Thursday, January 26, 2017

Luxury Tour to Israel - 8 Days

1st Day – Arrival at Tel Aviv
Upon arrival you are transferred to your hotel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The hotel is just across the street from the city’s main market and close to historic Old Jaffa. Tonight, enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner party with your Eco Solution Travel Director.
Dinner & Overnight at Dan Hotel Tel Aviv.

2nd Day – Tel Aviv
You will start your day with a visit to Old Jaffa, the world’s oldest port. Stroll along the winding cobblestone streets that lead to the heart of Jaffa’s charming artists’ colony, where we will meet with a local artist and take time to browse the galleries and craft shops at the Jaffa Flea Market, one of the oldest flea markets in the world. Visit the bustling Carmel Market, Tel Aviv’s largest food market, for a bite of baklava and a look at the beautifully arranged flowers and vegetables. Finish the day at the Diaspora Museum with its compelling account of the Jewish people from the time of their expulsion from Israel to the founding of the modern state.
Dinner & Overnight at Dan hotel Tel Aviv.

3rd Day - Caesarea & Haifa

This morning, drive along the Mediterranean shoreline to the port city of Caesarea. In 30 B.C., the village of Turris Stratonis fell under the rule of King Herod of Judea. He renamed the village and transformed it into a model Roman city with all the comforts, including indoor plumbing and heating for the caldarium. A “must see” is the ancient Roman amphitheater, still used for musical performances.
After lunch, we make our way to Haifa and ascend 1,500-foot Mount Carmel for a breathtaking view of the city and its bustling port. Admire the gleaming gold dome of the Baha’i Shrine, freshly restored in 2011.
Diner & Overnight at Dan Carmel Hotel Haifa.

4th Day - Acre, Safed & Tiberias

Acre, a subterranean city and former capital of the Crusader kingdom. Visit Al Jazar Mosque, the crypt of St. John, and the British fortress; explore the Turkish Baths and the colorful bazaar. Historical giants such Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, St. Francis of Assisi, and Marco Polo also visited this ancient seaport city, one of Israel’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This afternoon, drive to the historic city and artist colony of Safed. Safed has been famous since the Middle Ages as a center for Kabbalah, and you’ll have the chance to meet with scholars and learn more about this ancient form of Jewish mysticism.
We end our day at the historic Scots Hotel in Tiberias, enjoying wonderful views of the Sea of Galilee.
Diner & overnight at The Scots Hotel, Tiberias.

5th Day – The Sea of Galilee
We board a boat for a ride across the Sea of Galilee. We will visit the Igal Alon Museum at  Kibbutz Ginosar, devoted to the history of the Galilee region and is home to the famed “Jesus boat,” a vessel excavated from the Sea of Galilee in 1985 and believed to be from the time of Jesus.
Pause for a visit to the 2nd-century Capernaum Synagogue on our way to the Mount of Beatitudes, the site where Jesus delivered the “Sermon on the Mount.” See the Byzantine-styled Catholic Church with its distinctive octagon shape representing the eight beatitudes. The floor and dome both display beautiful gold mosaics.
Diner & overnight at The Scots Hotel, Tiberias.

6th Day - Nazareth, Beit She’an & the Dead Sea
In Nazareth stand in the footsteps of holy men and women as you explore the Church of the Annunciation. Follow the winding mountain roads to Beit She’an, Israel’s equivalent of Pompeii, to survey the extraordinary excavations of this ancient Roman city. Then travel south through the Jezreel Valley to the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea, actually an inland lake, is the lowest point on earth. Take a dip and feel the unusual buoyancy caused by a salt content six times that of ocean water and enjoy the therapeutic properties too.
Diner and overnight at Isrotel Dead Sea Hotel & Spa, Ein Bokek.

7th Day - Beersheba & the Negev

This morning we’re off to the Negev, the vast desert region in southern Israel. Though it is sparsely populated today, people have made their homes here for millennia.
We begin in Beersheba, in ancient times the intersection of the Via Maris (“Way of the Sea”) and the King’s Highway. Today, it is home to some 180,000 inhabitants and one of Israel’s largest universities. Venture outside the city to a traditional Bedouin camp for lunch before our afternoon jeep safari. Our expedition will allow us to explore the Ramon Nature Reserve, Israel’s largest national park and home to the Ramon Crater, the world’s largest erosion crater. Carved by a retreating ocean and then a progression of rivers, the crater exposes increasingly ancient layers of rock. It is estimated some rocks at the bottom are as old as 200 million years.
Diner and overnight at Isrotel Dead Sea Hotel & Spa, Ein Bokek.

8th Day – Massada, Qumran & Bethlehem
At the edge of the Judean Desert sits Masada, the last stronghold of the Jewish zealots in their war against the Romans in 73 A.D. Access in ancient times was by a steep snaking path from the east, the “White Rock" from the west, or two difficult climbing approaches from north or south. We opt for an exciting — and less physically taxing — ascent by cable car.
Explore the rock fortress, Herod’s Palace, synagogue, and other sites. Next, drive to Qumran, a settlement dating back to 103 B.C., to view the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, scribed on parchment, papyrus, and copper.
Continue on to Bethlehem, revered by Jews as the hometown of King David, and by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus. Here we find the Church of the Nativity and the cave where tradition holds the virgin birth occurred.
Finally, arrive in Jerusalem, a 3,000-year-old city that is holy to three great world religions.
Diner and overnight at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.