taking a lovely 5km walk through the attractive Amud Stream Nature Reserve. We will then drive to Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel, to discover not only the wonderful Church of the Annunciation, believed to be built on the home of the Virgin Mary, but also some of Israel’s culinary secrets during a cookery class, hosted at our charming guesthouse accommodation.

Al-Hakim Boutique Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: NAZARETH - NABLUS – JERICHO

DAY 6: NAZARETH - NABLUS – JERICHO

We begin the day by crossing the Palestinian border to the historical West Bank town of Nablus, famous for producing olive oil soap, which we will discover at a soap factory today. We will also have time to explore the extensive and atmospheric souk which will provide us with an on-the-go traditional lunch. In the afternoon we will head to the oasis town of Jericho, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world.

Oasis Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: JERICHO - WADI QELT – DEAD SEA

DAY 7: JERICHO - WADI QELT – DEAD SEA

We discover the landscapes of the Judaean Desert this morning, starting with a stunning walk through Wadi Qelt, a dramatic canyon containing trickling springs and picturesque pools. From here we’ll head to the imposing Mount of Temptations, the supposed site where Jesus was tempted by the Devil. A cable car ride up the mountain allows us to explore the monastery here. Our journey then takes us south along the Jordan Valley to Ein Gedi, set on the banks of the Dead Sea, where we will relax on the beach and float in the famous salty waters.

Ein Gedi Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: DEAD SEA - MASADA - BETHLEHEM – JERUSALEM

DAY 8: DEAD SEA - MASADA - BETHLEHEM – JERUSALEM

This morning we head for Masada, where the remains of Herod’s magnificent palace sit atop a lofty plateau overlooking the Dead Sea and Judean Desert. The history of the fortress here is incredibly moving and hugely significant in the history of the Jewish people. We plan to walk up the snaking path to reach Masada for sunrise leaving ample time to take in this iconic landmark. Later we’ll take the cable car down before driving to Bethlehem, home of Church of the Nativity. We aim to have lunch served at Ma’an Lil-hayat, a project providing craft skills and meals to people with disabilities from nearby refugee camps and villages. As part of our time here, we’ll visit the Walled-Off Hotel - whose tagline is the 'The Best hotel With The Worst View' - which contains an interesting museum about the separation wall and the whole Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Later we’ll cross back to Israel through the wall itself on foot through a checkpoint (not normally required for foreign visitors to Bethlehem but an essential and memorable experience in our opinion), before travelling on to our final destination, the holy city of Jerusalem.

Gloria Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9: JERUSALEM

DAY 9: JERUSALEM

Today we'll experience just some of what makes Jerusalem not only the cultural and spiritual centre of the Jewish people but also indisputably significant to both Islam and Christianity. One of the oldest cities in the world, the ‘City of Gold’ is a fascinatingly unique place where the first century rubs shoulders with the twenty-first century. After a panoramic view of the city from the Mount of Olives we’ll begin our half-day offbeat walking city tour ending with a light lunch within the walls of the Old City. This afternoon is free to relax or take in more of the city’s religious and historical sites independently or perhaps to visit Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre.

Gloria Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10: JERUSALEM (SETTLERS & PALESTINIANS)

DAY 10: JERUSALEM (SETTLERS & PALESTINIANS)

We begin the day by heading out of Jerusalem to the settlement of Efrat, established in 1983. Efrat is considered an illegal settlement under international law but this is contested by both the Israeli settlers who live there and the Israeli Government. We'll have the opportunity to speak to one of the settlers who'll explain their position and their beliefs, providing some insight into this very contentious part of life in Israel. Following this insightful experience we’ll then drive to the nearby picturesque Palestinian village of Battir, recognised by UNESCO for its traditional irrigation channels and agricultural terraces. A short walk through the fertile valley takes us to a local guesthouse, where we’ll enjoy a homemade lunch and be able to talk with a Palestinian family about their experiences. Finally, hopefully somewhat wiser, we will return to Jerusalem for our farewell dinner.

Gloria Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: TOUR ENDS IN JERUSALEM

DAY 11: TOUR ENDS IN JERUSALEM

We have the morning free to soak up the atmosphere one last time before those on the suggested flight will be transferred to the airport in nearby Tel Aviv. For everyone else, the tour ends this morning after breakfast.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

L'Arche Bethlehem

On this tour there will be lots of opportunities to benefit local communities with perhaps the most notable being our planned lunch in Bethlehem at L’Arche Bethlehem. This much-praised project provides craft skills and meals to people with disabilities from nearby refugee camps and villages.

Supplementary Information

What’s In A Name?

It is often said that if you ask two Israelis or two Palestinians their opinion on any subject you’re likely to get at least three different answers! Such is the controversy and complexity that surrounds this region and it is seemingly impossible to refer to the region without making some sort of political statement. The British Foreign Office refers to the whole region as “Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” while others, including the Bradt guide, refer to much of what is often termed “the West Bank” as “Palestine”, a name that has been in use for centuries but, although recognised by approximately two-thirds of the world’s countries, is not currently recognised as a state by the UN. At Wild Frontiers we consider ourselves engaged in the issues but ultimately apolitical. As such we have chosen to refer to this trip in its title as take place in “Israel” to reflect the main cultural focus of the trip rather than to assert any geo-political statement. Most of the places visited on the trip lie exclusively in land controlled by Israel although we will also visit both lands and people living in areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The situation with regards to Jerusalem is much more complicated with both Israelis & Palestinians laying claim to the city. Welcome to the wonderfully complex world of the heart of the Middle East!

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 165 London Heathrow (LHR) 08:00 Tel Aviv Ben Gurion (TLV) 14:50
BA 164 Tel Aviv Ben Gurion (TLV) 16:40 London Heathrow (LHR) 20:00

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Israel & the Palestinian Territories.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

NB. It should also be noted that anyone with a passport showing evidence of having visited Israel (including having entered or left Jordan/Egypt from posts which are known to border Israel) are likely to be denied a visa for countries such as Sudan. The current policy on arrival in Tel Aviv is for visitors to be given an entry card by Immigration officials rather than a stamp in their passport. This situation may alter in the future with the ever changing political issues within this region.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Additional Time in Jerusalem

Rich in lore, history and religious significance, Jerusalem is a city that evokes the very essence of this intriguing region. If you have more time at your disposal then you may want to consider extending your stay to explore this fascinating city.
Allow 1-2 days.

 

Jordan

 From Jerusalem, Jordan can be easily accessed via the Allenby Bridge crossing. And once there, allow anywhere from 3-10 days to take in the many sights there. While the Rose Red City of Petra may be the most famous, the desert scenery of Wadi Rum, the Roman city of Jerash and the crusader castle of Kerak all make worthwhile visits.
Allow 6-7 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

The varied landscapes of these ancient lands experience a greater fluctuation in temperatures than might initially be thought. Winters, especially in Jerusalem, can often bring snow whilst summers by the Dead Sea can be blisteringly hot. As such, spring and autumn are typically considered the best times to travel where you can expect daytime temperatures to be in the early to mid-20s (C) making it an ideal time to explore the many facets of this endlessly fascinating country.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, however, please note there will be several walks on offer (typically 1-3hrs in duration) which you should be able to undertake if wanting to get the most out of the tour.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.
On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 4424 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION