DAY 1: TEL AVIV ARRIVAL - TABGHA – CAESAREA PHILIPPI - MT. OF BEATITUDES - CAPERNAUM - SEA OF GALILEE
Upon your arrival at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International airport our representative will meet and assist in your transfer to the hotel in Jerusalem. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
DAY 2: JERUSALEM - OLD CITY - BETHLEHEM
After breakfast at hotel, we dedicate our day to visiting the Christian Shrines of Jerusalem. We descend to the Garden of Gethsemane, visit the Church of All Nations, and see the Mount of Olives. Continue through the Kidron Valley, passing the Pillar of Absolom. We drive southwards to Bethlehem where we see Rachel's Tomb and Shepherds' Field. We visit the Church of the Nativity and St. Catherine's Church. After lunch in Bethlehem we will drive back to Jerusalem. We will visit the Pools of Bethesda, the Church of St. Ann. We walk along the 14 Stations of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) - the route Jesus took to Crucifixion, visit Ecce Homo, the Lithostratos and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We exit from Jaffa Gate. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Jerusalem.
DAY 3: JERUSALEM - NEW CITY
After breakfast at the hotel, we go through Dung Gate and visit the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Temple Area with the Dome of the Rock. Then walk through the Jewish Quarter and the Cardo Maximus. On Mount Zion we visit the Room of the Last Supper (the Cenacle). We see the traditional tomb of King David, the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (the possible house of Caiaphas) and the Dormition Abbey. We continue on to visit the New City of Jerusalem where we see the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Shrine of the Book of the Israel Museum, see the Knesset and the model of the ancient Herodian Jerusalem. It is a scale model depicting Jerusalem as it might have appeared in the 1st century. Visit of the Garden Tomb which is an ancient Jewish sepulcher matching the New Testament description of the tomb in which Jesus was buried. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
DAY 4: JERUSALEM - EN GEDE - MASADA - DEAD SEA - QUMRAM - BETHANY - JERUSALEM
After breakfast at hotel we drive to Masada dropping 1300 ft. below sea level to the Dead Sea (salt sea), passing through the Wilderness of Judea. We pass En Gede to Masada where we ride cable cars to the top to visit Herod's luxurious winter palace and fortress, site of the Zealots' last stand against the Romans. Lunch by the Dead Sea. Then we visit the archaeological site of Qumram. See the remains of the Essene community and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947 after 2,000 years. Return to Jerusalem. We stop for a while in the village of Bethany, home of Mary, Martha to visit the Church and Tomb of Lazarus. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
DAY 5: JERUSALEM - JERICHO - JORDAN RIVER VALLEY - BETH SHEAN – TIBERIAS
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Jericho, believed to be the most ancient city in the world, it is the site of Joshua's first dramatic conquest when the city walls collapsed at the sound of his trumpets. [Josh 4:5-6]. See Elisha's spring and the Mount of Temptation. Drive north along the Jordan River through the Valley of Jezreel, Mount Tabor, which constitutes a natural stronghold towering over the fertile Valley of Jezreel, and affords an unforgettable view. But the chief significance of Mount Tabor for the pilgrim lies in the fact that it was the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. We visit the springs of Harod and Beth Shean. Renamed Scythopolis by the Greeks who numbered it among the Cities of the Decapolis. Then we arrive at the River Jordan where it flows out to the Sea of Galilee. It was the place of baptism of John the Baptist and of Jesus. He taught from Peter's boat, the Miracle of the abundant catch of fish also that occurred here and to this day the fresh waters of the Sea of Galilee still teem with fish. Continue to Tiberias, built by Herod Antipas between 17 and 22 AD, as the capital of Galilee and Perea. Tiberias was named after the Roman emperor Tiberius. It is the site of a Crusader and Turkish stronghold as well as an important site of Jewish pilgrimage. Check-in at the hotel, followed by dinner and overnight.
DAY 6: TIBERIAS - TABGHA – CAESAREA PHILIPPI - MT. OF BEATITUDES - CAPERNAUM - SEA OF GALILEE - TIBERIAS
After breakfast at hotel, we depart Tiberias to Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. We pass Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene. We visit Tabgha, the site of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, commemorated by the Church of the Multiplication, the Church of the Primacy where Jesus shared a meal with his disciples. It was at this spot that Jesus delegated the Primacy of the Church to Peter. We visit the mouth of the Jordan River at Baneas (Caesarea Philippi); this pagan city dedicated to the god Pan. Here Peter made his proclamation of faith in Jesus, who declared him the rock on which he would build his Church, and promised him the key of the Kingdom of Heaven. We see Dan. We ascend to the Mount of Beatitudes and visit the Sanctuary of the Sermon on the Mount. It was here that Jesus chose his 12 disciples. We visit the lakeside village of Capernaum, referred to in the New Testament as a center of Jesus' ministry after He left Nazareth to see the ancient synagogue and Peter's house. Then we take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee to Tiberias where we have lunch by the seashore. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Tiberias.
DAY 7: TIBERIAS - CANNA - NAZARETH - MEGGIDO - MT. CARMEL - CAESAREA MARITIMA – NETANYA
Breakfast at hotel. We drive towards Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, where He studied and worked, forging the theories that would shape the years to come. Jesus was nevertheless forced to leave Nazareth after His teachings estranged Him from His residents. We see the village of Cana, which has not changed much outwardly since the times when Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding celebration. We have the privilege to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and walk through the old bazaar to see Mary's Well and St. Joseph's Church (workshop). Lunch in Nazareth. Then we drive through the beautiful Valley of Jezreel, past the Gilboa Mountains to Meggido, one of King Solomon's chariot cities. It was the location of fortifications and stables. According to the Biblical tradition ‘Armageddon’ or the final Apocalyptic battle between the forces of Gog (good) and Magog (evil) will take place. We continue to Haifa where it was a Jewish shipbuilding center in ancient times. Haifa is the world-center of the Bahai faith, and site of the ornate Bahai shrine whose golden dome is a characteristic landmark of Haifa. We go up to Mount Carmel, venerated as a sacred spot since ancient times, it was originally a sanctuary of Baal whose prophets Elijah defeated. The cave where traditionally Elijah fled from Ahab and Jezebel is near the site of the Carmelite Church of Stella Maris where the prophet Elisha is said to be buried. We have a panoramic view of the city and the port of Haifa, the River Kishon. Then we drive down to the coast to the port city of Caesarea Maritima, which was an official residence of the Herodian kings and became the capital of the Roman province, built by Herod the Great in 20 BC. We see the Crusaders' Castle; visit the Roman Theater, the Aqueduct and the harbor from where Paul sailed to Rome. Here Peter baptized Cornelius the Centurion and Paul was imprisoned for two years awaiting trial in Rome. Afterwards we drive to the seaside resort of Netanya where we have dinner and overnight at the hotel.
DAY 8: NETANYA - TEL AVIV - ATHENS
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International airport for flight to Athens, Greece.